Heat wave incoming
Fire services and the Bureau of Meteorology are warning of an incoming heat wave over the weekend, particularly across Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. Western Sydney is tipped to go over 40 degrees again today (Friday) as are Melbourne and Adelaide. South Australia is expected to suffer extremely high weekend temperatures.

Australia Day Heats Up
It’s going to be a tense Australia Day…again. The debate around changing the date of celebrations heats up too. We did a deep dive on the topic when it flared up in August last year after two Melbourne councils declared they would not be facilitating official Australia Day celebrations.
The leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, announced this week that his party would be campaigning to change the date to better respect  indigenous people. The LNP have hit back with a variety of comments, saying a date change would cause further division. Tony Abbott went on radio and said that British settlement was a “very good thing” although not “good immediately for everyone.” Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, has remained relatively silent on the issue, saying he’s sympathetic to the cause, but doesn’t believe it’s time to make a change. One of his back benchers, the indigenous MP Linda Burney, says the 26th of January should be a day of reflection for the nation. Burney would like to see the conversation around indigenous affairs re-focussed on the Uluru statement, which Turnbull dismissed last year. (You can read about some of the big issues on our deep dive into indigenous affairs here.)
Hilariously, Australian Conservatives Senator Corey Bernadi made a Spotify playlist to celebrate his own ‘hottest 100’. Bernadi was then ravaged by many music stars who feature on the playlist. Jimmy Barnes, Darren Hayes, Powderfinger and the Hilltop Hoods used to Twitter to say they didn’t want any part in the stunt. (Actually, Hilltop Hoods’ tweet was simply ‘go fuck yourself Bernadi’.)
Just what is a ‘gang’ anyway?
For the last few years, media rhetoric around a growing ‘African Gang’ problem in Victoria has circulated through Fairfax media channels. This week the commentary reached fever pitch. Channel 7 hi-lighted a far-right activist for his commentary, and both Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull have weighed into the debate. We’ll be doing a deep dive on the story on Tuesday.
The NBN is probably going to be as bad as we expected
The NBN Co. revealed that only one in four customers will receive top speeds on their fibre-to-the-node network. All in all (and no one’s shocked here) the NBN has been a series of ongoing disasters. There have been delays, rising costs and lower than expected customer take-up. The FTTN technology (try pronouncing that acronym phonetically) is mostly used in suburban or semi-rural areas. The NBN company tried to assure these customers that they should still be able to access speeds of 50 Mbps – around half of the top speed.
Korea united under one flag in upcoming Olympics
Positive news out of Korea this week – an unexpected change from the usual.The North and South will march under a unification flag in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. Reception from political leaders around the globe has been positive but extremely cautious. Importantly, this isn’t the first time that this has happened. The two countries united under one flag for the 2006 Winter Olympics. North Korea have warned the South not to spoil the moment by trying to get them to back away from their nuclear program. Australian PM Malcom Turnbull is sceptical about the move. He warned of North Korea’s past promises of turning over a new leaf while visiting Japan this week.
Last weekend “someone hit the wrong button” (I’m not kidding, that’s the quote), and sent out an emergency notification to mobile phones across Hawaii reading: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.’ As you can imagine, everyone lost their shit. It took 38 minutes to correct the error and send out messages calling for calm.
Bitcoin falling
The value of Bitcoin (a cryptocurrency, don’t ask) has taken a massive tumble in the last few days after going through a boom at the tail end of 2017. Fears of new regulations from South Korea freaked out the entire cryptocurrency sector (including Ethereum and Ripple. Yep, those are types of currency, apparently, not to be mistaken for monsters from Doctor Who). The market remains bewildering to everyone, even those who understand a tiny bit about what the hell Bitcoin actually is.
Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, dies at 46
Dolores O’Riordan’s death was sudden, and the circumstances have not been made public. Her unmistakable voice was widely known. She was the lyricist behind The Cranberries hits Linger and Dreams, and the sole writer on the well known Zombie. 

Keorapetse Kgositsile Passes Away
South African poet and activist Keorapetse Kgositsile passed away this week, aged 79. He leaves behind a body of work that continues to inspire millions.
“What you already know is merely a point of departure. So let’s move.” – Keorapetse Kgositsile

Have a great weekend. We’ll be back next week. If you like this blog, please share it around.

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