1. The localised lockdown for 10 Melbourne postcodes has officially begun. Once again, they are 3012, 3021, 3022, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3055, 3060, 3064, though I'm sure residents are acutely aware of that by now.
2. Predictably, there's been a surge in attempts to change driver's license addresses within those postcodes. Not a bad idea, considering the fact it's technically an instant process. But VicRoads is on it, individually reviewing each application made.
3. Australian house prices have fallen for the second month running, according to the latest CoreLogic data. Prices fell 0.7% nationally in June after a 0.4% drop in May, with Melbourne the worst affected. While the worst-case forecasts of 10% falls appear to have been overblown, Victoria’s partial return to lockdown and the expiry of key support measures could see the market fall further.
4. The European Union (EU) will allow Australians, as well visitors from 14 other countries, to visit again from July 1. There is, of course, a significant barrier here: we can't leave the country right now. At least not for the reason of sunning ourselves on a beach in Portugal. But it's nice to know!
5. Qantas is launching new flight routes to Byron Bay and Orange. The new routes are intended to boost tourism in those areas, mitigating some of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as aid the airline’s recovery. “After years of locals calling for the flying kangaroo to fly to Orange, the iconic red tail will touch down there for the first time in a few weeks,” said QantasLink CEO. “We are bringing much needed competition to the route, which has been a monopoly for many years.”
6. We reported earlier this week that Amazon is building a new robot-filled fulfilment centre in Sydney, which the company says will create 1,500 jobs. Of course, 'robot' and 'job creation' tend not to go hand in hand – and Amazon's automated warehouses in the US have led to job cuts across its network, according to a Reuters report. But Amazon Australia director of operations Craig Fuller insists otherwise. “We know from our experience of launching Amazon robotics buildings in other countries that we actually make jobs,” he told Business Insider Australia. “Since we started launching robotic sites, we’ve created around about 300,000 jobs.”
7. The UK government on Wednesday said it would offer millions of Hong Kong citizens the right to move to the UK. About 3 million Hong Kong citizens with British visa rights and their family members will be offered a path to UK citizenship, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Johnson announced the move in retaliation for China’s passage of a new national security law for Hong Kong, which he said breached the Sino-British Joint Declaration that the UK and China signed in 1984.
8. America's great reopening is not going so great. California, for example, is directing bars and restaurants in multiple counties across the state to close once again as case counts continue to climb. Apple is closing 30 stores around the country. Overall, the US – the worst hit country in the world – is approaching 130,000 confirmed deaths from the virus.
9. More companies are joining the social media advertising boycott. The latest is Lego, which says it is pausing all its ads on social media for at least 30 days while it reviews its advertising standards. Once again, I'd caution against ascribing this entirely to a principled stand against hate speech and misinformation – the world's ad market is struggling right now. I'd wager there are economic pressures too.
10. Facebook and Google may be forced to share their hordes of data with rival companies, under a new plan laid out by the UK's competition watchdog. The regulator has recommended closer scrutiny of the two platforms, noting their 'unassailable' market positions in digital advertising. The watchdog is proposing the creation of a new unit that could issue fines and force the two giants to alter their business practices.
News to me.