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Scaling Back Of Melbourne Food Production Threatens Food Supply Chain

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 04 August 2020

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A file photo of empty shelves at an Australian supermarket. Source: AAP

Victorian meatworks have been a major source of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Security (Health) // BLUF: The massive scaling back of food production in the Australian state of Victoria due to increased lockdown measures is expected to affect the food supply chain, where the possibility of shortages of certain foods cannot be ruled out.

The scaling back will see factories operating at a third of their capacity.

Meat processing plants in particular have been a major source of outbreaks.

Panic buying in the initial stages of lockdowns earlier in the year saw Australian supermarket shelves empty and videos emerge online of people fighting over items, including toilet paper.

(See Point 6 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 04 August 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, CHINA - Security (Cyber): Trump gives Microsoft 45 days to clinch TikTok deal

FYSA: President Donald Trump only agreed to allow Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) to negotiate the acquisition of popular short-video app TikTok if it could secure a deal in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday. The move represents an about-face for Trump and prompted the U.S. tech giant to declare its interest in the blockbuster social media deal that could further inflame U.S.-China relations. Trump said on Friday he was planning to ban TikTok amid concerns that its Chinese ownership represents a national security risk because of the personal data it handles. The proposed acquisition of TikTok, which boasts 100 millions U.S. users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Snap Inc (SNAP.N). Microsoft also owns professional social media network LinkedIn. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. FRANCE - Security (Health): French city tells shoppers: wear masks outside or pay fine

FYSA: French Prime Minister Jean Castex urged people not to let down their guard in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday, the day one of France’s biggest cities ordered people to wear masks outdoors in busy pedestrian streets. “The virus is not on holiday, and neither are we,” Castex said on a visit to Lille, where police on Monday gained the power to levy a 135 euro ($158.45) fine on anyone not observing the new rule. After strict lockdown measures pushed down infection rates, many European countries are now watching numbers creep back up, a consequence of easing restrictions to try to limit economic damage, and greater social mixing in the summer holiday season. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

3. NORWAY - Security (Health): Dozens test positive for Covid-19 on Norwegian cruise ship

FYSA: At least 41 passengers and crew on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, officials say. Hundreds more passengers who travelled on the MS Roald Amundsen are in quarantine and awaiting test results, the company that owns the ship said. The ship, which belongs to the Norwegian firm Hurtigruten, docked in the port of Tromso in northern Norway on Friday. Hurtigruten has halted all leisure cruises because of the outbreak."This is a serious situation for everyone involved. We have not been good enough and we have made mistakes," Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldamsaid in a statement on Monday. (BBC. See link in heading for further reading)

4. TURKEY - Economic: Cruise ships beached at scrapyard in Turkey, set to be broken up

FYSA: With cruising all but suspended worldwide, videos have emerged of several large cruise ships being beached in Aliaga, Turkey to be scrapped. The ships include MS Sovereign, formerly Sovereign of the Seas, considered by many to be the world's first "mega cruise ship" when it launched in 1988 with capacity for 2278 passengers. Two other ships are seen in the videos, MS Monarch and Carnival Fantasy, with one clip showing the latter being driven aground in preparation for scrapping. A fourth ship, Carnival Inspiration, is also reportedly bound for the scrapyard. The owner of MS Sovereign and MS Monarch, Pullmantur Cruises, declared bankruptcy last month following the collapse of the cruise industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Royal Caribbean Group, which owns 49 per cent of Pullmantur Cruises, indicated last month the two ships would be sold. (Stuff. See link in heading for further reading)

5. THAILAND - Political: Thai minister threatens Facebook with legal action over restriction requests

FYSA: Thailand’s digital minister has threatened legal action against Facebook and accused the social media giant of not complying with government requests to restrict content deemed illegal, including perceived insults to the country’s monarchy. The latest threat came after Facebook’s auto-translation tool mistranslated a message in a Thai broadcaster’s post live-streaming King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s birthday ceremony last week. Facebook has apologised and temporarily disabled English-to-Thai auto-translation. The incident sparked a flurry of complaints by Puttipong Punnakanta, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society, that Facebook was not responding fast enough to the Thai government’s requests to restrict content. He also vowed stronger action against the company. He did not elaborate. Thailand has a tough law prohibiting insults against the monarchy. In recent years, authorities have filed court orders along with requests to social media platforms to restrict or remove perceived royal insults and other illegal content, including national security threats and copyright violations. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

6. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health): Australia set to face food shortages due to Victoria's coronavirus restrictions

FYSA: Victoria's massive scaling back of food manufacturing in an effort to stop the coronavirus spread is expected to affect Australia's food supply chain. Australia could face some food shortages due to Victoria's stage four coronavirus restrictions. Large swathes of manufacturing will have to close under the lockdown measures taking effect from Thursday and other plants will have to scale back production. Food production, including meat, seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetable processing businesses can remain open under the harsher measures. But centres will have to work at one third the usual capacity across the state, not just in metropolitan Melbourne like most of the other restrictions. (SBS. See link in heading for further reading)

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