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The lede

“It was like Armageddon, basically.” Australians exited the weekend further reeling from their summer of disastrous weather after a dust storm preceded a massive hail storm, with hurricane-force winds, in the southeastern part of the country. “The storm was intense and fast-moving. The territory’s Emergency Services Agency reported receiving a record 1,900 calls for help — more than three times the average for a storm.” (NPR)

. . . “Dozens of communities across Australia’s southeast are still reeling from fires which have been described as the most destructive on record. Since September, blazes have killed at least 30 people, destroyed over 2,000 homes and burnt through 10 million hectares of land – an area almost the size of England.” The latest from BBC: Australia’s brushfires are far from over.

. . . Despite the brushfires, the Australian Open tennis tournament got started without delay Sunday, though not without disputes over the safety of the air quality ahead of time. AP: One player complained, “people in Melbourne were advised to keep their pets indoors on the day he played, ‘and yet we were expected to go outside for high intensity physical competition?’”

Seconded

“The editorial board is an institutional voice, but it is not the voice of the institution as a whole. That’s a crucial distinction that often gets lost. The board doesn’t speak for the newsroom. How could it?” The New York TimesWhat is an Editorial Board?

. . . Now that that’s out of the way: The NYT editorial board likes Amy… and Elizabeth. (Top that, Des Moines Register.)

TGIThursday

Where are you shopping this weekend? “In my early 20s, I bought a 300-count box of dryer sheets at Costco. The first problem with the box was that it caused me to contemplate my mortality: The box was going to last me six years, which meant I’d probably only ever need to buy nine more such boxes, and then I would be dead. The box was far from used up when I moved from Washington to New York, and I paid movers to move it along with my other possessions. Shortly thereafter, I threw away the box, which still must have contained more than 150 sheets, because, like a typical millennial, I gave up using fabric softener. (It’s bad for your workout clothes!)” Josh Barro: When Buying in Bulk Is a Mistake

#MillennialProblems

“While she is proud of being ‘born and raised a Jersey girl,’ it was only in Jordan that she began to take pride in her roots. She learned Arabic and appreciated Middle Eastern food and hospitality. When she returned to the U.S., she began to wear a headscarf as an act of defiance against a rising anti-Muslim tide. ‘I lost a lot of friends, people started treating me differently,’ she said. But she also became an ambassador for her faith. Students, even teachers, stopped her in school and asked about the Quran and Islam. ‘I had to learn as much as I possibly could about my own religion, the ins and outs of it, what Islamophobes were saying about it, so that I could understand how to respond.’” Mistreatment in the years after 9/11 forced Amani Al-Khatahtbeh’s family to flee the US, and later inspired her to build MuslimGirl.com, where she’s dispelling stereotypes for two million readers. (AP)

Sports!

The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution to urge Major League Baseball to strip away the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles from the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox and reward them to the Los Angeles Dodgers. (A hilariously bad waste of time.)

Thinking ahead

No kidding: The Onion is entering the daily news podcast business. It premieres Jan. 29. (Is this bad? This is bad, isn’t it?)

This also happened last week: While Las Vegas has been locked in as host of the 2020 NFL Draft, it was announced that the stage will be on the water at the Fountains of Bellagio. “The players will be transported to the stage by boat.”