One million Chinese tourists account for 23% of tourist trip spend at $8.9 billion, an increase of 38% in the last year.
I’m not sure how excited we should get. I remember being told in Heidelberg Castle in 2008 that they got 4 million each year. In Prague the number of 70 million was quoted. Tourism here is small beer, but I wouldn’t like to live in that sort of melee. Our Brisbane Queen Street mall on Friday afternoon was pleasantly cosmopolitan.
Education is also doing well as an export industry, if we don’t ruin our reputation by exploiting student workers.
Housing is still a worry, in part because prices are still going up – 13.9% in Melbourne and 13.1% in Sydney. There’s a looming oversupply of apartments in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Bursting the bubble, however, could take the whole economy down, worries the OECD.
2. Tax matters
One of the more interesting economic graphs I’ve seen recently added company social security contributions to company tax to give some idea of real company tax levels on a comparative basis. From memory Australia was the seventh lowest in the OECD, but I’ve lost the link.
Here’s a graph of the “tax wedge” companies pay in labour costs:
Australia is the eighth lowest.
3. Gorilla shot to save boy
Cincinnati Zoo keepers shot a lowland gorilla to save a three-year old boy, who had mounted a fence and crawled through bushes and then fell 3.7 metres into the gorilla enclosure. The UK Mirror has video footage and covers the subsequent public outrage. This image gives an outline of what happened:
Some are excited because the gorilla appeared to care for the boy and was showing no aggressive behaviour.
Some are saying that a tranquilliser dart could have been used.
I think the staff did what had to be done, as the boy could have been killed in a split second by the gorilla, whether by intent or accident.
Questions can later be asked about the responsibility of the parents and the safety of the zoo setup and action taken as appropriate.
That being said, a gorilla’s life is not intrinsically worth less than a human’s. However, we are social creatures and have to look out for each other, or the world would dissolve into chaos.
A Thai man, going to the loo as you do in the morning, got a big surprise. A four metre-long python slithered up the sewer pipe and latched onto his man bits. This report doesn’t quite say how it all happened, but his wife brought a rope, then he managed to yank the jaws open, and rope the snake’s head to the door, before passing out from loss of blood. Emergency services extracted the snake from the toilet, but not without destroying the toilet.
The man has all his bits, recovering in hospital, and the snake was returned to the wild.
I had another item about huge apes that wandered around Asia, and one about Neanderthals, but I might save them for later.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.