Hello Australia!! - Strong reactions to Covid-19 appearing around the world - South Korea declares a Red Alert - The rocket man who shoudn't have done it - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:

Call it urgency or panic, there is a sense that nations are getting pretty concerned over the Covid-19 coronavirus as new pockets of outbreaks pop up around the world.  Most of the world's cases - almost 79,000 infections with 2,470 infections - are in mainland China.  However, rapidly escalating situations are occurring in Iran, Italy, and South Korea.

There are now eight deaths in Iran in an outbreak centered around Qom, and dozens of infections being added daily.  Pakistan and Turkey each closed their land borders with Iran; officials in Afghanistan grounded all flights to and from Iran - this impacts thousands of of business people and religious pilgrims because of Iran's importance in Shia Islam.  The public transportation agency in Tehran ordered the subway system to be disinfected daily.  Football games have been canceled as well.  This pocket appeared to have no connection to China, which is scaring the hell out of people.

In Italy, there was panic buying as the government began locking-down towns in the Lombardy region in the north, limiting the movements of tens of thousands of people - "We're going to quickly enforce a total blockade," said one police officer.  Like Iran, football games were canceled, the world-famous Venice Carnival has been cut short, and Austria has halted train traffic with its southern neighbor.  An elderly woman who had been in hospital in Crema was the country's third death from Covid-19, and there are more than 130 confirmed infections. 

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in put his country on Red Alert - the highest alert level for infectious diseases.  "We shouldn't be bound by regulations and hesitate to take unprecedented, powerful measures," Mr. Moon said.  Six deaths and 602 infections prompted the education minister to push back the start of the new school year to 9 March.  Most of the South Korean cases are centered around an evangelical cult in Daegu City in the south part of the country, and hooligans egged the church overnight as the group's leaders attempt to defend from growing public anger.


The far-right AfD party is set to be ejected from the Hamburg state parliament in Germany, days after a far-right racist gunman murdered ten people before killing himself.  In state elections, voters also punished the center-right CDU of Chancellor Angela Merkel after an outcry over a local branch of the CDU in eastern Germany siding with the AfD - a strict taboo in German politics.  The Greens gained the most and will likely govern the state in a coalition with the Social Democrats.

Not too far away from Hamburg, tens of thousands of protesters marched through the town of Hanau on Sunday to mourn the people who were killed by an immigrant-hating gunman four days ago.  "These days and hours are the blackest and darkest our town has ever experienced during peace times," said Hanau mayor Claus Kaminsky.

The star of an upcoming Discovery Networks "reality" show is dead after crashing his homemade rocket ship into the California desert near San Bernardino.  "Mad" Mike Hughes was known for his completely unfounded belief that the world is flat (something pretty much proven wrong for hundreds and hundreds of years), and the ironically-named "Science Channel" in the US was documenting his second attempt to launch the steam-powered rocket.  The first attempt a few months ago got about 1,800 feet in the air, which is only a little bit higher than the new World Trade Center in New York or the Willis (nee Sears) Tower in Chicago.  This weekend's attempt turned fatal when the parachute fell out of the rocket upon launch and the projectile careened to the ground.

The ABC is reporting that the video for A-ha's "Take on me" has reached a billion views.