Our 'great brawl': Australia, China face trade war over Covid-19 inquiry


IN THE PAPERS - Wednesday, May 13: We look at the Lebanese press as the country enters a new coronavirus lockdown. In Australia, a trade war over beef escalates with China. And the French language powers-that-be have finally attributed a gender to the word Covid-19!


The Lebanese government has decided to re-impose a four-day lockdown from Wednesday evening. It comes after a new spike in coronavirus cases. As Lebanon grapples with a devastating economic crisis, the Lebanese daily L’Orient-Le Jour evokes the anger of citizens who did respect the rules of the lockdown and now find themselves homebound once more because of the "indiscipline of others".

Much of the world's attention has been focused on Europe and the US battling Covid-19. The New York Times reports from Latin America, where coronavirus outbreaks rival those of Europe. The situation on the continent has been worsened by underfunded hospitals, lack of medical resources, struggling economies and governments that cannot or will not offer true death tolls.

Let's head to Australia now where The Australian is reporting on a looming trade beef with China. It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for a global investigation into the origins of coronavirus. In turn, China threatened to impose tariffs on Australian barley exports and suspended four Chinese-owned meat plants in the country, representing one third of Australian exports to China. The editors of the Wall Street Journal side with Australian authorities, saying China's use of coercive economic diplomacy to stop an independent investigation will "make the world wonder what it has to hide".

Finally, Le Figaro is looking at an issue that definitely doesn't affect the English language! Is Covid-19 masculine or feminine? In the midst of the pandemic, the Académie française, the guardian of the French language, has finally ruled on the issue. The virus is officially feminine, because it's an abbreviation of the coronavirus disease, which in French is feminine. So henceforth, LA Covid-19 it is!

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