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The 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been all over the news. No lie, I’d take a category-5 hurricane over an earthquake any day. New Zealand is such a beautiful country, the north and south islands, and I can’t wait for the day I get to go back.

This is what Cathedral Square looked like when I visited Christchurch:

This is what it looks like since the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit:

Right.  Left.  Right.  Left.  Right?!

If you’re American and you’ve been to Samoa, first, I’m jealous of you; second, I know you had no problems getting around if you rented a car – they’re a right-side driving nation.  As is 70% of the world.  Some of the 30% of the world keeping left includes: Australia, Cayman Islands, Japan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago. 

Ahh, but, that’s no more according to this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Lately, I’m sure you’ve seen the footage of the raging bushfires (er..wildfires as we’d say in America) in Australia’s southern state of Victoria.  (What’s worst, I’ve heard these fires could have been the result of arson!)  The news is heartbreaking, particularly with the death toll reaching almost 200 last I heard.  The record high temps in South Australia – 40+ degrees Celsius (104+ degrees Fahrenheit) – have not been helping the situation. 

On the upside, Aussies have been receiving tons of love from across the world.  The US has offered a helping hand in the form of expertise of American firefighting chiefs; New Zealand is sending over 100 firefighters; Singapore is offering a fleet of Super Puma helicopters.  It’s great to see the world unite, even if it is under dire circumstances. 



Well, looks like the U.S. economy, in its recession state, is not alone – New Zealand’s economy just dipped back into recession territory.  It’s been more than a decade since the Kiwi country has had a recession, and though it’s still really early in the game, New Zealand is already pointing fingers.  At who?  You guessed it.  The Aussies!

Australia is NZ’s biggest export market, and there was a drop in trade of items like wool, timber and seafood.  Nevertheless, this is by no means a signal of a recession for Australia.  In fact, despite higher food and petrol costs, their economy is boom-booming!  The country is benefitting from high prices of coal and iron ore, which they export to Asia.  Want more proof?!  Their banks cut interest rates on September 25, and they’re expected to do so again in another month!  Read the entire story here

Well, it sure seems like we should be looking up flights back to Australia, huh!?

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