Squiz Today / 15 May 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 15 May


"I feel like people pretend to like chickpeas more than they really do.”

Tweeted bomb-dropping MasterChef Adam Liaw. Never have truer words been spoken...


The coronavirus crisis has claimed another ugly record. The Bureau of Statistics yesterday confirmed that 594,300 jobs were lost across Australia in April, the largest fall ever. Our unemployment rate rose to 6.2%, up a modest 1% since March. That was better than the 8.3% unemployment rate forecast by economists. But that doesn’t tell the whole story…

We thought you’d never ask. To technically be considered ‘unemployed’ by the Bureau, you have to be actively looking for a job, and the coronavirus crisis made that difficult in April. That means 489,800 people officially dropped out of the workforce leaving just 104,500 people to be added to the official unemployment tally, hence the small 1% jump in the rate. What’s actually happened in the jobs market is much more disruptive than that. “Around 2.7 million people (about 1 in 5 people employed in March) either left employment or had their hours reduced between March and April,” the Bureau says. And when you round all that out, the 'underutilised' workers rate rose to 19.9% - also a record. Want some more numbers? Six million Australians now have access to the JobKeeper payment, and 1.6 million are receiving the JobSeeker unemployment benefit.

No, they’re records we really didn’t want to break. PM Scott Morrison said it was “a tough day for Australia, a very tough day,” and the result was “devastating for those Australians, for their families and communities.” And there’s more bad news on the economic front to come as the impact of business shutdowns is felt, he says. Labor leader Anthony Albanese said more certainty about the government’s plans to financially support displaced workers in the coming months is needed. He said it was hoped that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would clear that up when he delivered an economic statement to Parliament on Tuesday "What we got was a speech out of Seinfeld. A speech about nothing ... which will only be remembered for Josh Frydenberg's coughing fit."



• PM Morrison isn’t backing down in the brewing dispute with China. Angry with his call for an independent inquiry into the handling of the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, China has hit back this week, threatening our beef and barley exports. Calling Australia "one of the great trading nations of the world", Morrison said "what we will never do is trade away our values.”

• An update from the World Health Organisation: the coronavirus “may never go away” and controlling it will take a massive global effort, even if/when a vaccine is found. Meanwhile, the United Nations has urged governments to make support for mental health services a priority in their pandemic plans.

• And a heartwarming story about two groups who are worlds apart supporting each other, 170 years on. In the 1840s, the impoverished Choctaws, a Native American tribe from Oklahoma, heard about the Irish potato famine and took up a collection. Now hard hit by COVID-19, and 24,000 donors from Ireland are repaying their ancestors’ generosity.

• To sport, and a titan of world darts is back in the game. With a virtual competition underway with all the top players, world champ Gary Anderson has been missing. The reason? His internet connection at home wasn’t good enough…

• On the numbers: A sad threshold has been crossed overnight with 300,000 worldwide deaths recorded. There are 4.4 million cases globally. In Australia, there are 6,989 cases, and there have been 98 deaths.


Australia’s most notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale has been sentenced to another 10 years in prison after he was found guilty of 14 more historical child sexual abuse charges yesterday. At almost 86yo, it means he is likely to die in custody where he has served 25 years of a 33 year jail term. The latest ruling brings the total number of Ridsdale’s known victims to 69 for offences committed between 1961-88, but the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse found that his victims likely stretched into the hundreds. Cardinal George Pell lived with Ridsdale in the 70s and was a character witness for him in court in 1993. A full report by the Commission that was released last week found Pell was told of Ridsdale's offending in 1982, but he didn’t act to stop him from being transferred to new parishes. Pell says that accusation is "not supported by evidence".


Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated as a strong typhoon hit the Philippines yesterday. With wind speeds of 150 km/hr, Typhoon Vongfong is forecast to move across the country’s densely populated east, bringing potentially life-threatening high swells and torrential rain before travelling offshore on Sunday. It’s not a great time for the Philippines as it battles COVID-19 - at least 772 people have died. Authorities say it is “almost impossible“ for evacuees to follow social distancing rules in crowded evacuation shelters. And while some typhoon-affected regions have so far remained coronavirus-free, many evacuation centres have been turned into quarantine facilities, further complicating things.


Cat-video-loving online media company BuzzFeed will shut its operations in the UK and Australia, it announced yesterday. The decision follows longer-term declines in advertising revenue which have been compounded by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Criticised by media purists for its clickbait headlines and ‘listicles’ since its launch in 2006, BuzzFeed has won awards for its investigative journalism. While the changes mean Buzzfeed will no longer be reporting on local news in the UK and Australia, it will focus on news that “hits big” in the US. Australian editor Lane Sainty thanked readers for their support.


After the Pentagon declassified and released videos of three encounters with unidentified flying objects last month, we now have more details following the release of hazard reports. One 2014 report described an aircraft the “size of a suitcase, and silver in colour”, but despite one of the US Navy’s jets passing within 300 metres of the object, it was unable to identify it before it disappeared. And look, for ours, it was clearly a flying silver suitcase, but the reports says it's 'unidentified' but probably a drone. Still, the Pentagon launched a program researching the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life, but it ended in 2012 amid funding issues. Luis Elizondo, the head of the program, has previously said that there is "very compelling evidence that we may not be alone." And we welcome our flying suitcase overlords…


This GQ profile on actor Robert Pattinson made headlines for all the wrong reasons. But aside from the questionable judgement in his carbs/fats/sugar combinations, he’s quite a character.

Are you an open-cereal-box-in-the-pantry kinda person? This controversial hack could change your life.

And it seems only right to end with an Adam Liaw recipe… Sticky ginger roast chicken. Do the butterfly thing (it’s not too hard…) or use chicken pieces. It’s literally a winner winner chicken dinner.


9.20am (AEST) - Amal Clooney to appear before a Federal Parliamentary inquiry into whether Australia should examine the use of targeted sanctions to address human rights abuses via video conference

National Cabinet to meet on the ongoing government response to the coronavirus crisis

Indicative bids for Virgin Australia due to be submitted to the Administrator

International Day of Families (UN)

Anniversary of:
• the patenting of the world's first machine gun (1718)
• the formation of the National Woman Suffrage Association, founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1869)
• Jessica Watson becoming the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world at age 16 (2010)
• the deaths of Emily Dickinson (1886), Robert Menzies (1978), Bud Tingwell (2009)

8.00pm (AEST) - Rove McManus hosts ‘Live From Aus’ trivia night

International Day of Living Together in Peace

International Day of Light

World Whisky Day

Anniversary of:
• the marriage of Marie Antoinette and future King Louis XVI of France (1770)
• the release of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (1966)
• Anniversary of the death of Bob Hawke (2019)

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

World Hypertension Day

Anniversary of:
• the first rules of Australian Rules Football published (1859)
• the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
• the World Health Organisation removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses (1990)
• the release of Minecraft (2009)
• Michigan State University agreeing to pay $500 million to abuse victims of Larry Nassar, the US gymnastics team doctor. It was is the largest case of its type in sports history (2018)
• Taiwan becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage (2019)

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