Squiz Today / 21 February 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 21 February


“We couldn’t have done this without you, our fans.”

Said pop group a-ha of its anthem Take On Me becoming just the second 80s music video to reach one billion views on YouTube. For a song with a chorus that’s impossible to nail, it’s done alright…


It’s been a summer of dangerous bushfires that have claimed more than 30 lives and 2,000-plus homes. And after consulting with the states and territories and getting approval from the Governor-General David Hurley, PM Scott Morrison yesterday announced arrangements for a Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. The PM said the crisis that affected all states and territories - particularly NSW and Victoria - highlighted there are “new challenges for all levels of government, which required a detailed national inquiry.”

Exactly? Improving Australia’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts. Morrison also said the Commission will look at how the levels of government coordinate, and there's a look at the "legal framework for the Commonwealth's involvement in responding to national emergencies". That's on the agenda because the involvement of our defence forces to help fight fires came up a lot this summer. Will it look at the impact of climate change, you ask? Our summers are getting “longer, drier and hotter,” the PM said, and that’s why the government is “focussed on practical action that has a direct link to making Australians safer." Not including a stronger look at climate policy in this process was criticised yesterday by Labor and the Greens. Commissioners will need to shake a leg, their report is due on 31 August in time for next summer.

While we’re in the vicinity of climate change matters... The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says it’s concerned there’s a ‘mass bleaching event’ about to unfold. Its chief scientist David Wachenfeld told Nine newspapers that the current sea surface temperature in most of the Great Barrier Reef park is 2-3C above normal, and that sort of heat stress can cause the corals to bleach and possibly die. And something to look out for today: Labor leader Anthony Albanese will announce the party’s backing a emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050. Climate game on...



The main train service between Sydney and Melbourne came off the tracks at about 7.45pm last night near the town of Wallan, 45km north of Melbourne. On its way to the Victorian capital, there were 153 people on board, and two people - train driver and co-driver - died when five carriages were derailed. Twelve people were taken to hospitals for their injuries, including one who was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Reports say the train was meant to have arrived in Melbourne at 6.30pm after an 11-hour trip but was running two hours late. Passengers said the driver had announced he was trying to make up time and the train was gaining speed when it happened. Police said the track will be closed for some days for investigation, and it’s too early to say what caused the accident. Passengers described the experience as “horrifying”.


Flying into Darwin from Japan for their second fortnight of quarantine, many of the 170 Aussies evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were happy to be back on home turf. The number of Australians to contract COVID-19 while on the ship rose to 46, and they remain in hospital in Japan. Health officials said no Australians who boarded the plane tested positive for coronavirus, but reports this morning say six people have developed flu-like symptoms since arriving in Darwin. PM Morrison yesterday said the travel ban to and from mainland China has been extended for another week until 29 February amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the outbreak. That won’t help Qantas’ bottom line… It yesterday announced it would suspend some Asian routes as demand to the region falls due to the health emergency. The outbreak will cost the airline between $100 million to $150 million, CEO Alan Joyce said.


The short story: our unemployment rate rose 0.2% to 5.3% in January. The (slightly) longer story is the month saw a rise in the number of people looking for work - 31,500 more people, in fact. That takes the total of those ready and willing to work to 726,000 people. The official employment update is not all bad news with an extra 46,200 people gaining full-time work in the month. Not that everyone’s having a great time at work… Super Retail - the group that owns Rebel Sport, Supercheap Auto and BCF - yesterday upped its estimate of underpayments to staff taking the total to $61.2 million. Meanwhile, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency yesterday said the national gender pay gap was 13.9%. This time last year it was 14.1%. On average, women working full-time earned $1,508.50 a week, while men earned $1,751.40.


As in ‘dumped day’ (although who did the dumping might be too hard to determine…). And it’s 31 March. After that, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (who retain those titles) will no longer carry out duties on behalf of the Queen. After 'stepping back' as ‘senior royals’, the couple will pursue their financial independence. And there’s been a lot of speculation in the last couple of days that the Queen will not allow them to use the term ‘royal’ in the branding of their future ventures. Which would be a pain in the Canadian butter tart for the pair who have already put ‘Sussex Royal’ out there across their social media and website. But Meghan and Harry aren’t clear and free yet - they will head back to the UK from Canada for engagements until the end of March, which are bound to be low key events… #SquizShortcut


Look, it doesn't hurt that Australia goes into the Women's T20 World Cup as favourites. But we can't take anything for granted, and any one of the other nine international sides would be happy to hit us for six. Two of our star performers - Alyssa Healy and Elysse Perry - have been struggling for form of late. And we're unlikely to have it all our own way with England, India and New Zealand all hoping to turn in good performances. The tournament opener between Australia v India in on in Sydney tonight. After that, we face Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and New Zealand before the finals (to be presumptuous…). For a guide to all the action, this is a good one.


What’s the world’s worst smell? It’s difficult to say because people from different backgrounds and parts of the world, who grew up smelling and eating different things, have a different answer. But something called ‘stench soup’ that was developed for a stink bomb project commissioned by the US Department of Defense has to come close…

For something a bit more pleasant… V Unbeatable, a dance troop from Mumbai, India, won this week’s finale of America's Got Talent: The Champions with this spectacular routine. It’s got a bit of a Cheer vibe (which you should check out on Netflix if you haven’t already)...

If you like one-pot cooking and you also like fish, this is a good one to try this weekend. The olive paste is magic with the fish and rice. We used salmon when we made it. Delish.


7.00pm (AEDT) - T20 Women’s World Cup Cricket - Australia v India - Sydney

Company Earnings Announcements - Ardent Leisure; Inghams; Mayne Pharma

Iran's parliamentary election

Britain’s Labour Party opens the ballot to choose a new leader

International Mother Language Day

Rio Carnival starts in Brazil (on until 26 January)

3.00am (AEDT) - T20 Men’s Cricket - South Africa v Australia - Johannesburg

Ninth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake (2011)

Birthdays for James Blunt (1974) and Drew Barrymore (1975)

Anniversary of the British House of Lords ruling that authors do not have perpetual copyright (1774)

Anniversaries of the birthdays of George Washington (1732) and Steve Irwin (1962)

11.30pm (AEDT) - T20 Men’s Cricket - South Africa v Australia - Port Elizabeth

Birthdays for Aziz Ansari (1983), Emily Blunt (1983), Dakota Fanning (1994)

Anniversaries of the deaths of John Keats (1821) and Dame Nellie Melba (1931)

Anniversary of Johannes Gutenberg printing the first-ever book using a printing press - the Bible (estimated date 1455)

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