Squiz Today / 22 May 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 22 May


“Harry Azcrac”

Was a fictitious name that high school students in Mississippi submitted for the state governor to read in his televised tribute to the graduating class. Clicking to the joke, Governor Tate Reeves tweeted “Harry’s submitter has a bright future as a Simpsons writer!”


As Australia and many other developed nations make arrangements to ease coronavirus restrictions, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the crisis is far from over. The words of caution from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus came as 106,000 new cases were recorded globally in the 24 hours until yesterday morning – the most in a single day of the health emergency so far. And if that wasn’t enough, coronavirus cases have surpassed the 5 million mark.

Australia has done well when it comes to flattening the curve. And countries that had high numbers of cases like Italy and Spain have seen sustained reductions in recent weeks. But the UK and US are still clocking high numbers of new cases, and Russia, Indonesia and India are on an upward trajectory. China, where the virus first emerged, isn't done with COVID-19 quite yet either. Shulan, a north-eastern city of 700,000 people, has been put into a Wuhan-style lockdown this week. Then there are emerging hotspots in South America with Brazil overtaking the UK for the third spot for the most cases global this week. And the WHO is worried about what might unfold in Africa, which has had a relatively low number of cases so far. "We still have a long way to go in this pandemic. We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle-income countries," Dr Tedros said yesterday.

Dunno. And in some cases, it will take time even after the health emergency has passed. For example, Tinder says that lovelorn/thirsty app users are swiping their pants off, but it’s concerned about what happens to the ‘dating’ scene when the economic horrors are realised. And Steve Rowe, the CEO of UK retailer Marks & Spencer, says the pandemic has changed some shopping habits "forever". He “could probably count on one hand” the number of ties they’ve sold in the last couple of months, but sales of wireless bras have gone through the roof. What hasn’t changed - the love between sisters.



• Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy yesterday told a Senate Committee that he thinks unemployment has peaked. The official rate last week was 6.2%, but with some technicalities ironed out, he believes it’s more like the 10% his people predicted some weeks ago. As for the economic outlook, he says "we've gone well past the word recession." Gulp… #SquizShortcut

• The Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan is this weekend, and it will be a very different celebration with communal prayers in mosques and visits to friends and family off the agenda in many nations. But some mosques in Indonesia and Malaysia will allow group prayer, worrying religious and public officials.

• And researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the US have published a study with their view on why kids aren’t contracting COVID-19 at the same rate as adults. The receptors that let the coronavirus into our cells appear to be less common in children's noses. The new study didn’t look for the receptors in the respiratory tract or elsewhere.


At least 80 people have so far been confirmed dead, and thousands of buildings have been destroyed as Cyclone Amphan tore along eastern India and Bangladesh from Wednesday night into yesterday. Authorities say the full extent of the damage is to be determined, but there is extensive damage from the 185km/hr winds and 3-5m storm surges that followed. Millions have been left without power and telco services. India’s West Bengal state and the city of Kolkata (also known as Calcutta) were hardest hit with chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying "I have experienced a war-like situation today." On top of the devastation Amphan has brought, there are concerns about how the coronavirus will spread with 3 million people moved to shelters across both countries. Some pics are here.


Critics of China say new security laws that would ban sedition, secession and subversion in Hong Kong would be the end of the territory’s autonomy. Going by the smooth title ‘Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanism of Hong Kong’, the proposal will be discussed at the delayed National People’s Congress in Beijing - the big once-a-year legislative meeting - starting today. Under arrangements made for Hong Kong when control was handed from the British to China in 1997, it is not required to have security laws in place. That means, unlike China, Hongkongers can protest and enjoy other civil rights. But this could change if the laws are adopted, with critics saying the 'one country, two systems' arrangement would effectively be over. China calls the proposed changes “improvements", but mass protests and condemnation from international leaders are expected. #SquizShortcut


The value of Bytedance, the parent company of Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, has reportedly jumped by a third to a whopping US$100 billion (AU$153 billion). The popular app has smashed download records in recent times, boasting about 1.5 billion monthly active users. And it’s the company’s success that’s brought it to the attention of US lawmakers concerned about its ties to China. With its newly-minted CEO, ex-Disney executive Kevin Mayer, the company had hoped to appease these concerns. TikTok says claims around the Chinese government getting its hands on its data are “unfounded”.


You might have heard that 80s music is our occasional (ie more regular than we like to admit…) jam. So this mashup of hits from 1986 is right down our mullet-styled/acid-washed alley. Such a good year…

A lot of people are getting hot and bothered over Normal People. But really, can you go past the Hot Priest from Fleabag reading poetry?

We’ve tried to up the veggie intake this week and had some success, but only with some help from this lemon caper sauce that's easy to make while the greens are cooking. We add an anchovy to ours just 'cos. Extra nice with white fish/chicken/pork too.


China’s National People’s Congress to convene after a monthslong delay - Beijing

International Day for Biological Diversity

Harvey Milk Day - US

Go dark on your Friday drinks video call it’s World Goth Day

Birthdays for Naomi Campbell (1970), Novak Djokovic (1987)

Anniversary of:
• the end of transporting British convicts to New South Wales (1840)
• Abraham Lincoln becoming the only US President to receive a patent, for a device to lift a boat over obstructions (1849)
• the first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster by Aldie and John Mackay saw "something resembling a whale" (1933)
• Ireland becoming first country in the world to vote in same-sex marriage (2015)
• the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 (2017)

7.00pm (AEST) - Powderfinger emerge from a decade-long hiatus for a ’one night lonely’ livestream to raise money for Beyond Blue

World Turtle Day

Anniversary of:
• Benjamin Franklin announcing his invention of bifocals (1785)
• Mao Zedong starting the Great Leap Forward movement in China (1958)
• Indian PM Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning re-election in a landslide (2019)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial to begin

World Schizophrenia Awareness Day

Start of Food Allergy Awareness Week (until May 30)

Birthdays for Bob Dylan (1941) and Priscilla Presley (1945),

Anniversary of:
• Samuel Morse tapping out "What hath God wrought" in the world's first telegraph message (1844)
• Amy Johnson becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia (1930)
• American management consultant Marilyn Loden first coining the term "glass ceiling" to describe invisible career barriers for women (1978)
• the completion of the world's largest cat-proof fence (44km) at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, in central Australia (2018)

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