Squiz Today / 26 June 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 26 June


“There will be a big party tomorrow."

Said Saniniu Laizer, a small-scale miner in Tanzania who’s become a millionaire after finding two whopping Tanzanite rocks worth $4.3 million. Not that there’ll be much left over - he’s the father of 30 children…


What do you do when you’re burning $40 million a week and your income stream is shot to pieces? You make some cuts. And that’s what Qantas boss Alan Joyce says the airline will do with 6,000 staff from across the company set to lose their jobs, and 15,000 to remain stood down “for some time”. That’s because it seems there’s no perky ‘bounce back’ in Qantas’ future once coronavirus restrictions are lifted… Joyce says it will take years to recover, and across the world, airlines “are shrinking by up to 50%” as they weather the downturn. As for Qantas, it hopes to be back to 40% of its pre-corona domestic flying capacity next month. And Qantas won’t resume substantial international travel until July 2021, he says. Which is why it’s asking investors to stump up $1.9 billion to get it through this period and to help it recover when conditions are better. And it's pressing the Morrison Government to extend the JobKeeper program to maintain support for suspended workers.

And it's a bloody tough job market to be in right now. Last week we learned the official unemployment rate shot up to 7.1% in May - a 19-year high. And new figures out yesterday showed job vacancies have suffered their biggest collapse on record falling 43% in the three months to May. The three sectors that were hardest hit: arts and recreation services sector (where job vacancies were down 95%); rental and real estate sector (down 68%) and accommodation and food services (down 66%). And analysts don’t see things improving until our economy can fully open up once the coronavirus health emergency has passed.

Victoria recorded 33 new cases yesterday. That’s the largest single-day increase in almost three months, and the ninth consecutive day there's been a double-digit increase. In response, there's a "suburban testing blitz" to conduct 100,000 coronavirus tests over the next 10 days. Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday predicted that the number of new cases will continue to rise before they go down, making it a "public health bushfire," he said. Meanwhile, as the emergence of some new hotspots in the US troubles officials there, the World Health Organisation says Europe is seeing its first increase in weekly coronavirus cases in months. Globally, the numbers are creeping up with the 9.5 million cases mark not far away. Almost 485,000 people have died.



Australia and New Zealand will be home to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. Olé… The announcement that we’d beaten out the rival bid from Colombia by 22 votes to 13 was made early this morning after the sport’s international body met in Zurich - and the team was pretty excited.... It will be the first time the tournament's held across two regions (Australia is part of the Asian football confederation, and New Zealand part of the Oceanic group), and it’s the first time it’s been held in the Asia-Pacific region. And as the ABC reports, ‘the news was met with capital lettersemojis and exclamation marks aplenty as players from the Matildas and the Football Ferns celebrated.” Now we have to come up with a snappy chant


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains behind bars in the UK as he fights extradition to the US, is facing fresh allegations. A new indictment from US prosecutors accuses him of recruiting and conspiring with members of hacking groups including Anonymous and LulzSec to access and publish classified information. The new indictment doesn’t add to the 18 criminal charges Assange already faces. Instead, it's an effort to underline the US Government's claims that WikiLeaks is not a publisher and Assange is not a journalist - a defence which could see him protected by the First Amendment. After his extradition hearing was delayed in April during the coronavirus crisis, Assange’s case will likely be pushed back to November. #SquizShortcut


Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci, who was a military leader during the state’s brutal battle for independence from Serbia in the 90s, has been accused of war crimes by the Special Prosecutor's Office in the Netherlands. Prosecutors say Thaci and nine other former members of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army are “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” of Kosovar Albanian, Serb and Roma people. The Kosovo War led to the deaths of more than 10,000 people and eventually saw Kosovo gain independence from Serbia in 2008. After the war, Thaci became a politician rising to serve as prime minister and foreign minister. He’s been president since 2016, a mostly ceremonial role. Serbia has never recognised Kosovo’s sovereignty, and Thaci was to travel to the White House for new talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Saturday. Kosovo has now pulled out of that summit, and its government has angrily denied the charges. A judge has until the end of the year to decide if the court will issue charges.


German chemicals giant Bayer will pay out nearly $16 billion to settle about 95,000 US lawsuits which allege its popular weedkiller Roundup causes cancer. While the hefty sum includes $1.82 billion to cover potential future lawsuits, the company still faces thousands of more claims from people who refuse to settle. Bayer will also pay a further $1.16 billion to settle litigation relating to chemical contamination of US waterways, and there’s $582 million for crop damage. Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said the decision “brings a long period of uncertainty to an end”. But according to the lawyer leading an Aussie class action, the decision is unlikely to have any ramifications here because it was made without admission of liability.


Aussie vapers are rushing to get their hands on nicotine refills ahead of a ban on ordering the products from 1 July. The sale of nicotine-based e-cigarettes and refills have been banned in Australia for some time, but enthusiasts have been able to order the products from overseas. And last week the Therapeutic Goods Administration announced an imminent ban on importing the products without a doctor’s prescription- an arrangement that will stay in place for two years while it undertakes public consultation. Doctors’ groups have welcomed the move, but some Coalition pollies have criticised the decision, claiming it will turn smokers back to cigarettes. “We should safely regulate vaping like virtually every other developed nation has done,” Liberal Senator James Paterson said.


High-end online fashion store Net-a-Porter has been around for 20 years. To mark the occasion, it’s shared its bestselling item for each year. Remember that Juicy Couture tracksuit?

There’s a lot to like about a good-humoured social media feud. And so when the UK Ambassador responded to this atrocity against ‘British tea’, the US Ambassador’s intervention was not expected. The interweb’s waiting on Italy’s response…

Cooking this weekend? We’re going for slow-cooked beef ribs that will be made into tacos thank you very much…


Last day of term 2 for students in Victoria, Queensland, and the NT

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Birthdays for Aubrey Plaza (1984) and Ariana Grande (1993)

Anniversary of:
• the invention of the toothbrush in China using boar bristles (1498)
• 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter (1945)
• Elvis Presley's last ever performance (1977)
• the publication of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
• Kevin Rudd rolling Julia Gillard to become PM for the second time (2013)

UN Small Business Day

PTSD Awareness Day

Birthdays for Vera Wang (1949), JJ Abrams (1966), Tobey Maguire (1975) and Khloe Kardashian (1984)

Anniversary of:
• the publication of the first women's magazine, the Ladies' Mercury in London (1693)
• the world's first ATM installed in London (1967)

Shout away it’s CAPS LOCK DAY

Birthdays for Mel Brooks (1926), Kathy Bates (1948), John Cusack (1966) and Elon Musk (1971)

Anniversary of:
• Catherine the Great declaring herself sovereign ruler of Russia (1762)
• the coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey (1838)
• the patenting of the saxophone by Antoine-Joseph "Adolfe" Sax (1846)
• the last stand of the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan (1880)
• the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (1914)
• the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, ending WWI and establishing the League of Nations (1919)
• the start of the Stonewall Riots (lasting three days) in Greenwich Village, New York (1969)
• the birthdays of Henry VIII (1491), A.A. Gill (1954)

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