Squiz Today / 14 September 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 14 September


“For me, I feel like the more retweets it gets - that’s so lame - but the more people talk about it.”

And people did talk about Japan’s Naomi Osaka’s turn at the US Open. She won the women’s title for the second time yesterday while raising #blacklivesmatter awareness by wearing face masks honouring the victims to each match. She’s not the shy girl anymore


Fires in the American states of Oregon, California and Washington have now killed more than 30 people and dozens are missing with conditions taking a turn for the worst. Fires have burned an area the size of a third of Tassie and more than 4,000 homes since they started 4 weeks ago. Firefighters are battling 16 large blazes in Oregon, and 15 in Washington state. In California, there are 28 major fires. The smoke pollution has left Oregon's largest city, Portland, with the worst air quality in the world, followed by San Francisco and Seattle.

Experts have drawn parallels with Australia’s Black Summer bushfires. Record dry conditions and high temperatures have created a tinderbox. Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden and the Democratic governors of all 3 states blame climate change. But US President Donald Trump, who will meet with Californian officials for a briefing today, points to poor forest management. Also in line with Australia - thousands of victims who’ve seen their homes and towns destroyed left asking ‘what’s next?’ To finish the comparison: these fires - some of the worst the US has ever seen - have burned 4.6 million acres since starting 4 weeks ago. Australia’s Black Summer fires consumed 46 million acres across the country before they were done.

There were already problems in the Moria camp on Lesbos that was housing 13,000 people while they waited for their asylum applications to be processed. Most were from Afghanistan, but there were people from more than 70 countries living there. Overcrowded and squalid, the camp burned down last week, possibly by arsonists, leaving residents to sleep on roads, in fields, and even in a nearby cemetery. Greece, which feels it has been unfairly left to shoulder the responsibility of dealing with thousands of people who have fled violence in the world’s hotspots, has called on the European Union for help. Meanwhile, there were tense scenes on the island over the weekend with the camp’s former residents desperate for food, shelter and a resolution to their situation.



• Restrictions in Victoria were slightly eased overnight. In Melbourne, the overnight curfew has been shortened by an hour, people will be able to exercise for 2 hours, and singles can nominate a buddy for visits. And in regional Victoria, up to 5 people from 2 households can gather outside - maybe at an outdoor pool and playground, which are also reopening. That didn’t stop ‘Freedom’ protesters who took a stand against the restrictions over the weekend.

• Corona-slammed businesses in Victoria will have access to $3 billion of state government support - the biggest in its history, Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday. The package (a mix of grants and the deferral of payroll tax) was largely welcomed by business groups. It adds to the $27 billion the Feds have directed towards Victoria to date.

• And there’s good news on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine front - the trial has restarted after a ‘routine pause’ last week when a trial participant became ill. The UK regulator said it was safe to proceed.


When we last spoke, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was waiting to hear if Deputy Premier/leader of the Nationals John Barilaro would back down on his threat to blow up the Coalition. To recap: this is over a new planning policy that makes it harder to clear land in areas where koalas live. And on Friday, Barilaro backed it up faster than a koala sniffing out some fresh gum leaves after the Liberals’ Berejiklian channelled Lauren Cooper. That’s left questions about his leadership with some high-profile Liberal ministers turning up the pressure over the weekend. Barilaro returned serve overnight saying he won’t be pushed out. Meanwhile, Berejiklian has become a bit of a feminist icon


For the first time, peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban have commenced with officials meeting in Qatar. Talks have been hard to start with the Taliban viewing government officials as American "puppets", and the government considering the Taliban terrorists. But the US commenced the peace process with an agreement earlier this year that included the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners - including Hekmatullah who killed three Australian soldiers. He remains in custody after being transported to Qatar on Friday. "I think everyone sitting here today knows that it took hard work and sacrifice to reach this moment," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.


After the big miner blew up the Juukan Gorge caves and its 46,000 years of history in the Pilbara region of Western Australia on 24 May, there was a wave of condemnation from the public, media commentators and governments. But it wasn’t until its investors indicated they were very unhappy about it that the company held the responsible executives accountable. And so on Friday, the big miner announced its chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques, iron ore boss Chris Salisbury and corporate affairs head Simone Niven will all depart the company within the next year. "What happened at Juukan was wrong, and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation,” chairman Simon Thompson said. Don’t worry about the departing execs too much - reports say they will collect about $40 million between them on the way out…


Just as Australia marks the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Olympics, one Australian who was crucial to our successful bid has died. John Fahey was the NSW premier in 1993 when International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch said something resembling “and the winner is Sydney." A Liberal heavyweight, he went from state to federal politics becoming the federal finance minister in the newly elected Howard Government in 1996. Fahey left in 2001 after having one of his lungs removed due to cancer, but he rallied and was made president of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2007. Tragedy also struck the family in 2006 when his daughter died in a car accident, leaving him and his wife Colleen to care for their grandchildren. Fahey died from leukaemia at 75yo, and the tributes have rolled in.


In Dresden, Germany, people playing 16 alphorns, 9 trumpets and 4 tubas have taken to their rooftops to perform what they say is “an answer to the pandemic crisis.” Our contention would be if the answer is an alphorn, you’re asking the wrong question - unless the question is how awesome would it be if a walrus could play one… Which leads us to the point - the finalists of the comedy wildlife awards are in. We got there in the end, thank you for your patience.


6.00am - US Open Men’s Final - Dominic Thiem v Alexander Zverev

Also this morning - US Open Men’s Quad Singles Final - Dylan Alcott v Sam Schroder

US President Donald Trump to visit California to talk to fire officials

ABS Data Release - A series of unprecedented events – the June quarter, 2020

Anniversary of:
• Francis Scott Key penning the poem that would later become known as The Star-Spangled Banner, the US national anthem (1814)
• Amy Winehouse’s birthday (1983)
• the debut of The Golden Girls (1985)
• the deaths Princess Grace of Monaco (1982) and actor Patrick Swayze (2009)
• Malcolm Turnbull ousting Tony Abbott as PM and leader of the Liberal Party (2015)

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