Squiz Today / 02 March 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 2 March


“Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one & bring back the deceased person & casket…”

Tweeted authorities in Los Angeles to the thief of a hearse. What a way to go…


James Kwan, a retired travel agent from Perth who was one of the passengers on the Diamond Princess evacuated home to Australia, died yesterday after contracting coronavirus. The 78-year-old man was transferred to Perth shortly after arriving in Darwin more than a week ago. His 79yo wife Theresa also has the virus, and it’s understood his son is still in Japan, while his daughter-in-law remains in quarantine in the NT. The man's family were able to speak to him on Saturday night by phone or through the glass in the isolation unit before he died. “My husband passed away peacefully knowing that his family loved him,” Theresa said in a statement.

More cases have been confirmed here, including some who had recently been in Iran. Media outlets are reporting different numbers on the total of Australia’s confirmed cases, but 28 cases is the most often used. On Saturday, the federal government announced a ban on foreign visitors from entering Australia from Iran to help prevent the spread of the virus. And questions are being asked about imposing a similar ban on travellers from Italy and South Korea, which are both considered to be hotspots. Those arrangements are being kept under review, officials say.

COVID-19 has spread to more than 60 countries. Across the world, there are more than 87,400 cases (including almost 80,000 in China) and almost 3,000 deaths (with 2,800 of those in China). Outside China, South Korea has the most cases and Iran the most deaths. The US and Thailand also recorded their first fatalities from coronavirus over the weekend. And France announced a ban on all indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people as part of efforts to contain the country's outbreak. “The continuing increase in the number of cases and number of affected countries over the last few days are clearly of concern,” World Health Organisation chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The agency has upgraded the risk to “very high” - its top level of risk assessment - but it is yet to declare the global health emergency a pandemic.



US-TALIBAN DEAL DONE - It’s been heralded as the beginning of the end to the war in Afghanistan. Next up: the Taliban has to start talks with the Afghan government (which is already in trouble) and stop al-Qaeda and other terror groups from operating on their patch. In return, America and its Nato allies will withdraw all troops. After 18 years of conflict, pundits say it’s still going to take a while

SYRIAN REFUGEES BLOCKED BY GREECE - With Turkish forces and Syrian government-backed troops still going at it in Idlib province, Turkey says it can no longer deal with the influx of refugees fleeing over its border. So Turkey, which is hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees, "opened the doors" into Europe on Friday. Greek authorities responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds in a situation that’s expected to escalate this week.

A NEW MALAYSIAN PM - Former PM Mahathir Mohamad's manoeuvring to consolidate power hasn't entirely gone to plan… The 94yo was ousted as interim PM by the King with yesterday’s swearing-in of Muhyiddin Yassin, who is aligned to the party Mahathir defeated to win office. But Mahathir isn’t done yet - he plans on testing Muhyiddin’s support with a vote in the parliament.


Saturday’s South Carolina primary race was former Vice President Joe Biden’s do-or-die moment to stay in the running to become the Democratic candidate to take on Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. The prevailing theory has been that Biden would rate well with African-American voters - a demographic that hadn’t been tested in the three races run before Saturday’s vote. And with African-Americans making up more than half of registered Democratic voters in South Carolina, Biden needed a big result to convince party power brokers he is a contender. The result: Biden scored 48.4% of the vote, which has revived his campaign. Left-winger Bernie Sanders was a distant second with 19.9%, billionaire Tom Steyer came in third receiving 11.3% - and then dropped out of the race. Bring on Super Tuesday


It’s the third election in less than a year, and hopes are high that it breaks the deadlock that has not seen the major contenders get enough support to form a government. The incumbent is Israel’s longest-serving PM Benjamin Netanyahu from the right-wing Likud party. And while he will stand trial over corruption charges in just two weeks, pundits say he's going into today’s election “with momentum”. His main opponent is from the centrist Blue and White party. Its leader Benny Gantz is the former chief of staff of the Israeli military. With locals suffering election fatigue, voter turnout is one metric that’s going to be keenly watched...


He’s China's top swimmer, and on Friday Sun Yang was handed an eight-year ban for drug-testing violations. It relates to an incident during a visit by drug testers to his home in 2018 when a hammer was used to smash the casing around a vial of Sun's blood. FINA, the sports' governing body, cleared Sun of any wrongdoing, but the World Anti Doping Authority appealed the decision. And on Friday the Court of Arbitration for Sport found he had broken anti-doping rules. The multiple Olympic and world champion says he will appeal the career-ending decision. "This is unfair. I firmly believe in my innocence," he said. Sun has clashed with his fellow competitors over his eligibility to compete. Australian swimmer Mack Horton refused to share a podium with Sun at the World Championships last year. The question now is whether he will be stripped of his previous titles.


The 80s was a time for shoulder pads and bright colours that were as strong as the women who wore them. And the era produced few women more powerful than UK PM Margaret Thatcher. Details on how she managed her wardrobe have been revealed in the latest release of her archives - including that she named her outfits after the world leaders she was meeting when she wore them, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. However "only certain men" received the high honour of having an outfit named after them. Things are a bit different at 10 Downing St these days…


Labour Day public holiday in Western Australia

3.00pm (AEDT) - Women’s T20 World Cup Cricket - Australia vs New Zealand - Melbourne

PM Scott Morrison to announce a new recycling policy

Israel goes back to the polls

ABS Data Release - Business Indicators, December

Start of UK-EU trade negotiations

Birthdays for Mikhail Gorbachev (1931), Mark Evans (1956), Jon Bon Jovi (1962), Daniel Craig (1968), Chris Martin (1977), Rebel Wilson (1980)

Anniversary of the birthday of Dr Seuss (1904), Lou Reed (1942), Karen Carpenter (1950)

Anniversary of the release of The Sound of Music (1965)

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