Squiz Today / 20 April 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 20 April


“Received and deleted.”

Is what Foreign Minister Marise Payne said of her experience with a bootleg copy of former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s memoirs. It could also be a new policy in response to 2020 that’s worthy of consideration…


Further to talking about what’s not on her reading list, Senator Payne yesterday said Australia wants to see an independent global review into the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak and its development into an international health emergency. The call comes as US President Donald Trump turned up the volume on his call for China to face the consequences if it was "knowingly responsible" for the pandemic.

Payne says there will be a need to get to the truth of how the virus started, how it was dealt with, and “the openness with which information was shared,” she said yesterday. And that will help governments and public health officials come to terms with what happened, and learn from the experience. These are themes that have come into focus in the last week, including theories about how the virus started. One that’s getting high-level attention is that there could have been a breach at a virus lab in Wuhan, China - the place where the virus first spread. The lab says no way, but President Trump says the US is looking into it.

You picked up that vibe, huh? President Trump has continued to question China’s transparency over the weekend saying “it could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it.” Trump’s critics say he’s trying to deflect criticism of his handling of the health emergency in the US. But Foreign Minister Payne said her "concern is at a high point" when it comes to China’s frankness during this crisis. And with suspicious minds wondering why a Chinese plane was lingering in Vanuatu last weekend forcing our Cyclone Harold aid drop to turn back, trust seems to be in short supply.



• Health Minister Greg Hunt said there is a strong chance elective surgery and IVF could restart with our beautiful flat curve keeping the strain on the health system to a manageable level. It’ll be considered at tomorrow’s meeting of the National Cabinet.

• A cluster of cases from an aged care facility in Western Sydney has authorities worried. Two residents died from the virus over the weekend. A further 24 residents and 13 staff of Newmarch House have diagnosed cases after a staff member worked for six days without knowing she had the virus.

• A global concert featuring more than 100 artists broadcasting live from their homes delivered eight hours of entertainment yesterday in support of frontline healthcare workers. The ‘One World: Together At Home’ show was put together by Lady Gaga, and featured a who’s who of performers including Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones (sans drums…), three Keith Urbans, and so many more

• One occasion that’s not going ahead this week is the Queen’s 94th birthday. For the first time in her 68-year reign, there will not be a gun salute tomorrow to mark her special day.

• To the numbers: Australia has recorded 6,606 cases, and there have been 71 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 2.34 million cases, 162,000 deaths and 600,000 people have recovered.


Fifteen of Hong Kong’s most prominent demonstrators were arrested on Saturday in a move that’s been criticised by high-ranking UK and American officials. The group are accused of organising, taking part in or publicising unauthorised assemblies during last year's long-running mass protests against China’s influence on the territory. Hong Kong’s government (headed by Beijing-backed Carrie Lam) has not explained the arrests, but it comes days after China’s most senior official in Hong Kong called for a new security law to deal with dissent. The group are due to appear in court next month. #SquizShortcut


Israel could be heading to the polls again… With no agreement forthcoming between PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his primary opponent Benny Gantz to form a unity government, President Reuven Rivlin has passed it back to the parliament to find a solution. And if no one else is nominated within 21 days, new elections will be held by 4 August. It would be Israel's fourth election in a little more than a year after close-run contests have delivered deadlocked results that have been unable to be resolved.


After months working on a voluntary code that would see internet advertising giants including Google and Facebook pay local media companies for content posted to their sites, the government’s toughening its stance. An inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last year found the shift of advertising revenue to the tech companies has had a devastating effect on our media landscape. Negotiations on a voluntary code had been ongoing, but Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will release details today of a mandatory code that reports say would be a world's first. "It's only fair that those that generate content get paid for is,” the Treasurer said with no hint of irony over the illicit distribution of former PM Malcolm Turnbull's book within Coalition ranks…


Less than three years into a six-year jail sentence for trafficking cocaine in Colombia, and South Australian woman Cassie Sainsbury has been released on parole. Speaking to Nine’s 60 Minutes in an interview that aired last night, she said trouble started when she was given the opportunity to make $10,000 as a courier. And when she arrived in Bogota, Sainsbury says she was sexually assaulted by a 39yo Brazilian drug lord named Angelo Sanchez who also threatened her family if she didn’t go through with the job. She maintains evidence on her phone would have seen her dodge a prison term - but she still can’t remember the passcode. Now engaged to a fellow inmate, Sainsbury says the experience has been “a massive learning curve”.


One of the delights of the corona-era has to be actor John Krasinski (aka Mr Emily Blunt) and his ‘Some Good News’ YouTube show. And on Saturday, he hosted a virtual prom for all those senior highschoolers missing out on a highlight of their final year. Billie Eilish and the Jonas Brothers performed, Krasinski DJ’d and seniors from around America put on their frocks and suits to mark the occasion. Sweet.


Start of Term 2 for students in Queensland and the Northern Territory

10th anniversary of Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster (2010)

UN Chinese Language Day

Birthdays for Jessica Lange (1949), Carmen Electra (1972) and Miranda Kerr (1983)

Anniversary of:
• Captain James Cook arriving in what is now New South Wales (1770)
• Marie and Pierre Curie isolating the radioactive compound radium chloride (1902)
• the Columbine High School massacre (1999)
• the deaths of comedian Benny Hill (1992), musician Avicii (2018)

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