Squiz Today / 24 February 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 24 February


"Can get very busy and you can queue for hours, but it's worth the wait."

Said one wag’s TripAdvisor review of the UK’s newest tourist destination - the NatWest Hole. As the name suggests, it’s a circular hole in a brick wall next to an ATM in Derbyshire. Sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got…


Seven of the 164 Aussies who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan to Darwin last week have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. They have been taken from the workers camp where they entered quarantine to hospitals in their home states. Our Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said no one was acutely ill, "but they'll be monitored and tested and isolated until they're well." It was a busy weekend at the camp in Howard Springs near Darwin where more than 260 Australians who were evacuated from Wuhan, China two weeks ago were released.

It is here in Oz, Professor Murphy said yesterday. There have been 22 cases in Australia, and none were the result of "community transmission". "There is no risk to people walking around the streets, walking in the shopping centres," he said. "I’m saying to people in Australia: don’t wear masks, go about your normal business." But the World Health Organisation is concerned about the virus’ spread in other nations. An outbreak in Italy has seen the government instruct 50,000 citizens in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto to stay at home and public gatherings like the Venice Carnival called off. In South Korea, officials are concerned infection numbers will jump. And the WHO is also worried about what might happen in Iran and Africa.

The word ‘pandemic’ is being thrown around… That would mean the outbreak goes up a dangerous gear from an epidemic to something rampant across multiple countries and continents simultaneously. Which is why the WHO has called for US$675 million in funding to support vulnerable countries, particularly for African nations that have close links to China. For now, the vast majority of cases remain in China, where 76,400 of the world's total 77,800 cases have been confirmed. China has also recorded 2,348 deaths, while 11 people have died from the virus in other nations.



That’s because our federal politicians are back in Canberra for another week of parliament, and because Labor leader Anthony Albanese has committed his party to the policy of making Australia a net zero carbon emitter by 2050. It's the first significant position Labor's confirmed since everything was put under review after its election loss last year. What's missing is a target for 2030 and a plan that details the steps to get to the 2050 goal. Both omissions were criticised by the Coalition and the Greens. But Labor’s Climate Change spokesman Mark Butler said that setting "core principles" was just the start of the process. Albanese yesterday said the policy shouldn’t be the end of Australia’s coal industry. Meanwhile, a new Newspoll released overnight shows PM Scott Morrison reining in some of the loss of support he suffered over the summer break.


It was just the third of many contests to pick the US Democrats’ presidential candidate, but it involved the most diverse set of voters to date. The result so far: democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has 46.6% of the vote. Trailing a long way behind were former VP Joe Biden (19.2%), moderate Pete Buttigieg with (15.4%) and progressive Elizabeth Warren with 10.3%. There’s another debate this week where campaign latecomer/billionaire Michael Bloomberg will get a lot of attention again… Then there’s next week’s Super Tuesday when voters in 13 states have their say.


There’s been unrest in Iran in recent months with protests against the conservative government’s handling of the economy and the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet. And while the result hasn’t been declared, early results from Friday's election are dominated by victories to conservative hard-liners, helped along by the disqualification of 7,000 reformists and moderate candidates in the battle for 290 parliamentary seats… Which is why pundits weren’t surprised there was a low turnout at the weekend’s election with just 42.6% of eligible voters casting a vote. Also on voters’ minds are the sanctions the US have put in place as tensions escalate between the nations. As one local told The Guardian, “Why should we wait for the result? It is a foregone conclusion and has been fixed in advance. They can do what they want, and we just have to get on making a living. We face years more of sanctions.”


Spring is going to be a season of change for the Sussexes... Not only will they cease being 'senior royals' on 31 March, but they will also give up their fledgeling brand 'SussexRoyal'. And no, it wasn’t the Queen who pulled them up on that - a palace spokesperson said the word "royal" could not be used by Meghan and Harry due to government rules. As the BBC’s royal correspondent Jonny Dymond noted, things haven’t worked out how the couple foresaw just a few weeks ago. Remember, they started with a “half-in, half-out” approach where there would be “some royal duties, some Commonwealth duties, on their terms, with private lives attached.” And now there is “nothing royal about them other than their names, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”. Anyone know a branding expert?


"I felt that a woman had a right to her own life and be their own individual," said deportment and etiquette expert and teacher June Dally-Watkins, who died on Saturday at 92yo. Which some might see as a bit of a contradiction to her commitment to turning out polite and beautiful young women. But she was fiercely independent and a bit of a barrier-breaker. Dally-Watkins once told the ABC she had been the first Australian woman to own a car. And she was a business owner while also being married with young children - a rare thing back in the day. Her ethos was that “things that cost nothing are the most important - dignity, self-respect, speech, good posture, good manners, kindness, a smile, talking eye to eye and the greatest of all, love!” Fun fact: Dally-Watkins had a thing with Hollywood heartthrob Gregory Peck whom she met in Rome while he filmed Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. Good for her…


As 9yo bullying victim Quaden Bayles turned heartbreak into triumph as he led the Indigenous All Stars onto the rugby league field on Saturday night, another kid a world away has brought out the best in international soccer’s coach of the year. Tasked with a school assignment of writing a letter, Daragh Curley, a 10yo Manchester United fan from County Donegal in Northern Ireland, chose rival Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp as the recipient of his missive. What unfolded is kinda great. Who said snail mail was dead?


10.00am (AEST) - Findings of the coronial inquest into the 2016 Dreamworld tragedy to be released - Brisbane

12.30pm (AEDT) - Kevin McCloud, host of Grand Designs, to address the National Press Club - Canberra

Start of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing - London

US President Donald Trump starts two-day trip to India

Anniversary of the announcement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's engagement (1981), and of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love's wedding (1992)

Anniversary of the birthday of Steve Jobs (1955)

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