Squiz Today / 26 October 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 26 October


“At the end of tomorrow, I think you’ll have a worthy winner of the Giro d’Italia.”

Said Aussie cyclist Jai Hindley as he went into this morning's final stage of the prestigious race ahead by 0.86 seconds, but he's just missed out on becoming the first Australian to win. "It's still a massive accomplishment for me to be on the podium here in Milan," he said this morning. Damn right.


An outbreak of coronavirus in Melbourne's northern suburbs has delayed the easing of restrictions across the locked-down city with Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday saying it was "not safe" to proceed right now. With "at least 1,000 test results from that northern metropolitan outbreak that are in the labs", a "cautious pause" on lifting restrictions on retail, hospitality and allowing Melburnians to leave their homes anytime had to be taken for “a couple of days,” he said. The day wasn't a complete washout... There was good news for regional Victorians with more restrictions lifted on gatherings and sporting activities from Wednesday.

Well, Melbourne is heading towards 4 months of its strict lockdown, so not great... With the city’s 14-day rolling average of new cases fewer than 5 a day, the city’s mayor Sally Capp called it “confidence shattering”.  The local Chamber of Commerce said it was "a shattering blow". PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it was “a profound disappointment” with economic and job losses racking up each day the lockdown is in place. And one of Andrews’ own MPs, former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, said the delay was “a paralysis in decision-making.” A repeated criticism was that despite reassurances the state’s contact tracing capabilities are up to the job, the delay signals a lack of confidence. But Andrews said that wasn’t correct, and 1 November is “absolutely, still well and truly on track to be able to have opening up before then.”

Umm… Race organisers from the Victoria Racing Club yesterday said it was clear it wouldn’t be possible to have people at Flemington for the 4-day carnival that kicks off with Derby Day on Saturday. "While we are very disappointed not to be able to welcome our members and racegoers to Cup week, we understand the government's commitment to keeping our community safe,” said chairman Amanda Elliott. Not even the 160th running of the race that stops the nation could outrun COVID-19…



Our Department of Foreign Affairs has made a formal complaint to Qatari authorities over the treatment of 13 Australian women at Doha’s Hamad International Airport earlier this month. According to Seven News, the women were said to be humiliated when they were removed from their Qatar Airlines flight bound for Sydney, detained, and forced to undergo an “invasive inspection" in an ambulance on the tarmac without their consent. It followed the discovery of a prematurely born baby allegedly abandoned in the terminal bathroom. "We have formally registered our serious concerns regarding the incident with Qatari authorities and have been assured that detailed and transparent information on the event will be provided soon," a Foreign Affairs spokesperson said. Qatar Airways is yet to respond to requests for comment.


The British-Aussie academic was moved from the Qarchak prison in the Iranian desert to a mystery location on Saturday according to the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists. She had been in Qarchak since August after she was transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran in a move observers said was a form of punishment. Family, friends and those with knowledge of the system say there is hope the move is a positive sign. Moore-Gilbert was arrested at Tehran airport 2 years ago as she was preparing to return to Melbourne after a study tour of Iran. She was sentenced to 10 years prison for spying after a secret trial in 2018. There has been no official word from the Iranian Government or our officials.


The terror group's second in command Abu Muhsin al-Masri was killed by Afghan special forces in a recent operation in eastern Ghazni, officials said yesterday. The Egyptian national who was on the FBI’s most-wanted list had been charged in the US with having provided material support and resources to al-Qaeda, and conspiracy to kill US nationals. Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said fewer than 200 al-Qaeda operatives remain in Afghanistan - 19 years after the invasion to topple the Taliban after it provided protection to the al-Qaeda terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks. The death of al-Masri was announced on the same day that 18 people were killed in a suicide bombing at an education centre in Kabul. The Taliban, which is still in peace talks with the Afghan Government, denied responsibility.


...the hail not so much. Farmers who are yet to get their crops harvested are bracing for difficult conditions this week with thunderstorms predicted for NSW and inland Western Oz. Heavy rain is also heading for Queensland, and snow is expected to make an appearance in Victoria’s high country. Some areas in NSW and Queensland have already copped hail and a lot of rain over the weekend. Those from parts that are just now coming out of the drought welcomed the drop, and what a difference it's made to the outback of South Oz outback... What's not so welcomed: backyard thunder strikes… In the eastern states and Northern Territory, it’s gumboot weather for the week.


The first game first… The AFL saw Richmond take out a competitive game against Geelong 80-51. It wasn't until the final quarter that the Tigers galloped away with Dusty Martin’s efforts scoring him a record third Norm Smith Medal for best on ground. Meanwhile, Geelong’s departing star Gary Ablett didn’t have a dream finish - he was injured in the first 5 minutes but played on in pain. It is Richmond's third premiership in 4 years. To the NRLW where the fancied Brisbane Broncos beat the Sydney Roosters 20-10. The Roosters saw more of the ball, but the Brissie team made more of their opportunities in wet conditions. Broncos try-scorer Amber Hall was rewarded with the Karyn Murphy Medal for the game's best player. As for the blokes, Melbourne Storm was too strong against Penrith Panthers to record a 26-20 win. The Panthers staged a valiant second-half resurgence to come back from 22-0 down at half-time. Ryan Papenhuyzen (and his most excellent mullet) from the Storm won the Clive Churchill Medal for his efforts. The rugby league season isn’t over yet - State of Origin kicks off in Adelaide on 4 November.


The coronavirus has tested our officials’ skills when it comes to administering and enforcing the states and territories border restrictions. But we don’t know that they had to negotiate a car park that has a border run through it - let alone one that was to host an event that would see people on the English side breaking the rules if they tried to use the loos on the Welsh side…


Start of Children’s Week (on until 1 November)

Austria’s National Day

Birthdays for Hillary Clinton (1947), singer Keith Urban (1967), comedian Seth MacFarlane (1973) and singer Guy Sebastian (1981)

Anniversary of:
• the first use of a lead (graphite) pencil (1492)
• the eradication of smallpox with the last natural case of smallpox discovered in Somalia (1977)
• the release of the film The Terminator (1984)
• Jacinda Ardern being sworn in as PM of New Zealand, becoming the world’s youngest female head of government (2017)
• the death of ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria by US Special Forces (2019)
• the Uluru climb ban coming into force (2019)

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