Squiz Today / 03 February 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 3 February


“The lacteal secretion of a healthy, hooved mammal.”

Is what real milk is, according to legislators in Virginia. With a pitch like that, it’s hard to believe the dairy industry is fighting back against the rise of plant-based milk…


A chartered Qantas 747 jet will leave Wuhan this morning to evacuate some of the 600 Australian citizens who have been stuck in China’s Hubei province, where the coronavirus was first detected. Serviced by a team of 14 Qantas cabin crew and four pilots, reports say the plane will head to Darwin, where passengers will change planes. And then it’s onto Christmas Island, more than 1,500km off the coast of Western Australia, for 14 days in quarantine. The Morrison Government has been working with Chinese officials since the middle of last week to get permission to fly into Wuhan to collect Aussie citizens who want to return.

But evacuees won’t have to pay for it… And they’re doing better than other travellers from mainland China who are now unable to enter Australia. From Saturday, foreign arrivals (aka anyone other than Aussie citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families) will be stopped at the border. The move is one of several measures that have been put into place since the World Health Organisation announced that the coronavirus outbreak is a global health emergency on Friday. Qantas has suspended direct flights to and from mainland China. And our officials have raised the travel alert level for Aussies looking to go to China urging them to stay away due to the "escalating threat" of the coronavirus.

To date, 305 people have died from coronavirus, including the first person to have died outside of China (a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan who became ill after flying to the Philippines). China’s has reported 14,380 confirmed cases, but some experts say the real number is likely to be 75,000 people in the city of Wuhan alone. Confirmed cases in Australia have risen to 12 after South Oz recorded its first cases.



Or to be more precise, they’ve hit a clay pigeon… After a fortnight of pressure, PM Scott Morrison yesterday said former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie has resigned from his frontbench. McKenzie is the deputy leader of the Nationals, and until yesterday was the federal Agriculture Minister. In three points:

• Morrison’s department head found McKenzie was in breach of the government’s ministerial standards by not declaring her membership of a shooting club in Victoria’s Wangaratta - a club that received $36,000 under the $100 million sports club grants program.

• Signed off just before last year’s election, the national auditor found that many grants ignored Sports Australia’s merit-based recommendations and instead went to clubs located in seats the Coalition wanted to win.

• That wasn’t the issue, Morrison said yesterday. All grants were made to clubs who qualified for funding, he says. But her club membership was a problem, and so she’s gone.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the saga shows the government is “all about its own interests and not the national interest”. McKenzie’s resignation was anticipated as Morrison looks to start the parliamentary year tomorrow minus the barnacle. The saga hasn’t helped the Coalition's standing with voters, as shown via another Newspoll fall.


Four children out for a Saturday night walk were killed by an alleged drunk driver in the Sydney suburb of Oatlands. Three of them were siblings. Their father, Daniel Abdallah, spoke to the media yesterday about his love for his children who were killed - Antony (13yo), Angelina (12yo and Sienna (9yo). Their siblings - an 11yo boy and two girls aged 10yo and 13yo - were also taken to hospital. Abdallah said his cousin’s daughter - 11yo Veronique Sakr - also died at the scene. Samuel Davidson, the 29yo driver, is accused of hitting the children on the footpath of a suburban street. Police yesterday said he has been charged with manslaughter and dangerous driving, as well as driving with a high-range blood alcohol reading of 0.15 - three times the limit. NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corby said it was "a difficult scene” for emergency services to attend. Abdallah said he felt “numb”. “Please just make sure you love your loved ones, your kids especially,” the grieving father said.


Poor old Bega Valley in NSW’s southeast… Three fires burned at emergency levels on Saturday and while conditions eased yesterday, residents have been warned about another bad week ahead. Locals between Bredbo and Michelago (southeast of Canberra) also remained on edge last night as temperatures of 40C-plus delivered dangerous fire conditions. It’s expected that more homes have been lost. With 70 fires burning across the state, the NSW Rural Fire Service last night tweeted that it was concerned widespread thunderstorms would start new fires. In Victoria, weekend storms in the state’s west and ongoing fires in the east stretched emergency services. Preview for this week in the country’s east: major centres can expect more smoke and dust. Ugh…


And America’s Food and Drug Administration has approved one… The world’s first approved treatment for kids with a peanut allergy, pharma company Aimmune Therapeutics has developed an exposure therapy called Palforzia. It gives patients a regular dose of peanut powder to help them build up their resistance. The idea isn't to 'cure' the allergy, but rather to reduce the risk of a severe reaction. Because anaphylaxis isn’t as much fun as it sounds… One catch - it’s not cheap coming in at $US890 a month for American patients. No word if it will become available in Oz, but the FDA approval is a promising sign.


...the Aussie Open is done and dusted. First things first, congrats go to Australian champ Dylan Alcott for taking out his sixth Australian Open Men’s Quad Wheelchair Singles title. Commiserations go to Aussie duo Luke Saville and Max Purcell who came from nowhere to be runners up in the men’s doubles. Not bad for a pair who’d only won one doubles match on the ATP Tour before the tournament… Also coming from nowhere was Ash Barty slayer American Sofia Kenin who had to call her superstitious mum to tell her she’d won. Kenin overcame Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza in three sets. And congrats to you if you have the kind of life that allowed you to stay up to watch the men’s final on a school night… Novak Djokovic beat Dominic Thiem in five sets, overcoming dizziness and a form/temperament slump in the middle of the match. The win also delivers Djokovic the world #1 ranking.


…someone does a cover of your song. And so it is for 4yo Fenn Rosenthal, the talent behind the year’s breakthrough song Dinosaurs In Love. Clocking 5.8 million views on Twitter, US late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon and his famed band The Roots have delivered their version of it. Meanwhile, giggles abound as one music expert told the ABC the Jurassic tune is a hit because it's "a song about love with a tragic ending and a whole spectrum of human emotion in between." It sure is…


8.00am (AEDT) - BAFTA Awards - London

10.30am (AEDT) - Super Bowl LIV - Kansas City Chiefs v San Francisco 49ers - Miami, Florida (and keep an eye out for this Aussie connection...)

Students in WA return to school

State memorial for former Victorian premier John Cain - Melbourne

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, December

Birthdays for Isla Fisher (1976), Amal Clooney (1978), and Elizabeth Holmes (1984)

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