Squiz Today / 31 August 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 31 August


“Looking at it now, I did not have any technique for swimming.”

Said Equatorial Guinea’s Eric Moussambani aka Eric the Eel - a breakout star of the Sydney Olympics. Hate to break it to him, but anyone looking at his performance then could tell he lacked technique…


Protests against police brutality and racial inequality continued in the US over the weekend. Kenosha, Wisconsin - where black man Jacob Blake was shot by police a week ago - saw “peaceful but tense” demonstrations led by members of Blake’s family. There continues to be unrest in Portland, Oregon where one person was shot dead late on Saturday as Black Lives Matter protestors clashed with supporters of US President Donald Trump. And in an event headlined by civil rights leaders, thousands of people gathered in Washington DC to commemorate the historic 1963 civil rights march on the Lincoln Memorial and to call for change. “We have only just begun to fight,” said Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s granddaughter Yolanda Renee King.

President Trump has said little about Blake’s shooting other than he’s “looking into it very strongly.” He’s also said that he "didn't like the sight of it" when asked whether he’d seen the video of the incident. He is scheduled to visit Kenosha on Tuesday (local time). Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has sympathised with Blake and his family, condemned the violence, and tried to get people focused on Trump’s coronavirus failings. That’s tough work when Trump’s made law and order a key part of his re-election bid and is going hard on the theme that Biden would be weak on law enforcement and criminal justice. Pundits say it’s a tactic that’s freaking out Team Biden

Yep, there were plenty of other protests from the weekend:

• Almost 40,000 demonstrators in Berlin gathered on Saturday in opposition to coronavirus restrictions. A few hundred far-right wingers tried to storm the Reichstag. But the majority were anti-5G/anti-vaxxers who believe COVID-19 is a hoax and others who say their rights and freedoms are being compromised by virus restrictions. Similar protests happened in London, Paris, Vienna and Zurich.

• In Europe’s Belarus, there’s been a big rally overnight in the capital Minsk. They are urging dictator/President Alexander Lukashenko to resign over his recent contentious election win. Reports say authorities have withdrawn the accreditation of 17 journalists reporting for international outlets.

• And in Mauritius, thousands of protesters gathered on Saturday demanding an investigation into an oil spill from a Japanese ship that has contaminated the shoreline and killed local ocean life, including 39 dolphins.



• The number of global COVID-19 cases has passed 25 million. Almost 850,000 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than 16.4 million people have recovered.

• India is now considered to be the epicentre of the virus taking over from the US and Latin America. Its single-day tally of 78,761 new coronavirus infections recorded yesterday exceeded the record held by the US. India now has the third most cases in the world (3.5 million), and its death toll (more than 63,000 people) is fourth after the US, Brazil and Mexico.

• Some commentators say this morning's Newspoll showing a fall in support for PM Scott Morrison reflects a mishandling of COVID-19 in aged care facilities. Also coming down was the number of new cases in Victoria - it hit 94 on Saturday, the first time it’s been in double-digits since early July. It was back up to 114 yesterday. Over the weekend, another 29 people were reported to have died. Nationally, 25,670 cases have been recorded, and 20,924 people have recovered. And 611 people have died.


Mid-last week, Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe took the record for the nation’s longest uninterrupted term as prime minister. And then on Friday, he resigned. A bowel disease - chronic ulcerative colitis - has ended Abe's political career, he says. He will stay on until his Liberal Democratic Party selects a successor, a process that will take until the end of September. Abe is credited for bringing political stability to Japan after a period when the country churned through 6 prime ministers in 6 years. Considered a nationalist who became mates with President Trump, the relationship likely spared Japan from the sort of trade tensions China has experienced. And who can forget the time he became boot buddies with former PM Tony Abbott…


Tesla/SpaceX founder Elon Musk is not a fan of artificial intelligence. It’s something that scares him, actually. So his new startup business, Neuralink, is working on technology that he hopes will head off a future where AI becomes smarter than humans, and then exterminates us… Showcasing its work so far, Musk invited cameras not to a laboratory, but to a pen where a pig named Gertrude has a device that’s “like a FitBit” surgically implanted into her skull. It monitors her brain activity and communicates it to a computer to help researchers understand what the spikes of neural activity mean. From there, the hope is to help people deal with brain and spinal cord injuries or congenital defects. "I'm confident in the long term it'll be possible to restore somebody's full-body motion," Musk said. How good would that be?


A group of male tennis players led by world #1 Novak Djokovic has split from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) - the sport’s organising and representative body. With a board made up of 3 players, 3 tournament reps and a chairman, the body sits across player issues as well as overseeing the tour. But some players are looking to secure more of the revenue generated by grand slam events, and that's resulted in the new Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). But key players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer disagree with the move saying the times call for a "united approach". Another dissenter is Andy Murray - he's keen on a reorganisation that brings the women’s tour into the fold.


There was an outpouring of grief for the Black Panther actor who died on Friday in Los Angeles at 43yo. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, few people knew Boseman was dealing with surgery and chemotherapy while rising to become a star. He had an “old-fashioned gravitas” that “helped turn him into one of his generation’s most sought-after leading men,” the New York Times wrote yesterday. F1 champ Lewis Hamilton tweeted that Boseman "inspired a whole generation of young black men and women and provided them with a true superhero to look up to." Best known for his lead role as T’Challa in the Marvel mega-movie that became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, he broke another record yesterday. The tweet from his account confirming his death became the most liked tweet of all time.


A very fancy autograph album from the 17th century that includes signatures and drawings commissioned by Europe’s leading figures? That will set you back $4.5 million at auction…

If you’re not that minted but still looking for something historical, how about a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair in a bloodied telegram about his 1865 assassination? A bargain at $100,000.

But if your fancy is something agricultural, a Texel lamb named Double Diamond has set a new world record price of [drum roll…] $660,000. Dunno about diamonds, but a look at his pic shows he’s well endowed with double something…


10.00am (AEST) - MTV Music Video Awards

A report to be handed to Victoria's Lawyer X Royal Commission is expected to boost drug kingpin Tony Mokbel’s bid for freedom

Start of National Stroke Week (on until 7 September)

ABS Data Release - Business Indicators, June

National Days for Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and Trinidad and Tobago

Birthdays for Van Morrison (1945), Richard Gere (1949) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (1985)

Anniversary of:
• the Irish Republican Army (IRA) declaring a ceasefire in 1994, which led to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998
• the birthdays of Caligula (12), Maria Montessori (1870)
• the deaths of Arthur Phillip (1814) and Princess Diana (1997)

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