Squiz Today / 09 March 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 9 March


”We have big plans for The Squiz, and as long as you continue to read the emails, listen to the podcasts, and refer us to your people, we’ll have the chance to bat on."

Yesterday was our third birthday (yay), which we celebrated by working (boo). Nah, it’s a privilege to be in your inbox each weekday morning. And to mark the occasion, we pulled together some answers to your questions about where we’re at. Nosey bunch, aren’t you…


Containment is the name of the COVID-19 game as countries around the world race to block the virus from spreading. It follows World Health Organisation boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus again urging nations to make containment of the virus "their highest priority".

The biggest development to note is in Italy. Europe's worst-hit country has put a quarter of its population - 16 million people - into lockdown until 3 April. No one can enter or leave the northern region of Lombardy and 14 provinces including Venice, Parma and Modena, except in the case of emergency. Within those areas, people have been told to stay home as much as possible. Gyms, cinemas, night clubs, museums and ski resorts have been closed. Weddings and funerals have also been suspended under the mandatory quarantine. It’s a dramatic development. And back at ground zero, China’s measures to contain the spread seem to be working. The country has reported its lowest number of new infections in a single day since January.

The second resident of a Sydney aged care facility died yesterday after coming into contact with an infected worker. That makes the 82yo the third death in Australia from COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases in Oz rose to 75 yesterday, including two members of the Australian Defence Force. And there was frustration in Hobart yesterday after a man who has tested positive returned to work despite being told to self-isolate while he waited for the results. And singer Missy Higgins' father, Dr Chris Higgins wants an apology from Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos after she criticised his decision to treat 70 patients last week. He has tested positive for coronavirus, but says his flu-like symptoms didn't fit the criteria for testing. Meanwhile, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt called on Aussies to be "our best selves and to let our better angels prevail” - advice a couple of shoppers spectacularly ignored on Saturday…



At least three senior members of Saudi Arabia's royal family have been arrested under orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Why? Dunno exactly… But the 34yo Crown Prince has been busy consolidating power as the de facto ruler of the kingdom in the name of his ageing father, 84yo King Salman. And he has form… In 2017, stacks of royals, businessmen and ministers were sent to Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel after the crown prince ordered their arrests. This time, one of those arrested is the 78yo brother of King Salman who hasn’t always been his nephew’s biggest supporter. The man known as MBS is never far from controversy


Russia and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the end of last week. In recent weeks, Turkey has been fighting Russian-backed Syrian forces in the area as they push to reclaim the last held rebel area of the country. That action pushed more Syrian refugees into Turkey, which responded by opening its border to Greece. But the European Union says the door is closed and has criticised "Turkey's use of migratory pressure for political purposes”. In the last couple of weeks, Greek riot police have used teargas and water cannons to repel people trying to get away from the violence in their home country.


After days of criticism following the announcement that it would release New York director Woody Allen’s memoir, publisher Hachette has cancelled it. “The decision to cancel Mr Allen’s book was a difficult one,” it said. And it was made all the more difficult after Allen’s son Ronan Farrow called the intention to publish the book “wildly unprofessional.” To decipher that a bit: allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow remain a cloud over his reputation. And Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill (about how Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behaviour stayed under the radar) was published by a division of Hachette.


A lot has been said about the Sussexes decision to leave behind their lives as senior royals. And sure, they haven't got the half-in-half-out deal they originally envisioned. But tomorrow marks their last formal engagement and after 31 March they'll be all out. And aren't they getting a lot of attention as the wrap it up… On Saturday night the couple received a standing ovation from attendees of a concert for the Royal Marines which they attended in Harry’s role as Captain General. He’s giving that up, of course. And this picture - it’s the stuff legends are made of…


The Aussie women’s T20 cricket side last night returned to the form they were recognised as competition favourites for. They became World Cup champions with an impressive 85 run victory over India in front of a massive crowd of 86,174 people (just short of the world record of 90,186). Captain Meg Lanning said it was tough, and expectations were high, but "we stuck with each other, had each other's backs." Broadcaster Nine is being criticised for televising the big event on a secondary channel last night. Meanwhile, it was an excellent start for our soccer-playing Matildas as they took out the first of two Olympic qualifiers against Vietnam 5-0 on Friday night. The next game will take place on Wednesday night in Vietnam. And our tennis blokes showed those Brazilians an ace or two winning the Davis Cup qualifying round 3-1.


Feeling a bit of Beatlemania? Put this in your diary... Recording studio notes and lyrics to Hey Jude as penned by Paul McCartney are up for sale. Imagine how much they’d get if it was for the Sesame Street classic Hey Food

When you’re driving, dodging inanimate objects can be hard. Particularly on Easter Island

If you’re one of those people who has shared to their socials the handbag that is actually a portable wine vat (our hands are up…), this is a dream come true. And we think it’s in the zone that’s locked down - so how bad can things be?


Public holidays for Victoria (Labour Day), Tassie (Eight Hours Day), South Oz (Adelaide Cup Day) and the ACT (Canberra Day)

Commonwealth Day

Inquest into missing boy William Tyrell’s disappearance resumes in NSW

Start of the trial in absentia of four men over the downing of MH17 that killed all 298 on board, including 38 Australians - Amsterdam

Anniversary of the bombing of Tokyo during WWII (1945)

Anniversary of the launch of the Barbie doll at the American Toy Fair in New York (1959)

Anniversary of the birthdays of writer Vita Sackville-West (1892), first man in space Yuri Gagarin (1934)

Anniversary of the deaths of composer Johann Pachelbel (1706), and rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

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