Squiz Today / 27 February 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 27 February


“The exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted it to.”

Said US President Donald Trump’s former White House doctor Ronny Jackson. More successful were dietary efforts like putting cauliflower in his mashed spuds and “making the ice cream less accessible”. So it’s non-heart rate-raising swings and roundabouts…


There is growing concern about the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus with recorded cases on every continent except Antarctica. For the first time since the outbreak was reported in December, Tuesday saw the number of new cases reported outside China exceed the number of new cases in China. The virus has reached more than 30 countries with spikes in cases this week in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. One American official yesterday said it was not a question of if, but when the virus would become a global pandemic as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged all nations to "tell the truth" about what is happening on the ground.

Globally, there are 81,300 cases, and 30,300 of those have recovered. China has seen more than 78,000 confirmed cases, and 2,700 people have died there. And there are now three hotspots outside of China:

• Iran has recorded 19 deaths and 140 confirmed cases. Experts believe the numbers are far higher. And Iran is thought to be the source of the first cases reported in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman.

• South Korea has the most infections outside China, with almost 1,300 confirmed cases. Eleven people there have died.

• And in recent days, Italy has become Europe's worst-affected country. Nearly 400 cases and 12 deaths have been recorded there. Overnight, several European countries announced their first cases, including people who visited Italy.

Our tally remains at 22 cases - we haven’t seen a new case since those who arrived from the Diamond Princess were accounted for. But we’re getting prepared with details of the federal and state governments' pandemic playbooks to deal with the event of a widespread outbreak making for alarming reading. And like others around the world, our share market continues to take a battering this week with $138 billion wiped from the value of Aussie stocks. Our dollar hit a new 11-year low dipping under 66 US cents yesterday. The hope is financial markets stabilise today.



Natural disasters are costing Australia $18.2 billion a year at the moment. And that’s likely to double to $39 billion by 2050 "even without accounting for a change in climate," said federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud yesterday. Underlining the Morrison Government’s call to “build resilience” as part of the response to the recent bushfires, Littleproud said the approach “must become business as usual as we adapt to a changing climate." He also said a consequence of the increased risk from natural disasters is the cost of insurance would rise. Let’s hope we’ve put some seeds away in the doomsday vault


The violence in Delhi calmed significantly overnight after rioting on Monday and Tuesday claimed the lives of 27 people and injured almost 200. It is the deadliest violence India’s capital has seen in decades as Hindus and Muslims face off over a controversial citizenship law that allows non-Muslims who migrated from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to become citizens. The BBC reports that both Hindus and Muslims have been killed. With PM Narendra Modi hosting US President Donald Trump over the last two days on his first official visit to India, reports say the violence embarrassed the strongly pro-Hindu leader, who has called for calm.


Aimee Duffy, the ‘vintage pop’ singer who used to be mentioned in the same breath as Adele and Amy Winehouse, was a big deal a decade ago. Performing under the name Duffy, the young woman from a small village in Wales had a Grammy-winning debut album Rockferry featuring songs like Mercy. And then she just sorta disappeared. In previous interviews, Duffy said she needed to “step back”, while her producer Bernard Butler said the pressure got to her and “she went off the rails.” But yesterday Duff said something terrible had happened to her. “I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days. Of course I survived. The recovery took time. There’s no light way to say it,” she said in an Instagram post. She didn't reveal any details but promised to say more when she posts a "spoken interview" in the coming weeks.


As one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in the world, and worth more than US$230 billion, Disney is a big deal. Last year, it bought 20th Century Fox to add to its stable of businesses including Pixar, Marvel and Touchstone. But change is afoot with CEO Bob Iger yesterday announcing he would hand over the reins to Bob Chapek, the guy who's been running their resorts, like Disneyland. Meanwhile, Iger will keep a watchful eye on things as executive chairman until the end of next year. In an ego boost to Iger, Disney's share price fell more than 3% on the news. Almost as satisfying as the multi-multi-million golden handshake he’ll likely collect when he walks…


Small samples aren’t a great indication of a trend. But we’re going with it… Drivers of expensive cars are less likely to stop at pedestrian crossings, according to one teeny tiny study. In a trial in Las Vegas, drivers refused to yield to pedestrians 72% of the time, even when the walker put one foot on the crossing and attempted to make eye contact with the driver. White women did better, but even then the car yielded less than half the time. And for every $1,000 increase in the value of the vehicle, the likelihood of yielding dropped 3%. Why? Possibly because drivers of flashy wheels “felt a sense of superiority over other road users,” the authors postulated with seemingly no evidence whatsoever. Still...


Chitetsu Watanabe, a 112yo who was recognised by Guinness World Records earlier this month as the world’s oldest living man, died in Japan on Sunday. He was just a week shy of turning 113yo. His key to a long life: avoiding anger and smiling a lot.

Little Lego people: there are about 7.8 billion of them, which is about the population of Earth. Their creator Jens Nygaard Knudsen died this week at 78yo. Lego said he was “a true visionary whose ideas brought joy and inspiration to millions of builders around the world.” And crippling pain to adult feet…

"The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour" has kicked off in Sheffield, England, and plenty of people are creeped out. The tragic superstar died in 2012 at 48yo from an accidental drowning. "In life, Whitney Houston was exploited by everyone around her. So why should passing to the great beyond make any difference when there is money still to be made?" asked one critic. Seems they can take away her dignity…


7pm (AEDT) - Women’s T20 World Cup Cricket - Australia v Bangladesh - Canberra

Company Earnings Results - A2 Milk; Flight Centre; Ramsay Health; Afterpay; Zip Co

ABS Data Release - Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, December

International Polar Bear Day

World NGO Day

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