Squiz Today / 29 October 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 29 October


“This sucks, it really, really does."

With the coronavirus on the rise in the northern hemisphere, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau uses technical terminology to describe what fighting off a second wave of cases will look like.


Qatar’s Government has committed to “a comprehensive, transparent investigation into the incident” that saw 13 Australian women at Doha’s international airport subjected to invasive examinations. Reports say officials were trying to identify the mother of a newborn baby girl who had been found in a rubbish bin at the airport. She is alive, but her mother has not been found. "While the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, The State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveller caused by this action," the statement issued yesterday said.

Well, Foreign Minister Marise Payne was before a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday where she confirmed that on 2 October, 18 women were removed from a Qatar Airlines flight to Sydney for a "grossly inappropriate" examination. That includes the 13 Australian women referred to in reports this week. Payne also said that women on 9 other flights were subjected to searches. Australia has demanded a report from Qatar about the incident which will be handed to Australia "very soon", she said. And our officials have formally registered Oz’s "serious concern" with Qatar, but a conversation between Payne and her Qatari counterpart has not yet happened. Asked by Labor’s Penny Wong why that hasn’t happened, Payne said she wanted to “get the best information possible from the Qatari system”. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said it’s important to get a response from Qatar urgently because “15% of those Australians who are coming home at the moment are coming back on Qatar Airlines.”

A couple of official-type things… Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter yesterday announced the appointment of 2 new High Court justices - Jacqueline Gleeson and Simon Steward. They replace retiring justices Geoffrey Nettle and Virginia Bell. [Insert observation that we don’t have the political overlay experienced in the US when it comes to making appointments to the highest court in the land...] For extra trivia points, Gleeson is actor Eric Bana’s sister-in-law. And the Royal Commission into the National Natural Disaster Arrangements made like a diligent uni student and got their final report in on time. The 1,000-page whopper is expected to be publicly released on Friday.



A New York-based think tank chaired by former PM Kevin Rudd received US$650,000 in support in recent years from the late convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Reports say the International Peace Institute received payments from Epstein via a connection with its president, Norwegian diplomat Terje Rød-Larsen. He also borrowed money from Epstein, who died in detention last year awaiting prosecution on sex trafficking charges involving children. Rudd, who has been involved with the Institute for 6 years, said he doesn't think he ever met Epstein but was on a conference call and at an event he attended. The payments will be reviewed, and there are plans for an equal amount to be donated to causes supporting survivors of sexual abuse. Rudd described the revelations as "deeply disturbing".


"I just needed my fix,” said one Melburnian explaining her pre-8am shopping spree at Brunswick Kmart yesterday. Plenty of others shared that sentiment as they hit the malls, headed out for sit-down coffee, dined in wherever they could get a booking, and got their nails done with retail, beauty and hospitality businesses open. Analysts are hoping shoppers around the country get spending with another sluggish inflation result yesterday. Inflation came in at 0.7% over the year to the end of September, significantly lower than the Reserve Bank's target of 3%. There was a rise of 1.6% from the June to September quarter following the end of free child care and higher petrol prices. "Very low inflation may be welcomed by households who are facing a weak labour market and soft wage growth, but it is indicative of a weak underlying economy,” said one pundit.


Thunderstorms and hail as big as golf balls have smashed Queensland’s southeast and NSW’s regional centres of Tamworth and Dubbo as "very dangerous" supercell storms brought destructive winds, heavy rain and flash flooding, leaving thousands without power. The weather system is forecast to make its way south over the weekend towards Sydney and Canberra, bringing chilly temperatures and heavy rain. Sydney could get up to 90mm of rain over the next 5 days, while Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin could see quite a bit of wet stuff too. That’s La Nina for you… Meanwhile, Perth is soaking up the sunshine, with temperatures set to rise to 36C on Friday.


Following a decade-long paternity battle, the former monarch of Belgium, King Albert II, has finally met his daughter Princess Delphine. The 52yo artist, who only recently claimed a royal title following a court ruling, was born from an 18-year affair Albert had with a baroness before becoming king. Delphine first aired allegations that Albert was her father in 2005, but she was not able to pursue him in the courts until he vacated the throne in 2013. He also refused to participate in DNA testing until the €5,000 a day fines began building up, and he admitted paternity in January. And yesterday, Delphine, 86yo Albert, and his wife Paolo (and her cross-body satchel…) posed for a happy snap and said they are dedicated to starting a "new chapter". Delphine and her two children will now be able to use her father’s surname, Saxe-Cobourg, and she is entitled to receive an inheritance, along with Albert's three other children.


The current world 100m champ, American Christian Coleman, will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games next year after being handed a two-year doping ban. Not that the 24yo has tested positive… Coleman was penalised by the Athletics Integrity Unit after he failed to provide an adequate explanation for not turning up to one of three missed drug tests. He is expected to appeal the ban for his chance to succeed Jamaican Usain Bolt as the fastest man at the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, it was good news for cricket fans yesterday, the Aussie men’s program for summer has been confirmed. It’s all about India with the first outing taking shape in the form of a One Day International at the SCG on 27 November. And Melbourne can really exhale - the Boxing Day Test is on. But there is a fly in the zinc with no games scheduled for Perth - the first time our western capital has missed out since the mid-70s.


A librarian from Burnie, Tassie, dressed in an Incredible Hulk outfit for Book Week, saving someone’s life on the street. A couple of male penguins stealing a nest of eggs from a female couple at a zoo in the Netherlands in scenes worthy of Days Of Our Lives. And a cow eating a snake in remote northern Australia. It’s a pretty good selection, don’t you think?


ABS Data Release - International Trade Price Indexes, September

Turkey’s National Day

Birthdays for the voice of Homer Simpson Dan Castellaneta (1957) and actor Winona Ryder (1971)

Anniversary of:
• the release of the first ballpoint pen, manufactured by Biro (1945)
• the first publication of comic Asterix in the French magazine Pilote, illustrated by Albert Uderzo (1959)
• 77yo John Glenn becoming the oldest person to go into space on board the Space Shuttle Discovery (1998)
• China announcing the end of its one-child policy after 35 years (2015)
• the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after takeoff near Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 on board were killed and it sparked concerns about the aircraft’s safety (2018)

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.