Squiz Today / 03 September 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 3 September


“The Pavington”

It's a new dessert featuring two Australian classics. Which the Kiwis are trying to lay claim to… again…


It’s tough news to swallow. The last time it happened, it was 1991. And after the announcement yesterday, the ramifications reverberated around the country. Particularly hard hit was Victoria thanks to the second wave of coronavirus cases. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has confirmed that the league's grand final will not be held at the MCG - it will be held at the Gabba in Brisbane.

...and Australia received some of its worst-ever economic news. Our economic growth went backwards 7% in the April-June quarter, confirming we are in a serious recession thanks to coronavirus restrictions that have now been in place for almost 6 months. Added to the January-March result of -0.3%, the 6 months-long decline ends Australia's longest streak of continuous economic growth of 28 years. Analysts were quick to point out that the scale of what’s happening now is much greater than the 90s "recession we had to have", which saw the economy shrink by 1.3% and 0.1% in the consecutive quarters that kicked things off. As for this one, consumer spending has collapsed with food and accommodation the hardest-hit sectors.

Well, the Federal Government is spending more than $300 billion to prop up the economy and the more than one million Aussies whose jobs have been impacted. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will deliver the delayed Budget in 4 weeks, and there could be more. But while the coronavirus is still in town and there's no vaccine or proven treatment, economy-crushing measures will stay in place for some time yet. In the meantime, brace for more debate about how the states are managing their borders. And brace to see the footage of a Victorian woman being arrested in her home for allegedly inciting an anti-lockdown protest on high repeat today…



We knew they were talking about us… Downplaying concerns that the detention of Australian journalist Cheng Lei and trade penalties against our beef, barley and wine industries are some sort of retribution for our government’s actions on several fronts, China's Foreign Ministry says Australia had been "infected with fear, conjecture and paranoia". Our officials have not been given any further information about the accusations against Cheng. And this week's drama extends to more trouble on the barley front. On Tuesday night, China suspended barley imports from Australia's largest grain exporter CBH after it claimed pests were found in shipments - claims the company denies.


That’s the conclusion of Germany, where prominent Russian opposition figure Alexi Navalny is recovering from the 20 August attack. Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was a victim of attempted murder and says the world would now look to Russia for answers. It’s a sign of the times that many people will recall what Novichok is. To recap: it’s a Russian made nerve agent that was used to poison former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK in 2018. The UK accused Russia's military intelligence of carrying out that attack, which it denies. The Kremlin says claims of Navalny’s poisoning are not backed up by evidence. He remains in an induced coma in a hospital in Berlin.


As Lebanon grapples with an ongoing economic crisis, the devastation of its capital in an explosion last month, and the subsequent resignation of its government, France has put its hand up to host a second aid conference in October. Lebanon has appointed a PM-designate, former diplomat Mustapha Adib, who has pledged to form a crisis cabinet within the next 2 weeks as he called for more financial aid. The World Bank estimates the Beirut blast - which killed at least 190 people and injured 6,000 others - caused about US$4.6 billion in direct damage, with its effect on Lebanon’s economy amounting to another $3.5 billion. But during a visit this week to mark the centenary of the former French territory, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would consider withholding financial aid and imposing sanctions on the ruling elite if changes aren’t made quickly.


Some good coronavirus news… A new study has debunked earlier reports that the antibodies produced by people infected with COVID-19 to fight the virus are short-lived. The study is the most extensive on the virus' effect on the human immune system yet, involving more than 30,000 Icelanders. Unlike previous studies, it identified a second wave of antibodies produced up to 2 months after the initial infection that was longer-lasting. If their production could be stimulated by a vaccine, it would help to build long-term immunity to the virus, boosting hopes for an effective vaccine.


Thai King Vajiralongkorn has reinstated his royal consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi to the position after dumping her last year. Just months after the 35yo army officer/bodyguard’s relationship with the married king was declared, she was stripped of her rank for trying to elevate herself to "the same state as the queen", the palace said. But all has been forgiven with Thailand's first royal consort for almost a century returning "as if she had never been stripped of her military ranks or royal decorations." And in royal news of another flavour, Harry and Meghan have signed up to Netflix. To make content, not to fill their evenings together in front of the telly…


Commercial pilots see some weird things from time to time. But someone in a jetpack flying at 900 metres? The FBI is investigating…

Remember noughties hitmaker Akon? He’s building a futuristic Pan-African smart city in Senegal in the mould of Black Panther’s Wakanda. No doubt it’s a place where residents wouldn’t be Lonely

US President Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders caught the eye of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Singapore summit in 2018. “We made direct eye contact and Kim nodded and appeared to wink at me. I was stunned,” she writes. She says she didn’t take it any further…


ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, July

National Flag Day

A birthday for Charlie Sheen (1965)

Anniversary of:
• the British Empire adopting the Gregorian Calendar, losing 11 days, causing riots when people thought the government stole 11 days of their lives (1752)
• Britain declaring war on Germany after its invasion of Poland (1939)
• Chris the sheep breaking the world record for biggest shorn fleece 40kg near Canberra (2015)

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