Squiz Today / 30 July 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 30 July


"Thanks for your understanding!”

Tweeted ABC TV News Breakfast host Michael Rowland after the team went into self-isolation last night. The show’s floor manager’s wife has coronavirus, so the ABC decided they should all wait for the results of his test before coming back to work. At least it gives the team at Nine’s Today a chance to catch up...


The number of new coronavirus cases fell to 319 nationally yesterday with Victoria recording 295 cases (all locally acquired), and NSW was up by 19 (including two inside hotel quarantine). There were also three new cases in Queensland ( including a couple of teenagers who’d been in Melbourne but didn’t tell authorities...) and two in Western Australia (in hotel quarantine). The death toll was up by nine yesterday, all from Victoria. Meanwhile, tricky cross-government issues are bubbling along…

• The Feds v Victoria - Both PM Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews sought to calm things down after the extent of the coronavirus within the state’s aged care sector came into focus earlier this week. Both said they weren’t interested in the blame game despite claims Victoria's health officials could have responded faster.

• Queensland v NSW - In a battle as fierce as any State of Origin match, Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk has bolted down the wing and blindsided NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian with a border ban on all Sydney residents from 1am Saturday. The sporting codes are considering their next moves

• The Feds v Western Oz - The West’s Premier Mark McGowan says a legal challenge to the state’s 'hard border' with the east from high profile businessman/Tim Tam fanatic Clive Palmer and Morrison Government have "annoyed the hell" out of him. But Morrison yesterday said he thinks the action is likely to be successful.

With more than 450 infections and 49 deaths now reported across 77 aged care homes, the federal government’s first of five medical assistance teams will arrive today. Interstate and Victorian Government-employed nurses have also started to fill gaps left by hundreds of aged care staff who have gone into isolation after being exposed to the virus. Aged care and senior citizens’ advocacy groups are angry about what’s unfolding. And while PM Morrison says the situation is “very distressing”, the federal and state governments are “taking actions to deal with those problems and to try to prevent them” into the future.



Deflation? We haven't seen a result like yesterday's official take on the consumer price index in 72 years… Looking at what happened in the April-June quarter - well, the coronavirus recession happened, that's what. And that saw child care become free, petrol prices plummet, and rents fall in big markets. Some food and grocery prices went up (panic buying, anyone?), but that was more than offset by prices falling on those big-ticket items. The result is a consumer price index drop of 1.9% in the quarter, leaving the annual rate of inflation at minus 0.3%. It is just the third time our annual inflation rate has been in negative territory since 1949. Low/negative inflation isn’t good because it perpetuates slow economic growth and low wages growth. Ain’t nobody got time for that


Five years into a civil war, floods, famine, locusts and now COVID-19, some of Yemen may be on a better path. Long story short, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have been backing Yemen’s government in its fight against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But a year ago, a UAE-backed faction of separatists took up arms against the Saudi-backed government forces and took control of the city of Aden late last year. A peace deal was struck and abandoned. But yesterday, the separatists said they would give up their push for self-administration of the south of the country leading Saudi Arabia to recommit to a settlement. Even with that side sorted, hostilities with the Houthi rebels continue. The war has killed more than 112,000 people and set off the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.


The Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network between the UK, the US, Canada, NZ and Oz could become Six Eyes, following a proposal to expand the network to include Japan. Japan’s defence minister Tarō KōnoIt has pitched the idea, and it comes as China increasingly intrudes on its airspace. And in a scene reminiscent of an audition tape, Japan this week said it’s considering a ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps. Japan is also a potential like-minded mate for Five Eyes nations to do more trade with as countries look to balance their economic reliance on China. Watch this space…


The CEOs of tech giants Amazon (Jeff Bezos), Apple (Tim Apple), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) and Google (Sundar Pichai) have gone before a US Congressional committee to defend their business practices. The House judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee has spent more than a year looking into accusations that their size and power results in the stifling of competition to the detriment of users. Meanwhile, some conservatives are angry because they believe they are silencing people who hold views from that side of politics. Mounting a defence in the name of innovation, Bezos added there are some things small companies can't do. "It has the feeling of tech's Big Tobacco moment," said Gigi Sohn from Georgetown University’s law school.


US officials are warning Americans against planting seeds from unknown origins following the arrival of unsolicited packages of seeds in mailboxes around the country. Seemingly from China, the packages are most likely a 'brushing scam' where companies send out stuff in the hope of a positive review. But officials warned recipients not to plant them citing biosecurity threats. "We don't know what they are,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. Maybe they’re magic beans?


As you head off to the shower to lather up, consider this. It might be better if you never use soap on your body ever again. Good luck getting your people on board with that notion…


ABS Data Release - International Trade Price Indexes, June; Building Approvals, June

NASA's Mars Rover due to launch

Vanuatu’s Independence Day

International Day of Friendship

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Birthdays for Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947), Terry Crews (1968) and Simon Baker (1969)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Emily Brontë (1818) and Henry Ford (1863)
• the first FIFA World Cup Final which saw Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 (1930)
• the publication of the first Penguin book, starting the paperback revolution (1935)
• the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, which saw 880 of the crew die. Many after were attacked by sharks, inspiring the 1975 movie Jaws (1945)
• Zara Phillips, QEII’s granddaughter, and Mike Tindall get hitched (2011)
• Chelsea Manning being convicted of 17 espionage charges (2013)

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