Squiz Today / 06 February 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 6 February


"I was shocked. Are you kidding me? Who makes that kind of mistake?"

Said Ohio man Dan Cain of receiving 55,000 copies of the same bill from a student loan company in the mail. It apologised for the error, but there’s no word on whether it was also sorry for the calculation error in all 55,000 copies of the bill. It's hard to catch a break some days…


The scene is set for the world’s biggest political battle of 2020: the US Presidential election. And yesterday, three years into his term as ‘leader of the free world’, President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address in what the Washington Post described as a “poisonous political atmosphere”.

So you don't want a blow-by-blow account of the one hour and 17 minutes epic speech? Fair enough… Trump’s key messages: he’s doing a terrific job and America would be stark-raving bonkers not to re-elect him. He did strike an upbeat tone, which he’d promised. He spoke at length about what he sees as his administrations’ achievements - a nation with more confidence in the future, a stronger economy, and international relationships where they aren't getting walked all over. And on the way through, Trump threw repeated jabs at his Democrat rivals, but he laid off any personal attacks. What he didn't do: mention the impeachment saga. Or, some would say, have his speech fact-checked

Yeah, nah. Tensions between Trump’s Republicans and the Democrats played out in two scenes that bookmarked the address. First, Trump wouldn’t shake the hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he took to the stage. She’s the most senior Democrat in the Congress. And Pelosi turned her review into performance art by ripping up her copy of the speech just as he finished making it. Which isn’t too surprising given Team Pelosi tried to have Trump removed from office - an attempt that is likely to officially fail today. And Trump has given as good as he’s got… Which means it’s game on for what will be a long election year, particularly if the Democrats’ experience in the Iowa Caucus is anything to go by…



A 2yo Melbourne girl is stranded in Wuhan with her Chinese grandparents, the ABC reports this morning. Her parents, who travelled to the city to see family at Christmas, left little Chloe Nuoyi Zhao there and planned on bringing her home after another visit in late January. But China put the city into lockdown before they were able to return. Chloe’s parents are appealing to our government to evacuate her on the next flight - a request they say has so far fallen “on deaf ears” because she would be an unaccompanied minor. Meanwhile, 4,000 passengers and crew on a cruise ship are docked in Japan after 10 passengers, including two Aussies, tested positive for coronavirus. With 223 Australians on the ship, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton yesterday said it was a complicated situation. Looking at the coronavirus crisis in total: 490 people have died, and there are now almost 25,000 cases across 25 countries, with Oz upping its total to 14 confirmed with the virus yesterday. #SquizShortcut


After a heart-wrenching campaign by the families and friends of defence personnel and veterans who have ended their own lives, PM Scott Morrison yesterday announced the appointment of a national commissioner to investigate. It’s not the Royal Commission some wanted, but Morrison said the commissioner would be permanent and will have similar powers. More than 400 current and former servicemen and women have taken their own lives since 2001. The national commissioner, who is yet to be named, will investigate these cases and report mid-next year. "I'm excited that something's happening. Excited is a bad word but I was not expecting that call yesterday," said Julie-Ann Finney, the architect of the campaign and mother of David Finney, a former Navy officer who took his own life.

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The Aussie economy, that is… Despite the uncertainty around the costs of the coronavirus outbreak, this summer’s bushfire crisis and the ongoing drought, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe was positive about the future in his address to the National Press Club yesterday. He said recent progress in US-China trade talks and Brexit moving to the next stage are good signs for economic growth, both internationally and domestically. With that in mind, Lowe says we can achieve above-average growth of 2.75% in 2020 and 3% in 2021. Which is a lot more than our current rate of 1.7%... And while Lowe didn't rule out further interest rate cuts, he called on governments and businesses to invest more in infrastructure to stimulate the economy.


They said he’d never make it… But Tesla CEO Elon Musk has had a great start to 2020 with the company’s share price more than doubling this year to give the company a valuation of about US$170 billion (A$252 billion). At the start of this week, the company saw its share price rise by almost 40%. That’s made it more valuable than most of the big car companies combined. And after Tesla released its Model 3 cars in China in early January, it looks like the company will continue its upward trajectory despite the coronavirus-related hiccups. It's not good news for investors who are betting against the company. Tesla is the most ‘shorted’ company in the US, and analysts say short-sellers have lost more than US$8 billion (A$11.8 billion) on their stakes so far this year.


In the spirit of turning a new leaf on vegetables in 2020 (see what we did there?), it’s no surprise to learn that plant-based foods are good for you. In fact, scientists reckon the flavonols in them can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A new study involving more than 900 dementia-free patients with an average age of 81yo looked at their dietary habits over six years. During that time, 220 of participants developed Alzheimer’s. Controlling for other factors including exercise, sex, age, education, the Apo E4 gene (which increases the risk of developing dementia) and cognitive activity, scientists found those who ate more fresh fruit and veg were up to 48% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Time to load up on the Brussels sprouts…


The language spoken by African penguins follows the same rules as human speech. Specifically, they use sounds with shorter syllables as often as they can. You heard right, they talk to each other

While you might not have a piercingly signature dance move like The Elaine, your moves and grooves are unique to you.

Actor Robert Pattinson: best looking bloke in the world. That’s not our view, that’s according to an ancient formula used to measure physical perfection. But can he dance?


US Senate votes on President Trump's impeachment trial

ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, December; Retail Trade, December

Waitangi Day in New Zealand - 80th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1840)

Anniversary of HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arriving in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) (1836)

Anniversary of the birthdays of Ronald Reagan (1911) Bob Marley (1945)

Anniversary of the launch of Monopoly (1935)


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