Squiz Today / 10 March 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 10 March


“His face is really kind. He has got a fairly pointy snout. And the babies are super cute.”

Says Jaklyn Babington, the National Gallery of Australia’s senior curator of contemporary art, of the highly anticipated arrival Skywhalepapa in our nation’s capital. For now, hot air balloon enthusiasts can say hi to the multi-mammaried Skywhale who returns to Canberra after touring her pendulous bosoms across the world. If you’ve got it, flaunt it…


Australia’s stock market experienced its worst day since the global financial crisis, and its second-biggest fall in history yesterday. The ASX200 (aka a look across the 200 biggest companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange) shed 7.3% in market value yesterday, which is about $150 billion. Those results were mirrored across international markets overnight.

Markets don't like uncertainty. And two issues conspired to bring about this fall. Yep, first is the coronavirus outbreak. That’s because there are growing concerns about threats to global consumption in the wake of the crisis. The second issue is the collapse in the price of oil triggered by some argy-bargy between two big producers - Russia and Saudia Arabia. That saw Aussie-listed energy companies lose a fifth of their value yesterday. Ouch… But for some perspective: our stock market has recently been breaking all-time highs, so there are some relativities to keep in mind.

You thought the rush on toilet paper was something - wait until you see the queues for $1/litre petrol… As for the pressure on those hit by a downturn because of the coronavirus outbreak, PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg are working to come up with a stimulus package. The details are expected to be announced this week, but we might get some sense of it with Morrison addressing the Financial Review’s Business Summit today.



Going around the grounds:

• At home, the main focus is the closure of two Sydney schools after two students tested positive for the virus yesterday, as well as WA’s first cases of human-to-human transmission.

• Looking overseas, Italy reported a big jump in fatalities (from 133 to 366) and cases (from 5,883 to 7,375). It’s overtaken South Korea for the unenviable title of most cases and Iran for the most deaths outside mainland China. Globally, the virus has now led to 3,821 deaths with more than 108,000 people infected.

• And on the all-important shopping front, Aldi has an entry for passive-aggressive notes champion of 2020…


The long-awaited trial of four men suspected of the downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine in 2014 began in the Netherlands overnight. The passenger plane was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by what an international taskforce found was a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels. While many family members of the 298 victims - including 38 Australians - were in attendance as their loves ones names were read out, the men accused of being involved did not show. Three Russians and a Ukrainian are not expected to serve any jail time even if convicted. And while Australia and the Netherlands blame Russia for the downing of MH17, it denies any involvement.


But not in a Kath-worthy Aussie drawl… North Korea has continued firing missiles for the second week in a row. The South Korean military confirmed that three short-range projectiles had been fired off the North’s eastern coast yesterday, travelling at least 200km at an altitude of 50km before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The latest attention-grabber comes two days after leader Kim Jong Un threatened to take “momentous” action in the face of international condemnation. These missile launches by North Korea is seen as Kim having one word to say to US President Donald Trump: sanctions relief.


The Cambridge Analytica nightmare is not over for Facebook with Australia’s privacy commissioner yesterday lodging legal action in the Federal Court. Commissioner Angelene Falk alleges Facebook breached our privacy laws when data was passed onto the 'This Is Your Digital Life’ app in 2014-15 and used to target people with ads, including during the 2016 US presidential election. More than 300,000 Aussie were caught up in the scandal even though just 53 Aussies installed the app. That’s because the app scraped the names, dates of birth, email addresses, location and page likes of the app users' ‘friends’. Globally, 87 million users were affected. Falk says Facebook made it impossible for users to consent or control how their data was disclosed, and a fine of more than $1 billion could be imposed if the commissioner's action is successful. Still, Facebook’s useful for something


In case you didn't know, authorities take a look what goes down the pipes after you've flushed. While they can't tell who's using what, they can get a read on total drug consumption from 58 sites around Australia that capture the wastewater of 13.3 million people. Neat, huh? The latest results were released overnight by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission showing Aussies spent more than $11 billion on illicit drugs last year, with ice coming out on top. Sydneysiders upped their intake of cocaine, ice and nicotine, while Victorians recorded the highest consumption of heroin. When it comes to legal substances, alcohol is our drug of choice, and the use of nicotine was substantially higher in regional areas.


Which is understandable if you were to find out that your bestie of 17 years and her dad who you’ve always liked are actually your sister and father


Anniversary of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash that led to the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX planes (2019)

International Bagpipe Day

Mario Day (think MAR 10)

Birthdays for Chuck Norris (1940), Sharon Stone (1958), Prince Edward (1964), Jon Hamm (1971), Robin Thicke (1977), Carrie Underwood (1983), Olivia Wilde (1984)

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