Squiz Today / 14 April 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 14 April


“His heart was in full tachycardia.”

Said investigators of a 64yo French man on a joyride in a fighter jet. It explains why he hit the ejector button mid-flight


As Australians were praised for our excellent social distancing form over Easter, a coronavirus emergency has hit north-western Tasmania.

Two hospitals in Burnie were closed, and up to 5,000 people were quarantined yesterday following fears of an outbreak in the area. Eleven locals were confirmed to have the virus on Sunday - eight of them are healthcare workers. So Premier Peter Gutwein has moved to shut it down and has called on those affected and the broader community to "work with us, we need you to follow the rules, to do as we ask, to stay home, to save lives.” While the source of the outbreak hasn’t been determined, it’s been noted that three cases in the region were passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship. Sadly, they died in one of the hospitals that have been closed. Tasmania has so far recorded 150 cases of COVID-19 - almost a third of those are healthcare workers.

We're going pretty well. Not that everything is perfect, but by and large, officials were pleased that we stayed at home and socially distanced when we were out doing essential things over Easter. "Australians have done what we had hoped and more," Health Minister Greg Hunt said yesterday. That doesn’t mean restrictions will be lifted anytime soon… Three things have to happen for the government to consider that. The first is a sustained decrease in cases. Second is making sure our health system is geared up to deal with a sudden spike in cases. And third is the plan for a staggered re-opening of our communities and businesses. That's how the government will prevent a surge in cases and deaths, Hunt said. Australia now has 6,360 confirmed cases of COVID-19 following a small rise in the number of cases over Easter (in part because testing hasn’t been going at full pelt over the break). Deaths increased to 61 people while more than half of those infected have recovered.



• UK PM Boris Johnson was released from the London hospital on Sunday where he was in intensive care until late last week. Johnson confirmed he was very ill saying things "could have gone either way", and Kiwi nurse Jenny McGee was called out for special praise. He will continue his recovery at the PM’s country residence Chequers.

• Some unhappy benchmarks were breached over the weekend. Deaths in the UK passed the 10,000 mark, and are now past 11,300. A government expert said it's likely the coronavirus will render the UK "one of the worst, if not the worst affected country in Europe". And the US has recorded 23,000 deaths as it overtook Italy for the grim title of the nation with the most fatalities.

• Looking at some alternative tactics, and one Indonesian village is (unsuccessfully) using ghostly tactics to get locals to stay at home. Meanwhile in hospitals across America, a bit of music certainly won’t hurt…

• To the numbers: there are 1.9 million cases globally. More than 118,000 people have died, and 445,000 have recovered.

• Closer to home, and the Treasury predicts our unemployment rate has doubled to circa 10%. That would take it to the highest it’s been for 30 years and means about 1.4 million Aussies are out of work. The official data for March will be released on Thursday.


In a case that's already rich in twists and turns, some relationship news was injected into the Julian Assange story on the weekend. WikiLeaks has confirmed that he is engaged to South African-born lawyer Stella Morris and that the couple has two children - Gabriel (3yo) and Max (1yo). Morris met Assange in 2011 when she was working on his Swedish sexual assault case (which was eventually dropped). A relationship started in 2015 when Assange was holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, and their decision to have kids was deliberate, she said, to give Assange “a light at the end of the tunnel”. He is still fighting America’s efforts to extradite him to face charges of hacking and espionage.


After weeks of an oil production war between heavy hitters Russia and Saudi Arabia, discussions have led to an agreement for production to be cut by 10%. Reports say it’s the biggest cut ever agreed. However, some analysts say it won’t be enough to arrest the fall in prices because the production war has coincided with coronavirus restrictions. And because we aren’t driving or flying anywhere, demand for oil is down by a third, analysts say. US President Donald Trump, as leader of the world’s top oil-producing country in the world, is supportive of the cut in production saying it will save “hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in the United States”.


VALE TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR - Best known to those of a certain age as a member of comedy trio The Goodies alongside Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor was yesterday remembered as being at the heart of British comedy for six decades. He died in the UK on Sunday after contracting COVID-19. It’s hard to describe The Goodies, so best just to watch.

VALE STIRLING MOSS - The Formula 1 legend died in London on Sunday at 90yo after a long illness. Despite winning 16 grands prix in the 50s and 60s, he never won the World Championship. That hasn’t stopped him going down in the sport’s history as one of the best drivers of all time.

VALE MIGHT AND POWER - In ‘97, he became one of the few horses to take out the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the same year. The bay gelding known to his people as ‘Bob’ won 15 of his 33 starts netting his connections $5.2 million. Sadly, he died on the weekend at 26yo from complications with colic.


Nine months ago, we marked the 50th anniversary of the remarkable mission that put the first man on the moon. And yesterday it was time to remember another notable anniversary - one that many say is Mission Control’s finest hour - and that’s the cluster-disaster that was the Apollo 13 mission from 1970. Crewed by NASA astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, it was supposed to be the third American mission to land on the moon’s surface. But on the way there, an explosion led to some of the spacecraft's oxygen to leak out into space, and that turned the mission into a fight to get the men back alive. Both Lovell and Haise are still alive and have reflected on the miracle that was their return. Some incredible pictures are here. And for the word sticklers - the famous quote is “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” People really appreciate being corrected so go forth…


Easter Tuesday public holiday (Tasmania)

8.00pm (AEST) - The Stella Prize winner announced via livestream

Birthdays for Julie Christie (1941), Adrien Brody (1973), Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977)

Anniversary of:
• US President Abraham Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (1865)
• Dr Harry Plotz discovering vaccine against typhoid (1903)
• RMS Titanic hitting an iceberg (1912)
• the completion of The Human Genome Project (2003)

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.