Squiz Today / 19 May 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 19 May


“Taco-scented nail polish”

Hmm. Because nothing’s more appealing than someone sniffing their own fingers a lot...


China will support a look into the global response to the coronavirus crisis after it is brought under control, China’s President Xi Jinping has told the World Health Assembly overnight. Telling those gathered for the online meeting that China has been “open and transparent” about the outbreak, he said his country would support an investigation led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) "conducted in an objective and impartial way" - but only when the dust has settled. The motion, which will be put to the vote tonight, seeks to start the inquiry ASAP.

This started with Australia’s call for an independent investigation into the genesis of COVID-19 and the actions of China and the WHO to contain it. That was recrafted by the European Union into a motion that has been put to the 194 member states of the Assembly (which is the WHO's decision-making body) that didn’t name China. Instead, it called for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the "international health response to COVID-19". Momentum built yesterday when a group of more than 50 African nations said they would support the proposal taking the number of members behind it to more than 120. And WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he’s all for an inquiry to start immediately.

Well, we’ll see… It’s expected to happen, but you never know until it actually does. There are concerns about the start date and access, and Australia has continued to advocate for the granting of 'weapons inspector-like powers' to the investigating body to ensure vital evidence isn't missed. But Xi has sought to smooth the way with a commitment of US$2 billion over two years in aid. And he's offered to share any vaccine as soon as one becomes available. Meanwhile, the US Health Secretary Alex Azar took a thinly veiled swipe at China as well as accusing the WHO of “failing to obtain the information that the world needed." The US will support the motion when it’s put to the vote with US President Donald Trump retweeting a post by SBS listing some nations that support the push for an inquiry saying “We are with them!”



No wonder Trade Minister Simon Birmingham’s Chinese counterpart wouldn’t return his calls… China has effectively ended Australia’s barley exports into the country, announcing it will impose tariffs totalling 80% on the grain. Accounting for about half of our barley export market worth $1.5 billion in 2018 (but fell to $600 million in 2019 with the drought), the move will hit farmers hard. China maintains that producers are ‘dumping’ the commodity on the world market, which means they’re accused of selling it at a lower price overseas than it can be bought for domestically. It also accuses the government of subsidising producers by investing in irrigation infrastructure. Both are accusations Birmingham rejects. He said he was disappointed by the decision and "will be assessing the details of the findings while we consider next steps.” China says the move is unrelated to Australia’s call for a coronavirus inquiry, but many have made the link.


She was criticised for pushing for strong lockdown measures back in March. But now NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is a strong advocate for getting economies moving again, which is why schools will fully open from next Monday. She also wants to see the opening of state borders, but when it comes to heading north, non-Queenslanders could be waiting a while… Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday floated the possibility that its border could be closed until September. That means only state residents would be able to enjoy a watermelon Bacardi Breezer from their Surfers Paradise rental over winter. The ban could be lifted earlier than that, Palaszczuk said. Also not keen on lifting their border bans is Tassie and Western Oz.


Chances are the answer isn’t “feelin’ good as hell”... New data from the Bureau of Stats shows the coronavirus crisis has thrown many of us for a loop. The most widely reported source of personal stress for Aussies during April was loneliness with 28% of women and 16% of men reporting they were struggling with the isolation brought on by the lockdown measures. And we’re struggling with maintaining a healthy lifestyle with 58% of respondents saying they were spending more time in front of the telly, and 22% saying they were more drawn to the chips and lollies than usual. Meanwhile, 38% said they were doing more cooking. Nearly half are 'working' from home, which is quite a feat with all the TV watching, chip-eating and procrastibaking that’s been going on…


In fact, New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern is the most popular national leader for a century, a Newshub-Reid Research poll showed yesterday. Not bothered by the severe lockdown they observed for some weeks, the numbers indicate that Kiwis are impressed with her handling of the crisis. Ardern’s personal rating surged more than 20 points to hit 59.5% - a poll record. Meanwhile, National Party leader Simon Bridges' popularity has tanked. Not that any of it is an indicator of ongoing success. Former PM Kevin Rudd broke the Newspoll record with a 71% satisfaction rating in August 2008 as the Global Financial Crisis bit. And then he lost the leadership of the Labor Party by June 2010 as his numbers dived. Kiwis head to the polls on 19 September.


A 20-strong list of potential investors in debt-struck Virgin Australia has been whittled down to four "highly credentialed" parties by administrator Deloitte. The shortlist includes American private investors Bain Capital, Aussie private equity firm BGH Capital, US aviation investor Indigo Partners and global investor Cyrus Capital Partners. The embattled airline went into administration last month, owing almost $7 billion. The next steps are for them to submit a binding offer by 12 June, with the process to be wrapped up by the end of that month. With ongoing coronavirus travel restrictions crippling airline companies around the world, Dubai-based airline Emirates is said to be considering 30,000 job cuts – or nearly a third of its workforce. And Uber says it will cut 3,000 more jobs, bringing reductions in recent weeks to a quarter of the workforce.


Because that would mean a pair of trainers you wore in 1985 could be auctioned off for A$870,000… American basketball super-legend Michael Jordan - he’s so hot right now


ABS Data Releases - Overseas Travel Statistics, April; Weekly Payroll, Jobs and Wages (week ending 2 May); Livestock Products, March

Malcolm X Day - US

The Sussexes celebrate their second wedding anniversary

World IBD Day for those with crohn’s & colitis

Anniversary of:
• the founding of Save the Children, the first global movement for children (1919)
• Sri Lanka announcing victory in its 25-year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (2009)
• the birthdays of Dame Nellie Melba (1861), Ho Chi Minh (1890), Malcolm X (1925), Pol Pot (1925), Nora Ephron (1941)
• the deaths of Anne Boleyn (1536), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1994)

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.