Squiz Today / 28 January 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 28 January


“If you're plagued by bad luck, acknowledging it may help you avoid taking unnecessary risks."

Says Hong Kong Chinese astrology master So Man-fung Peter of managing the Year of the Rat. We also have some useful advice for you: refrain from walking in front of trucks, and you won't get hit…


To call Kobe Bryant an American basketballer is a bit like calling Ian Thorpe an Aussie swimmer. Bryant was an all-time great of the game. And yesterday the 41yo died in a helicopter crash with his 13yo daughter Gianna and seven others. The group was making their way to a basketball academy where Bryant coached his daughter's team when they hit a steep hillside at speed in dense fog in Southern California. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined, and authorities say it could take some time to recover the bodies and examine the crash site, which is in rough terrain.

Three quick points:

• Drafted to the NBA directly out of high school in 1996, the 6’6” Bryant spent his record-breaking career with the LA Lakers. He was the league’s Most Valuable Player for the 2007-8 season, MVP of the 2009 and 2010 finals series, scored a second-highest-ever 81-point game in 2006, and helped Team USA win two Olympic medals. He retired in 2016.

• Married with four daughters, including 7-month-old Capri, he was known for his epic work ethic. But his is not a straightforward legacy: he was arrested in 2003 over allegations he raped a 19yo hotel worker. The case against Bryant was dropped, there was a civil settlement, and Bryant publicly apologised.

• Always with an eye off the court, Bryant co-founded an investment firm that has more than US$2 billion under management. And post-retirement, Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, which he wrote and narrated.

There has been an outpouring of grief from the former big names of the game like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal. Current Lakers’ star LeBron James was clearly shaken up having just passed Bryant’s scoring record the night before. And former President Barack Obama summed up what many thought about the loss of the talented father and daughter. “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents,” he tweeted.



At least 81 people have died from coronavirus - a severe acute respiratory infection for which there is no cure or vaccine. More than 2,700 people have been confirmed ill. In Australia, five people are confirmed to have the virus, with four of those in Sydney, and 25 more are being tested. All flights from China into Australia are now being met by border security officers to identify unwell passengers and issue health warnings. In China, more cities are in lockdown, and the national new year holiday has been extended by three days to Sunday, in an attempt to contain the spread. To date, no deaths have been recorded outside China. Our Foreign Minister Marise Payne says it’s going to be difficult to get Aussies (including 100 kids) in the Wuhan area out, and some of our private schools have told students who recently travelled to China not to return to school for at least a fortnight.


US Senate Republicans are aiming to hold the ultimate vote on accusations US President Donald Trump misused his power and tried to obstruct investigations by the end of next weekend. Impeachment trials have been known to go for about six weeks, but Trump’s trial is on hyperspeed in comparison. That’s despite Trump’s former national security adviser, Republican loyalist John Bolton, claiming the President did want to hold up Ukraine’s defence aid until it started investigating opponent, Democrat Joe Biden - a key accusation against him. Meanwhile, the first vote on who will be Trump’s Democratic opponent happens in Iowa next week - and the polls there have economic equality campaigner Bernie Sanders basically tied with former VP Biden.


Aussie of the Year - Dr James Muecke. Co-founder of Vision Myanmar and Sight For All, Muecke is currently focused on preventing the leading cause of blindness in adults - type 2 diabetes. In his sights this year, a fight against sugar. Other winners: Bernie Shakeshaft is 2020’s Local Hero for his work with disadvantaged rural youth; obstetrics specialist John Newnham is Senior Australian of the Year for his work in the prevention of pre-term birth; and tennis ace Ash Barty is the Young Australian of the Year for inspiring youngsters to follow their dreams. More than 800 Aussies were also recognised with an Aussie Day Honour.


Rafael Nadal, but only after a four-set, 3.5-hour match last night against Nick Kyrgios. With not a lot of love between the pair, Nadal was generous in his praise of Kyrgios after the game saying he wants to see more of him playing positively. Kyrgios said despite the loss, "overall all this summer has been fun." And Ash Barty is certainly working for it. She’s through to the quarterfinals after an up-and-down-and-up-again match on Sunday. Our world #1 takes on seventh seed Petra Kvitová at 12.30pm (AEDT) today.


Billie Eilish - a winner here in Oz and in the broader music world. She became the first solo female artist to take out Triple J’s Hottest 100 on Saturday with bad guy (maybe the local sound effect might have put her into the lead?). And yesterday she took out the big four - Best New Artist, Song, Record and Album of the Year - at the Grammys, as well as Best Pop Vocal Album. She’s the first since Christopher Cross in 1981 to sail away with that feat. Her bro Finneas - who co-wrote, produced and engineered Eilish’s lauded album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - walked away as Sunday’s top winner with six Grammys. Interesting guy… All the winners are here. And it’s not a glamour event without a red carpet gallery... Lil Nas X - nailed it


Students in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, NSW (Eastern Division) and Victoria return to school

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House to discuss work towards a peace accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians

ABS Data Release - In Focus: Crime and Justice Statistics, Partner Violence,

Anniversary of Roger Federer becoming the first man to claim 20 Grand Slam titles after winning the Australian Open for the 6th time (2018)

Anniversary of the explosion of USS Space Shuttle Challenger just over a minute after takeoff, killing all 7 crew members (1986)

Anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice in the UK (1813)

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