Squiz Today / 28 July 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 28 July


"Why wouldn't you be? It was the show that had everything.”

Said A Country Practice actor Shane Withington of David Bowie’s obsession with the show. Why he and fellow devotee Iggy Pop didn’t write a ballad dedicated to Withington’s onscreen wife Molly is one of life’s great missed opportunities…


Australia yesterday recorded the worst day of the pandemic so far with new coronavirus cases rising by 549. The vast majority were from Victoria with 532 cases, all via community transmission. NSW recorded 17 new cases, including eight returned international travellers. No other state or territory added to their tallies yesterday. And with that, health officials had some good and bad news...

Six more people died, which takes the national toll to 161. Five of those deaths were linked to aged care homes. That prompted Federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd to say that we should expect “many further deaths in the days ahead." The spread of the virus in aged care homes is a big concern and steps have been taken to limit the risk. "The people affected are much-loved parents, grandparents and great-grandparents ... we must all be doing everything that we can to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Professor Kidd said. Another downer: World Health Organisation boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said COVID-19 is “easily the most severe” global health emergency the agency’s faced with the number of cases doubling in the last six weeks.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says the modelling suggests yesterday’s big number of new cases “should be the peak" of the state's coronavirus outbreak. He did add there are a lot of variables and no guarantees, but it is something. Another ray of hope: the vaccine being developed in the US by Moderna is starting late-stage testing and could be ready by the end of the year if all goes well. Fingers, toes, legs, arms and eyes crossed...



Authorities warn that Chinese international students in Oz are being targeted by scammers who force victims to stage their own kidnapping. How’s that work, you ask? Scammers posing as the Chinese officials have been calling their targets telling them they’ve committed a crime or had their identity stolen, but it can be fixed for a fee. And in some cases, they are talked into staging their own kidnapping to trick their families into paying a big ransom. This year, scammers have pocketed $3.2 million in ransom payments from eight international students via the ‘virtual kidnapping’ method. NSW Police Superintendent Darren Bennett said such crimes, usually headed by organised crime syndicates, were becoming increasingly common.


The consumer watchdog is suing tech giant Google for allegedly misleading “millions of Australians”. The ACCC says we’ve given away more of our personal information than we realised when the online search mega-giant sent a notification about a change to its privacy policy back in 2016. The changes allowed the company to monitor our "non-Google" web browsing to improve its targeted advertising. While Google argues its notifications were "easy to understand" and optional, the regulator says users were prompted to click "I agree" to the notification without giving "explicit informed consent". The case will be brought before the Federal Court and could be one of several cases big tech faces with the ACCC focused on the sector.


The unrest kicked off in May with the death of black man George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis is ongoing in several major US cities including Los Angeles, Seattle and Louisville. The weekend brought some violent scenes following the Trump administration’s move to send federal agents to several cities to help authorities’ counter protests, much to the agitation of demonstratorsPortland is a particular focus where there have been protests every night for two months, stretching police resources and patience. In Sydney, a push to hold a Black Lives Matter protest today was knocked back again by the Supreme Court over coronavirus concerns. Organisers say the event will still go ahead, and police have warned fines will be handed out.


Polls, eh. They’re like mashed potatoes - best taken with a pinch of salt… But three notable reads of the public mood say:

• The world admires Deutschland. And not just for its extensive processed meat range... When it comes to global leadership, an annual Gallup poll has Germany ahead of the US for the third year running.

• Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern is miles ahead coming into our cuzzy bros’ election campaign. Her Labor Party clocked 61% support in a Newshub-Reid Research poll - the highest on record. It was a result best read with briefcase cake

• Neither US presidential candidate is doing it for voters. A national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll says 50% 'strongly' disapprove of US President Donald Trump. And 37% said they feel the same about Democratic hopeful Joe Biden. That makes for a hectic few months for the remaining 13%...


Homes on NSW’s Central Coast are at risk of collapsing into the sea as strong winds, heavy rainfalls and high tides batter the state’s coastline. The weather bureau issued a severe weather warning yesterday afternoon for the long stretch of coastline between Newcastle and the Victorian border with flooding reported up and down the coast. The low-pressure system that's wreaking havoc is forecast to move away from the coastline this afternoon. Meanwhile in the US, Hurricane Hanna has been downgraded to a tropical depression after it made landfall in Texas over the weekend bringing widespread damage. And in Hawaii, Hurricane Douglas narrowly avoided becoming the third hurricane to ever make landfall on the holiday haven. It skipped past Oahu and Kauai late yesterday. Phew...


Here's a new string to your dinner party conversation bow for when you're back on the circuit… Tom Hanks - big Greece fan. In fact, he's a Greek Orthodox convert, and he and wife Rita Wilson own a home there. And he’s now a Greek citizen. Opa…


A verdict in the first trial against Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak over his role in the 1MDB scandal expected

Actor Johnny Depp’s libel case against News Group Newspapers set to wrap up - London

Ministers Marise Payne and Linda Reynolds kick off AUSMIN discussions with their US counterparts - Washington DC

World Hepatitis Day

Birthdays for Garfield creator Jim Davis (1945), Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (1952) and Venezuelan opposition leader/acting President Juan Guaidó (1983)

Anniversary of:
• the invention of the hamburger in Connecticut (1900)
• Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia starting WWI (1914)
• the release of Walt Disney's animated film Alice In Wonderland (1951)
• the Provisional Irish Republican Army calling an end to their 30-year armed campaign in Northern Ireland (2005)
• the birthdays of Beatrix Potter (1866), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929)
• the deaths of Thomas Cromwell (1540), Antonio Vivaldi (1741), Johann Sebastian Bach (1750)

Wednesday 1.30am (AEST) - Emmy nominations announced

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