Squiz Today / 03 March 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 3 March


“I’m not tired.”

Said Judy Sheindlin - aka Judge Judy - of her 25-seasons-long run with CBS that's soon to come to an end. With her earnings of US$47 million a year, it’s no wonder she’s got a distinct pep in her step…


Health authorities in NSW yesterday confirmed the first Australian cases of human-to-human transmission of coronavirus. That means the patients were infected in Australia. Until yesterday, everyone with the virus in Australia had picked it somewhere overseas. But this time, a 53yo male doctor working at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital is believed to have contracted the virus from a 43yo man who had returned from Iran. The man’s 41yo sister, who did not travel to Iran, also has the virus.

It’s a serious development. Last week, World Health Organisation boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the “continued increase in cases and the evidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China are, of course, most deeply disturbing.” But NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant sought to reassure saying there is no widespread outbreak in NSW. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said we should keep our hands to ourselves. "It's time Aussies give each other a pat on the back. No handshaking, it's not necessary." And experts said while it's not a bad thing to stock up on some longlife grocery items, there's no need to panic buy.

Three notable developments:

• Tasmania reported its first case yesterday. Australia now has 33 confirmed cases.

• A 71yo senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died after falling ill with COVID-19. Mohammad Mirmohammadi is the latest Iranian official to die from the virus. The country’s death toll is at 66 - the highest outside China.

• Elsewhere, Italy’s cases rose by 50% yesterday and doubled in Germany. And after a lot of scepticism around claims it was untouched, Indonesia yesterday confirmed its first cases. In total, the number of cases is just short of 90,000, with more than 80,000 of those in China. More than 3,000 people have died. And 45,000 people have recovered.



The impact of COVID-19 will be a big topic of discussion today around the Reserve Bank board table. With our official cash rate at a record low of 0.75%, analysts believe another cut will be announced today. What do interest rates have to do with the coronavirus outbreak? With markets being smashed and threats to our economic growth stacking up, cutting interest rates is one way of getting people and companies to borrow money to spend or invest. That, in turn, keeps people in jobs, and other good economic outcomes. Another factor the Reserve Bank will look at is the increase in home price in February, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.


Tensions have been escalating between Syria and Turkey for weeks in the northwestern province of Idlib. And now the countries are effectively at war. Syria has been trying to reclaim the last bit of territory from rebel fighters. That’s pushed refugees from the troubled region to the Turkish border. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants the Syrians to stop the strikes against the rebels and set up a safe zone. That hasn’t happened so Erdogan has launched a major counteroffensive against the Syrian government. With the fight getting uglier, discussions between Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin later this week will be closely watched.


Just as the world had worked out how to pronounce his name, moderate Democratic candidate for president Pete Buttigieg yesterday ended his campaign. And in breaking news this morning, so has Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Buttigeig is 38yo and was the first openly gay candidate to make a high profile run for president. He came from nowhere to become a top contender with his centrist policy platform, but he struggled to win support from African-American voters, a key pillar of any successful Democrats’ support base. And 59yo Klobuchar, who was campaigning as a Midwestern pragmatist who gets things done, never really broke free of the pack. Now on to Super Tuesday - which is only the biggest primary day of the year…


Summer 2019-20 - you were a stinker. And now it’s official with the Bureau of Meteorology yesterday confirming it was the second-hottest summer on record. Yep, when it came to maximum, minimum and mean temperatures, only summer 2018-19 beat it. On top of the ongoing drought, it goes some way to explaining the dry conditions that saw unprecedented bushfires devastate many parts of the country. Another big concern is the state of our water catchments with many needing a lot of rain to restore water supplies for our towns and cities, and healthy flows to our waterways. Still, things could always be worse


Geez, our women's T20 cricketers know how to take it down to the wire… In a do-or-die World Cup match against New Zealand in Melbourne yesterday afternoon, we took out the match by four runs with the Kiwis unable to reach our score of 155 in 20 overs. The win puts us into the finals, which was in doubt despite going into the tournament as favourites. Sadly, we could be minus superstar Ellyse Perry who suffered what looked like a hammy injury. Australia now plays England for a spot in Sunday’s grand final. Go you good things…


America’s “manager of the century” Jack Welsh died of renal failure at 84yo on Sunday. To followers of business, Welsh was the man who transformed General Electric into one of the biggest companies in America through his dedication to profits and unflinching ability to ‘manage’ staff. To the rest of us, he is the ever-present influence in TV comedy 30 Rock as the inspiration for the show’s corporate boss Don Geiss. Making a cameo on the show, Welsh broke the news to Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy that his hero was dead; “If you need to pass some eye water, I’ll be happy to go out and get you some weakness tissues," Welsh quipped. His corporate disciples might need some of those today.


King Island Show public holiday (Tasmania)

2.30pm (AEDT) - Reserve Bank’s decision on interest rates announced

ABS Data Release - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, December; Building Approvals, January

World Hearing Day

Birthdays for Ronan Keating (1977), Jessica Biel (1982), Camila Cabello (1997)

Anniversary of 'Star Spangled Banner' becoming America's national anthem (1931)

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