Squiz Today / 07 April 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 7 April


“What an idiot!”

Might sound like a tough assessment of your other half. But in Aussie triathlon champ Mirinda Carfrae’s defence, her husband and fellow athlete Tim O’Donnell had just tripped and pulled the plug on her smart bike killing her chances of a win in a big virtual race…


Pacific Island nations have so far avoided serious outbreaks of COVID-19 with their geography working in their favour. But governments in the region are preparing for the worst. And to bolster their efforts, Australia will send urgent supplies to the region in the coming days as officials work towards the establishment of a "humanitarian corridor" to keep medical and food supplies flowing despite travel restrictions.

Right. PM Scott Morrison has said that "we would be taking particular responsibility, with our cousins across the ditch in New Zealand, to ensure that we do everything we can to support our Pacific family.” But security analysts say there’s another reason for us to step up ASAP, and that’s China using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to get closer to Pacific Island nations. Australian policymakers have had long-standing concerns about China's growing influence in the region, and it's been noted that it's already sent medical supplies and small amounts of aid to nations like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

It's just been hit by the second strongest storm in its recorded history. Category 5 Cyclone Harold made landfall on the north and west of the country yesterday afternoon with wind speeds reaching 230km/hr. Witnesses say buildings have been levelled, and we'll find out more about the extent of the damage and injuries today. Already in a coronavirus-related state of emergency despite having no confirmed cases, authorities lifted social distancing measures to ensure people went to evacuation centres. Harold had already caused damage and loss of life as it moved across the Pacific region - particularly in the Solomons where 27 people were swept off a ferry on Friday in rough seas. Some bodies have been recovered, but many remain missing.



• In breaking news this morning, UK PM Boris Johnson is in intensive care in a London hospital after his condition worsened. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will deputise "where necessary". Johnson was admitted to hospital yesterday after he was unable to shake off a high temperature 10 days after his case of COVID-19 was confirmed.

• Japan is set to declare a state of emergency today to give local governments powers to put social restrictions in place. It has almost 3,700 cases. India is bracing for the worst following the coronavirus-related death of a man from the massive Dharavi slum in Mumbai. And the US has now recorded more than 10,000 deaths. On the numbers: there are 1.3 million cases globally and 70,000 deaths. More than 265,000 people have recovered.

• As Australia’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 41 yesterday, health officials published recovery statistics for the first time in weeks. More than a third of cases - 2,315 people - have recovered from the virus. We have recorded 5,795 cases nationwide since the crisis began.

• Not feeling so great: Year 12 students. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday floated the idea that they might need to keep studying into next year to do their final assessments. The nation's education ministers will 'meet' today to discuss the impact of the crisis on the school year.

• To the market and the index of the Australian Stock Exchange’s top 200 companies finished 4.3% up yesterday. It was feeling chipper because of the flattening of the curve of new coronavirus cases, analysts said. Less bouncy was Flight Centre: it announced the permanent closure of 428 Australian stores by the end of July as it went to investors for funding to get it through the crisis.


Former NSW police detective Gary Jubelin was yesterday found guilty of making illegal phone recordings during the investigation into the disappearance of toddler William Tyrrell in 2014. Jubelin used his phone to secretly record four conversations with suspect Paul Savage between 2017 and 2018. Handing down the verdict, Magistrate Ross Hudson said Jubelin had pursued Savage “at all costs” and without evidence of his involvement in the 3yo’s disappearance. Outside court, Jubelin said he was “disappointed” by the ruling, but respected the court’s decision. The foster parents of William Tyrrell praised the efforts of the man who was one of the state's most experienced investigators. He will be sentenced tomorrow and faces a maximum of five years in jail.


Global oil prices slumped again yesterday after meetings to deal with the Saudi-Russia price war were delayed and reports surfaced on the screeching halt in global demand for fuel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That slowdown hit Australia yesterday with Caltex announcing it will extend a planned temporary maintenance shutdown of its Lytton refinery in Brisbane. It is one of Australia's last remaining oil refineries with a lot fuels shipped in from overseas. Reports say petrol sales have fallen between 30-50% on 2019 volumes in the last couple of weeks.


The UK makers of the popular TV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? aren’t the only ones to have fallen prey to scam artists… SMS and email scams are on the rise as dodgy people take advantage of the confusion and chaos the coronavirus has delivered. Australians are reporting an increase in emails and text messages seeking money or personal details sent by scammers posing as organisations like Australia Post, the banks and the Tax Office. One message service has warned Aussies to verify any suspicious messages. "Most reputable businesses won't be sending texts asking for sensitive information," said MessageMedia's Ben Mostafa.


Alexander Thynne, the Marquess of Bath, has died after contracting COVID-19, and this obituary is really something... Our favourite line: “He spent many years writing his autobiography, Strictly Private, which was originally planned for 19 volumes.” A tabloid favourite and ‘unconventional’ character, let’s just say he had a bit to write about…


The High Court to hand down its decision on Cardinal George Pell’s final appeal

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange back in court for a procedural hearing as the US continues its fight to him to face national security charges - London

World Health Day - and it’s the anniversary of the founding of WHO (1948)

ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, February

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide (UN)

Birthdays for Francis Ford Coppola (1939), Jackie Chan (1954)and Russell Crowe (1964)

Anniversary of:
• Australian Teddy Flack gold medal win in the 1,500 metres at the first Olympic Games in Athens (1896)
• the release of the world's first animated cartoon Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)

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