Squiz Today / 11 March 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 11 March


“Hot cross bacon buttie”

Is what one Pommy bakery is using its day-old Easter buns for to cut back on waste. Our head says 'no' while our heart says 'don't knock it 'til you try it’...


Australia now has 113 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there are many more who are in isolation and being tested for the virus. And there are signs that the public health system is under significant pressure as people queue up at hospitals for a test, callers face long delays on advice hotlines, and GP clinics struggle to manage. And so PM Scott Morrison will today unveil a $2.4 billion health package that includes pop-up clinics, video consultations, and $500 million to the states to help cover the anticipated $1 billion slug the coronavirus will inflict on our health system.

As the global health emergency created by this outbreak unfolds, there will be more cases. And if the public isn’t confident in the health system and is confused about what they’re meant to be doing, that’s a dangerous problem - particularly as clusters of cases start forming, like in Sydney. Which is why it is no surprise the government will spend $30 million on an information campaign to help Australians understand who needs to be tested and what to do if you suspect you have been exposed to the virus. Bolstering the health system is just one of the many coronavirus-related issues the government is grappling with. Pulling together an economic response is the next big cab off the rank.

It is. Australia’s had 29 years of growth, so if you're under the age of 40yo, you'll probably don't know what a recession looks like. Spoiler alert: it ain't pretty… And you don't need to look further than two prominent Aussie businesses to see how quickly things have escalated. Qantas yesterday slashed almost 25% of its international seats, grounded the equivalent of 38 planes, and cut executive pay and bonuses in response to a big downturn in travel. "We know we can ride this out. Not all airlines in the world will," CEO Alan Joyce said. And stationery retailer Kikki.K has hit the skids. It’s gone into receivership with Brexit, the unrest in Hong Kong, bushfires and the coronavirus proving too much for the Aussie retailer that expanded overseas in 2016. Those sounds you can hear are organisational devotees crying into their multi-tabbed inspiration folders…



Italy has gone into lockdown. All of Italy… That means there are travel restrictions, advice for people to stay at home, and a ban on public gatherings until 3 April. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said; "I have been thinking about the old speeches of Churchill - it is our darkest hour, but we will make it". In America, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a containment zone in the city of New Rochelle where facilities and schools will shut, and the National Guard has been deployed to deliver food to homes. And President Donald Trump's incoming chief-of-staff Mark Meadows has been in quarantine after coming into contact with someone at a conference who has since been confirmed to have the virus. Which has raised questions about Trump’s exposure. And you know we’re in a crisis when Ireland calls off St Patrick’s Day parades


A HIGH PROFILE APPEAL - Cardinal George Pell’s last shot at having his child abuse conviction overturned will be heard in the High Court today and tomorrow. It’s his second appeal against his six-year jail term. He maintains his innocence.

A HIGH PROFILE SENTENCING - Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is due to be sentenced today, following last month's conviction on sexual assault charges. While Weinstein faces a maximum of 25 years in prison, his defence team is pushing for the 67yo to be cleared on appeal.

MORE PRIMARIES IN THE US - The next round of Who Wants To Be A Democratic Presidential Candidate? has kicked off across six American states. Michigan has the biggest chunk of delegates and is the one to watch. Left-winger Bernie Sanders won the state over Hillary Clinton in 2016, but the polls are predicting frontrunner Joe Biden to win this time around.


And just like that, the Sussexes’ public duties as senior royals are done and dusted. The couple attended the Commonwealth Day service at London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday. It was their first appearance alongside other family members since they announced their plan to vamoose, so the service had some extra scrutiny. In particular, their interaction with William and Kate (allegedly frosty) and Harry’s mood (allegedly “solemn and pensive”). And then it was over and a car “whisked them off to their uncertain future,” said The Guardian. So dramatic… Some pics are here.

While we have you… Prince Andrew has said yeah, nah to helping America’s FBI as it continues to investigate dead billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s involvement in trafficking girls. US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said his office was "considering its options" to obtain evidence from the royal who was friends with the disgraced financier. Buckingham Palace did not comment.


Ye olde rockers Led Zeppelin must be feeling a whole lotta relief after an American court upheld a 2016 verdict that they didn’t steal the opening riff to their famous hit Stairway To Heaven from another band. The music legends were accused in 2014 of ripping off a song called Taurus which was written in 1968 by American band Spirit - three years before Stairway To Heaven was released. The finding has saved Led Zeppelin duo Robert Plant and Jimmy Page millions of dollars in damages - and a massive hit to their legacies.


Charlie, a female Komodo dragon from Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee, proved she's an independent lizard after giving birth to three hatchlings without the help of a male partner. What the what? A phenomenon called parthenogenesis, which is observed in only 0.1% of vertebrates, means that an egg can fertilise another egg - no blokes required. It's a process that evolved in Komodo dragons due to their solitary and violent nature. There's just one catch - parthenogenesis can only produce male offspring. The things you learn…


To lighten the news load, check out this Insta post of a baby koala holding a toy koala... Sorry that there’s some bloke called Chris Hemsworth in the way…


12.30pm (AEDT) - Senator for SA Rex Patrick, Hugh White and Peter Jennings to address the National Press Club - Canberra

10.00pm (AEDT) - Women's Soccer Olympic Qualifying Match - Australia vs Vietnam - Cẩm Phả, Vietnam

Harvey Weinstein's sentencing hearing

George Pell's High Court appeal (until 12 March)

US Democratic primaries in six states including Michigan

Katy Perry bushfire relief concert - Bright, Victoria

ABS Data Release - Lending Indicators, January; Livestock and Meat, January

The World's Greatest Shave begins (on until 15 March)

Birthdays for Rupert Murdoch (1931), Benji and Joel Madden (1979)

Anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the second-worst nuclear accident in history at Fukushima nuclear plant (2011)

Anniversary of Madrid train bombings which killed 193 (2004)

Anniversary of John Howard becoming Australian PM (1996)

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