Squiz Today / 29 July 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday 29 July


"I felt a bit gutted about it.”

Said Alyce Charlesworth of the disappearance of a shortfin eel her grandfather hosted in a wading pool in his backyard in Whangārei, New Zealand. Going by the name Eel McPherson, the model fish was a family fixture for 35 years. And the hope is it’s slithered off to the ocean to breed. Talk about slip slidin’ away…


As Victoria confirmed a further 384 new cases of coronavirus and six more deaths, PM Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the crisis unfolding in aged care homes in Melbourne yesterday. Already claiming 39 elderly people's lives during the spike in infections in the state, there are currently 769 residents with active cases of coronavirus, and 170 have been moved into hospitals. More than 400 healthcare workers in Victoria have also been infected, including many aged care workers. It’s a situation that’s opened some cracks in the federal-state government relationship as COVID-19 continues its rampage.

Like a lot of the good old federal-state argy-bargy, it stems from jurisdiction. In this case, the federal government is responsible for the funding and regulation of aged care. Already under pressure for his government’s management of the surge in coronavirus cases, Premier Andrews was at pains to paint this part of the cluster disaster as not being on him. To make his point, he said he couldn’t say with confidence “that staff and management across a number of private sector aged care facilities are able to provide the care that is appropriate to keep their residents safe.” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt condemned the Premier’s remarks and defended aged care workers saying ”I will not hear a word against them.” He also accused Victorian government-run public hospitals of making it difficult for aged care residents to be transferred.

To “help” the feds manage the situation, elective surgery has been cancelled in Victoria except for urgent procedures, and those nurses moved “into a number of aged care settings,” Andrews said. And the federal government is sending medicos and nurses, including from the Defence Force, to boost staff numbers. Meanwhile, PM Morrison cut short a week-long work trip to Queensland to get back to Canberra to oversee things. Little of that would be much comfort to the families who have lost a loved one or have someone in one of the 61 affected aged care homes in Victoria today.



As Australia lined up with the US to reject China’s claims to vast parts of the South China Sea on the weekend, the US said it wants Aussie warships to up their presence in the region. With Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in Washington DC for talks with their American counterparts, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this morning praised Australia for standing up to China. PM Morrison hasn't committed to doing more in the South China Sea saying Australia will pursue its “own national interest” in its own time. #SquizShortcut


British-Aussie academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who is serving a 10-year jail sentence in Iran over spying charges, has been moved to a notoriously violent and overcrowded women’s prison, reports say. The Melbourne University lecturer who specialises in Islamic Studies was held in Tehran’s Evin Prison for almost two years before being moved to Qarchak women’s prison, which is in a remote desert east of Tehran. Last month, the US State Department said “extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognised human rights” have happened in Qarchak. Moore-Gilbert was arrested and convicted in Iran in 2018. She denies any wrongdoing and her supporters say her detention is politically motivated. Our government has expressed concern for her wellbeing.


Hands up if you were glued to the TV waiting for the Kuala Lumpur court’s decision on former Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s fate? Just us then… Well, you missed a corker. He was found guilty of all seven charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison in the first of several corruption trials. This one focused on allegations of a criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power. It all comes back to the 1MDB state fund which was set up by Najib in 2009 to facilitate foreign investment in development projects across the country. Problem was it’s claimed that an estimated US$1 billion ended up in his personal bank account. A whole lot more went to his family and connections for luxury real estate, Van Gogh and Monet artworks, and on the making of Hollywood blockbuster, The Wolf of Wall Street. Malaysia’s leader until he was beaten in 2018's election, Najib’s former political party is back in favour and pundits are watching to see if a deal is done to get him off#SquizShortcut


OUR POOR WILDLIFE - A WWF Australia study says nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced in the devastating Black Summer bushfires - a tripling of previous estimates. That’s still on the conservative side, researchers say, because it doesn’t include turtles and fish affected by ash and debris in the water.

TASSIE SHARK A WHOPPER - The shark that pulled a 10yo boy out of a fishing boat a couple of weeks ago is believed to be a 3.5m great white shark. CSIRO marine scientists made the assessment by looking at bite marks in the boy’s life jacket.

GIVE THAT MAN A NOBEL PRIZE - For spin… North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un says “there will be no more war on this earth” because the nation’s nuclear arsenal means he can protect it "against any high pressure and military threats of imperialists and hostile forces." Rates himself, that bloke…


It’s getting around to be Emmys time again where the best of the year in TV is celebrated. And leading the pack is HBO’s superhero epic Watchmen with 26 nominations. Netflix’s Ozark was the next line for the big nods. The streaming services are where it’s at for content creation with Netflix leading with a record-setting 160 nominations. For the Aussies, Cate Blanchett (Mrs America), Toni Collette (Unbelievable), Hugh Jackman (Bad Education), Sarah Snook (Succession) are in the running. And to prove there is some justice in the world, Schitt's Creek received 15 nominations for its final season. Winners will be announced on 20 September. And for literature’s prestigious Booker Prize, Hilary Mantel is going for first, second and third time lucky with the final installation of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light*. If Mantel pulls it off, she will be the first author to take the gong three times. She'll have to beat another high profile finalist Anne Tyler with Redhead by the Side of the Road*. They are two of 13 novels to make the longlist, nine are authored by women. We’ll have to wait until November to hear who’s won.


Emus - they’re the worst. If they aren’t chasing you around the paddock when you’re a terrified 8yo (just us again?), they’re taking up space in the pub and pooing all over the place. Good luck to the Yaraka Hotel in Queensland as it tries to keep a couple of birds in line


ABS Data Release - Consumer Price Index, June

12.30pm (AEST) - Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell and CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia Peter Strong address the National Press Club - Canberra

The Michelle Obama Podcast launches on Spotify

This year’s five-day-long Hajj begins. Only a limited number of people already in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to participate

International Tiger Day

Anniversary of:
• the Irish Famine Rebellion (1848)
• the death of Vincent Van Gogh (1890)
• the publication of the first volume of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
• Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding (1981)
• Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road breaks the record for longest run at the top of US singles chart at 17 weeks (2019)

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