Squiz Today / 30 September 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 30 September


“Single and lonely during a pandemic? ...Microsoft Outage.”

With the tech giant yesterday confirming a global crash of its widely used programs including Teams, Outlook and OneDrive for some of the Aussie workday, there was no end to what some savvy blame-layers could level at it…


Officials and world leaders took stock of the devastation wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic yesterday as the authoritative John Hopkins University tracker passed one million deaths. Reuters estimates that 5,400 people are dying around the world every 24 hours. The US has the world's highest death toll with more than 205,000 fatalities. It’s followed by Brazil with 142,000 deaths and India where 97,000 people have died. Globally, there have been 33.4 million cases recorded across 188 countries. And more than 23 million people have recovered from the virus. It took from 9 January to 29 June to record 500,000 deaths, and the next 500,000 came in 3 months.

And experts warn that there could be more cases and deaths than have been reported. Looking forward, the World Health Organisation this week warned that the death toll could hit 2 million before a vaccine is available. That's because there are concerns about new waves of infection, particularly in Europe, the UK (which had a record number of new daily cases overnight) and the US. But as for the epicentre of the virus right now - that’s India. With 6.1 million cases, it’s fast catching up to America’s 7.1 million as it racks up around 90,000 new infections a day. United Nations boss António Guterres said reaching one million deaths was a "mind-numbing" figure and "an agonising milestone". And Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was “a milestone that no one would want to have ever seen” but that Australia had “fared better than almost any other country in the world.”

In total, Australia has recorded 27,063 cases and 882 deaths (663 of those in aged care) since the global health emergency began early this year. There have been 24,396 people who have recovered from the virus. And there are currently 420 active cases around the country (or 454 if you count people in hotel quarantine in NSW). In the last couple of weeks, the rate of community transmission has come right down, in large part due to the strict lockdown in Victoria after the second wave of cases there. That progress has seen Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announce the easing of quarantine arrangements for residents of NSW and Victoria looking to go West from early next month. PM Morrison is also hoping that home quarantine for international travellers from ‘safe’ countries could make things easier in the future for them too. Next stop: National Cabinet on Friday…



Heading to the Fair Work Commission today - a pay dispute between the Maritime Union and port operator Partick Terminals. The company says it’s 3 weeks behind when it comes to unloading container ships at Sydney’s Port Botany because unionised workers are on a go-slow. That’s costing the Australian economy, and it’s only going to get worse with 38 ships carrying 100,000 containers waiting “out there” to be unloaded, Patrick says. The union says those estimates are wildly overblown. And it says it’s been able to negotiate a pay deal with the 2 other big port operators by compromising on its initial 6% pay rise claim by coming down to 2.5% until the coronavirus crisis is over. But without a deal with Patrick, the union called for strike action on Friday - a threat has been withdrawn. That’s seen the Morrison Government step in to join Patrick in taking the union to the Commission today. In the meantime, some exporters would like to be compensated for the delays…


Warm up the popcorn maker and cross your fingers for another work-related tech outage - it’s the first US presidential election debate. In the red corner, Republican candidate President Donald Trump. And in the blue, it’s Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden. In this unusual campaign, and with 5 weeks before election day, the debate feels like a quaint injection of routine. Covering 1.5 hours, it will be carved into 6 x 15-minute segments covering their track records, COVID-19, the US Supreme Court, the economy, the integrity of the election, and race. So just a couple of things… And it’s hosted by Chris Wallace from Fox News, who’s known for being tough on everyone. Tune in to SBS, ABC News, or Nine at 11am (AEST), and buckle up…


Kuwait's leader Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah died yesterday at the age of 91yo. Known as a peacemaker and the “wise man” of the Gulf region, Sheikh Sabah was one of the oil-rich country’s most powerful men for almost 60 years overseeing foreign policy since 1963, and as emir since 2006. He was dubbed the "dean of Arab diplomacy" for his efforts to restore relations across the region after Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was "an extraordinary symbol of wisdom and generosity, a messenger of peace, a bridge-builder". He had been in the US since July for medical care for an undisclosed illness. Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah (83yo) - Sheikh Sabar’s half-brother - has been named as the country's new leader.


It was a sweet gesture that’s gone badly wrong... Prince William hosted Sir David Attenborough at Kensington Palace on the weekend for a private viewing of his new documentary, A Life On Our Planet. There, a captivated Prince George was given a giant 23-million-year-old fossilised tooth from a carcharocles megalodon (aka a mega extinct shark) by the revered naturalist. It was found by Sir David during a holiday to Malta in the late '60s. Prince George was chuffed. Malta? Not so much... After calling for its tooth back, Malta quickly did a U-turn yesterday after critics pointed out that megalodon shark chompers can be bought for less than 50 euros. And here we were thinking that leaving Charlotte and Louis out of the gift-giving list was going to be the issue…


It’s been a while since we last saw you - the summers of 2010-11 and 2011-12, in fact. And back then, the weather phenomenon brought a lot of rain... You’ll recall the devastating floods that hit Brisbane, Ipswich and towns in southeast Queensland in January 2011, for example… Meteorologists say they don’t expect this La Nina to be that strong, but they do expect above average rain. You'd think that’s great news for our farmers - and it will be for those who haven’t had much of a drop this year. But for those who have had enough to put in crops that are harvested during summer, they need dry conditions. Tricky game, eh? An undeniable positive for everyone is the reduced fire risks we’ll likely see this season. A good explainer on how La Nina works is here.


Pop icon Whitney Houston most likely knew that Taylor Swift was trouble when she walked in… But yesterday, the young songstress took one moment in time when she said “you belong with me” to the record for the most weeks at #1 by a woman on the Billboard 200 album chart, thanks to the success of Folklore. “It’s not right, but it’s ok,” Houston fans might say to Swift as they put aside any bad blood and shake it off. It’s a big record to fall, so fans of both outrageously successful music legends will be forgiven for getting so emotional


11.00am (AEST) - First Presidential Debate - Cleveland, Ohio

12.30pm (AEST) - Pat Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

1.45pm (AEST) - Women's T20 Cricket - Australia v New Zealand - Brisbane

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, August

Botswana’s National Day

Start of Fat Bear Week

International Translation Day (UN)

International Podcast Day

Birthdays for actor Fran Drescher (1957) and dancer Maddie Ziegler (2002)

Anniversary of:
• anaesthetic ether being used for the first time by American dentist Dr William Morton (1846)
• 22 Nazi leaders being found guilty of war crimes at the Nuremberg war trials (1946)
• the death of James Dean (1955)
• the premiere of the cartoon The Flintstones (1960)

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