Squiz Today / 05 February 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 5 February


“The effect of the clap was instant and the rival males rapidly dispersed.”

Said Dr Ben Burville from the UK’s Newcastle University of catching a male wild grey seal clapping as he approached a female to send his competition on their way. Which means they’re different from most of the blokes we know - they hear applause and move towards it thinking it's for them…


It wasn’t the classic Western movie scene you might think the Nationals would embrace. You know, pistols at dawn with two rivals saying not much about what's about to go down. Instead, Deputy PM Michael McCormack faced off against the man who lost the job two years ago, Barnaby Joyce, in a partyroom vote yesterday morning. McCormack won, but the margin is unknown with the Nats not releasing the results of its internal ballots. The item that was meant to be the main order of business until Joyce challenged for the leadership was the election of the party’s deputy leader following Bridget McKenzie’s resignation on Sunday. That position went to Queenslander David Littleproud.

Whoa there, partner… Sure, the men were civil after the vote. McCormack said "The fact is, I shook hands with Barnaby. We will move on." Joyce said he would “strive for the re-election of a Morrison-McCormack Government as this is definitely the better outcome for Australia and especially of regional people." And that sound you could hear yesterday morning was the owners of this mug breathing a sigh of relief... But many pollie-watchers say this is the start of something for the Nationals, not the end. The Nats’ process was in contrast to that of the Greens. Adam Bandt was yesterday elected leader unopposed after Richard Di Natale resigned on Monday to spend more time with his family.

It wasn’t missed by Labor leader Anthony Albanese and others that as the federal parliament’s first day back for 2020, our MPs’ attention should have been focused elsewhere. Like remembering those who lost their lives during the summer’s bushfire emergency, and committing to a response. On that front, PM Scott Morrison has written to the states to ask for their feedback on the establishment of a royal commission into the bushfires that he would like former Chief of the Defence, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin, to lead. To round that out, the Reserve Bank yesterday kept the official interest rate on hold at 0.75% saying it needed to see how the summer’s bushfires and coronavirus outbreak plays out for our economy.



The Morrison Government's working on getting another chartered Qantas plane to Wuhan by the weekend. Reports also say an Air New Zealand flight carrying up to 50 Australians will arrive in Auckland later today. Adding to the logistics puzzle are complaints by some Aussies about being "kept in the dark" throughout the crisis. There are also complaints aplenty coming from those who are in quarantine in the Christmas Island detention centre… One ray of sunlight is that lobsters are going cheap (yay). But it’s at the expense of our export seafood industry (boo). Meanwhile, the number of people infected with the virus passed the 20,000 mark yesterday, and 427 people are confirmed to have died in total. That includes a Hongkonger - the second death outside of mainland China. The number of cases in Australia rose last night to 13 when an 8yo Chinese national in Brisbane was confirmed to have the virus.

This story is going to be around for a while, so we’ve done a Squiz Shortcut covering the basics - what the virus is, how it started, and what it will take to shut it down. Because an informed conversation is a good conversation...


Not a great start to the Democrats’ attempt to retake the White House… Kicking off the process of selecting its candidate in the presidential election at the end of this year, the Iowa Caucus is always the first stop. And it’s known as a caucus because the state holds 1,600 meetings where rounds of voting knock out candidates with less than 15% of the vote (as compared to a ‘primary’ that happens in most other states where members simply rock up and vote in secret). President Donald Trump won 97% of the vote on his side. But it wasn’t as smooth for the Democrats where the result is still unknown after an app that was to record the results malfunctioned. That meant precinct captains had to dial in the result to call state party headquarters, whose phone lines quickly became jammed. Trump tweeted that his opponent’s night “was an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country.” It's a point he's likely to repeat in his State of the Union address today.


After being overlooked last year, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has been nominated for 2020's Nobel Peace Prize. The organisation closed applications on Saturday and does not publicly confirm who has been nominated. Still, reports say two Swedish politicians want her to be recognised for her work to “make politicians open their eyes to the climate crisis”. Which means it is probably a good time for the founder of ‘Fridays for Future’ and Time’s 2019 Person of the Year to focus on her brand… The award is announced in October.


Gee, we hope we're not jinxing this, but it's looking like some parts of Australia will receive their heaviest rainfall in years over the coming week, with Queensland and NSW’s east coast getting the bulk of it. While the downpour - which is predicted to reach up to 100mm and 200mm in some parts - will likely cause some flash flooding, meteorologists reckon it’s enough to extinguish some bushfires. Unfortunately, there's no respite for southern WA, which is in the midst of a heatwave that is set to intensify as a cyclone develops in the north. Across the Tasman, New Zealand is also experiencing some wild weather, including flooding and landslides. Hikers were evacuated by helicopter from Fiordland on the South Island yesterday, while another 195 people remain stranded at Milford Sound, but are due to be evacuated today.


Get your mind out of the gutter… We’re talking about drinks and the trend to put alcohol in everything. From coffee to kombucha, ‘hard’ drinks are on the rise, particularly in the US. According to consumer research firm Nielsen, beer sales declined nearly 5% over the past year in America with thirsty people (we said to keep it out of the gutter…) turning to other options including hard seltzer, which reached US$500 million in sales last year. It’s a drink that’s only recently made an appearance in our bottleshops and bars. And as many turn away from grog towards health and wellbeing, the non-alcoholic beverage market is forecast to reach US$1.25 trillion in the US by 2024. That’s a lot of Mishy Champagne


According to its creators, the new pinched fingers emoji is supposed to represent the classic Italian hand gesture, meaning “what do you want?” But others reckon the gesture conveys a myriad of meanings across different cultures. Israelis use the gesture to express annoyance. In Nigeria, it signals a back-and-forth argument. And some say it's close to K-Pop star Yuri's hand gesture for dumpling. Which sounds like a recipe for disaster if, for example, you thought you were asking a mate out for some wontons, but you sent it to the wrong person, and now they think you're annoyed with them… In total, 117 new emojis will be added this year.


12.30pm (AEDT) - Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank to address the National Press Club - Sydney

1.00pm (AEDT) - US President Donald Trump to make his State of the Union address

Students in Tasmania return to school

World Nutella Day

Birthdays for Michael Sheen (1969), Mary Crown Princess of Denmark (1972) and Christiano Ronaldo (1985)

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