Squiz Today / 05 May 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 5 May


“Usual suave diplomatic speak gets nothing done.”

And so the Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin went on to direct some colourful language towards China in the latest furore over disputed waters. Geez, tell ‘em what you really think...


After 27 years of marriage, billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing. Despite "a lot of work on our relationship", the couple says they "no longer believe they can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives". They remain co-chairs and trustees of the $50 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But there is a lot more to divvy up... Bill, who co-founded tech leader Microsoft, is listed by Forbes as the world’s 4th-richest person with a net worth of $170 billion.

Bill (65yo) and Melinda (56yo) met in 1987 at a dinner in New York not long after she started working at Microsoft as a product manager. Their relationship was casual at first, but things got serious - so serious that Bill took to his whiteboard to make a pros-and-cons list about making a long-term commitment. How romantic... The pros must have won out because the couple tied the knot in Hawaii in 1994. They have 3 children - Jennifer (25yo), Rory (21yo) and Phoebe (18yo). And together they built an empire including their philanthropic venture - the largest of its type in the world. It's the 2nd-largest donor to the World Health Organisation... Over the past 2 decades, it’s spent almost $50 billion tackling malaria and polio eradication, child nutrition and distributing vaccines. And there have been big contributions towards fighting COVID-19, climate change and advocating for women’s rights.

That’s the multi-billion-dollar question… Some reports say Melinda could be in line for half of the couple's wealth if they divorce in a so-called community property state like California, where they own property. Other reports say they have reached an agreement on how to divide their assets, though they haven’t disclosed the details. The pair have chosen high profile lawyers to work that out. There are also questions about the impact the split could have on the good work of the Foundation. They have previously been open about giving the vast majority of their wealth to charity and leaving a fraction of their fortune - US$10 million - for each of their children. What we really want to know: who gets Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester?



PM Scott Morrison yesterday continued to defend the ban on travellers from COVID-ravaged India as criticism mounted from medical and human rights groups. The ban, which is in place until 15 May, would see those who breach it handed hefty fines and possible jail time. But Morrison says the likelihood of anyone being charged or fined is "pretty much zero". The Human Rights Law Centre says it is "actively considering" mounting a legal challenge. And Australian Medical Association President Dr Omar Khorshid has requested that the Government bring the most vulnerable Aussies home and improve Australia's quarantine system. India has surpassed 20 million COVID cases since the pandemic began after more than 350,000 new cases were reported yesterday. Last night, the Indian Premier League - the world's richest cricket comp - was suspended with several players testing positive in recent days.


And at least 79 people were injured - 7 are said to be in a serious condition. The tragedy occurred on the city's rapid transit system in an outer suburb on a section that had been completed in 2012. It's the deadliest incident in decades to occur on a city train network that’s one of the busiest in the world. Reports say there have been concerns about the structure that gave way after 10pm local time that saw 2 carriages plummet to the road below. Addressing the media overnight, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered his condolences to the victims' families and said that "nothing would be hidden" in the ensuing investigation.


And we hope they’re eatin’ a lot of peaches… City slickers flocked to the regions in record numbers last year, with a net 43,000 Aussies making the tree/sea change during the pandemic. Part of the reason is cabin fever after city lockdowns. Another is that many city home buyers have been priced out of the market as demand jumped due to record low interest rates - a situation that will remain in place until 2024, the Reserve Bank said yesterday. But the influx of new residents hasn't helped employment outcomes in regional areas, where demand for workers has hit an all-time high. There are currently 66,200 job vacancies in the regions, says the Regional Australia Institute. But job seekers say limited rental options can prevent them from going bush. Nothing's easy…


The population of Australia’s only unique seal has dropped by 60% over the past 40 years. According to a new study of the number of pups born at breeding sites across Southern and Western Oz, there are just over 2,700. Already categorised as endangered, high levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals in the water and fishing practices are behind the decline. But it’s not the only aquatic creature that has experts worried. From the more than 100,000 ‘love songs’ recorded by frog-lovin’ Aussies using the Australian Museum’s FrogID app between 2017 and 2020, it's believed more than 70% of 87 species of the amphibian weren't thriving in human-modified habitats. "If our frogs decline, our environment and ecosystems aren't healthy," lead researcher Gracie Liu said.


Eleven Madison Park, the Manhattan restaurant that has been called one of the best in the world, is going vegan. The 3-Michelin-star fine-dining establishment famous for its suckling pig, sea urchin and lavender-glazed duck was forced to close its doors in March last year because… COVID. Head chef Daniel Humm spent much of the lockdown launching his charitable venture Eleven Madison Truck preparing food boxes and to-go meals for needy families. And it made him realise that the modern food system was “simply not sustainable,” he says. “It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn’t open the same restaurant,” he said. While meat will now be off the menu, the restaurant’s hefty US$335 set menu fee will stay in place. But diners can feel like they’ve done something good - every meal purchased will now provide 5 meals to people in need.


To balance the fine dining experience content, cat food brand Fancy Feast has released a new cookbook - for humans. Mmm...

If you're going to give birth at the 29-week mark during a long plane trip, it might as well be on a flight with a kids doctor and 3 neonatal nurses

And businesses in the Canadian town of Listowel (pop 7,500) are having some good, clean fun with a sign war. Good for a Wednesday smile.


12.30pm (AEST) - Chair of the ABC and Patron of Macular Disease Foundation Australia Ita Buttrose addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, March

Celebration of Cinco de Mayo

Liberation Day in the Netherlands to remember 1945’s end to the Nazi Occupation

World Hand Hygiene Day

World Asthma Day

International Day of the Midwife

A birthday for Adele (1988)

Anniversary of:
• Birthday of Karl Marx (1818)
• Death of Napoléon Bonaparte (1821)
• Carnegie Hall opening in New York with Tchaikovsky as guest conductor (1891)
• Perfume Chanel No 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel (1921)

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