Squiz Today / 08 July 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 July


"Yeah it was pretty bloody terrifying, I’m not gonna lie…”

Said ute driver Jimmy from Gladstone after police pulled him over for speeding. The problem? He thought he’d been bitten by a brown snake that appeared between his legs while he was driving, and he was trying to get to the hospital ASAP. Crikey...


Victoria recorded 191 new coronavirus cases yesterday - the third-largest one-day rise in any part of the country since the pandemic began. That's seen the state overtake Tasmania as the jurisdiction with the most coronavirus cases per head of population. And so there wasn't much surprise when Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the 5.2 million people living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to the north of the city would be subject to the reintroduction of Stage 3 restrictions for the next six weeks. "We know we are on the cusp of something very, very bad if we don't take these steps today," Andrews said.

And what’s really concerning health officials is that none of the new cases reported yesterday are returned travellers in hotel quarantine. That means as of last night, there are 772 active cases in Victoria, and 438 are likely to be cases where community transmission has occurred. If the virus is spreading in the community, it’s a massive problem for Victoria and the nation. Victoria makes up a quarter of the national economy, and estimates say the move will cost the state’s economy about $6 billion.

From midnight tonight, stay-at-home measures across Melbourne and Mitchell will see cafes, pubs and restaurants return to takeaway service only. No visitors will be allowed in people’s houses, and public gatherings will be restricted to two people outside of a family group. And school holidays have been extended by one week for students, except for senior high schoolers. It builds on the closure of the state’s border with NSW which came into effect last night. And it’s on top of the hard lockdown of nine public housing towers in the city on Saturday. That’s frustrating and inconvenient, many said. But Andrews says that COVID-19 will "kill thousands of people if it gets completely away from us. That will be more than inconvenient. It will be tragic."



Brazil’s strongman leader Jair Bolsonaro has confirmed overnight that he has COVID-19. He’s been consistently criticised by global health officials since the start of the pandemic for downplaying the seriousness of the virus, once calling it “a little flu”. That’s led to Brazil’s 1.6 million cases and 65,500 deaths from the coronavirus putting it second to the US on both measures. Speaking to reporters (with a mask on while warning them not to get too close…), Bolsonaro said he’s feeling “normal”. "I thought I had it before, given my very dynamic activity. I'm President and on the combat lines. I like to be in the middle of the people," he said.


Yesterday was the first Tuesday of the month, which means one thing - a Reserve Bank board meeting. As predictable as the meeting schedule was the result of the discussion on official interest rates… It's staying at the record low of 0.25% - a setting the bank’s governor Philip Lowe has said he expects to be maintained “for years.” Despite going through the largest economic contraction since the 1930s, new consumer spending data from the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ shows we’re spending less on travel and going out, and more on groceries as we continue to eat our coronavirus feelings…


Australia’s official travel advice for China has been updated with the warning that Aussies may face "arbitrary detention" there. The Department of Foreign Affairs is already advising travellers not to go anywhere overseas given the coronavirus health emergency - unless they are granted an exemption. The extra warning on China comes as tensions simmer between our nations.

And while we have you…  Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, Twitter, Zoom and Telegram say they are “pausing” any data sharing they might do with Hong Kong authorities. The move follows growing concerns over the Chinese Government’s crackdown on the territory’s freedoms when it enacted a controversial security law last week. And TikTok also confirmed it will be pulling its app from Hong Kong “in light of recent events.”


A new United Nations report out overnight says the battle for the Idlib province that raged late last year until a ceasefire in March exposed civilians to indiscriminate airstrikes and ground shelling, as well as arrests, torture and pillaging. Both Syrian pro-government forces (with assistance from Russia) and their jihadist opponents flagrantly violated the laws of war, investigators found. That led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, and the displacement of thousands as they fled the violence. And things aren't getting better there with the coronavirus emergency stacked on top of economic hardship. More than 13.2 million people - half of Syria's pre-war population - have been displaced since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011, and 380,000 people have been killed.


Allegations that Hollywood actor Johnny Depp used violence against his ex-wife Amber Heard are under scrutiny again with Depp’s libel trial kicking off in the UK High Court overnight. The actor is suing Murdoch family-aligned News Group Newspapers, the publisher of tabloid paper The Sun, and executive editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article that referred to the star as a "wife-beater". That's a reference to Heard's allegations that Depp had physically abused her during their marriage, claims that he denies. Both are expected to give evidence during the three-week trial, with Depp’s ex-partners Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis expected to support him by taking the stand as witnesses. Depp is also pursuing a second libel case against Heard in the US.


The recent racial unrest in the US has kicked things along with few corners of the world untouched by the discussion about discrimination and inequality. Next cab off the rank - competitive Scrabble. Because words matter, even some unexpected ones


12.30pm (AEST) - ABC Managing Director David Anderson addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, May

Anniversary of:
• the first publication of Wall Street Journal (1889)
• the release of the Spice Girls' debut single Wannabe (1996)
• the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the final mission of the US Space Shuttle program (2011)
• the indictment of Jeffrey Epstein on further charges of sex trafficking of minors (2019)
• the deaths of actress Vivian Leigh (1967) and North Korean founder Kim Il-sung (1994)

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