“Toutes nos félicitations.”
A French soldier proposes to his girlfriend on the Champs Elysees in front of a crowd on Bastille Day? Congratulations indeed…
MO LOCKDOWN, MO FRUSTRATIONS - BUT A GLIMMER OF GOOD
Lockdown will continue until at least 30 July for the 5.4 million people of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong, and Shellharbour as the state reported another 97 local cases of COVID yesterday. Of those, 24 were infectious while in the community, and Premier Gladys Berejiklian says that number needs to be “as close to zero as possible” before any restrictions are lifted. And it’s masks on for Victorians after 11 local cases were reported yesterday. All cases are linked to the Sydney outbreak after removalists and a returning family brought the virus with them. Victoria’s COVID-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar says what’s unfolding there is “a very rapidly moving situation”.
For many reasons. For those in southwestern Sydney, many have been forced to wait in queues for hours after the NSW Government mandated that essential workers from the area be tested for COVID every 3 days if they want to leave the local area. It’s also a thing for locked down parents whose home learning stretch just got longer. And it’s frustrating for singles who don’t have a front yard or street-facing balcony… Berejiklian said she knows more lockdown will “hurt”, but it’s what is needed to “get out of this lockdown as soon as we can”. As for Victorians, further restrictions will likely be announced today, reports say. Premier Daniel Andrews met with colleagues and officials last night to discuss what those might be – reports say a snap 3-day lockdown of Melbourne is an option being discussed. [Insert gritted teeth emoji…]
HAVE YOU GOT ANY GOOD NEWS?
How about some scientists in Melbourne coming up with some promising developments to treat COVID? Sure, it might be shutting the gate after the ugly horse that trashed the stables and ate out the paddock has bolted, but finding effective treatments for those infected with the coronavirus is vital. Therapies resulting from the work of researchers from the Doherty Institute and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre could be some time off, but there’s hope their “molecular scissors” that can stop viruses from replicating in infected human cells could soon be used to stop new COVID strains in their tracks. Dr Mohamed Fareh from the Peter Mac says the technology, which is being used to treat cancer, is a “game-changer”. Go team…
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AN UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL HOTSPOTS
• The death toll from riots in South Africa has risen to 72, and almost 1,300 people have been arrested. Triggered by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma last week, the major cities and small towns in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces are in crisis. Capturing headlines yesterday was footage captured by the BBC of a baby being thrown from a building in Durban that was on fire – thankfully she’s fine…
• Reports say 140 protesters, journalists and human rights activists are missing in Cuba since the start of the biggest anti-government protests in 30 years. Thousands are calling on the government to act as the country endures bad economic conditions and rising COVID cases.
• The Taliban in Afghanistan has seized control of a major border crossing with Pakistan – a big strategic win for them. Their fighters have also been accused of committing war crimes after footage emerged of their execution of 22 unarmed Afghan commandos. The killings defy the Taliban’s assurance it is accepting the surrender of soldiers. This week’s #SquizShortcut covers what happening in Afghanistan – get on it…
POLICE APPEAL TO FIND FALCONIO’S REMAINS
Northern Territory Police have renewed their appeal to find the body of British tourist Peter Falconio on the 20th anniversary of his murder. In 2001, the 28yo and his girlfriend Joanne Lees were road-tripping around Oz when he was shot dead by 63yo Bradley Murdoch on the Stuart Highway near Barrow Creek, 300km north of Alice Springs. Lees escaped, and in 2005, Murdoch was handed a life sentence for murder and attempted kidnapping. Murdoch has not made admissions and has refused to tell police the location of Falconio’s body, but it’s believed he was dumped somewhere on the 1,700km stretch between Alice Springs and Broome. Investigators say he is unlikely to be found without new information from the public.
PAYPAL SPARKS THE BNPL WARS
The share prices of buy now, pay later (BNPL) giants Afterpay and Zip Co took a significant hit yesterday after PayPal and Apple muscled in on their territory. PayPal launched its Aussie offer yesterday that won’t charge users late fees for missed payments. Note: Afterpay raked in almost $70 million from late fees last year… Meanwhile, Apple yesterday revealed it’s working on a service that will allow customers using Apple Pay to pay for their stuff in instalments over time. And with the Commonwealth Bank is launching a StepPay next month, the BPNL market is getting crowded. At the other end of things, the financial regulator ASIC has warned consumers of the debts they can incur.
SWEATING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK
For a speculated/cool $400 million, Aussie fitness star and young rich lister Kayla Itsines has sold her hit health and fitness app SWEAT to US outfit iFIT – a global leader in fitness software and streaming content. Since launching the app in 2015, SWEAT now has more than 30 million users across 155 countries. Last year, it posted a profit of $99.5 million. In an Instagram post yesterday, 30yo Itsines reassured members that it was BAU at SWEAT. “I will still be your trainer, and all of our programs are not changing or going anywhere,” she said. With the backing of iFIT, Itsines said she will be able to offer more features and help it expand into other countries. That’s a lot of corporate huffy puffy…
A BIT OF BALANCE BROUGHT TO ORIGIN
That’s probably not how NSW fans would see it, but after 2 big wins in the first games of rugby league’s state grudge series, Queensland was able to step it up to resurrect some state pride. The Maroons took out last night’s game 20-18 against the Blues on the Gold Coast. It was another turn at home for Queensland after COVID meant games scheduled for Melbourne and Sydney were relocated to the Sunshine State, but they were thumped in games 1 and 2. The southerners were fancied going into last night’s game, but they were without stars Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai. In the end, last night’s stars were the Maroons defence and Queenslander Ben Hunt with his 2 tries. Man of the series: NSW’s Tom Trbojevic. The last time NSW took out all 3 Origin games was in 2000. See you in 2022…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
According to data from McCrindle, Charlotte, Amelia, Oliver and Noah are the 4 most popular names for Aussie babies born after 2010. Generation Alpha also has botanical themes with Daisy, Willow, Violet and Ivy all making appearances in the Top 100. Meanwhile, names like Madeline, Lilly, Christian and Aaron = so last decade…
Melbourne Liberal MP and Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith will retire at the next election. Sure, he’s touted as the best parliamentary umpire for decades. But this is really just an opportunity to highlight his hoon-like tendencies…
Fans of Coke No Sugar, hold your cans. Coca-Cola is in the process of tweaking the recipe to make it taste like full-throttle Coke. [Which is another occasion to insert the gritted teeth emoji…]
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm – Telstra CEO Andy Penn addresses the National Press Club – Canberra
ABS Data Release – Labour Force, June
• the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs (1799)
• the birthdays of Dutch painter Rembrandt (1606) and British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (1858)
• the founding of the Boeing Company (1916)
• Honky Chateau becoming Elton John’s first No. 1 album in the US (1972)
• the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana (1996)
• the killing of Gianni Versace at the front of his home in Miami (1997)
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