Squiz Today / 12 June 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 12 June
Is what an Italian woman prepared while undergoing brain surgery in Rome this week. As she pitted olives, stuffed them with meat and cheese, and then rolled them over breadcrumbs, a tumour was successfully removed from her noggin. Deliciously weird and wonderful…
MOVE TO STOP PROTESTS OVER CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS
With Black Lives Matter and refugee rights demonstrations planned for today and the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged protesters to stay at home. The mass gatherings could jeopardise our success in containing COVID-19, he says. And not only would a second wave put people's health at risk, but it would also wipe out four years of economic growth, estimates say.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THE VIRUS BEING SPREAD?
With just 414 active cases nationwide - pretty low, right? Nope, says Professor Jodie McVernon, Director of Epidemiology at the Doherty Institute. It’s an ongoing issue because "there are still cases in our community. There are still people coming into our country with COVID, and we must remain vigilant,” she says. The point was underlined yesterday when a man who attended Melbourne’s Black Lives Matter rally last Saturday tested positive for the virus. Health officials are now trying to trace those he came into contact with, and anyone who participated in the protest with even mild symptoms has been told they should self-isolate and get tested immediately.
SO ARE PROTESTS GOING AHEAD?
Morrison has made his view clear - protesters who attended rallies in breach of public health orders should face charges, he says. And a court in Sydney has ruled that a refugee rights rally organised for Saturday should be prohibited because of the risk of spreading the coronavirus. But there are still plans for an anti-racism demonstration in Sydney later today where organisers have not filed the required paperwork with authorities, and arrests have not been ruled out. Brisbane refugee activists are also planning on demonstrating there. As for other Black Lives Matter protests planned in Darwin and Perth, health authorities are urging people who plan on attending to think twice. Leaders will discuss this and more at today’s National Cabinet meeting.
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PICKING UP THE PIECES AS AMERICA’S PROTESTS CALM
What’s next after the turmoil of the last couple of weeks?
• Reports say the nation’s police departments are battered and bruised - literally and figuratively. And a sense that they are "underappreciated" and "vilified" could impede securing reforms to end police brutality towards black Americans, particularly with US President Donald Trump stridently defending authorities, experts warn.
• Meanwhile, statues of Confederate war generals, notable slave-owning citizens and explorer Christopher Columbus have been toppled or damaged.
• TV series and movies containing controversial portrayals of characters of colour have been removed from streaming platforms, including series produced by Australia's Chris Lilley. Looking to music - Nashville trio Lady Antebellum will change their name, and the Grammys will drop the 'Urban' category.
• And companies who pledged support for the cause of racial equality are being asked to demonstrate what they are doing to support diversity in their workforces.
• But for the Floyd family, the loss of their family member George remains raw.
MORRISON STANDING FIRM ON CHINA
China and Australia - things aren’t great. In recent times, China’s raised concerns about racism, it’s put tariffs on our barley exports and blocked some of our beef, and there have been threats from its ambassador and media. To date, PM Morrison has been restrained in his response - and yesterday he dropped the ‘C’ word. Oh c'mon, get your mind out of the gutter… 'Coercion' is the word. To use it in a sentence, he said "We are an open-trade nation, but I am never going to trade our values in response to coercion from wherever it comes." Things were on the edgy side before the coronavirus crisis, but it seems Australia's call for a coronavirus inquiry tipped things into outright narky. And on domestic issues, the PM apologised to people who suffered because of the Robodebt scheme. "The business of raising and recovering debts on behalf of taxpayers is a difficult job. Of course I would deeply regret any hardship that has been caused to people in the conduct of that activity." The government has said it will pay back $721 million worth of debts raised.
ZARA TO CLOSE STORES, RAMPS UP ONLINE OFFER
Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara will close up to 1,200 stores over the next two years after the coronavirus crisis drove its first-ever loss. Parent company Inditex said it had suffered a 44% decline in sales compared to last year as the pandemic forced nearly 90% of its stores to close. CEO Pablo Isla unveiled a A$4.4 billion plan to gear-up their online sales, with digital sales increasing 50% during COVID-19. There’s no word on whether Australian stores will be affected, but a commitment to put all its products online for international shoppers by the end of the year could be good news for the click-happy.
COMPLIMENTS ON WORLD CUP BID
Australia and our Kiwi cuzzie bros are in with a good chance of co-hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup after soccer’s international headquarters said we’re the “most commercially favourable” option. With Brazil pulling out of the running this week, Japan is considered to be the next best contender given it's hosting Olympics next year. Football Federation chairman Chris Nikou said the World Cup here would be a "tournament of firsts" - the first to be hosted by two nations, the first in the Southern Hemisphere, and (you guessed it) the first in the Asia-Pacific region. FIFA is set to vote on the matter on 25 June. Go you good thing…
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Since we looked at this in April, there’s been many more at-home workout options pop up. A good selection is here. Look out retro aerobics - if only we could find our legwarmers…
It’s been ages since we made a slice. This little rhubarb, lime and coconut number will get a spin this weekend.
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National days for the Russian Federation and the Philippines
• New Amsterdam legally becoming an English colony and renamed New York (1665)
• the release of Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock (1954)
• Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in South Africa (1964)
• the premiere of the first Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
• a coroner's report ruling that a dingo was responsible for the death of baby Azaria Chamberlain in 1980 (2012)
• Anne Frank’s birthday (1929) - she received her famous diary as a birthday present in 1942
Queen's Official Birthday - UK
Birthdays for Red Symons (1949), Stellan Skarsgård (1951), Tim Allen (1953), Chris Evans (1981), Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (1986)
• the premiere of the film Grease (1978)
• the birthdays of W. B. Yeats (1865) and Slim Dusty (1927)
World Blood Donor Day
Start of Refugee Week (until June 20)
Birthdays for Donald Trump (1946) and Boy George (1961)
• Captain William Bligh and his men reaching Timor after sailing 5,800 km in a 6-metre boat following the mutiny on the HMS Bounty (1789)
• the recording of first country music hit Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane (1923)
• the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London that killed 80 people and injured 74 (2017)
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