Squiz Today / 14 February 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 14 February
“These shoes are what fried chicken footwear dreams are made of.”
KFC and Crocs have teamed up to make a limited edition clog in a fried chicken print. The person who dreamed of this must reveal themselves…
CORONAVIRUS CASES SURGE AS TRAVEL BAN EXTENDED
Faster than health officials could say ‘levelling off’, more than 14,800 new cases of coronavirus (now called COVID-19) were added to the count of those infected in the Hubei province of China. That brings the total number of cases to more than 48,000 cases in Hubei, and almost 60,000 across mainland China. Officials also confirmed the deaths of another 242 people to take the toll to 1,310 in Hubei since the outbreak in late December, with the national total rising to almost 1,400 people. It was the largest one-day increase so far recorded in what has become a global health emergency.
WHY THE STEEP INCREASE?
The goalposts have moved. Reports say Hubei has started using “a broader definition” to diagnose people. In practical terms, that means medical staff are using lung scans, which is quicker than the complicated tests that look for the genetic signature of the virus. Critics say it shows doubts about China’s official numbers were justified. And there could be more to come as thousands of sick people in the city of Wuhan and its surrounding region remain untested. China sacked two senior health officials after the new figures were revealed yesterday. World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned any apparent slowdown in the spread of the epidemic should be viewed with caution. "This outbreak could still go in any direction," he said yesterday.
WHAT’S THE LOCAL ANGLE?
Three things to note:
• PM Scott Morrison announced the ban on travellers from mainland China to Australia has been extended for another week. It's now set to end on 22 February but will be reviewed again. China says the ban is an overreaction.
• The impact of the outbreak on our economy is likely to be more severe than the SARS crisis in 2002-03. But “the truth is really none of us know how this is going to play out,” said Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe yesterday.
• And all four NSW COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital. The number of diagnosed cases in Australia remains at 15.
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WINDY? IT’S CYCLONIC...
Ex-tropical cyclone Uesi came through the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island overnight bringing winds of 154kph. Locals and hundreds of tourists are also bracing for 14-metre waves. Yikes... With the centre of the system hitting at 2am this morning, it will take some hours to assess the damage. Meanwhile, it’s been teeming down in Queensland’s southeast. Police and rescue services on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts spent yesterday responding to emergency calls due to flash flooding. A 75yo kayaker's body was recovered from the swollen Mary River on the Sunshine Coast, and a 26yo bushwalker is missing in the Gold Coast hinterland. Those dangerous conditions are expected to move onto the NSW coast. Take care if you're in any of those areas.
DAWSON COMMITTED TO TRIAL
A Sydney court has ordered Chris Dawson to stand trial for the murder of his wife Lynette. The case has received a lot of attention in recent times as a result of The Australian’s podcast The Teachers Pet. Dawson denies having anything to do with his wife’s disappearance from their home on Sydney's northern beaches in 1982. This week, the 71yo faced a four-day committal hearing where witnesses said they’d seen Lynette after the date she disappeared. Dawson’s lawyer said the process was stressful for his client, but "having faced this situation for some time he's looking forward to clearing his name." He will be arraigned in April.
MORE CHARGES DROPPED OVER PELL REPORTING
Charges for breaching suppression orders laid against 36 journalists and news organisations following Cardinal George Pell's conviction for child sex offences in December 2018 have been dropped by Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions. Thirty journalists and media outlets still face 100 charges for reports on their inability to cover the story of Pell's guilty verdict due to a suppression order. There’s a confusion about how the remaining cases will proceed with Supreme Court Justice John Dixon expressing his frustration about the delays. “Eleven months on and we're still talking about the basics," he said during a hearing yesterday.
VODAFONE-TPG MERGER GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT
Australia's third and fourth-largest telcos - Vodafone and TPG - have been given the go-ahead to merge. The green light came in a legal win against the competition regulator which opposed the $15 billion deal. The ACCC said the merger failed to meet the legal test of not ‘substantially lessening competition’, and would worsen Australia’s already concentrated telecommunications market. Yesterday, Justice John Middleton disagreed saying the combined companies would make “a stronger competitive force against Optus and Telstra.”
MO MONEY, MO FOOD WASTE
The amount of food we waste increases as wealth increases, according to new research. The Dutch study used data from the World Health Organisation and 63 nations to compare figures on food availability, consumption and income to get to the bottom of food waste and wealth. The magic number: $10 a day. Once we spend more than that, the amount that gets turfed increases significantly. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates a third of food produced for humans is thrown away, which is a problem. And researchers are also concerned about a global food waste “explosion”. That’s because many nations are becoming more affluent, and therefore more wasteful.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
If you want to waste a whole bunch of time looking busy on your computer today, this update from Google’s Earth View gallery will send you down all sorts of rabbit holes. Maybe literally…
As this week went to the dogs, check out this potential world record-breaking ball-in-mouth effort by golden retriever Finley. Dream, believe, succeed.
And it’s Valentine’s Day. If you’re all loved up and don’t have a gift sorted, former press secretary to US President Donald Trump Sean Spicer can record a message for the object of your affections. We’re here to help… For those who aren't feelin' it, this one's for you: Valentine’s Day disasters, as seen by waiters. Our main takeout is there's a restaurant in London called Prawn on the Lawn…
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The United States to lower tariffs on some Chinese imports part of phase one of a trade agreement
Wear Red Day to benefit Heart Research Australia
Adelaide Fringe Festival begins (on until 15 March)
Birthdays for Michael Bloomberg (1942) and Cadel Evans (1977)
Anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which prompted a protest movement against gun violence in the US (2018)
International Childhood Cancer Day
Single's Awareness Day
YouTube turns 15
Anniversary of the first draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature (2001)
Fire Fight Australia concert to benefit the Red Cross, rural fire fighting agencies and the RSPCA's bushfire appeal - ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Birthdays for Cathy Freeman (1973) and The Weeknd (1990)
Anniversary of Pope Gregory the Great decreeing "God bless You" as the correct response to a sneeze (600)
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