Squiz Today / 18 December 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 18 December
“This event will be a truly unique white Christmas to remember."
And not in a good way... Let’s just say Santa's Winter Village at Colonnades shopping centre in the Adelaide suburb of Noarlunga has been described as “the Fyre Festival of kids' Santa events"...
SYDNEY'S COVID OUTBREAK ESCALATES QUICKLY
Sydney’s Northern Beaches has now recorded 17 cases as 15 more people were confirmed to have COVID-19 yesterday. The origin of the outbreak is under investigation, but officials say some cases are linked to the Avalon RSL club. Locals who attended several venues across Sydney are being urged to get tested ASAP.
SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
It means that the NSW Government last night asked about 250,000 residents who live along a +30km corridor of the Northern Beaches to stay at home for at least 3 days and get tested. It’s not an order at this stage, but locals have been asked to ditch the supermarket shopping, don’t go to work, and forget weekend Christmas gatherings as officials try to get on top of it. And the states have moved quickly to put restrictions on travellers from the area. Western Oz now requires all arrivals from NSW to self-quarantine for 14 days and to get tested. Others have put targeted restrictions on those who visited the Northern Beaches from 11 December. And so after a long year, Sydney is on tenterhooks as thousands of people’s end of year plans are thrown up in the air.
THAT SUCKS. SO DOES AN OUTBREAK OF COVID-19...
And a report by Victoria's Ombudsman Deborah Glass into the lockdown of 9 public housing towers by Premier Daniel Andrews is a reminder of that. She found that the announcement on 4 July that residents could not leave their homes with immediate effect violated the human rights of 3,000 tenants. Another reminder is what's unfolding in Europe… French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed last night that he has COVID-19, forcing a host of other European leaders to self-isolate. There have been a couple of big meetings in the previous week that Macron hosted or attended, and reports say he’s been a bit tactile of late...
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YASA MOVES IN
As the rain continued to fall on eastern Australia yesterday, Fiji was hit by Category 5 Cyclone Yasa that officials predicted would impact 95% of the population - that’s 850,000 people. It’s not any old cyclone - it’s at the top of the scale with wind speeds of up to 240km/hr and gusts of 345km/hr recorded as it made landfall last night. That makes it one of the most powerful storms to be recorded in the region. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama put a nationwide overnight curfew in place and declared a state of natural disaster for the next 30 days. The Red Cross and other aid agencies are geared up for a major disaster relief effort. And while it’s too soon to know what the impact will be, reports say Yasa has pulled away from the islands, and the damage will be revealed this morning.
BUDGET BLUES NOT AS BAD AS IT COULD HAVE BEEN
Well done, Australia. A spurt of economic activity has improved the Federal Budget by $23.9 billion over the next 4 years. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday delivered the mid-year numbers update, and said the budget deficit is on track to hit $197.7 billion this financial year. It's a record in-the-red moment, but it's better than the previous forecast of $213.7 billion. “Australians are back spending, and they are back working, and they are back moving freely across the nation,” Frydenberg said yesterday as COVID continues to dominate the economic conversation. Well, let’s not get too excited about the last point in light of recent events... Yesterday also brought news that unemployment has fallen to 6.8%, down from 7% in October. There were 90,000 people who got a job last month, and most of them were in Victoria as it emerged from its lockdown in November.
NEW CHARGES OVER LOCKERBIE BOMBING
The 1988 bombing of a Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, including 189 Americans, is a wound that’s been hard to heal. After global investigations and severe sanctions, Libya surrendered two intelligence officials for prosecution before a Scottish court that heard the case in the Netherlands. One was found guilty and given a life sentence, but was released on humanitarian grounds in 2009 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And yesterday, there were reports of US Justice Department plans to prosecute an additional individual. The bombing - the worst terrorist attack in British history - was a strike by Libya against America. The Libyan leader at the time, Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, ultimately accepted responsibility and agreed to a $2.7 billion compensation deal with the victims’ families. A reopening of the case would honour officials’ promises to pursue those responsible for the attack. The 32nd anniversary of the tragedy is on Monday.
OZ OPEN TO START LATE-ISH
Get your tennis groove on and your diary out - the Australian Open will be played between 8-21 February. That’s 3 weeks later than usual, but better late than never, eh? The qualifying rounds will be held away from Oz for the first time, with Doha playing host from 10-13 January. And warm-up events in Melbourne start on 31 January, with the ATP Cup kicking off on 1 February. "Health and safety will continue to be paramount as we navigate the challenges ahead," said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. As for who will be there? Dunno… All-round legend Roger Federer has said he’s a bit iffy with knee surgery knocking him about. But our money's on a huge home-court advantage for Ash Barty…
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Ever wondered what happens to a social media sensation after they’ve had their viral moment? The story of Scottish sports commentator Andrew Cotter and his labradors Mabel and Olive has some insights. Remember: they did good work together…
Contact tracing is back in the conversation, so let's hope NSW Health has these 2 guns onboard.
No doubt your fridge is loaded up with WA Rock Lobsters? Our pick - a hot buttered lobster roll. Bon app…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Last day of school for students in the ACT, NSW, NT, and Victoria
HSC results released
Qatar’s National Day
A birthday for Keith Richards (1943), Steven Spielberg (1946), Brad Pitt (1963) and Billie Eilish (2001)
• the premiere of Peter Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite in St. Petersburg, Russia (1892)
• the premiere of Avatar (2009)
• the US House of Representatives voting to impeach President Donald Trump (2019)
Jake Gyllenhaal’s 40th birthday (1980)
• the release of Charles Dickens’ Yuletide tale A Christmas Carol in Britain (1843)
• the death of Emily Brontë (1848)
• the first radio broadcast from space, where US President Dwight D Eisenhower sent a Christmas message (1958)
• the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration to transfer Hong Kong back to China in 1997 (1984)
• the impeachment of US President Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (1998)
• the publication of Grimm's Fairy Tales (1812)
• the premiere of It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
• Paul Keating becoming PM after defeating Bob Hawke for leadership of the Labor party (1991)
• Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days (2007)
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