Squiz Today / 06 March 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 6 March
“It’s the book that we have been asked about most over the last eight years.”
Said UK bookstore Waterstones’ fiction buyer Bea Carvalho, but not of a new Margaret Atwood… It’s yesterday’s release of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor thriller, The Mirror & the Light. Which, given we know how it ends, is a solid achievement…
CORONAVIRUS CONTAINMENT THE MAIN GAME
Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 within Oz are growing. NSW Health confirmed two Sydney hospital doctors who have been diagnosed with the virus attended the same conference with more than 70 other medicos. More than 120 staff and patients at the hospitals where they work have been tested and quarantined. And 17 kids who visited the aged care facility in Sydney’s north where an elderly resident died this week after being infected with coronavirus are being tested. In South Oz, an eight-month-old baby and his mother tested positive after returning from Iran. And Epping Boys High School in Sydney will close today after a 16yo student tested positive for coronavirus. Globally, new cases are now growing faster in many of the 80 nations it has reached than in China.
WHAT'S BEING DONE?
At a national level, PM Scott Morrison yesterday announced a ban on foreign travellers coming to Australia from South Korea. They join those who have been in mainland China and Iran who are not allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left those countries. Meanwhile, travellers coming from Italy will be screened at check-in and when they land in Oz. Asked why South Korea was added to the ban list and not Italy, Morrison said the former had five times the number of passengers travelling to Australia, and that the measures would “slow down the rate of transmission." But NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant offered a sobering prediction yesterday saying "We are not going to be able to contain this virus."
WHAT MORE CAN BE DONE?
At the moment, it’s more about what can’t be done. Like the Hongi in New Zealand, which is under a temporary ban. If you live in Hong Kong, kissing your dog isn’t a great idea, authorities say. Receiving communion poses a bit of a problem right now. As does having an affair in South Korea and battling it out for toilet paper at the shops in Tamworth… And dang it, the coronavirus outbreak even means we have to wait until the end of the year for the new Bond movie… But what can we do? Mess around with a classic pop tune’s lyrics, get creative about touching things, and praise the blokes in your life for washing their hands. That’s a start…
SQUIZ THE REST
BIDEN GETS ANOTHER BOOST
A gracious loser, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has packed up his presidential ambitions and thrown his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden. And by support, it’s thought that includes the deployment of some of his vast financial resources to follow through on his promise to help the Democrats defeat US President Donald Trump in the November poll. In an update overnight, Elizabeth Warren has also withdrawn from the race setting up a Biden v Bernie Sanders showdown. None of which seems to have Trump worried as he took to Twitter to test his campaign slogan…
MADURO DOES A DOUBLE COSTELLO
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has seen former Treasurer Peter Costello’s baby-making vision ("have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country"...) and raised it by urging women to go for six children “for the good of the country”. But Maduro, whose regime is considered illegitimate by many, faced criticism over the country’s ongoing economic crisis. Millions have fled, and there are widespread food and medicine shortages, which means it's a tough place to raise a child. While the government hasn't released any data in recent years, reports say 90% of Venezuelan families are not able to purchase enough food every day.
FEWER MAKING MYER THEIR STORE AS PROFITS DIVE
Myer’s run of disappointing financial results continued yesterday with the department store chain reporting a 37% drop in its profit for the July-December period to $24.4 million. Part of the problem was its sales dropped 3.8% to $1.6 billion. And Myer says a combination of restructuring costs and staff redundancies also took a bite. Add to that the loss of Apple products and Country Road Group brands from its stores, and that’ll do it... CEO John King said he expects the hits to keep on coming with the coronavirus outbreak keeping shoppers away, as well as delays on shipments of products from China.
A GOOD SOAKING
It’s raining rain, hallelujah… Regional Australia is celebrating with some much-needed rainfall in recent days. Most states and territories have copped a drenching thanks to ex-tropical cyclone Esther, which has been making its way across the country since late February. Some areas have received falls that they haven’t seen for years across Northern Territory, Queensland, NSW, the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania. The downside: there have been significant road closures in Central Australia, and commuter chaos reigned in Melbourne as tram services were suspended down due to flooding. The system will now move south over the Tasman.
AUSSIES DEFY SOUTH AFRICA - AND THE RAIN
We’re through to the final of the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup to be played in Melbourne on Sunday evening. With a full day of rain in Sydney, it was looking unlikely that we'd even take to the field, but things cleared just long enough for us to get our 20 overs at the crease compiling 134 runs for 5 wickets, with captain Meg Lanning top-scoring with 49 not out. The wet weather saw South Africa given a reduced target of 98 from 13 overs, which they missed by five runs. The Aussies will face India on Sunday - they went through after their match against England was cancelled due to rain. We lost to India in the first round, so it seems only right we square the imbalance on Sunday… And side note: Katy Perry’s performing at Sunday’s final where she won’t “suck it in anymore” after yesterday’s announcement that she’s pregnant.
And good luck to the Matildas tonight, they take on Vietnam in Newcastle for the first of a two-game round to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
If you’ve got Spotify and want to change up your podcast listening, the Last Degree of Kevin Bacon is doing it for us. We usually listen to news/doco type podcasts, but this is a comedy with a well-known cast. This article explains…
The National Gallery of Australia’s Know My Name exhibition is celebrating and upping the profile of Australia’s female artists. And on International Women’s Day on Sunday, the NGA is hosting Wikipedia edit-a-thons in cities around the country to literally get our women artists on the (internet) page of one of the world's most popular research sites. So practical.
Watch this year's Oscar-winning film Parasite, and you're left with a feeling in the pit of your stomach. Sure, it's a gripping thriller. But it was the Ram-Don noodles we were thinking about... Now, to get our hands on something delightfully named Chapagetti...
SQUIZ THE DAY
1.00pm (ACDT) - Davis Cup Tennis - Australia v Brazil - Adelaide
6.30pm - Women's Olympic Soccer Qualifying Match - Australia v Vietnam - Newcastle
ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, January
WOMAdelaide begins (on until 9 March)
Sculpture by the Sea begins (on until 23 March) - Perth
Birthdays for the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova (1937), Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour (1946), Tyler the Creator (1991)
Anniversary of the birthdays of Michelangelo (1475) and Gabriel García Márquez (1927)
Anniversary of the deaths of Louisa May Alcott (1888), inventor of the motorcycle Gottlieb Daimler (1900), Ayn Rand (1982), Georgia O'Keeffe (1986), Nancy Reagan (2016)
Anniversary of the first modern trampoline being patented (1945)
12.00pm (ACDT) - Davis Cup Tennis - Australia v Brazil - Adelaide
Birthdays for Aussie media personality Rex Hunt (1949), and actors Bryan Cranston (1956), Rachel Weisz (1970), and Jenna Fischer (1974)
Anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell receiving a patent for the telephone (1876)
Anniversary of the invention of Monopoly (1933)
6.00pm - T20 Women's World Cup Final - Australia v India - MCG
International Women's Day - and it’s the 75th anniversary
Sixth anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370 (2014)
Birthdays for Freddie Prinze Jr (1976), James Van Der Beek (1977), Kat Von D (1982)
And (ahem…) it’s The Squiz’s third birthday
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