Squiz Today / 01 June 2020
Squiz Today – Monday, 1 June
“This is everything that America has to offer in its purest form.”
Said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine of the successful launch yesterday of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission - the first privately developed spacecraft to launch humans into Earth's orbit and deliver them to the International Space Station. It lit up the sky in a more hopeful way than the fires that burned across the US this weekend…
AMERICA EXPLODES WITH RACIAL TENSIONS
The death of 46yo black man George Floyd after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while restraining him last Monday has sparked violent protests in more than 30 major cities across America. Nearly 1,700 protestors have been arrested as the world witnesses businesses and official buildings being ransacked and burned, police cars destroyed, and brutal confrontations between demonstrators and authorities. The unrest has been particularly bad in Minneapolis as well as cities including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Denver and New York, and the White House continues to be targeted in Washington DC. In response, reports this morning say police have upped the aggression as some state leaders impose overnight curfews and call in the National Guard to regain control.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
What started as unrest in Minneapolis has become a national cry for action over the years of black deaths in the hands of police. Adopting some of Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe” has become a rallying cry. In the Floyd case, the four police officers involved were sacked. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, but Floyd’s family, protesters and critics do not believe the charge is strong enough because it assumes there was no intent to kill. So that hasn't gone down well. It also comes in the wake of the February killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25yo black man who was targeted by two white men as he jogged through their neighbourhood - a case that authorities were accused of ignoring. And tensions have been further fueled by the coronavirus crisis that has disproportionately affected black people’s jobs and health. Which is a lot of dry kindling ready to explode…
WHERE ARE THINGS HEADING?
It's too early to tell, but a few themes have become clear. US President Donald Trump’s response to the crisis will receive a lot of scrutiny in the coming weeks and months in the countdown to the election. And the targeting of the media by protestors and police will be pored over too. And health officials are concerned about the spread of coronavirus with protestors missing the social distancing memo. But whether it’s a ‘turning point’ in race relations is something that’s not known. Note: if you’re trying to make sense of it, we can’t recommend the New York Times’ ‘The Daily’ special podcast episode highly enough.
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MEANWHILE, IN CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
The world passed six million coronavirus cases yesterday as the number of people who have died passed 370,000. The US accounts for more than 100,000 of those deaths. Meanwhile, Australia continues to perform well in the curve-crushing stakes with some states progressing plans to ease more restrictions today. But our high-performance health response has a knock-on effect with public hospital elective surgery lists blowing out. The Daily Telegraph reports (paywall) that it will take until June 2022 for waiting lists to return to pre-pandemic levels after procedures were put on hold to ensure hospitals could deal with an influx of COVID-19 patients that never materialised. Need some good news? The Super Netball season will kick off on 1 August with a full 60-game program.
IN AND OUT, ON AND OFF
In - Australia to the next G7 meeting, which has been delayed until September. Much like a dreaded weekend with family members you don’t much like, President Trump has invited some mates to join him, like us, India and South Korea. And frenemy Russia also gets a guernsey…
Out - The US from the World Health Organisation. Yep, in addition to everything else going on, President Trump confirmed America will terminate its relationship with the United Nation’s public health body because “China has total control,” he says. As the biggest funder of the WHO at a critical time, many have called on him to reconsider. #SquizShortcuts
On - A new federal parliamentary domestic violence inquiry. An earlier attempt was abandoned without hearing witness evidence or taking submissions in a move the Law Council of Australia called “a really sad failure of regard for the lives of Australians lost to domestic violence."
Off - COAG. Which is the Council of Australian Governments - the framework for formal discussions between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments since the 90s. Replacing it is the ‘we’re all in this together’ National Cabinet which has seen PM Scott Morrison video conference with premiers and chief ministers regularly. #SquizShortcuts
MILLIONS TO BE PAID BACK AFTER ROBODEBT FAILURE
More than $720 million of it. Last November, the Morrison Government froze the raising of welfare debts when the only data it was using was an averaging of Taxation Office income data. Using that process, Centrelink's automated debt recovery process generated thousands of inaccurate debt notices that were sent to benefit recipients. On Friday, the minister responsible, Stuart Robert said with more than 370,000 people receiving a bill, those who’d paid up would have the money returned to them. And yesterday, the Attorney-General Christian Porter said that if a class action was successful, the bill could be around $1 billion. Labor’s spokesman Bill Shorten said that the government should have backed down a long time ago.
JUST A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE
Kylie Jenner, the youngest sister of the Kardashian krew, is not a billionaire, Forbes magazine has declared after famously declaring her “the youngest self-made billionaire ever” last year. It’s number-crunchers now say her business interests were never in that realm, with her wealth somewhere in the US$900 million range. And it claims forged tax returns were drafted to “help juice Forbes’ estimates of Kylie’s earnings and net worth.” Jenner tweeted “all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol.” Coty, the beauty company that bought a majority stake in Jenner’s makeup business this year in a deal valued US$1.2 billion, fell 13% on the stock market after the report landed on Friday.
THINK BEFORE YOU FLUSH
The big downside to the toilet paper shortages that brought calm people unstuck in March and April? The increased uptake of moist (shiver…) toilet wipes that clog up our sewers and make sanitary workers’ life hell. And if you’re working in that field in the Top End, the job was already tricky enough given the pond-loving crocs to contend with. Maybe have your brekkie before you dive into this one…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Western Australia Day (WA)
Reconciliation Day public holiday (ACT)
Independence Day – Samoa
Birthdays for Morgan Freeman (1937), Heidi Klum (1973), Alanis Morissette (1974) and Amy Schumer (1981)
• Anne Boleyn crowned Queen of England (1533)
• the birthday of Marilyn Monroe (1926)
• the launch of CNN, the world's first 24-hour news channel, 40 years ago (1980)
• the deaths of Helen Keller (1968) and Yves Saint Laurent (2008)
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