Squiz Today / 29 June 2020
Squiz Today – Monday, 29 June
“I think they’re very important in terms of helping us cope emotionally.”
Said Alexandra Sherlock, fashion design lecturer at RMIT, of a key weapon in many a working-from-home foot soldier’s arsenal - slippers. [Adds ‘slipper surge' to the list of contestants for the phrase of the year...]
10 MILLION CORONA CASES AS RISE CONTINUES IN VICTORIA
As the spike of new coronavirus cases in Victoria continued over the weekend, Premier Daniel Andrews says the state will consider suburban lockdown measures across affected suburbs in Melbourne. Meanwhile, global coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million yesterday. It's a significant milestone in the spread of the virus that has killed 500,000 people since it emerged in December last year.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN VICTORIA?
Ninety new cases were recorded over the weekend, and officials are still concerned about the high rate of community transmission. In contrast, Western Australia and New South Wales were the only other states to record new cases yesterday, and they were a small number of overseas travellers in quarantine. Following a discussion at Friday's National Cabinet meeting, people in mandatory hotel quarantine will be required to have a coronavirus test, Andrews said, or they will be held for 10 more days. Other states also adopted the change. But when it comes to imposing strict restrictions on movement in Melbourne's affected suburbs, a decision won’t be taken until the ‘testing blitz’ is wrapped up later this week, Andrews said.
AND WHAT’S HAPPENING FURTHER AFIELD?
It’s taken just six days to rack up the last million cases. As for the spread of infection, North America, Latin America and Europe each account for around 25% of cases, while Asia (11%) and the Middle East (9%) have fared better so far. And fears of a second wave have continued to grow as the number of new cases in India and Brazil grow at a fast rate, and the US sets new grim records with some states reimposing restrictions. Yesterday, China locked down almost 500,000 people near Beijing to contain a new outbreak. And the UK is looking at its first localised lockdown to combat a spike in cases in Leicester. Meanwhile, medical experts say they’re just starting to understand the effects of the new virus that is much more than a respiratory disease…
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NEW ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HEYDON TO BE INVESTIGATED
Attorney-General Christian Porter’s department will investigate claims former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon sexually harassed an administrative assistant working on the trade union Royal Commission in 2014. Porter said he was unaware of any allegation of misconduct from that time before a report surfaced on Saturday. Known as the “Champagne treatment”, the Nine newspapers claimed Heydon had a reputation for inviting women back to his room for a glass of bubbly with a side of harassment. Porter urged anyone with information to come forward, and called the allegations "very concerning and incredibly serious". Heydon’s lawyers have continued to deny any wrongdoing on his part.
BOUNTY ON COALITION FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN
According to reports from several US news outlets, Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill coalition troops in Afghanistan as recently as last year. Orchestrated by a Russian military unit that has been linked to other covert operations designed to destabilise the West, unnamed officials said US President Donald Trump was briefed on it in late March, and options to take it up to Russia were provided, but the White House is yet to move. Yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said America's inaction was a continuation of Trump’s “embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin.” Trump has since tweeted that he was never told about the intelligence assessment. And Russia says it did not offer the bounties.
A NEW LEADER FOR IRELAND
Their election was held BC (before coronavirus…), but it’s taken until now for a new taoiseach (Irish prime minister) to be elected. Micheál Martin steps up into the role - he is the leader of the Fianna Fáil party, and under a power-sharing arrangement with coalition partners Fine Gael and the Green Party, he’ll be the country’s leader until the end of 2022 when his predecessor Leo Varadkar retakes the reins. At 59yo, Martin has been a member of the Dáil (Ireland’s lower house) for more than half his life. So you could say he’s been eyeing off the top job for a while... Fun fact: Varadkar becomes the tánaiste (aka deputy PM).
Keeping you tidy on some recent stories:
VIRGIN HAS A BUYER - Boston-based global investment firm Bain has seen off a rival bid from Cyrus Capital Partners. Bain says it will work to keep as many jobs as possible, and will honour employee entitlements and travel credits.
VAPE IMPORT BAN DELAYED - Following criticism from his Coalition colleagues, Health Minister Greg Hunt will delay plans to impose a $200,000 fine on Australians who import liquid nicotine until the end of the year, pending a consultation round.
FACEBOOK SHIFTS POSITION - As brands mount a campaign to boycott the social media giant over what they say is a reluctance to "stop hate speech and disinformation", Facebook will start labelling potentially harmful or misleading posts left up for their news value. And it will ban advertising that casts "people of a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status" as a threat to others. That wasn’t enough for Coca-Cola and Starbucks - they're the latest high profile brands to suspend ads.
English football side Liverpool have been the ones to watch this year as the team and their charismatic coach Jurgen Klopp set out to do what the club was unable to achieve for 30 years - winning the Premier League. They now have an unassailable lead after their only rivals in the comp, Manchester City, lost their match on the weekend. Undefeated for much of the season, Liverpool has broken a bunch of records along the way. But as Klopp told a 10yo Manchester fan earlier this year, it’s all about respect for the game, and respect for your opponents. Bravo.
PUTTING THE MOD-CONS INTO SPACE
If you’ve ever renovated a bathroom, NASA wants you… It’s the ‘Lunar Loo Challenge’, and, as advertised on the packet, the idea is to design a toilet that can be used on the moon. How hard can it be?
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Australia and the UK due to start the first round of free trade negotiations
ABS Data Release - Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, 10-15 June
• Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London burning down during a performance of Henry VIII (1613)
• the start of apartheid in South Africa (1949)
• Marilyn Monroe's marriage to playwright Arthur Miller (1956)
• Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ wedding (2012)
• the birthdays of Australian gangster Joseph "Squizzy" Taylor (1888). He was indirectly involved in the naming of The Squiz...
• the deaths of Lana Turner (1995) and Katherine Hepburn (2003)
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