Squiz Today / 18 June 2020
Squiz Today – Thursday, 18 June
“The aerosols generated by toilets are something that we’ve kind of known about for a while…”
Said Professor Joshua Santarpia of a new study that found flushing a toilet can generate a cloud of aerosol droplets, potentially spreading the coronavirus and other diseases. If only there was a cover that you could raise when in use and close to flush…
BEIJING SPIKE STOKES FEAR OF COVID RESURGENCE
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, a new outbreak in the country where it started has local authorities fearful of a second wave. Millions of people in Beijing are living under renewed restrictions as a spike in cases continued to rise yesterday to reach 137. The outbreak is believed to have started at the Xinfandi food market that supplies 80% of the city's fresh food and has tens-of-thousands of visitors each day. More than 1,200 flights have been cancelled to and from Beijing, and schools are closed. Before the recent spike, the capital had gone 57 days without a locally-transmitted case, but the outbreak has been labelled “very grim” with local officials committing to contain it.
WHERE ARE THINGS UP TO ELSEWHERE?
Globally, there are now more than 8 million confirmed cases across 188 countries. More than 430,000 people have lost their lives. The US has the highest number of cases by far (and it’s still rising…), and it leads the death toll too, followed by Brazil and the UK. At the height of things in April, at least 4.5 billion people were living under social distancing measures - that’s half the world's population. And we’re not in the clear yet… As some nations ease restrictions, others are seeing a sharp increase in cases. Brazil, Mexico, India and Pakistan are some notable hotspots where COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to climb. It’s a virus that’s proving difficult to conquer. Just ask New Zealand…
ARE WE THERE YET?
Hmm, you might like to top up your patience reserves… As far as Australia goes, Victoria reported 21 new cases yesterday taking the day’s total new reported cases to 23 - the largest rise we’ve seen in a month. The thing to note about that is the majority of new cases are people who have returned to Australia from overseas and are in quarantine. The numbers are relatively low, but we’re some way off resuming ‘normal’ programming. Which is why Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham’s suggestion yesterday that we book a domestic holiday shouldn’t be a surprise (although Victorians need not consider South Oz...). Yesterday, he indicated that it’s unlikely that our international borders will reopen this year. Which is fine because we’re too busy changing the lights at home…
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CALLS FOR CALM IN INDIA-CHINA BORDER DISPUTE
China and India have agreed to peacefully deal with their border issues in Kashmir. More than 20 Indian troops died along with an unconfirmed number of Chinese forces in a brawl on Monday night. Reports say a heated exchange escalated over a Chinese tent erected in the disputed border zone escalated on Monday night, but China says it was India that instigated the violent exchange. India’s military says the Chinese used rocks and bamboo sticks with nails to beat their soldiers, and many fell to their deaths in the steep terrain. Casualties were high because of the sub-zero temperatures and high altitude, reports say. Why are they fighting over territory where “where nothing grows and no one lives"? It’s a long term dispute that’s been refreshed with China worried that India could muscle it out of a strategic corridor into central Asia. The United Nations has asked both sides to show restraint.
TRUMP’S POLICE REFORMS CRITICISED
In the wake of nationwide protests against police violence against African Americans, US President Donald Trump has signed executive orders to offer new federal incentives for local police to bolster training and create a national database to track police misconduct. Throughout the recent unrest, Trump has defended authorities and criticised calls to ‘defund’ them. “Americans know the truth: without police, there is chaos; without law, there is anarchy; and without safety, there is catastrophe," he said yesterday. Trump hailed his efforts as "historic," but Democrats and critics said the orders are not nearly enough. It was George Floyd’s death at the hands of police sparked the protests, and his brother Philonise has asked the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the killing of black people by authorities.
FACEBOOK GETS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION READY
Facing growing criticism from users and its own employees, Facebook has this week unveiled a range of measures aimed at improving transparency and voter turnout in the lead up to November’s US presidential election. While resisting calls to ban political ads altogether, as Twitter did last October, the social media juggernaut will put labels on political ads indicating who paid for the content. And it will also give users the option to turn off political ads. CEO and overlord of us all Mark Zuckerberg says the platform will also turn on the “largest voting information campaign in American history” via a banner at the top of the nations 200-million-plus Facebook users’ feeds between July and November reminding them to vote. Zuckerberg and Co continue to be criticised for not pulling down misleading political information, including disputed posts from President Trump.
OZ IN BOX SEAT AS UK AND EUROPE LOOK TO TRADE
Looking to build on other international trading relationships after things with our #1 squeeze China got a bit weird, Australia is launching formal talks for a free trade agreement with the UK. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said there would be “competitive tension” between the UK and the EU on who would be the first to ink a deal with us in the wake of Brexit. Because we’re that hot… While it's a bit more complex than UK PM Boris Johnson's description of the deal where "we send you Marmite and you send us Vegemite," it's hoped to open up new and lucrative opportunities for our exporters. And it's come at a good time given our reliance on China for trade as that relationship gets rockier and rockier… The first round of negotiations between Australia and the UK are set to begin on 29 June.
BYE BYE BAUER
German magazine giant Bauer Media confirmed it is exiting the Australian publishing scene after selling titles like Woman’s Day and Australian Women's Weekly to private investment firm Mercury Capital. It’s believed Bauer sold its portfolio for less than $50 million - a significant loss after it bought the magazines from Consolidated Press for $525 million back in 2012. The move follows a spate of job cuts and the ‘hibernation’ of some titles at Bauer during the coronavirus crisis, which exacerbated the company's already declining advertising revenue. Just last month, the company expanded its magazine portfolio in a $40 million deal with Pacific Magazines. The deal is expected to be finalised by mid-July pending regulatory approval.
HEY 30 ROCK NERDS...
Get ready for a special reunion episode, dummy…
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - Labour Force, May
International Sushi Day
Sir Paul McCartney’s birthday (1942)
• the Battle of Waterloo, which saw Napoleon defeated by Britain (1815)
• Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean (1928)
• the UN Commission on Human Rights adopting the International Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
• Sally Ride becoming the first US woman in space (1983)
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