Squiz Today / 02 July 2020
Squiz Today – Thursday, 2 July
It’s what Queensland’s party people will be doing when they head to the disco for the reopening this weekend. Problem: they need to stay seated…
PROTESTORS DEFY CHINA’S CLAMPDOWN ON HONG KONG
‘Thousands’ of demonstrators have taken to Hong Kong’s streets to vent their anger at the new security law imposed on the territory by China. The first person to be arrested under the anti-protest law was a man carrying a ‘Hong Kong Independence’ flag - a development that was marked by Hong Kong’s police on Twitter. The BBC says nine people have been arrested since yesterday afternoon and more than 300 people were detained, and that there were around 4,000 police officers on hand using water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray on demonstrators.
HOW DOES THE NEW LAW AFFECT THOSE ARRESTED?
Under the new law, crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a minimum prison sentence of three years, and a maximum of life. Which means those who came out in defiance of the law face stiff penalties and the risk of being made examples of. Yesterday’s protest was also particularly poignant because it also marked the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. Last year, ‘handover day’ was marked by hundreds of protesters storming the city's legislature to protest against a now-scrapped extradition bill that was criticised for being an overreach by Beijing into Hong Kong’s separate legal system.
WHAT HAS THE WORLD SAID ABOUT IT?
China’s move has been widely condemned by Western and democratic nations. Overnight, UK PM Boris Johnson said up to three million Hongkongers will be offered the chance to settle in the UK and apply for citizenship. He also says China’s law breaches the 1985 joint declaration signed between the countries that was meant to guarantee Hong Kong's autonomy, rights and freedoms for at least 50 years. The US, European Union, Australia and many others have accused China of breaching the agreement. China’s response: "What's this got to do with you?" On its side is Cuba - it's led a statement backed by 53 countries supporting China's right to safeguard its national security. Also on China's team is London-based PR firm Consulum - it's been hired by Hong Kong's government to counter the negative press. Bet they’re not charging much for that…
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MEANWHILE, IN CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• Victoria yesterday recorded 73 new cases of COVID-19 delivering the biggest single-day increase in community transmission since the start of the pandemic. Premier Daniel Andrews said the numbers are too high as 10 postcodes in Melbourne go into lockdown until the end of the month.
• NSW has banned people living in Melbourne's coronavirus hotspots from crossing its border. Under new public health orders, anyone from an affected postcode found in NSW could be jailed for six months or fined $11,000. "It's not something we want to do, but we must do for our own safety," said state Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
• Australia’s acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has downplayed fears of a “second wave” of coronavirus infections. And he says the cluster of cases in northern Tassie a few weeks ago was a good test run for what’s happening now in Melbourne. “We learned that going hard and going quickly was important,” he said.
• The US has been criticised for buying nearly all the next three months' projected production of COVID-19 treatment remdesivir from US manufacturer Gilead. Tests have shown the drug cuts patients’ recovery times. Defenders of the move say it’s important to remember the US has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world.
• A quick numbers update: global cases have risen to more than 10.5 million, and more than 512,000 people have died. More than 5.3 million people have recovered from the virus. Australia has seen 7,920 cases, and there are currently fewer than 400 active cases.
THAT’S A LOT OF DRUGS
Islamic State has been busy… The terror group in Syria has been accused of manufacturing and shipping 14 metric tonnes of amphetamines after the haul was intercepted in Italy. Taking up three shipping containers, the 84 million pills have a market value of $1.6 billion. Investigators said the drugs were well hidden and the scanners at the port didn't detect them, but they knew the drugs were there from their investigations into the organised crime group known as the Camorra. The bust is said to be the largest drug haul in the world. Not a bad day in the office…
$19 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR WEINSTEIN ACCUSERS
The deal was announced by New York’s Attorney General, a compensation fund would be created to distribute the money among former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s victims, and any related non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreements would be terminated. But lawyers representing six of Weinstein’s accusers say the deal is a “complete sellout”, as it doesn't require him to accept responsibility for his actions or pay up himself. Instead, the money will come from the bankrupt Weinstein Company's insurance policies. The deal is yet to be approved by the court. Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison and still faces further sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, which he denies.
HOME PRICES HOLDING UP(ISH)
New month, new assessment of what’s happened with property prices… And during June, home prices across the country fell 0.7%. All capital cities, except Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra, took a tumble with Melbourne leading the losses with a 1.1% drop. CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said the downward pressure on house values had been "mild to date" because “persistently low advertised stock levels and significant government stimulus" have protected home values. But when the stimulus programs end and the banks stop allowing mortgage repayment deferrals, things could get tough, analysts say.
(UN)BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
Scientists may have just discovered a quick and easy solution for those afflicted with poor eyesight. Spoiler alert: it isn’t eating more carrots... According to a new pilot study published this week in The Journals of Gerontology, spending just a few minutes looking into a red light (not just any red light, one set to a wavelength of 670 nanometers…) could help in preventing vision loss during the ageing process. It works by stimulating the mitochondria, or the powerhouse of the cell. While the study only observed 24 participants, researchers say it could be used in the treatment of diseases like Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Well, strike a light…
SOMEONE WHO HAS DANCED THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS...
...is Dame Judi Dench. And one thing we never thought we’d hear the revered actress say? That a social media platform “saved my life”. Her weapons of choice? TikTok. Whatever gets you through the night…
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ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, May
Birthdays for Larry David (1947), Lindsay Lohan (1986) and Margot Robbie (1990)
• US President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law (1964)
• the rescue of 12 boys and their coach from a cave in Thailand after being trapped for 9 days (2018)
• the deaths of Nostradamus (1566), Ernest Hemingway (1961), James Stewart (1997)
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