Squiz Today / 20 August 2020
Squiz Today – Thursday, 20 August
"An impressive feat within a short period of time."
Is how one analyst described Apple’s huge jump in value to become the first American company to be valued at US$2 trillion overnight - just two years after becoming the world's first trillion-dollar company. The coronavirus lurves devices…
CORONA VACCINATION CAN’T BE FORCED, EXPERTS SAY
PM Scott Morrison yesterday laid down some markers of a successful COVID-19 immunisation program. Spruiking his government's agreement with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to get access to the Oxford vaccine if trials prove it's effective and safe, Morrison said Australia would have a target of 95% of the population getting vaccinated. For that kind of coverage, "I would expect it to be as mandatory as you could possibly make it," he said yesterday morning. That rang alarm bells with immunisation experts and later in the day, the PM changed tack. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would not be compulsory, he said, “but there will be a lot of encouragement”.
ISN'T AUSTRALIAN PRETTY GOOD AT GETTING VACCINATED?
We are getting close to meeting the national target of 95% coverage across the childhood immunisation programs. They aren't compulsory programs, but the government has levers it can pull to encourage compliance. ‘No Jab No Pay’ is one - it sees the government's family payments withheld for parents of kids who are not fully immunised and don’t have an exemption. As for adults, studies suggest we could do better…
SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Well, experts yesterday pointed to the delicate dance the government and health officials do with us punters on vaccination. It’s a bit like a waltz. One step: clear information. Two step: widespread trust that the vaccine’s safe. Three step: ‘encouragement’. And right now, we don’t have the information because the COVID-19 vaccine hasn’t even been developed yet. So the government has to be careful with our trust before we even arrive at conversations about compliance. “Those people who are a bit ambivalent, if they’re then being told ‘by the way you will have to have this vaccine’ … then you risk pushing [more] people away from the vaccine than you might have otherwise done,” said Julie Leask of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. It’s called vaccine hesitancy, and the World Health Organisation has labelled it one of the world’s biggest public health threats. Complicated things, us humans…
We've got a good explainer on vaccination in the era of COVID-19. Get ahead of the curve with this #SquizShortcut.
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MORE CHARGES IN MELBOURNE FREEWAY TRAGEDY
Truck driver Mohinder Singh, who is accused of killing four police officers on a Melbourne freeway in April, has been charged with 33 more offences. The 47yo was originally charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death but has had new charges added, including dangerous driving causing death, driving under the influence, and drug trafficking. Singh, who is due to return to court on 1 October, said he was "genuinely sorry and saddened" by the tragedy. Porsche driver Richard Pusey, who's accused of filming and taunting a dying policewoman, faces separate charges.
AMP TO RELEASE PAHARI HARASSMENT REPORT
Wealth manager AMP will release the report from the inquiry into sexual harassment claims levelled at AMP Capital boss Boe Pahari. The company’s board knew the details of the complaint made in 2017 by former executive Julia Szlakowski before they promoted him to the super senior position in June. Pahari was penalised $500,000 after the complaint was settled, and AMP's board is said to be satisfied the consequences were “significant and appropriate”. Szlakowski says AMP has downplayed the allegations by calling them "lower level breaches" and has called for the report to be released.
US POSTAL SERVICE PUTS CUTS ON HOLD
Job cuts, service reductions, and a clampdown on overtime along with the removal of mail-sorting machines and public collection boxes - all on hold until after November’s presidential election. US President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have come in for a lot of flack from Democrats over the impact the proposed cuts could have had on the poll. Not that the move has put the matter to bed... There are still reports of big backlogs and delays to delivery. And if people can't get or send back their ballot papers easily, pundits say millions of Americans could be denied a vote. President Trump is opposed to more mail-in voting - he says it will attract voter fraud. And experts’ prediction that much of the debate will end up in the courts is bearing out with the Trump campaign yesterday launching legal action against New Jersey after its Democratic governor said a ballot would be mailed to every voter in the state.
BRITNEY SAYS GIMME GIMME MORE...
...freedom from her father. Pop icon Britney Spears has launched a court challenge to stop her father Jamie Spears from reasserting control over her affairs as her sole conservator (aka guardian). After mental health issues surfaced in 2007, Spears' dad and a lawyer took control of the 38yo's life, money and career until last year, when the lawyer stepped down, and Jamie temporarily stepped aside for health reasons. Now Britney, who has rarely spoken about the arrangement, says she wants her father out of her affairs permanently. A movement called #FreeBritney has bubbled up on the internet, and fans are expected to turn up to the Los Angeles court hearing later this week.
SHIVERIN’ IN THE SOUTHEAST
Don’t put your woollies away yet - a chilly change has hit Australia’s southeast. After blasting South Oz on Tuesday, the cold front spread to Victoria, Tassie and NSW yesterday, bringing cold, wet, windy conditions. The cool change is set to continue throughout the rest of the week, moving north to Queensland with snow flurries flagged for Saturday. It comes as the weather bureau announced there is a 70% chance La Nina will grace us with her presence this year. That could mean above average rain for central, eastern and northern Oz (upside), as well as a greater risk of flooding and cyclones (downside). As if we didn't have enough on our plates...
HAT TIP TO THE MANSPLAINED
SQUIZ THE DAY
From 11.00am (AEST) - Kamala Harris will address the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren are also up. And Billie Eilish will perform
Company Earnings Results - Wesfarmers; Domain; Webjet; Mirvac; Coca-Cola Amatil; Southern Cross Media; Qantas; Santos; Medibank; Star Entertainment; Origin Energy
Birthdays for rocker Robert Plant (1948), author David Walliams (1971), actor Amy Adams (1974), and actor Andrew Garfield (1983), and singer/actor Demi Lovato (1992)
• the first known African slaves arriving in North America (1619)
• US President Andrew Johnson formally declaring the end of the US Civil War (1866)
• Operation Danube, or the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary in reponse to the Prague Spring (1968)
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