Squiz Today / 30 April 2020
Squiz Today – Thursday, 30 April
"I'm hurt, I'm really embarrassed, and I'm shocked."
Said Tupac Shakur of Lexington, Kentucky. Wait, what? Governor Andy Beshear, while reprimanding some “bad apples' who are claiming coronavirus support under false names, called out one application under the infamous dead rapper’s name. Problem is Shakur, a 46yo cook, is alive and needs unemployment benefits. Dear Mama…
TESTING TIMES FOR CHINA AND AUSTRALIA
With a global economy that's been smashed to smithereens in a once-in-a-century crisis, and therefore with less to lose than just a few months ago, PM Scott Morrison is not backing down. He's called for an independent assessment of how the coronavirus started and was managed by China. Commentators have called it our most serious rift with China in decades, and the global power is infuriated. Those tensions played out in an uncomfortable scene yesterday.
As uncomfortable as a pup that’s swallowed a fork… Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was with mining magnate and philanthropist Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest yesterday to announce the securing of 10 million COVID-19 test kits from China thanks to the Forrests’ Minderoo Foundation. For context: Australia has conducted 500,000 coronavirus tests to date, and to have the capability to do a lot more testing in the future is one of the government’s requirements for restrictions to be lifted. From a health perspective, it was an important announcement. From a political standpoint, things got tricky when Forrest invited a Chinese Government official to the microphone to say a few words - a move reports say Hunt didn’t know was on the cards.
HOW DID THAT GO?
Quite a bit awkward… You can watch it here. But the summary is China’s Consul-General in Melbourne, Long Zhou, said China had been “open, transparent and responsible” in its management of the virus. And his country was grateful for “the compassion, support and sympathy of the Australian people towards the Chinese people in our fight against the virus and vice versa. We are also doing everything possible to help Australia,” Long said. Earlier yesterday, Chinese officials said they would retaliate against “petty tricks’’ as the diplomatic war continues over Morrison’s calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus - calls Morrison says are “entirely reasonable and sensible”.
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• The consistent low numbers of new cases mean we're "on the road" to easing restrictions, PM Morrison said yesterday. But "millions and millions" more have to join 2.8 million Aussies in signing up to the COVIDSafe app. Overseas travel is something he can't see "occurring anytime soon, the risks there are obvious." But a trip across the ditch to Kiwiland might become possible.
• Inflation rose by 0.3% between January and March, taking the annual inflation rate to 2.2%, which is higher than it's been for a couple of years. And with wages expected to be down because of the coronavirus crisis, a rise in prices means many Aussies are already worse off. Going up: the price of toilet paper, rice and pasta. Going down: the cost of holidays and petrol.
• The numbers: Australia has 6,746 cases, an increase of 17 yesterday. And 90 people have died, up by two. Globally, there are 3.17 million cases, 225,000 people have died, and 960,000 people have recovered.
RUSSIAN SPY NAMED IN MH17 INVESTIGATION
Getting to the bottom of Russia’s role in events that led to the downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine in 2014 has been a source of frustration for all involved. To recap: all 298 onboard flight MH17 - including 38 Aussies - were killed when the passenger jet was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels. Last November, the international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) called for the identification of a Russian official whose involvement they wanted to probe. That hasn't been forthcoming, and Russia maintains it had nothing to do with the tragedy. But the BBC, Russia's The Insider and the UK’s Bellingcat used phone records, travel data and voice-comparison technology to identify the man as FSB Colonel-General Andrey Ivanovich Burlaka. The FSB is the principal security agency of Russia, and Burlaka is a very senior officer. Four men - three Russians and a Ukrainian - have been charged by a Dutch court for their alleged role in the disaster, but they have not attended the trial.
WAITING FOR REDRESS
Survivors of child abuse are waiting “far too long” for financial compensation as part of a national redress scheme, Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said yesterday. Out of 6,605 applications, only 1,587 payments have been made to victims since the scheme was launched in 2018 following the Royal Commission into institutional child abuse. Adding to the trauma: 300 organisations that still haven’t signed up to the scheme. Senator Ruston said these institutions would be publicly named and shamed, and they could lose their charitable status if they fail to sign up by the end of June.
BAUER SUSPENDS PRINTING OF SOME TITLES, CANCELS LOGIES
The Logies are cancelled... Yep, Bauer magazine TV Week has cancelled Aussie TV’s night of nights freeing up the nation’s trolls and terrible frocks. As a $40 million merger with Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines is set to be completed on Friday, Bauer Media has also suspended printing of ‘certain’ titles and stood down 140 staff amid falls in advertising revenue. Which titles it will stop printing has not been confirmed, but Bauer indicated the decision may be a permanent one. As staff from Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, OK! and NW were among those made redundant, media types expect those titles are unlikely to return.
GET YOUR WINTER WOOLIES OUT
Parts of Australia are set to face record cold temperatures and heavy rain for the rest of the week as a cold front makes its way across the south-east, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and parts of Queensland are forecast to receive temperatures ranging between 8C and 14C below average, with Canberra, Melbourne and parts of South Oz potentially breaking April records. “It’s pretty unusual to see a cold front this strong, this early in the year,” said forecaster Dean Narramore. Before you permanently secure your ugg boots to your feet, the cold snap is expected to ease on Sunday.
AND CONGRATS GO TO…
UK PM Boris Johnson and fiancé Carrie Symonds on the birth of a son. It’s been quite a time for the pair with Johnson in intensive care with COVID-19 and Symonds laid up with symptoms of the virus. But now the first unmarried couple to move into Downing Street together have a bundle of joy. Here’s hoping the kid’s as jolly as this champion...
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - International Trade Price Indexes, March
UN International Jazz Day
Birthdays for Kirsten Dunst (1982), Gal Gadot (1985) and Nikki Webster (1987)
A wedding anniversary for
• the inauguration of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America (1789)
• Mr Potato Head becoming the first toy to be advertised on television (1952)
• Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson getting hitched (1988)
• the World Wide Web (WWW) being launched in the public domain (1989)
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