Squiz Today / 18 February 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 18 February
“I’ve missed you a lot. Have you missed me?”
Said the virtual reality version of a young girl who died in 2016 in a tearful ‘reunion’ with her mother. From the home of The Masked Singer, welcome to South Korea’s newest TV craze…
END OF AN ERA AS HOLDEN BURNS OUT
“As a brand that has built our reputation on forward-thinking, we’re not stopping now,” says Holden’s website. But the 164yo car manufacturer is stopping with its parent company General Motors (GM) yesterday confirming that Holden will soon cease to exist after a stretch of poor sales. About 600 employees will lose their jobs. And 185 dealers will be affected by the removal of models like the Commodore, Colorado and Astra from showrooms by the end of the year. GM says it will provide servicing and spare parts for the 1.6 million Holdens currently on our roads for at least the next 10 years. It's all part of a bigger move by GM to get out of right-hand-drive markets.
BACK IT UP A BIT...
For a business that’s been American-owned since 1931, Holden carved out a unique place in our automotive and cultural history. In the post-WWII period, Holden came to symbolise the aspirations of hard-working people, as well as our nation’s push towards a modern economy. There would be few Aussies aged over 30yo that didn’t have an E-series/Commodore/Kingswood/Torana/Barina in their lives at some point. But the cruise-control hasn’t been on since the 90s when market conditions became challenging. And in 2013, the federal government wound back its financial support. After that, Holden shut its manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, Adelaide in 2017, killed off imported Commodore and Astra models last year, and yesterday said that this chapter of our history would close later this year.
THAT'S A BIT SAD...
There's a lot history there. “My first car was a Holden Torana that I bought from my grandfather. So like many Australians, Holden has a place in my personal history,” said Industry Minister Karen Andrews. She and PM Scott Morrison blasted GM for taking $2 billion in taxpayer funds over the years while it “let the brand just wither away,” as the PM put it. Labor leader Anthony Albanese tweeted that it’s “about more than just a car. For many Australians, Holden is part of their family story.” He and union leaders put the end of Holden down to the Coalition’s policies. Meanwhile, another extinguished Aussie brand welcomed Holden to the club…
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DIAMOND PRINCESS EVACUATION PLAN IS GO
As 241 people left quarantine on Christmas Island, 200 Australians on the coronavirus-struck Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan will catch a chartered Qantas plane to Darwin tomorrow. They will enter another 14 days of quarantine, which PM Morrison said he knew would be frustrating. But “our first responsibility is that we have to protect the health and safety of Australians in Australia today," he said. Twenty-four Australians are among the 454 passengers on board who have contracted coronavirus. Efforts to get our citizens home follow the America's evacuation of two plane-loads of is citizens yesterday. On the bigger picture, China reported 2,051 new cases yesterday, taking the global number to more than 71,000 cases, and the death toll has risen to almost 1,800 people since the outbreak started in late December. Nearly half of China's population - 780 million people - is living under some form of travel restrictions as its government attempts to contain the outbreak.
FEDERAL COURT RULES ABC RAID VALID
Our national broadcaster’s bid to challenge the validity of last year’s Federal Police raid on its Sydney headquarters has been dismissed by the Federal Court. Officers were looking to seize confidential documents and emails relating to a 2017 ABC investigation called The Afghan Files, which alleged Australian soldiers in Afghanistan had engaged in unlawful killings. While the AFP said the raid was justified, the ABC argued the warrant was “legally unreasonable” and too broad in scope. The court sided with authorities. "It's clear that the way public-interest journalism is able to be undertaken in this country is a mess," said ABC's news director Gaven Morris. As the ABC considers whether or not to launch an appeal, the Federal Court has yet to rule on a similar raid on the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst.
TRUMP JOYRIDES AS DEMS GET CAUCUS NERVES
As US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania took a spin around the Daytona 500 track in ‘The Beast’, Democrats in Nevada are worried the upcoming Nevada caucuses this coming Saturday may be as troublesome as Iowa’s recent cluster-disaster. The party had planned on using two apps to report results in Nevada - both of which are designed by Shadow, the same tech company that was behind the failed app in Iowa. With officials rushing to assemble a new app, some campaign workers said to be frustrated. Meanwhile, the polls are putting Senator Bernie Sanders seven points ahead as the Democrats face off to find a candidate to take on Trump later this year.
WEATHERING THE STORMS AND DROUGHT
Authorities say a 26yo Chinese student who went missing last Wednesday while bushwalking in the Gold Coast hinterland during recent heavy rain and flash flooding was “very lucky to be found alive” yesterday. Yang Chen spent five nights alone in a national park, managing to survive by sleeping in caves and drinking creekwater, but she was in pretty good nick suffering minor leg injuries and dehydration. Wild weather continues to hit northern NSW. And despite seeing some recent rainfall, the effects of the drought in regional Australia are still being felt, with the national sheep flock predicted to drop to a 116-year low this year to 63.7 million sheep, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
SCOTTY JAMES’ GNARLY RUN
What a champion. Australian snowboarder and Olympic favourite Scotty James has taken out his fourth International Ski Federation (FIS) halfpipe World Cup title after placing second in a major event in Canada yesterday. James had mixed feelings about the result, which ended his eleven-times-winning streak. "I feel pretty good. It's probably bittersweet to say that obviously it hurts a little bit to finish in second, but it is what it is," he said. James will represent Australia at the US Open in Colorado in two weeks.
BELOVED DRESS GETS A SECOND CHANCE
One ABC viewer’s wedding dress becomes a TV presenter’s fashion find. “The only other place I was going to wear it was in my coffin, and they'd have to cut the back off it - I didn't want that to happen. This way, I think it's got a life again." Which must be a comfort to the frock’s new owner…
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Company earnings announcements - BHP; Coles Group; Cochlear; OZ Minerals
ABS Data Release - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, December
International Asperger's Day
Birthdays for Yoko Ono (1933), John Travolta (1954), Matt Dillon (1964), Molly Ringwald (1968), and Regina Spektor (1980)
Anniversaries of the deaths of Martin Luther (1546), Michelangelo (1564), and Mary, Queen of Scots (1587)
Anniversary of the discovery of Pluto by 24-year-old American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh (1930)
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