Squiz Today / 21 April 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 21 April
“There will be no corroboration and zero engagement.”
Is how the Sussexes will handle four UK tabloid media outlets they accuse of using them for "clickbait and distortion." It also happens to be former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s policy on the forthcoming coronavirus tracing app…
VIRGIN FACES FINANCIAL CRASH
With Virgin Australia unable to secure a $1.4 billion loan from the federal government, its board met last night to discuss the airline’s future. Struggling under $5 billion of debt, the shutdown of international and many domestic routes due to coronavirus restrictions has put the airline on the brink of collapse with its 10,000 employees facing the loss of their jobs.
BACK IT UP A BIT...
Launching in mid-2000, Virgin rose to inject competition into the Aussie aviation scene after Ansett collapsed in 2001. It started as a budget carrier with just a couple of planes flying between Sydney and Brisbane and grew to service national and international routes. But airlines are notoriously tricky to run, and the competition is fierce. Just a couple of weeks ago Qantas CEO Alan Joyce warned the Morrison Government against supporting Virgin, which has been “badly managed for 10 years,” he said. But it has some big shareholders. Currently 90% owned by Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Chinese conglomerates Nanshan Group and HNA, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says they need to step up. But they are facing their own coronavirus difficulties (particularly Virgin Group in the UK) and say they won’t contribute the funding required to bail Virgin Australia out.
SO WILL VIRGIN GO
The first step is it will most likely go into voluntary administration - the process where an independent administrator is appointed to try to save the business. But commentators say without financial support from the government, Virgin will find it hard to find new investors or a buyer. And it needs a lot more than the NSW and Queensland governments are offering them… Which means there is the possibility it will all land as well as a lukewarm chicken curry on your evening flight.
SQUIZ THE REST
MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• Australia yesterday recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 - the lowest level in six weeks. No new cases were reported in South Oz, Western Oz or Queensland.
• China has reacted badly to Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s doubts about how transparently its reporting on the coronavirus crisis. Accusing Oz of “dancing to the tune of a certain country to hype up the situation”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang rejected Payne’s call for a global inquiry.
• New Zealand will ease its strict lockdown restrictions on Monday next week to live under measures similar to Australia’s for the next bit.
• To the numbers: Australia has 6,618 confirmed cases and 71 deaths. Globally, there are more than 2.4 million cases and 168,000 deaths. More than 40,000 people have died in the US (with 10,000 of those in the last five days).
SHOOTING TRAGEDY IN CANADA
At least 18 people are dead in what is believed to be Canada’s worst mass shooting. A gunman went on a 12-hour rampage in the province of Nova Scotia on Saturday night (local time) before he was killed by police. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said 51yo dental prosthetist Gabriel Wortman had disguised his car to look like a police vehicle, and had worn a police uniform as he shot people in their homes and set fires in multiple locations. Authorities say they are not aware of any link between the gunman and his victims, and while a motive for the murders is unknown, they have not ruled out terrorism as a factor.
AGREEMENT STRUCK IN ISRAEL
Perhaps feeling the collective shudder from election-weary citizens facing the fourth election in a little more than a year, Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu and main opposition leader Benny Gantz have come to an agreement to form an emergency unity government. Details on what’s been agreed are still to come, but it’s expected that Netanyahu will remain as prime minister for the next 18 months before Gantz gets a go. Pundits say that should put an end to one of the most turbulent periods in Israeli political history. Next up: Netanyahu’s trial on corruption charges...
CHARGES IN ALLEGED CHILD ABUSE RING
Sixteen people across five states have been charged with 738 child abuse offences after a two-year probe by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and US Homeland Security unearthed an online marketplace where users would pay for child exploitation content. Four children aged between two months and eight years - three in NSW and one in Victoria - were also rescued. The investigation named Operation Walwa started in 2018 after a tip-off about the website from American detectives.
RUGBY LEAGUE IN TURMOIL
Following weeks of pressure and uncertainty about the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has stepped down. He was at the helm for four years. The move, which came before Greenberg’s contract expired later this year, was made amid growing tensions with chairman Peter V'landys, who reports say has been unimpressed with his CEO’s financial management of the league. Chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo has been appointed interim CEO. Meanwhile, Nine boss Hugh Marks has committed to broadcast the competition when it gets back on its feet after talks with V’landys yesterday - talks which pointedly did not include Greenberg.
VALE PETER BEARD
The 82yo wildlife photographer was found dead in the woods after disappearing from his home on New York’s Long Island almost three weeks ago. His family said he suffered from dementia. In his prime, Peter Beard was so much more than a photographer... Devilishly handsome, he was a fixture at New York’s legendary Studio 54 and was mates with Andy Warhol. “Had Mr Beard not already existed, he might well have been the result of a collaborative brain wave by Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and Paul Bowles,” says the New York Times’ obituary. (And if you hit a paywall there, another good look at his life is here.) Gee some people have interesting lives...
SQUIZ THE DAY
National Cabinet meets to discuss the coronavirus response
The Queen turns 94yo
Grab a cuppa, it’s National Tea Day in the UK
• Romulus and Remus founding Rome, according to legend (753 BC)
• Elvis Presley's first hit record Heartbreak Hotel going to #1 (1956)
• the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka (2019)
• the deaths Mark Twain (1910), Nina Simone (2003) and Prince (2016)
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