Squiz Today / 15 April 2020
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 15 April
"We'll all be doing better hand hygiene from now on."
Said Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy yesterday of the upside of the coronavirus cluster-disaster. He’s a glass-half-full kinda guy…
ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE COMES INTO FOCUS
As Aussie policymakers continued to note the success of measures taken so far to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow the growth of new coronavirus cases, attention turned to the economic impacts. And with the news that we’re heading towards 10% unemployment and a sharp economic downturn, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday said getting businesses back on their feet working and people back in jobs will require a “Team Australia moment”.
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE?
Oi! Oi! Oi! But it’ll probably take a bit more than our national chant to get out of this one. As Frydenberg said yesterday, the economy won’t have much of a chance to get back on its feet until the coronavirus restrictions are lifted - and the longer they are in place, the harder it’s going to be. That’s why the government’s thrown $130 billion at the JobKeeper payment to keep businesses and workers lukewarm. But just a few weeks into this, business confidence is at an all-time low because of the "unprecedented speed and magnitude" of this current downturn. And overnight the International Monetary Fund warned Oz would be one of the worst-hit in our region with the economy tipped to shrink by 6.7% this year. That amounts to the most significant hit our economy has taken since the onset of the Great Depression almost 100 years ago. Yikes…
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
Other than maintain the brace position and check out Hugh Jackman's latest run-in with Ryan Reynolds or take up indoor rowing? There's not a lot that can be done at the moment unless you're a coder working on a new app to trace our every move. And unless you’re Virgin Australia and then you’re lobbying your wings off for a $1.4 billion government loan. Analysts speculate that without the funding, the airline will go under this year. The company yesterday suspended trading on the stock exchange as it takes some time to “consider ongoing issues with respect to financial assistance and restructuring alternatives”. The Federal Government has been careful not to indicate any specific support for companies that have hit hard times as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, including Virgin.
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• There was word of an “illegal dinner party” in Burnie, Tasmania involving healthcare workers that led to a cluster of coronavirus cases in the state’s northwest, but that statement from CMO Murphy was “walked back”. Regardless, police are investigating. As is NSW when it comes to getting to the bottom of the Ruby Princess cruise ship saga.
• PM Scott Morrison yesterday said he was “puzzled” by the World Health Organisations’ support for the reopening of ‘wet markets’ in China - the suspected source of the coronavirus outbreak.
• ‘An unchained presidential tantrum’ is how American media outlet CNN characterised a briefing headed by President Donald Trump yesterday. Armed with a video presentation, Trump sought to highlight to good bits of his government's management of the coronavirus crisis. And there's tension with the revered health expert Anthony Fauci.
• As for a global tally: the number of cases is likely to tip over the two million mark today. There have been 125,000 deaths, and 470,000 people have recovered.
CORONAVIRUS COMPLICATES CYCLONE HAROLD RESPONSE
The distribution of urgent and potentially life-saving supplies to Vanuatu, which was smashed by Category 5 Cyclone Harold last week, has been delayed due to coronavirus restrictions. While the our government was ready to send an airforce plane full of supplies over the weekend, it was only able to land on Monday. And now the load is being held in quarantine for at least three days over coronavirus concerns. Harold ripped through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga killing around 30 people and leaving hundreds of thousands without homes and vital infrastructure and services. The tourism-killing coronavirus is a double whammy for the region.
FIGHT AHEAD FOR BIDEN
Former US Vice President Joe Biden continues on his all-but-certain path towards the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Former President Barack Obama has backed him. Even Senator Bernie Sanders has formally endorsed his ex-rival’s selection. Sanders suspended his campaign last week but will remain on the ballot for the remaining primaries to wield influence at the Democratic Convention in August. And there are several primary races left to run where the voting process becomes more difficult due to COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, a new sexual assault allegation has been levelled at Biden by a former staffer - claims his campaign strongly denies.
NORTH KOREA LET SOME MORE MISSILES GO
North Korea has launched another series of missiles into the waters off the country's east coast, according to the South Korean military. Its latest show of cruise missile might is North Korea's first firing of such projectiles in about three years. It's one of a series of launches in recent weeks that indicates it’s serious about the lifting of international sanctions amid stalled nuclear talks with the US. The move comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong has regained her old place as the country’s chief propaganda officer after being removed in April last year after failed nuclear talks with the US. The leadership reshuffle appears to confirm her place as second-in-command, as well as signalling a greater focus on malarkey over diplomacy.
BEGA WINS PEANUT BUTTER BRAWL
If you’ve ever paused in the supermarket aisles to pick up your peanut butter and got lost in a sea of yellow and blue labels, this is for you. Back in 2017, Bega (the cheese people, not the NSW town...) made some acquisitions from multinational food giant Mondelez International, including Vegemite, and Kraft brand peanut butter. But following a further corporate split, US food companies Kraft and Heinz wanted to stop Bega from using its classic packaging of the peanut butter products - you know, yellow lid, and yellow, blue and red label - that Bega is currently selling. And after going to court, Bega won. Go forth and spread…
That’s not the sound your trackies make as you pull them on in the morning… It’s shorthand for being dumped over Zoom. Because the current state of affairs isn't difficult enough already…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Start of Term 2 for students in Victoria
ABS Data Release - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, February
World Art Day
Birthdays for Jeffrey Archer (1940), Emma Thompson (1959), Seth Rogen (1982), Emma Watson (1990), Maisie Williams (1997)
• the birthdays of Leonardo da Vinci (1452), Henry James (1843) and North Korean founder Kim II-sung (1912)
• the deaths of Abraham Lincoln (1865), Jean-Paul Sartre (1980), Greta Garbo (1990) and Pol Pot (1998)
• the sinking of the RMS Titanic (1912)
• Nicolás Maduro election as President of Venezuela (2013)
• the Boston Marathon bombings (2013)
• the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, which destroyed its spire and roof (2019)
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