Squiz Today / 22 January 2020
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 22 January
“The whole world is just angry, and it doesn’t take much to put anybody over the boiling point.”
Said Theresa Rose, a quilter from Utah, of the furore engulfing their online community. The problem? A sewing challenge focused on injustice has some dropping more than a few stitches. Just when you thought online outrage was confined to the Twittersphere…
CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS LAND IN OZ
China’s growing coronavirus concerns came to Australia yesterday as Queensland Health officials confirmed a Brisbane man is being tested for the new strand of the virus. He has been released from isolation at home with the state's top medical officer confirming the man now has no symptoms of infection, but they await the test results to give him the all-clear. He had presented to his GP with SARS-like symptoms (that’s severe acute respiratory syndrome) after recently returning home from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which is ground zero for the outbreak. The development came as our government confirmed biosecurity staff are stationed at Sydney airport to meet the three direct flights a week from Wuhan to Sydney.
BACK IT UP A BIT…
This outbreak of novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, started last month with a group of fish market workers coming down with pneumonia. Overnight, China confirmed 291 cases of the respiratory illness, although international experts say it’s likely to be closer to 1,700 people. Six people have died, and cases have been reported in Japan, South Korea and Thailand - and this morning in the US. China has confirmed human-to-human transmission, which has raised fears it could spread swiftly, particularly as millions in China head to their hometowns for Chinese New Year. What’s also dredged up bad memories is the discovery that it is more closely related to SARS than any other human coronavirus. SARS killed 774 people in 2002-03 across many countries, mostly Asian.
GOT ANY HEALTH ADVICE FOR ME?
Umm, do we look like your doctor? But before you whip yourself into a hand-washing frenzy, it’s good to know that Australia’s chief medico Brendan Murphy yesterday said there was no need for alarm in Australia. You might pause and "exercise a high degree of caution", however, if you’re planning to travel to Wuhan anytime soon. Which isn’t to say it’s not serious - it is. The World Health Organisation will meet in the coming 24 hours to consider declaring an international public health emergency, as it did with swine flu and Ebola.
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AUSSIE ACADEMIC REJECTED IRAN’S SPY OFFER
British-Aussie academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert says she rebuffed Iran’s offer to work as a spy in exchange for her release. The Melbourne University lecturer, who specialises in Islamic studies, is serving a 10-year sentence in Iran for spying. In letters that have been smuggled out of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, Moore-Gilbert says her detention is politicised, and that her physical and mental condition is deteriorating following months in solitary confinement. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the government is doing all it can to secure her release.
Do you know who hasn't had a quiet start to the year? Insurance assessors. And the work hasn't eased up with the damage from the hail of the last few days estimated to cost insurers $320 million with 29,000 claims lodged across Victoria, NSW and the ACT. Also smashed to smithereens were 65 glasshouses at the CSIRO in Canberra, and years of research on improving the sustainability of major crops went with them. The National Botanic Gardens, ANU, the National Museum, and the Academy of Science's heritage-listed Shine Dome also sustained significant storm damage. It all comes as insurance claims from the bushfires since September have passed $1.3 billion, according to the Insurance Council.
REVISITING THE CHINA-US-HUAWEI TENSION TRIANGLE
'Double criminality' was the term of the day as Huawei’s finance head Meng Wanzhou’s extradition trial in Vancouver kicked off yesterday. Facing charges in the US over her alleged involvement in the violation of US-imposed sanctions on Iran, Meng's legal team argue she should neither be held in Canada nor extradited to the US. That's because her team says the crimes Meng is accused of by the US should also be considered a crime in Canada - and they say that's not the case. Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, leading China to criticise her arrest as being politically motivated. Reports say the extradition and appeals process could stretch out for years. #SquizShortcut
GLOBAL GROWTH GRINDS AS CLIMATE CONCERNS CLIMB
The impact of climate change and growing US-Iran tensions will impact global economic growth in 2020 and 2021, the International Monetary Fund predicted yesterday. That's seen it cut its growth prediction from 3.4% to 3.3%. Note: Australia's annual growth rate is currently at 1.7%... And our Reserve Bank has been warned that it may need to “mobilise all forces” - including buying coal mines and power stations - to save Australia’s economy from a climate change-related financial crisis. You read that right... "If central banks are to preserve financial and price stability in the age of climate change, it is in their interest to help mobilise all the forces needed to win this battle," the Bank for International Settlements said. Maybe US President Donald Trump’s ‘don’t panic’ address at the World Economic Forum annual meeting overnight will sooth concerns...
R YOU READY FOR A COMEBACK STORY?
Forty-five years ago, the communist government of Laos repudiated the letter ‘R’, referring to it as a representation of Western repression. But the internet and rising middle-class has reformed/resurrected/rescued the letter, making it respectable reiteratively. Is there nothing Harry Potter can’t do?
SQUIZ THE DAY
Melania and Donald Trump celebrate 15 years of marriage (2005)
Anniversary of the birthday of Michael Hutchence (1960)
Anniversary of the deaths of Queen Victoria (1901) and Heath Ledger (2008)
Anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade ruling, which saw the US Supreme Court legalise most abortions (1973)
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