Squiz Today / 22 July 2020
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 22 July
“Crafted meat products are the next step in the development of our ‘restaurant of the future’ concept.”
And by ‘crafted meat products’ KFC means 3D bioprinted chicken nuggets. Going on sale in its Russian outlets later this year, it’s the first time a major chain will sell lab-grown meat. How you say 'printed dirty bird' in Russian?
MORRISON SHAVES AND STRETCHES COVID PAYMENTS
As Australia continues to deal with the health part of the coronavirus crisis, PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday addressed the money side. They've revealed new plans for one of the most important planks of the government's economic response - and that's payments to people whose jobs have been threatened or lost as a consequence of the pandemic. Long story short, payments will be cut, but the programs will be extended beyond the initial end date in September.
You asked for it…
• The JobKeeper wage subsidy will be reduced at the end of September from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight for full-time workers and to $750 for part-time workers. At the start of January, it will reduce again to $1,000 for full-time workers and $650 for part-timers. It's expected that a million people will be on the payment when it ends on 28 March next year - down from 3.5 million now.
• The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will also be reduced at the end of September from $550 to $250 a fortnight. That means the unemployment benefit will be reduced to about $800 a fortnight from $1,100 currently. Before the pandemic, the payment was about $550 a fortnight.
• What’s that costing us? Morrison yesterday said more than $30 billion has been provided through JobKeeper. With these new arrangements, the payments are expected to cost $76 billion since they started. For context, the federal government spent about $80 billion on health programs, including Medicare, last financial year. So it’s quite a bit.
THAT’S GOTTA HELP...
Well, that’s the idea. And the PM says the idea is to emerge from the crisis in good nick. “Who we are is an innovative, adaptive people, supporting each other, reaching out to each other, drawing us all through, not for survival, but to be on the other side in a position where we can emerge strongly,” he said. Labor Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the opposition would likely support the JobKeeper changes, but he criticised the government for failing to permanently lift unemployment benefits.
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• Victoria yesterday turned in its second-highest single-day result for new coronavirus cases with 374 recorded. And the deaths of three elderly women took the national toll to 126. Premier Daniel Andrews said there are signs the restrictions are having an effect because "we're not seeing the doubling and doubling again" in new case numbers. People in Melbourne and Mitchell need to mask up from midnight tonight.
• NSW officials yesterday confirmed 13 new cases. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “what people are doing when they're entering hospitality venues” is the state’s “biggest risk”.
• After five days of battling it out, leaders of European Union nations yesterday agreed to a historic A$1.2 trillion (€750 billion) stimulus plan to help economies recover. The deal was led by notorious Europhiles French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
• The latest event to be cancelled is the T20 Men's Cricket World Cup that was to be held in Oz later this year. Your guess is as good as ours as to when and where it will go ahead...
• Also on the way to being cancelled (although not in a nasty social media way…) - London’s Beefeaters. And not because of an outbreak of mad cow… Yeomen Warders (the dudes in the fancy red and gold uniforms who guard the Crown Jewels) are surplus to requirement with few visitors going to the Tower of London at the moment. After 500 years of service…
DREAMWORLD CHARGED OVER RIDE DEATHS
The parent company of Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld, Ardent Leisure, has been charged over the deaths of four people after a ride malfunctioned in 2016. While executives avoided individual prosecution, Queensland’s work health and safety regulator yesterday filed three charges against the company after a coroner’s report released back in February identified a “systemic failure by Dreamworld in relation to all aspects of safety”. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million, and the matter is due to go before the Southport Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday next week.
REPORT HIGHLIGHTS RUSSIAN MEDDLING IN UK'S AFFAIRS
A lot of the juicy details were left out of the public version of the highly anticipated report released overnight, but the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee’s look into Russian influence on the nation’s affairs called their meddling "the new normal". The report was completed at the start of the year leading critics to complain that the Johnson Government's not moving fast enough to address the issues. They also say successive governments’ focus on counterterrorism meant the country’s security agencies were “still playing catch up” in coming to terms with Russia’s disinformation campaigns, cyber-attacks and keeping an eye on the activities of expatriates in the UK. That includes accusations Russia fiddled with elections, including the 2016 Brexit referendum. The government has dismissed that specific concern, but PM Boris Johnson's office says they're "fully aware of the significant and enduring threat" Russia poses.
FLOODING IN ASIA DISPLACES MILLIONS
Severe flooding has killed at least 200 people and displaced millions in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, as well as Nepal and Bangladesh. Monsoonal rain has caused big rivers to break their banks, inundating thousands of villages and triggering mudslides. While heavy rain and flooding is common in the region, experts say climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of the downpours. Meanwhile in nearby China, Wuhan is back in the news with the worst flooding in decades threatening the city. Several regions of China are on high flood alert following two weeks of torrential rain.
MORE MAGS END THEIR RUN
Eight magazine titles including Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, InStyle, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Good Health, NW and OK! have been axed by new owner Mercury Capital following a massive drop in advertising dollars during the coronavirus crisis. The printing of most of those titles had been suspended in May over revenue concerns. It’s been a disrupted year for the mag industry… The Aussie division of Bauer was sold to Mercury for an undisclosed sum following Bauer’s purchase of Pacific Magazines for $40 million. A staffer of Harper’s Bazaar told the Sydney Morning Herald that their head was spinning… There’s no word of changes to Mercury’s biggest title, The Australian Women’s Weekly.
APROPOS OF NOTHING - VIRAL EDITION
Some people have undertaken extraordinary journeys to get to where they need to be, despite the travel challenges presented in the last few months.
The Washington Post has an uplifting series on how the coronavirus has ruined many things we love. The latest instalment: ‘Blowing out candles is basically spitting on your friends’ cake. Will we ever do it again?’ Thanks for that…
‘“Alexa, I love you”: how lockdown made men lust after their Amazon Echo’. Dear oh dear…
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw to address the National Press Club - Canberra
The first day of hearings in the Samarco mine disaster in Brazil involving miner BHP - Manchester, UK
World Brain Day
Birthdays for actor Willem Dafoe (1955), Selena Gomez (1992) and Prince George (2013)
• Dick Smith makes the first solo helicopter flight around the world (1983)
• attacks in Norway carried out by far-right extremist Anders Breivik that killed 77 people (2011)
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