Squiz Today / 23 September 2020
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 23 September
“To be on the podium and 12 hours later back on nappy duty - it was straight back to reality, to be honest.”
Said Australia’s Tour de France third-placegetter Richie Porte who’s returned from glory in Paris to meet his 2-week-old daughter. Reality bites - and it's a little bit stinky…
CORONAVIRUS FORTUNES RISE AND FALL
As state border restrictions ease amid signs that the second coronavirus curve is flattening here in Australia, the UK announced it is starting to raise its defences again as a surge of new infections hits Europe.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE UK?
New daily cases are at almost 5,000. That’s led the country’s scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance to predict that there could be 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October, and more than 200 deaths per day by mid-November. It’s a “perilous turning point,” PM Boris Johnson said overnight. And with that, he has reinstated some restrictions in England that he believes will be in place for 6 months. People have been advised to work from home. Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues will close at 10pm from Thursday. Retail staff are required to wear a mask, and weddings are restricted to 15 people. And spectators’ return to sport has been put on hold. He expects that a similar regime will be put in place across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
AND WE’RE DOING ALRIGHT, EH?
Good enough that NSW is starting to see glimpses of the welcome mat across state lines. South Oz Premier Steven Marshall said residents of NSW would be able to enter his state without undergoing 14-days quarantine from midnight tonight providing it recorded no cases of community transmission of coronavirus yesterday. That was achieved - the first time in more than 2 months. Things are also getting a bit more friendly on NSW’s northern border with Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk announcing that residents from the Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes local government areas will be able to travel to Queensland from 1 October after applying for a border pass. "These are people who might live in New South Wales, but many feel more of an affinity with Queensland," said a cheeky Sunshine State Health Minister Steven Miles. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian continues her call for the border to be reopened to all of her state’s residents. And the hope is that will happen in the coming weeks.
SQUIZ THE REST
SOUTH OZ SAILOR MISSING AGAIN
For the second time in 2 weeks, Tony Higgins is at the centre of a search and rescue mission off South Australia's coast. Unbeknownst to Higgins and mate Derek Robinson, authorities undertook the state's largest-ever maritime search between the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island over four days at the start of the month after a friend reported them missing. All was well that ended well, but Higgins was fined $1,000 for having “insufficient safety equipment” onboard. A police check also revealed he didn’t hold the appropriate licence to operate his boat, the Magrel. On Saturday, Higgins ran aground in Victor Harbour as he attempted to come in for supplies. And yesterday, he called police just after 5am to say his boat was “taking on water” in rough conditions near Granite Island. Authorities’ search by boat was unsuccessful, and air patrols combed the area yesterday. Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said "I think it's fair to say there's an element of frustration that the state's resources are being dedicated to this for a second time."
WHALE RESCUE HARD GOING
As far as conditions go, it’s tip-top for a pilot whale rescue. The weather is cool, and the stranded animals are being kept wet in the shallow water. And as rescuers and volunteers became more proficient with handling and moving them yesterday, they were able to guide 25 of the 270 whales out to the open water yesterday. That work continued into the night with precious time ticking away. That’s where the positive news ends… A tally will be taken today, but reports say about a third of the whales have died. The effort to save as many as possible will likely take days, experts said.
CHINA ACCUSED OF PUSHING TIBETANS INTO FORCED LABOR CAMPS
China has been accused of launching a targeted attack on traditional life in Tibet by pushing rural labourers off the land and into "military-style training centres”. There, it’s claimed they are turned into factory workers in scenes reminiscent of what is reported to be happening to Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Human rights groups say it’s coercive labour on a mass scale. China seized control of Tibet in 1950, and President Xi Jinping recently said that efforts would be stepped up to tighten control over separatist activities in the region. Responding to the claims, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said "What these people with ulterior motives are calling 'forced labour' simply does not exist. We hope the international community will distinguish right from wrong, respect facts, and not be fooled by lies."
A BUMPER SEASON AT LAST
Because our farmers sure are due one… While the latest Drought Statement from the Bureau of Meteorology says we've got some way to go before "accumulated rainfall deficits" are made up, some green shoots are coming through. Literally. Above-average rainfall between March and August means winter crop production (think wheat, barley, oats and canola) will see Australia’s overall production up by 60% against last year. In NSW, it’s heading towards a 300% year-on-year increase. That’s a big increase coming from a doubling of the area planted in 2019-20 heading towards 6 million hectares under crop in the state this season. Let’s be happy about how pretty a canola crop is and push aside experts’ prediction that won't be paid much more this year because of falling prices and global economic uncertainty thanks to COVID-19...
A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE STORY…
If you're of a romantic disposition, then this yarn involving backpackers, Bad Santa and Dubbo, NSW is for you…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Saudi Arabia’s National Day
Birthdays for Bruce Springsteen (1949) and Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander (1959)
• the founding of Nintendo Koppai (later Nintendo Company) by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce and market the playing card game Hanafuda (1889)
• the birthdays of Ray Charles (1930)
• the deaths of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1939)
• the premiere of The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and TV comedy Modern Family (2009)
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