Squiz Today / 03 February 2021
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 3 February
"The irony’s not lost on me.”
Said NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent Graham Kingsland of problems with a solar panel safety device designed to protect firefighters from electric shock - it’s causing fires. You had one job...
WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S DUAL EMERGENCIES
More than 59 homes have been lost to a bushfire burning out of control across 15 suburbs northeast of Perth. The conditions have been terrible with high temperatures and strong winds creating spot fires 3.5km ahead of the front at times. Adding to the situation's complexity is evacuating residents who are unsure about where they’re allowed to go given it’s in the COVID lockdown zone. Premier Mark McGowan yesterday acknowledged the seriousness of events. “Right now WA is battling two different kinds of emergencies," he said.
FIRST THINGS FIRST… A BUSHFIRE UPDATE?
Roger that. Kicking off on Monday afternoon from an unknown cause, the fire has burned through 9,000 hectares within an 80km perimeter. It was so intense yesterday that residents 50km from the fire front reported ash falling from the sky. Reports of significant property losses in the rural area of Tilden Park in Gidgegannup will see authorities check that everyone got out alive when it’s safe. Emergency warnings are in place across parts of the Perth Hills as conditions continue to be hot and windy. Some evacuating residents said they were confused about where they were allowed to go given the lockdown currently in force. "It's 3 o'clock in the morning, we're on lockdown, can we go to family, can we go to friends?" one resident asked. Authorities yesterday advised people to go to evacuation centres or to the homes of family/friends.
AND COVID CASES?
It was donuts again yesterday. Premier McGowan says the lockdown will remain in place this week, but it's his expectation it will end on Friday evening if tests continue to confirm no new cases. And there was some insight yesterday about how the quarantine hotel security guard contracted COVID - he’d delivered medicine to a returned traveller who had the highly infectious UK variant of the virus.
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LOWE STAYS LOW
Mark your diary for the first Tuesday of the month for the next 3 years with the words 'the Reserve Bank will leave interest rates on the record low of 0.1%'. RBA Governor Philip Lowe says inflation (which is currently 0.9%) needs to rise to 2-3% for there to be an increase. "This will require significant gains in employment and a return to a tight labour market. The board does not expect these conditions to be met until 2024 at the earliest," he said yesterday. More surprising was the announcement that the RBA will double its quantitative easing program to purchase an additional $100 billion of bonds. That's a move central banks use to stimulate the economy when there's nothing left to squeeze out of interest rates. The good news: Lowe says the economic recovery is "well underway". He'll unpack that further when he addresses the National Press Club today.
TRUMP HOLDS THE LINE OF VOTER FRAUD
The process for the impeachment trial of former US president Donald Trump is kicking into gear with the prosecution and defence briefs tabled overnight. Democrats say he jeopardised the foundations of American democracy by whipping his supporters into a “frenzy” at a rally in Washington DC on 6 January. Team Trump says all he was doing was exercising his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were fraudulent. Despite his claims of a stolen election, a campaign post mortem says he lost because not enough voters in key states found him to be honest or trustworthy. That saw him lose ground with almost every age group, and particularly with white men. The report by Trump’s own chief pollster Tony Fabrizio is circulating amongst senior Republicans, including within the former president's team.
GENERALS TIGHTEN THEIR GRIP IN MYANMAR
There are international calls for the release of Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected officials after the country's armed forces seized power in Monday's coup. The military's commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing has assumed control of the country and declared a year-long state of emergency. Strangely enough, the attack on democracy was caught on film by a dancer recording an exercise routine... Dozens of countries yesterday condemned the move with US President Joe Biden leading threats to reimpose sanctions. Our government is being asked to expand its existing sanctions by local advocates - we currently have sanctions on 5 Myanmar generals accused of persecuting Rohingya Muslims.
KEEPING UP WITH THE SPORTS BUZZ
EDDIE’S SORRY - Collingwood president Eddie McGuire apologised for his description of a scathing report into the culture of systemic racism at Collingwood as a “proud day”. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and AFL boss Gill McLachlan said his commitment to enacting change should be supported. Not so forgiving was Heritier Lumumba who said the club is "completely tone-deaf to where the world is at right now".
FOLAU’S RETURN FLAGGED - NRL side St George Illawarra is hoping to sign controversial Israel Folau on a two-year deal if the game’s administrators wave him through. Some Dragons fans weren’t thrilled with the news - it came at the same time as it was revealed that their much-loved captain Cameron McInnes will play for Cronulla next year after the club didn't stump up a compelling offer.
CRICKET CANNED - COVID conditions in South Africa have seen our men's cricket team's Test tour due to start later this month postponed. The host nation's second wave of cases and emergence of a highly-contagious strain there “poses an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to our players, support staff and the community,” Cricket Australia’s chief executive Nick Hockley said last night. It has diminished our chances of making the World Test Championship at Lord’s in June with no big Tests on Australia’s schedule between now and then.
VALE CAPTAIN TOM
Captain Sir Tom Moore, the 100yo Brit who last year inspired the world, has died in hospital with the coronavirus. He shot to prominence last year by walking 100 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire in the hope of raising £1,000 for the NHS (the UK’s health service). He ended up raising almost £33 million (A$59.3 million)... The Queen knighted him for his good work in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle in July last year. She led tributes to him overnight "recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world." UK PM Boris Johnson said he was "a hero in the truest sense of the word” for his wartime service in India and Myanmar and efforts last year to “unite us all” during the pandemic. His family said "The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he'd only ever dreamed of."
APROPOS OF NOTHING
You know what you don’t have time for? Tying your shoelaces. Lucky then that Nike has a solution for that.
A billionaire is buying an entire SpaceX flight and plans to take 3 “everyday” people with him, which seems like an extreme way to rub shoulders with the great unwashed…
As Perth swelters again today, a massive winter storm is pummelling the east coast of America - something these ridiculous pandas are a bit excited about.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEDT) - Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank, to address the National Press Club - Canberra
Victorian Wheelchair Tennis Open (on until 6 Feb) - Melbourne
ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, December
Back to school for kids in Tassie and NSW’s Western division
Birthdays for Isla Fisher (1976), Amal Clooney (1978), and Elizabeth Holmes (1984)
• the establishment of the world’s first commercial cheese factory in Switzerland (1815)
• New Zealand's worst natural disaster, the Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people (1931)
• the day the music died. Rock n’ roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson were killed in a plane crash in Iowa (1959)
• YMCA by Village People peaking at #2 on the US charts
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