Squiz Today / 03 March 2021
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 3 March
“You go through men faster than Taylor Swift.”
Is a line from new Netflix show Ginny and Georgia that prompted the superstar to let them know she wasn’t impressed. Taking to Twitter, look what they made her do…
GOING THE DISTANCE WITH COVID
Before you get too much pep in your 2021 step, the World Health Organisation yesterday said it’s “unrealistic” to think the pandemic will be over this year. But there is some good news… Dr Michael Ryan, the director of WHO's emergencies program, said data from countries rolling out vaccinations shows that "if we're smart, we can finish with the hospitalisations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic” by the end of 2021.
GREAT. CAN WE NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN?
Yeah nah... Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the first locally-acquired cases of the coronavirus in Australia. And while we’ve been through a bit since then (more than some/not as much as others…), things are on the up with the vaccination program kicking off and restrictions continuing to ease nationwide. But the WHO also delivered a reality check - the virus is mutating, and nothing is guaranteed in an evolving pandemic. And there's one hotspot that’s worrying international experts - Brazil. The virus is off and racing there again, leading one expert to predict: “If Brazil does not control the virus, it will be the largest open laboratory in the world for the virus to mutate.” Yikes...
SO WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER?
Dunno… But Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan wants to keep a good thing going. No, not the coronavirus crisis - the border checks the state has set up to keep travellers from hotspots out of the state. McGowan yesterday said he could see merit in maintaining a "controlled border" to keep illicit drugs out of the state in a post-pandemic world. "And if civil libertarians or the like don't like that, my argument would be that keeping meth out of WA is very important,” he said yesterday. He later clarified his comments saying he wouldn’t extend the mandatory traveller registration system, but he is interested in more vehicle inspections. McGowan is in the middle of a one-sided election campaign with locals going to the polls on 13 March.
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STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOWS
The unnamed Cabinet minister at the centre of historical rape claims is set to make a public statement today. Reports say he won't step aside and will proclaim his innocence. The pressure continued to build on the Morrison Government yesterday with former PM Malcolm Turnbull saying the man must "front up". Speaking about the case on ABC's Radio National breakfast program yesterday, Turnbull also suggested that the circumstances around the woman's death were not clear. "We don't know for sure that she took her own life. We know for sure that she is dead. And there needs to be an inquest," he said. NSW Police formally shut down the possibility of an investigation because there is "insufficient admissible evidence" to pursue it after the woman took her own life last year. And Federal Police also closed off hope they might investigate, saying the claims don't fall into its jurisdiction.
SANCTIONS OVER NAVALNY POISONING
It’s been an open question - what recriminations would Russia face over the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny? There’s something of an answer with America imposing sanctions against 7 Russian government officials and 14 entities overnight. And the European Union also moved against 4 Russian officials. The moves were underpinned by US intelligence that concluded the Russian Government led by President Vladimir Putin was behind the Novichok attack on his critic. Navalny fell ill on a flight out of Siberia in August and was airlifted to Germany for treatment. He recovered and was arrested by Russian officials when he returned to Russia in January, and has since been jailed. The sanctions will place export and visa restrictions on those said to be involved in chemical and biological production. Moscow denies involvement in Navalny’s poisoning. It is the first move the new Biden administrations has made against Russia, with pundits saying it's a sharp turn away from Trump's more accommodating approach.
FARMERS REBOUND FROM DROUGHT
Yipee, it’s a bumper bumper season… After years of devastating drought, the pandemic and trade tensions with China, Aussie farmers are expected to reap a record $66 billion for their produce this year. Figures from the official agricultural researchers ABARES released yesterday show it’s good news for crop farmers. They’re tipped to see a 59% increase in the value of grains, oilseeds and pulses compared to the previous year, thanks to the rain. But it’s not so good news for cattle and sheep producers who will clock an 8% fall in value due to low stock numbers despite record-high prices for their stock. The agency predicts the total take will fall to $63.3 billion in 2021-22. Fickle much?
WILD WEATHER INTENSIFIES IN QUEENSLAND
And it doesn’t look like it’ll let up anytime soon... Tropical Cyclone Niran is expected to develop into a category three storm over the next 2 days after already causing havoc and cutting power to more than 40,000 properties in Cairns and along the Cassowary Coast. Banana growers were caught off guard with the dangerous weather destroying crops across the region. It's the latest blow for the fruit growers who have faced consecutive years of low prices and critical work shortages because of COVID-19. Looking nationally, new data released yesterday shows the 2020-21 summer was the wettest in 4 years, thanks to La Niña. Summer rainfall was 29% above average, and it was the 3rd wettest December on record since weather nerds started scribbling things down in 1900.
VALE MICHAEL GUDINSKI
Quite simply, he was Australia’s Mr Music. Michael Gudinski’s death yesterday at home in Melbourne at 68yo shocked and saddened his friends here and around the world. Long/colourful story short, the much-loved music legend founded Mushroom Records in 1972 at just 20 years old. It flourished into Australia's largest independent entertainment group covering tour promotion, recording, publishing, film and television production and merch. For 50 years, Gudinski championed emerging artists and launched many careers, including those of Kylie Minogue, Split Enz, Hunters and Collectors, and Vance Joy. He also brought many of the world's top artists here, with Bruce Springsteen saying he was the world's best. His close mate Jimmy Barnes said "the heart of Australian music was ripped out" by his death. "Michael Gudinski was not only that heart, but he was my friend. He stood with me through my darkest moments and my most joyous days.”
APROPOS OF NOTHING
A favourite sub-genre of news has to be ‘ordinary people who don’t know they have awesomely expensive artwork hanging on their walls’. And it’s happened in New York with a nurse realising she owned a much-missed painting.
Very aware of what she was looking at was actress/director Angelina Jolie. She sold her painting by iconic UK PM Winston Churchill for $14.8 million yesterday - a gift former hubby Brad Pitt bought for her for $3.8 million in 2011.
And Boeing and the Australian Air Force might have lost that lovin’ feeling for Top Guns. A pilotless combat jet they’re working on has been successfully tested in the South Australian outback by a pilot on the ground with an unfulfilled need for speed…
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEDT) - Australian of the Year Grace Tame addresses the National Press Club - Canberra
5.00pm (AEDT) - Netball Constellation Cup - 9Gem & Netball Live app
5.00pm (AEDT) - T20 Cricket - Australia vs New Zealand - Wellington
ABS Data Release - National Accounts for the October-December quarter
Birthdays for Ronan Keating (1977), Jessica Biel (1982) and Camila Cabello (1997)
Anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner becoming America’s national anthem (1931)
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