Squiz Today / 11 April 2024

Squiz Today – 11 April 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I know [it] will come as good news to the thousands of people who comment on my Facebook page telling me to free Molly.” 

Said Queensland Premier Steven Miles as he broke the news that besties Peggy (a Staffy) and Molly (a magpie) will be reunited soon. A social media storm swelled after authorities seized Molly last month, but now that it’s on track to being resolved, Miles will be hoping that birds of a feather flock together…

A 2-state debate

The Squiz

Foreign Minister Penny Wong is sticking to her guns over comments she made on Tuesday night that go to the contentious heart of the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestinians. She said a 2-state solution is “the pathway to a peace that is enduring and just”. And to do that, she acknowledged that “the international community is now considering the question of Palestinian statehood as a way of building momentum towards a 2-state solution.” 

I’m so lost… 

Fair enough. The ‘2-state solution’ concept has a complicated history, but essentially, it would see Palestine recognised by the world as its own state and would give Palestinians ownership/control of land in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. In the here and now, the scale of this current war between Israel and Hamas has brought the proposal to the forefront again… And yesterday, Wong reiterated her position, saying she believes “ultimately, peace [and] security for Israel will only be achieved if we have a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state”. That echoes similar recent comments from officials from the UK, the US, and an ongoing push from the United Nations. But the Coalition is against it. Foreign Affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said Palestinian statehood would be a “reward” for Hamas’s “barbaric conduct”. And last night, leader Peter Dutton said Wong had “irreparably damaged our relations” with Israel.

So what’s going to happen?

Look, it’s one of the longest enduring/toughest questions in geopolitics… Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the idea – as recently as January, he pushed back against the suggestion from Israel’s key ally, US President Joe Biden. But one thing is for sure – as the civilian death toll in Gaza rises, Netanyahu prepares for a new ground invasion, and ceasefire negotiations continue, international support for Israel’s war against Hamas is sliding. During an interview on Tuesday, Biden made some of his strongest comments to date, saying “I think what [Netanyahu’s] doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach”. 

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Chalmers’ competition mission

Following Monday’s announcement to counter the big supermarkets, Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ mission to combat large companies’ market power could see the biggest revamp of Oz’s competition laws in over 50 years. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) could be given sharper/more teeth to limit mergers and acquisitions after concerns that some significant mergers have “flown under the radar”. It means from January 2026, companies would have to convince the ACCC that takeovers wouldn’t increase unfair market concentration. Coalition Treasury spokesperson Angus Taylor criticised the move, saying the government mustn’t “confuse competition policy” with “competitiveness of the economy.” …And, hinting at his agenda for next year, PM Albanese will today unveil his “Future Made in Australia Act” aimed at driving clean energy and manufacturing projects.

AusPol Australian News

Biden considering Assange’s case

US President Joe Biden said America is considering a request to drop charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Australian journalist is currently in a UK jail awaiting a decision on his extradition to the US where he is charged with 18 counts of espionage. The US alleges Assange published a trove of classified documents, including the personal information of US defence workers, which endangered lives. Australia has repeatedly called for the US to drop the case against Assange. When asked overnight by a reporter about Australia’s request, Biden said “We’re considering it”. In late March, Assange won a brief legal reprieve when a UK court asked for assurances from the US – due by April 16 – that his extradition wouldn’t endanger his life. The case is set to be back in court on May 20.

Australian News World News

Abortion ups the ante in Arizona

Arizona’s Supreme Court has revived an 1864 law that would ban nearly all terminations and put women/doctors who receive/administer abortions in prison for 5 years. This is part of American states wrangling their laws following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. And it’s not just Arizona this affects – the issue could influence the upcoming presidential election given Arizona is a key battleground after it swung to the Democrats last election. President Joe Biden’s re-election bid is reportedly benefiting from the backlash to restrictive abortion laws – yesterday he said the Arizona decision was the “result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials”. His Republican opponent Donald Trump supports abortion bans after 15 weeks – he’s reiterated his position that the states should decide for themselves.

World News

The very grim reaper

The Bureau of Stats has revealed some grim truths about 2022 being a big year for deaths… There were 190,939 deaths recorded – almost 20,000 more than 2021, and the most since 2015. The top 5 causes of death also changed for the first time since 2006. Heart disease remained the leading cause overall, followed by dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) – it overtook bowel cancer and claimed the most women. COVID-19 came in third place with nearly 10,000 deaths – the first infectious top 5 disease since 1970. Cerebrovascular diseases (like stroke) came fourth, and lung disease/cancer was fifth. The median age at death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was 62.9 years – significantly lower than 82.4 years for non-Indigenous people. Policy experts say it’s the statistic that underlines the dire need to close the gap… 

Australian News

Less competitive Scrabble

If you’ve been super-stressed during a particularly intense word game, toymaker Mattel has the game for you… Scrabble Together is a “less competitive” version of the 75yo classic. Mattel says it’ll offer a double-sided board, with one side being the original Scrabble and the other being “collaborative and faster-paced to make gameplay more accessible for anyone who finds word games intimidating”. It’s made that M-O-V-E because a new study of 2,000 people showed that competitiveness is on the decline. Of the respondents, 35% believed Boomers were the most competitive, followed by Millennials at 31% and Gen Z at 29%. The UK’s #1 Scrabble player Brett Smitheram reckons that “speaks to a trend in younger people … favouring teamwork and collaboration working towards a fun goal together”. How H-A-R-M-O-N-I-O-U-S…


Apropos of Nothing

Cash really is king – if you’re in the UK that is, where new banknotes featuring King Charles have been revealed. The money with his portrait will go into circulation from 5 June, but don’t hold your breath for the updated $5 notes here as they won’t contain his image…

Colin Firth – aka Mr Darcy – fans are reeling after learning his iconic character won’t be back in the next Bridget Jones movie… But Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson will reprise their roles, joined by The White Lotus and One Day cheeky-chap Leo Woodall… 

And Roger the labrador retriever who failed at being a police academy dog for being too friendly has become a star in Taiwan where he’s helping emergency services as a detection dog in their response to last week’s 7.4 magnitude earthquake… Who’s a good boy?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – Public Hearing: Senate Select Committee on Supermarket Prices – Canberra 

10.00am (AWST) – Surfing: Western Australia Margaret River Pro (until 21 April) – Prevelly, WA

10.30am (ACST) – Australian Track and Field Championships (until 19 April) – Adelaide

12.00pm (AEST) – PM Anthony Albanese to address the Queensland Media Club on impacts and opportunities for QLD ahead of the federal budget – Brisbane

12.30pm (AEST) – Security expert Richard Fontaine and former deputy director for US national intelligence Beth Sanner will address the National Press Club on “Beyond Taiwan: Are There Other Crocodiles Closer to the Boat?” and “The United States in the Indo-Pacific: Pivoting or Pretending” – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, Feb; Monthly Business Turnover, Feb; Weekly Payroll Jobs, March 

Tasmanian schools finish Term 1

World Parkinson’s Day 

National Pet Day

A birthday for Aussie actress Milly Alcock (2000)

Anniversary of:

  • US President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act (1968)
  • the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after his forced removal from the Ecuadorian embassy in London (2019)
Squiz the Day

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