Squiz Today / 14 March 2024

Squiz Today – 14 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 6 minutes

19 / 30
16 / 22
21 / 30
19 / 26
19 / 32
10 / 19
25 / 30
14 / 29

Squiz Sayings

“Should it have a clean dairy taste or a full-on barnyard funk?”

Questioned one journo as he taste-tested 17 different Aussie yoghurts before concluding that proper Greek yoghurt is the best… Goat milk apparently gave one yoghurt the aforementioned farm-y stank so that one’s best left for cooking…

AUKUS Enters Choppy Waters

The Squiz

Today marks a year since the AUKUS defence pact between Oz, the US and the UK was launched – but things aren’t going swimmingly… US officials have announced they’ll cut the planned production of Virginia-class submarines next year. They’re some of the nuclear-powered subs Australia has on order, which will be used to patrol our northern waters from the 2030s, so it’s raised questions about how the AUKUS plan to keep the Indo-Pacific’s power balance in check will be realised. PM Anthony Albanese and Defence Minister Richard Marles talked down the concerns yesterday, saying the AUKUS partners are “steadfast” in sticking to the original timelines.

What happened?

On Tuesday, the Pentagon shared its 2025 defence budget with the US Congress, revealing that it has requested funding for one Virginia-class submarine – rather than the 2 planned. That’s an issue because, to ensure its own fleet is well-stocked, the US had set a production rate of 2.33 submarines a year before it would allow any to head Down Under. It also goes against plans to ramp up production so that Oz could secure 3 submarines in the next decade. Former PM Malcolm Turnbull – who led the original submarine deal with the French, which was canned for the Morrison Government’s AUKUS deal – says Australia has been “mugged by reality”. He reckons “we are bobbing along as a cork in the maelstrom of American politics”. Coalition leader Peter Dutton says a defence pact like AUKUS would always hit “difficulties from time to time” but reckons “they will be ironed out”.

Anything else?

Yep – there’s more US defence funding news, would you believe it… The White House has announced plans to send an emergency weapons package worth more than $450 million to Ukraine for its defence efforts against Russia. That might sound like a lot, but it’s far less than the $60 billion aid package the Biden administration wanted. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says it’s “nowhere near enough to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs”, but the major aid package bill has been tied up for months as Republicans push back against it. US funding for international conflicts is shaping up to be a big talking point in this year’s presidential election. And just on President Joe Biden and former Commander in Chief Donald Trump – both have now secured enough votes to win their parties’ presidential nominations after some more primaries were run. It’s on like Donkey Kong… 


Squiz the Rest

Gold mine emergency

Emergency services are working to rescue a miner trapped underground in Victoria after bringing 30 other workers to safety last night. The mine, within the Ballarat Gold Mine, collapsed 3km underground yesterday afternoon. Located in Mt Clear, it’s in the area where Samantha Murphy was allegedly murdered. One of the rescued men was flown to hospital with life-threatening leg injuries, reports say. Of the miners, 29 ran to a “safety pod” before being lifted to the surface but 2 men were trapped under fallen rocks. Police say they hold fears for the remaining man who is trapped under rubble and they’re treating the rescue operation “delicately” as medical workers haven’t yet reached him to assess his condition… In another emergency rescue yesterday, 7 people were found uninjured in the flooded WA outback after a 3 day search. 

Australian News

Heating up in Haiti

Yesterday, we mentioned that Haiti’s PM Ariel Henry had been forced to resign as escalating violence overtakes the country – the majority of which is being led by various gangs who had long demanded Henry’s resignation. Now, an international panel of Caribbean nations and the US is scrambling to identify a transitional council and leader until elections can be held. Reports say it won’t be that simple, with the country’s distrust of traditional politics and the armed gangs who are dominant in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Gang leaders have rejected plans for the international community to get involved, with one – Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Chérizier – saying the “Haitian people will choose who will govern them”. US officials expect the interim council to be appointed in the next 2 days.

World News

PwC U later

Staff at audit and accounting firm PwC Australia are on the edge of their seats following an announcement yesterday that it will axe 366 jobs over the coming days, as the company continues to struggle after selling its government consulting arm. That came about after a scandal last year revealed that some senior partners misused confidential government information to help big companies avoid paying more tax. That saw CEO Tom Seymour quit and 9 senior partners stood down, and the whole chapter prompted the Albanese Government to crack down on tax advisor misconduct. Now, as part of a major restructure, 329 staff and up to 37 partners will lose their jobs. Current CEO Kevin Burrowes says it has been a “very challenging and complex process” but an “important one” as they realign their business structure with a “new long-term strategy”.

Australian News Business & Finance

Who’s a bad boy?

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) study says injuries caused by our furry friends are on the rise… The number of pet-related injuries rose from 18.9 per 10,000 people in 2012–2013 to 47.5 in 2021–2022 – and the AIHW reckons the surge in pet ownership during the pandemic is the reason. There are some breakdowns of the data here, but a key takeaway is that Aussies are 90% more likely to be bitten by a dog than a snake… In 2021-22, 9,542 dog attacks were recorded, versus 539 venomous snake injuries. Man’s best friend is also the most common animal to send its owner to the hospital, followed by cats… Although Dr Jonathan Karro from St Vincent’s hospital reckons he’s also seen “the odd rabbit bite, and a possum and a bat”. Moral of the story? Watch out for your fingers…

Australian News

His heart will go on…

For reasons known only to himself, for over a decade Clive Palmer has been obsessed with his vision to create a replica of the Titanic, and despite several previous failed attempts, his ship-building persists… Hiring out a room at Sydney’s Opera House yesterday, the billionaire mining magnate/former politician announced a third plan to create Titanic II, promising it would be “far, far superior to the original Titanic”. He says the $1 billion vessel featuring “the highest level of luxurious comfort” will be a symbol of peace and a “ship of love” because the Titanic movie’s “love story of Rose and Jack … is one that touches the hearts of everybody” making it something that “needed to be built”. Just like Rose, Palmer will “never let go”

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing

The Royals have been making plenty of news this week, but Queen Camilla has generated some positive PR… She’s been presented with her own lookalike Barbie doll, which she reckons makes her look 50 years younger…

Staff at a wildlife centre in the US state of Virginia have gone above and beyond to make their newest resident – an orphaned kit (aka baby fox) – feel at home. They’ve been dressing up in red fox costumes and “doing their best to act like mother foxes”…

Welshman Craig Muir was “a bit taken aback” when he spotted a mysterious silver monolith while hiking in the foggy Welsh countryside this week. They’ve been popping up around the globe without explanation since 2020, prompting speculation that aliens might be among us…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (ACDT) – Treasurer Jim Chalmers will give an overview of the government’s economic road map – Sydney, and via livestream

The National Archives of Australia to release secret cabinet documents from 2003 relating to Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, January

Pi Day  

World Kidney Day 

Birthdays for actor Michael Caine (1933), actor Ansel Elgort (1994), and gymnast Simone Biles (1997)

Anniversary of:

  • Albert Einstein’s birthday (1879)
  • the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (2005)
  • Xi Jinping becoming President of the People’s Republic of China (2013)
  • US high school students staging a mass walkout to commemorate the Florida high school shooting (2018)
  • And the deaths of Karl Marx (1883) and Stephen Hawking (2018)
Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.