Squiz Today / 18 April 2024

Squiz Today – 18 April 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“To have a look at the uniform and get to try it on, it’s so special.”

Said Aussie water polo star Tilly Kearns who yesterday showed off the Australian opening ceremony uniforms for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The design is always hotly debated, so for some Thursday fun, here’s a look back at some of our past sartorial choices

A big vote in a small nation

The Squiz

Counting is underway in the Solomon Islands election, with global observers saying the result could be one of the most consequential in the Pacific nation’s history. The poll is the first since the country’s PM Manasseh Sogavare signed a controversial security agreement with China, and he’s being challenged by rivals who’d rather have closer ties with Australia and our allies. The result could take weeks to be clear…

So why is it such a big deal for Oz?

Sogavare first got a lot of international attention back in 2019 when he switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China. He then caused an enormous stir in 2022 when he signed an agreement with Beijing allowing it to access Honiara’s ports and send in troops in the event of domestic unrest. At the time, our Government said it was “deeply disappointed” and the US said it was a “shadowy” deal that was a “concerning precedent for the wider Pacific region”. Up until then, Australia and New Zealand had been the Solomons’ key security partners with a long history of supporting them with military and police backup. That includes the 14-year mission to help calm/keep a lid on ethnic violence which started in 2003.

Ok what’s gonna happen?

Thanks for believing we’d know, but this is a tough one to call. There are 50 seats in the country’s parliament and it’s not likely that any party will get an outright majority, meaning there could be political wrangling to form a coalition…  In 2019 it took 6 weeks from polling day until the government was locked in. Sogavare’s main opponents – including former opposition leader Mathew Wale and MP Peter Kenilorea Jr – have been scathing of the Beijing deal and have run hard on issues like health. Pacific observers are hoping there’s no violence in the aftermath of the election because there is a question about whether Sogavare would call in Chinese police to restore order. Australia, Fiji, and NZ have sent army and police to help provide security for voting day. So you can bet many people in high places are watching things closely… 

World News

Squiz the Rest

A devastated dad speaks up

The father of the 16yo Wakeley terror attack accused says his son showed no signs of being radicalised. Muslim community leader/lawyer Gamel Kheir spoke on behalf of the teen’s father yesterday, saying the boy was increasingly “disobedient”, but “there was nothing he could see that he had gone that far down”. The teenager allegedly stabbed 3 people at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney’s southwest on Monday night – he hasn’t been charged yet and remains in hospital under guard. Police yesterday charged a 19yo in relation to the riot that broke out after the attack, in which two police officers were injured and dozens of police cars damaged. And on Sydney’s other major stabbing attack – Bondi Junction Westfield will reopen today. No retailers are opening their doors and there will be increased security – the idea is to allow for “community reflection”. 

Australian News Crime

Another landmark immigration case begins

The much-talked-about ASF17 deportation case has kicked off in our High Court. If that’s gobbledygook to you, it involves an Iranian man known as ASF17 – he arrived by boat more than a decade ago and is refusing to cooperate with authorities because he fears he’ll be sent back to Iran where he says he’d be persecuted for being bisexual. His lawyers say he should be set free based on last year’s High Court ruling that it’s illegal to indefinitely detain people who have no prospect of deportation. That resulted in the release of 149 detainees including convicted murderers and other criminals, setting off a political storm… Legal eagles say this case could have a similar impact. Last month, the Albanese Government attempted to pass a deportation bill that would prevent that from happening – it’s getting a look over by a Senate Committee, due to report in May.

AusPol Australian News

Buckle up for a (longer) bumpy ride

Treasurer Jim Chalmers is in Washington DC for meetings with global finance ministers and leaders this week, but before he left yesterday, he gave an update about the challenging economic environment. He says geopolitical instability is causing a “tricky balance of risks in the global economy right now, and indeed in our own economy”. That’s in line with comments from US Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell who says the US is dealing with persistent inflation that will likely delay any rate cuts. The International Monetary Fund’s latest Global Financial Stability report also points out that although “confidence in a soft landing … is growing”, sticky inflation is an issue globally. Meanwhile, Australia’s biggest trade partner (no points for guessing – it’s China…) has experienced stronger-than-expected growth this year, but analysts say its sluggish economy still has challenges to overcome…


An airport turns into a marina

Residents in Dubai are facing a huge clean-up after rare torrential rains dumped 120mm of rain (more than a year’s worth…) on the desert city in a single day, causing roads to collapse, businesses and homes to flood, and schools to close. If you haven’t already seen the incredible photos and videos taken at Dubai International Airport (aka the world’s busiest airport), planes were forced to taxi through water that made the tarmac look like a lake. And what a surprise, that has caused a lot of flight disruptions… Heavy rain also fell over neighbouring Oman, leaving at least 18 people dead in the flooding. That includes 10 children and an adult who were onboard a school bus that was swept away in the water.

World News

You’re the devil in disguise…

Move over, America’s total solar eclipse – it’s Australia’s turn for a notable astronomical event. 12P/Pons-Brooks – better known as the Devil’s Comet – will be visible in southern skies this weekend. NASA says it’s worth getting outside to catch a glimpse given it’s one of the brightest periodic comets and only comes past every 71 years. Southern Queensland Uni astronomer Jonti Horner also explained its devilish nickname – it’s because over the past 12 months “it keeps burping, it keeps having outbursts”. Those outbursts have been expelling gas and dust, giving the appearance of 2 horns. The more you know, the more questions you have… Sunday night is when it’ll be closest to the sun/at its brightest (and a handy guide with the deets is here). Professor Horner says it’ll still “look like a bit of a fuzzy blob” to the naked eye, so maybe pack your binoculars…

Australian News Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

The melodic voice of Molly the magpie is “music to the ears” of her human and dog friends after she was reunited with them this week following her removal by Queensland officials. You’ll have to excuse that corner of the internet as they cry their happy tears… 

In case you missed it, the sons of Beatles legends Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon – James McCartney and Sean Ono Lennon – have teamed up to write the ballad Primrose Hill… The pair really look like their dads… 

Barbie-core ain’t over ‘til it’s over… Heinz is the latest brand to get involved, releasing a limited edition ‘Barbiecue sauce’. It’s pink sauce in a pink bottle with a special flavour – vegan mayonnaise mixed with traditional barbecue sauce. A ‘Kenchup’ idea has also been floated…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.00am (AEST) – Bondi Junction Westfield will open its doors with no trade, allowing the public to pay respects to the victims of last Saturday’s stabbing attack ahead of reopening tomorrow – Sydney

The Australian Heritage Festival opens today, celebrating our natural, historic and Indigenous heritage (until 19 May) – at various sites around NSW

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, March

Independence Day – Zimbabwe

World Heritage Day 

International Jugglers Day

National High Five Day ✋

Birthdays for James Woods (1947), Conan O’Brien (1963), David Tennant (1971), Kourtney Kardashian (1979)

Anniversary of:

  • the publication of the world’s first crossword puzzle book, by Simon & Schuster (1924)
  • the death of Albert Einstein (1955)
  • the marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco (1956)
  • Wham! becoming the first western pop act to release an album in China (1985)
Squiz the Day

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