Squiz Today / 21 December 2023

Squiz Today – 21 December 2023

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Our Test squad WhatsApp group has been going off to say it’s our shout to get dinner next.”

Said Mitchell Starc after the Kolkata Knight Riders paid a record $4.42 million during an auction to buy players for the 2024 Indian Premier League, a T20 tournament that begins in March. Fellow Aussie Pat Cummins was bought for $3.66 million, so maybe he’ll chip in for dessert…

From serial killer to cleared

Big trouble in the Red Sea

The Squiz

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are ramping up their attacks on international oil and cargo ships passing through the Red Sea, with Australia joining our major allies across the European Union and NATO to condemn the strikes. The co-signed statement says the attacks in the stretch of water between the Middle East and Africa threaten “the movement of food, fuel, humanitarian assistance, and other essential commodities to destinations and populations all over the world”. A couple of weeks ago, the Albanese Government received a request from the US for our Navy to join a multi-nation taskforce protecting ships in the region. We haven’t said ‘yes’, so analysts say that’s as good as a ‘no’ without creating a scene – but we are supporting diplomatic efforts to end the attacks.

Gimme the background…

Here’s a good explainer on who the Houthi rebels are, but the main thing to know is the group has been armed by Iran and trained in Yemen. They say the attacks are in response to Israel’s military actions in Gaza, and it won’t stop until Israel’s military action does. It’s shaping up as an expansion of regional tensions that many feared – and another problem is that the Red Sea is part of a critical trade route – reports say about 12% of global trade uses it, including 30% of international container traffic. And since the attacks started last month, oil giant BP has suspended operations, causing more fuel price spikes around the globe. So, there are plenty of questions about what the declining security situation means for security and the global economy

Anything else to note?

Just on the Israel-Hamas conflict… Diplomats are scrambling to get a ceasefire resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council. Reports say they’re focusing on getting the wording right to prevent the US from vetoing it again. They’re pursuing that after the General Assembly vote last week, and it’s notable because there are steps the Security Council can take to enforce it. The vote was due to be held yesterday, but it was delayed to give more time for negotiations with US officials who won’t support calls for a “cessation of hostilities” but might vote in favour of a “suspension of hostilities”, which is what Israel wants… It’s been against calls for a ceasefire from the get-go, but this week, President Isaac Herzog said Israel is ready for another pause in fighting to allow more hostages to be released.

World News

Squiz the Rest

An update on the Ukraine war

Russia’s war on Ukraine is edging towards the 2-year mark, and as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky faces funding setbacks from the US and the European Union, he’s fronted a press conference in Kyiv to say his country is not losing the war. Neither Russia nor Ukraine made much progress on the ground this year, but analysts say 315,000 Russian fighters and at least 24,500 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have died since the war started. For his part, Zelensky says Ukraine is running low on ammunition, and his military commanders want 500,000 extra fighters to push Russia back over the border. That will be hard without big slabs of Western funding, but Zelensky is hopeful, saying “I think we will not be betrayed by our partners.” And while he’s not ruling out peace talks with Russia, he insists they’re not currently feasible.

World News

Our neighbour pops in

Oh, g’day mate… PM Anthony Albanese and New Zealand’s newly minted leader Christopher Luxon had their first in-person chinwag as national leaders in Sydney yesterday. The pair were off to a flying start because they know each other from their “aviation nerd” days – Albanese as a former Transport minister and Luxon as the former boss of Air New Zealand. But yesterday was about far loftier things, including the potential for tech-sharing under the AUKUS partnership and increased defence and security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Luxon also welcomed steps Albanese has taken to make it easier for Kiwis to gain Australian citizenship. “Just putting it out there, I think they’re probably your best migrants,” Luxon said.


Colorado’s thumbs down to Trump

Sneaking in a political bombshell before the end of the year, Donald Trump has been banned from running for president in the state of Colorado. It goes back to the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which bans people from office if they’ve “engaged in insurrection”. And in a 4-3 decision, Colorado’s Supreme Court yesterday decided that Trump had done just that on 6 January 2021. So what’s Colorado got to do with it? America’s system of voting on a president means each state has its own rules… But analysts say the Colorado ruling could be applied to the whole country (or else quashed entirely…) when the case heads to the nation’s Supreme Court, which is where Team Trump will bring an appeal. Democrats were cockahoop about the decision yesterday, but others (including Trump critics) say it could help Trump by galvanising voters who don’t like ‘the government’ ganging up on him.

World News

Naming names

Sticking with the courts in America – a federal judge has ordered the release of more than 150 identities previously suppressed in lawsuits connected to the late/disgraced Jeffrey Epstein. He was the financier to the rich who preyed on young women and faced multiple lawsuits because of it. You might remember that one related case was a defamation lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, and until now, the identities in those court records were suppressed – but Judge Loretta Preska has ruled the info can be published. That’ll happen on 1 January (aka in a week-and-a-half…) and is expected to include the whole gamut of connections, from high-profile associates to victims to those with only a passing acquaintance. As for why now, Preska said some of those details are already known through the media. What will remain under wraps are the names of victims who were minors at the time.

World News

White wine in the… rain

The weather forecasts for Christmas day are in, and it’s a mixed bag for those looking forward to outdoor festivities. Sydneysiders should start thinking through their wet weather contingency plans, with showers and cooler temperatures expected as Santa arrives. It’s a similar story in Melbourne and Brisbane, which we hope means lots of lovely bonding time inside with your people… Hobart might be grey, and Darwin can look forward to a typical wet season thunderstorm, while Adelaide and Canberra can expect some clouds and a max temp of 24C. But if you’re looking to relocate your get-together given the forecast, look no further than Perth… It’s heading towards a 32C day with a low of 21C – aka perfect. Is it too late to book a flight and a restaurant for lunch?


Apropos of Nothing

Before you dump your old Ikea furniture, maybe consider popping your Kallax shelves into storage for a decade or 2… Some of the Swedish retail giant’s vintage designs have just fetched over $60,000 in an auction in Stockholm.

South Australian couple Elisabeth Pel and Harley Liebelt, who met while working at their local Coles 7 years ago, have walked down the aisle… Yep – they had their wedding photos taken in the supermarket, for old times’ sake.

Helping their Welsh football club Wrexham secure promotion into the Football League this year wasn’t enough for Hollywood’s Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney… They’ve now graced us with re-creations of famous album covers from Wham! It’s such a gift…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Last day of Term 4 for public schools in Tassie

ANZ Company shareholder meeting

Yule begins (through until 1 January)… here are some tips on how to celebrate

International Dalek Remembrance Day

Gravy Day (according to Paul Kelly)

Birthdays for Samuel L Jackson (1948) and Emmanuel Macron (1977)

Anniversary of:

  • scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovering radium (1898)
  • the premiere of the first full-length animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  • PM Gough Whitlam formally recognising and establishing diplomatic relations with China (1972)
Squiz the Day

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