Squiz Today / 08 April 2024

Squiz Today – 8 April 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 8 minutes

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11 / 18
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9 / 22

Squiz Sayings

“Please don’t refer to Adelaide as RADelaide.”

Was the South Australian Tourism Commission’s plea to media outlets as it pushed for a rebrand off the back of the weekend’s AFL Gather Round. Just like the BOM’s attempt to elevate the public’s consciousness, it didn’t go down well…

JAUKUS is on the cards

The Squiz

Japan could be the first country to join the AUKUS security pact since Oz, the UK and the US kicked things off in 2021. Reports say defence ministers from those 3 countries will meet today to go over the benefits of expanding the pact which is designed to counteract Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region – and Japan’s addition is top of the agenda. The move was foreshadowed by Rahm Emanuel, the US Ambassador in Tokyo, who said on Friday that Japan was “about to become the first additional pillar 2 partner” in AUKUS.

What does that mean?

You can’t mention AUKUS without submarines metaphorically surfacing, and this time is no different… When the big new security agreement was launched, a key part was to get nuclear-powered submarines built for Australia to bolster defence efforts in the region. That was ‘pillar 1’ and despite delays in the production of those subs, it’s in train. So they’re onto ‘pillar 2’, which is all about developing cutting-edge defence technology – think quantum computing, undersea AI, and new cyber tech. As for where Japan fits in, it’s well-placed to contribute in that regard. Japanese PM Fumio Kishida is headed to Washington this week and he might squeeze in some time to talk to US President Joe Biden about it there. 

And how’s our relationship with China tracking…?

It’s on the up with China lifting the last of its COVID-era tariffs on Aussie wine last week. But research from KPMG Australia/the University of Sydney (paywall) shows Chinese investment in Australia has continued its downward trend, falling 36% in 2023 to $1.3 billion. KPMG’s Helen Zhi Dent says the “trend is unlikely to rebound soon”, with Chinese companies tightening their purse strings as they deal with a worsening local economy. And despite China’s continued military moves to strengthen its hand in the region, the US reckons their relationship with China is also improving… US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says things are on “a more stable footing” thanks to more open communication. Sometimes you just gotta pick up the phone…

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Demands for a hostage deal

Israel’s war in Gaza has passed the 6-month mark and PM Benjamin Netanyahu was again under pressure this weekend to strike a deal with Hamas. Reports say as many as 100,000 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv for the second weekend running, calling on the government to ensure the return of the remaining hostages taken by Hamas terrorists on 7 October. Just on that, the body of 47yo Elad Katzir was recovered in southern Gaza – Israeli leaders say he was killed by his captors in mid-January. Meanwhile, Hamas has sent representatives to Egypt for new ceasefire talks with Israel and Qatari/US negotiators. Its list of demands includes the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza (something Netanyahu previously rejected) and a “serious” exchange deal of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli hostages. Reports overnight say Israel has withdrawn all but one brigade of troops from southern Gaza, placing doubt on its plans to push ahead with an invasion of Rafah.

World News

Breaching our borders

PM Anthony Albanese says he’s sent a “very clear message” that unlawful boat arrivals won’t be allowed to stay in Oz, following reports that 15 suspected Chinese nationals landed in Western Oz’s Kimberley region on Friday. The group were found at the remote Mungalalu Truscott airbase, but one man escaped, leading to a huge search by authorities until he was found yesterday. It’s the third recent boat arrival after a vessel carrying 39 Pakistani and Bangladeshi people landed north of Broome in February, and another group of 12 reached the same Western Oz airbase last November. Reports say the latest group have already been flown to offshore detention in Nauru. Coalition spokesperson Simon Birmingham says the boat arriving without detection is a “big indictment on the Albanese Government”. But Albanese says “no changes” are needed to Operation Sovereign Borders.

AusPol Australian News

Hard rain brings harsh consequences

People from the Hawkesbury, Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and beyond are continuing the clean-up following widespread flooding over the weekend after receiving more than a month’s rain in 24 hours on Friday. The deluge is thought to have claimed the life of a man in Sydney and led to at least 160 rescues as emergency services received thousands of calls. Thousands more were evacuated in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, with more than 80 flood warnings still in place, and about 150 people were stranded after a landslide cut off road access in the Blue Mountains. Sydney’s Warragamba Dam reached capacity and began spilling over – meaning more water flowed into already flooded areas. State and federal disaster assistance funding has been made available to people whose homes have been destroyed, which NSW Premier Chris Minns says will help people “get back on their feet”.

Australian News Weather

Forcing supermarket giants to play nicely

Supermarket chains could face hefty fines if they are found to be mistreating suppliers under a new code of conduct recommended by a review into the sector. Former Labor minister Craig Emerson conducted the review at the request of the federal government after claims of price gouging and complaints by suppliers. In his interim report, Emerson has recommended a mandatory supermarket code of conduct with fines of up to $10 million, 10% of annual turnover or 3 times the value of the breach for “major or systemic breaches” of the code – which could amount to huge bucks for the big four of Woolies, Coles, Aldi and wholesaler Metcash. Despite suggestions earlier in the year of breaking up the chains’ monopolies in some areas, the review found it wasn’t feasible to force the supermarket giants to close/sell stores as that would cost jobs and inconvenience shoppers. 

AusPol Business & Finance

Time to chow down at the chippy

Fish and chips – the key to a long and healthy life? That’s according to the world’s oldest man John Alfred Tinniswood, who at 111yo has just been awarded the title by Guinness World Records after 114yo Venezuelan record-holder Juan Vicente Pérez died last week. The Englishman was born on 26 August 1912, just a few months after the Titanic sank. He says his weekly Friday night takeaway is part of his “everything in moderation” approach and says “looking forward to my next visit to the chippy has kept me young”. But he still has a way to go if he wants to become the world’s oldest person, a title held by Spanish woman Maria Branyas Morera at 117yo. Still, they’ve probably both got some good advice for Gen Z who need a crash course in old-school communications like using a telephone…

Quirky News World News

Apropos of Nothing – Geezers edition

You know a look is no longer cool when pollies start trying to rock it… UK PM Rishi Sunak has frustrated sneaker enthusiasts by sporting a pair of Adidas Sambas, leading one journo to say the look he really nailed is “midlife crisis fintech mogul”… Ouch.

There are all sorts of pilgrimages, but one you probably haven’t heard of is Holmes Chapel – UK hometown of megastar Harry Styles… Thousands of “Harries” (aka fans) have been flying in from all over the world to check out a railway viaduct where he had his first kiss… Bless.

And speaking of the UK, one 27yo British man has been dubbed the “hardest geezer” for running the entire length of Africa. Russell Cook has trotted 16,400km in 352 days across 16 countries raising over $1 million for charity. He’s certainly a top bloke…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – Public Hearing into access to Australian Parliament House by lobbyists – Canberra

12.30pm (AEST) – Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, will address the National Press Club on how the EU overcame the energy crisis and the next steps in its energy and industrial transition – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Lending Indicators – February 

Hana Matsuri (Flower Festival) – Japan

Zoo lovers day

Birthdays for doppelgängers Robin Wright (1966) and Patricia Arquette (1968)

Anniversary of:

the discovery of the Venus de Milo on the Aegean island of Milos (1820)

the deaths of Pablo Picasso (1973) and Margaret Thatcher (2013)

Squiz the Day

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