Squiz Today / 01 December 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 1 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Thank you for the well wishes, but I should clarify that I don’t have a birthday or age.”

Is how ChatGPT responded to being told happy birthday, as the chatbot marked one year since its creation. It’s already timeless…

Vale Henry Kissinger

The Squiz

Henry Kissinger – one of the most formidable figures in global politics of the past century – has died at 100yo. Kissinger was the White House National Security Adviser and Secretary of State in Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford’s administrations from 1973-77, but his influence as a diplomat was much greater than his time in office. All up, he advised 12 US presidents from John F Kennedy to Joe Biden, and he was in China as recently as May smoothing the waters with President Xi Jinping ahead of reingagement with US officials, including with President Biden.

Sheesh, that’s quite an innings…

Yep. To start at the beginning, he was born in Germany, and being Jewish, his family joined the exodus from Nazi Germany, moving to New York in 1938. He returned to Germany in WWII with the US Army working in intelligence to round up Gestapo members. For that, he was awarded a Bronze Star (the US military award for acts of heroism or merit). Then it was a career in foreign policy, and when you think of some of the biggest world events over the past half century, Kissinger had a finger in so many pies… He got a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in getting America out of the Vietnam War. He helped diffuse tensions with Russia during the Cold War, and was instrumental in opening up communist China to the West. “The Chinese people never forget their old friends, and Sino-US relations will always be linked with the name of Henry Kissinger,” said President Xi of Kissinger on that recent trip.  

What else are people saying about him?

He leaves behind a legacy that’s as complex as it is controversial. Take that Nobel Prize… It caused an outcry in 1973 with many condemning his role during the war. Even former President Barack Obama weighed in a few years ago saying the US “dropped more ordnance on Cambodia and Laos than on Europe in World War II”. Kissinger also copped a lot of criticism for supporting Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975, which led to the loss of 100,000 lives. For his part, Kissinger knew he was a divisive figure and said “it would be unnatural and probably would mean I haven’t done very much if there were not other points of view”.

World News

Squiz the Rest

A big last-minute call

After a mad scramble by mediators, the truce between Israel and Hamas was extended yesterday afternoon for another day, with an that was agreement struck minutes before the pause in fighting was due to end. And so it starts again… Egyptian officials say they are working with Qatar to get a further 2-day extension which would take it through to Sunday. But looking further down the track is Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Israel overnight on his third trip since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas. He’s already met with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu as part of a diplomatic push for a longer-lasting truce in Gaza. He’s also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – that happened in Ramallah (aka a city in the other Palestinian territory of the West Bank), and told him the US was committed to taking “tangible steps to advance” a Palestinian state.

World News

Accusations of another assassination plot

It sounds like it’s straight out of a spy thriller, but US officials say they have foiled a plot to assassinate an American citizen who’s campaigning for a Sikh separatist state. Indian national Nikhil Gupta has been accused of trying to hire a hitman for $100,000 to kill Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. But the first plot twist is that the hitman was actually an undercover agent. The second twist is the FBI was actually onto this because they’d been watching out for Pannun, a dual US-Canadian citizen, after similar assassination claims in Canada that caused an international uproar. Sikhs are a religious minority that makes up about 2% of India’s population, and those who call for a separate homeland are considered by the Indian Government to be terrorists.

Crime World News

Back and forth on climate

The Albanese Government has rejected calls from an official climate think tank to impose a national ban on new petrol car sales by 2040, as well as gas connections to new homes. Those were 2 recommendations from the Climate Change Authority (CCA), whose latest report found Australia isn’t on track to meet its target to reduce emissions by 43% on 2005 levels by 2030. It blamed sluggish moves on reducing emissions, with new data showing a rise of 0.8% in the 2022-23 financial year, led by the transport and agricultural sectors. Those pesky cow burps… Despite that, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said the country is “within striking distance” of our target of 43% emissions reductions by 2030. That’s according to the government’s own modelling, but we’ll find out how Bowen’s chipper outlook will be received by other nations when he heads to Qatar for the COP28 summit over the weekend…

AusPol Australian News Environment & Science

Funding not here if you need

The pay dispute that’s been rocking Australia’s most popular female sport for more than a year deepened yesterday after it emerged that $17 million in federal funding is in limbo. That happened after the national body Netball Australia (NA) failed to prove the money would be spent wisely. It’s not been a good week for one of our most popular sports… Netball legend Liz Ellis called out NA for its “callous disregard” of players after forcing some of our ​​national players to attend an awards ceremony despite not paying them in 8 weeks. And yesterday, players blamed NA for the collapse of previous sponsorship deals as they shared through tears how some are sleeping in their cars or moving back in with their parents as the pay dispute continues. The players association and NA are set to meet today to negotiate an end to the dispute.

Australian News Sport

A momentous Kiwi moment

Conservationists are celebrating after 2 cute Kiwi chicks hatched in the wild near Wellington for the first time in a century. They say it’s “a very sweet milestone” because New Zealand’s national bird is one of the country’s most vulnerable since introduced predators and the loss of habitat brought their numbers down from 12 million to about 68,000. The chicks also point to another achievement – it means a conservation program known as ‘Capital Kiwi Project’ is successfully trapping predators and introducing hundreds of Kiwi birds around Wellington. And for an added dose of cuteness/fluffiness, an Indonesian sanctuary is toasting the birth of a critically endangered Sumatran rhino calf last week. Aww…

Environment & Science World News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

The original Squiz recommended Drops of God on Apple TV+ to us, and we’re so pleased she did. It’s an 8-part multilingual drama about family, loss, and wine… It’s one of those sleeper shows that has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and we reckon it’s earned it.

If you needed more proof we’re in the middle of a 90s fashion revival, there’s been a lot around recently on Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, the style-setter who died with husband John F Kennedy Jr in a plane crash in 1999. There’s a new book and get-the-look guides galore…

You know we’re partial to a good Ottolenghi recipe, and it doesn’t get much tastier than this… His potato and spinach pie is one of the simpler recipes we’ve seen from the famously fancy chef, and it’s a great meal for this time of year. 

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Group Chief Executive of munitions company NIOA, Robert Nioa, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Marriages and Divorces, 2022

World AIDS Day

National Water Safety Day

Bartender Appreciation Day

International Sweater Vestival

Birthdays for Woody Allen (1935), Bette Midler (1945), Janelle Monáe (1985) and Zoe Kravitz (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the Ford Motor Company establishing the world’s first moving assembly line (1913)
• the invention of modern-day Bingo by American toymaker Edwin S Lowe (1929)
• Hugh Hefner publishing the first edition of Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe as the centrefold (1953)
• the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama (1955)
• the signing of the Antarctic Treaty (1959)
• Papua New Guinea gaining self-governance from Australia (1973)
• the earliest traceable patient, a 55yo man, developing symptoms of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China (2019)

Squiz the Day

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