Squiz Today / 20 October 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 20 October

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

13 / 25
14 / 29
15 / 28
17 / 27
12 / 27
10 / 19
25 / 34
6 / 27

Squiz Sayings

“Shoot what kind of job openings you got?”

Said one internet wag of the claim made by 90yo Republican Senator Chuck Grassley who attended the latest wedding of 20 couples who met in his office. Some say it’s a sign the oldest member of Congress should retire – others reckon he needs his own TV show…

The long wait for Gaza aid

The Squiz

The United Nations says Gaza is on the brink of a “major health and sanitation crisis” unless supplies of water, food and medicine start reaching people soon. US President Joe Biden left Israel yesterday having helped to secure an agreement with Israel and Egypt to allow an initial 20 trucks with humanitarian aid to enter Gaza – but the earliest those are expected to start rolling in is later on today. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in Egypt – he said this morning that it’s “a moment of profound crisis … unlike any the region has seen in decades”, and when it comes to aid, “we need it at scale, and we need it to be sustained,” he said.

What’s the holdup?

Ah, where to start… The aid is meant to get in via the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border with Gaza – but first, Egypt’s got to repair a road badly damaged by Israeli airstrikes. Another issue is around Israel’s demand that each truck gets thoroughly checked by the UN to ensure it’s only carrying food, water or medicine, and it’s asked for assurances that the supplies go to civilians, not Hamas. Egypt has its own concerns about opening the crossing beyond limited aid deliveries… President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says if there is a mass exodus of Palestinians from Gaza, his country’s north will become “a base for operations against Israel, and in this case, Egypt will be labelled as a base for terrorists.” He also says he wants Gazans to stay put because arguing for a Palestinian state would be hard if its people weren’t there.

So that leaves things… where?

It leaves tens of thousands of people in Gaza who have moved close to the crossing waiting for that aid to get through. As we mentioned, that can’t come soon enough with some dire reports on the conditions there… On the Egypt side – as well as the 20 trucks that have been given the green light to go in – there are hundreds more waiting to be given permission… Humanitarians say the initial shipment is a “drop in the ocean” of the assistance that is needed. British PM Rishi Sunak is the latest world leader to travel to the Middle East, and he’s also pleading for foreign nationals to be allowed out of Gaza – and more aid to be let in. In a press conference with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu overnight, Sunak said “we stand with you in solidarity … and we also want you to win.” Also for your radar – after his lightning trip to Israel, Biden’s set to address to the nation this morning, where he’s expected to make the case for Congress to back a $100 billion package for Israel and Ukraine.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Xi and Putin on the alternative

Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are pushing for a new world order… At China’s 10th anniversary Belt and Road Summit in Beijing, Xi told leaders from the Global South (aka developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America) that “ideological confrontation, geopolitical rivalry and bloc politics are not a choice for us”. Analysts say it’s Xi’s belief that China is a force for global stability, whereas America’s grip on power is the problem at the heart of what ails the world. As for how that assessment aligns with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin points to the West/America’s meddling as a big part of Eastern Europe’s problems. And the Russian leader says that with China, “we are moving forward very confidently.” As for what’s happening in Ukraine, its counteroffensive has been hard going, but reports this morning say there has been a significant gain in the country’s east.  

Australian News World News

No treaty for Queensland

The Sunshine State’s plans to progress a treaty with First Nations people are in doubt after the opposition Liberal/National Party (LNP) said the weekend’s referendum result has made them put their support in reverse. Queensland returned the highest ‘No’ vote on Saturday, with 69% of voters rejecting the proposal to enshrine an Indigenous Voice in the Constitution. LNP leader David Crisafulli says “it has now become clear a path to Treaty is not the right way forward for Queensland” – and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk responded by saying that means the process is effectively stalled because it needs “bipartisan support”. The fallout from the referendum is also playing out in other states – with some questions around South Australia’s Voice, and NSW Premier Chris Minns says there are “no easy answers” in the wake of the result.

AusPol Australian News

Ups and downs in the jobs market

Analysts reckon another rate rise could be on the cards after Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6% last month, down from 3.7% in August. The latest data from the Bureau of Statistics found that 6,600 new jobs were added in September – that’s below the expected 20,000 new jobs. Also affecting the number was the drop in the participation rate, meaning heaps of unemployed Aussies stopped looking for work. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was a “welcome result” but echoed RBA Governor Michele Bullock – she says the ongoing conflict in the Middle East could impact oil prices, keeping inflation stubbornly high. Cue analysts getting ready for next week’s inflation data…

Australian News Business & Finance

Leave it to the AI assistant

If you’re the type of person who can’t think of anything worse than attending an online meeting, you might no longer have to… Tech giant Microsoft has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant called Microsoft 365 Copilot that can do nifty things like summarise Teams meetings and sort pros and cons into graph form – but it can’t rank the performance of your colleagues… It uses the same tech as chatbot ChatGPT, and while many welcomed the new development, others say their jobs could be on the line. Musicians might also feel a bit under threat after YouTube said it’s developing an AI tool where creators can adopt the voices of famous singers. Negotiations are underway with the major music labels, and we can’t wait to finally be able to sing like Whitney Houston…


A golden day for the Sydney Opera House

The building nicknamed ‘Nuns in a Scrum’ turns 50yo today, marking the anniversary of its official opening by Queen Elizabeth in 1973. To recap the famous story, the landmark came to be after a design competition was launched in 1957 to build an arts centre on Sydney Harbour. Out of 223 very different entries, Danish architect Jørn Utzon was the winner – but it didn’t all go to plan… The unique design proved tricky to build, taking 14 years instead of 4, and costs blew out from $7 million to $102 million, with the NSW Government raising the shortfall by starting the Australian National Lottery. Utzon departed the project in 1966, and the Opera House officially opened 7 years later. It’s now the nation’s biggest tourist attraction, with 10.9 million people visiting annually. And if you’ve ever wondered what the Opera House would look like if modern architects had designed it, AI has you sorted

Australian News Culture

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

If you’re looking for something cute to stream, we can recommend Still Up on Apple TV+. It’s in a favourite format (you know the one – 27-minute eps…), and it’s about mates Lisa and Danny – insomniacs who help each other out while everyone else is asleep. It’s just nice.

We enjoyed this Vanity Fair interview with Barbra Streisand – the legend who needs little introduction (unless you’re under 25yo, maybe…). She’s now 81yo, and her autobiography My Name Is Barbra (out on 7 November) is set to be the Christmas gift to give fans this year…

We’ve been craving pasta this week, so tonight we’re going all in on an arrabbiata – the tomato, garlic and chilli classic. And if you need a reminder on how to cook pasta (and 9.9 million views tell us many people do), Gordon’s here for you

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

5.00pm (AEDT) – Women’s Rugby – WXV 1 – England v Australia – Wellington

7.30pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket World Cup – Australia v Pakistan – Bangalore, India

World Osteoporosis Day

International Chefs Day

Melbourne International Jazz Festival begins (until 29 October)

Sculpture by the Sea begins (until 6 November) – Sydney

The Rolling Stones’ first album in 18 years, Hackney Diamonds, released

Birthdays for Thomas Newman (1955), Danny Boyle (1956), Kamala Harris (1964), and Snoop Dogg (1971)

Anniversary of:
• US President Abraham Lincoln formally establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday (1864)
• the publication of the third and final volume of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King (1955)
• the opening of the Sydney Opera House by Queen Elizabeth II (1973)
• Joko Widodo becoming President of Indonesia (2014)

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.