Squiz Today / 21 August 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 21 August


“In this extraordinary year, we know that everyone has a hero.”

Said Miriama Kamo, patron of the New Zealander of the Year awards - so extraordinary that Mittens the adventurous cat from Wellington has been nominated. A feline win would be purr-fect…


It’s election time in the Northern Territory. The NT has a 25-seat unicameral parliament. Which doesn’t mean it has one camera… It has one chamber - more than enough for the 245,000 residents it represents, 30% of whom are Indigenous (and for extra points: about 140,000 Territorians are enrolled to vote). So it’s a small one, but pay attention because tomorrow’s poll is the first general election we’ve seen in Oz in the era of COVID-19.

We’re not the boss of you... But if you want to know who’s who:

• Chief Minister and Labor leader Michael Gunner (44yo) is seeking a second term, and he starts from a dominant position. Labor scored a landslide win in 2016 taking 18 seats and spectacularly kicking the Country Liberal Party (CLP) out of office after just one term.

• The CLP was left with 2 members after the 2016 election. It was a political massacre that resembled a 500kg saltie making minced meat of a chicken. Its leader is Lia Finocchiaro (35yo). She became the leader at the start of this year when the party's only other representative, Gary Higgins, announced he would not stand in this election.

• And the new kid on the croc is the Territory Alliance party. It was launched last year by former CLP Chief Minister Terry Mills (62yo) who left the parliament in 2014 when a party coup ended his leadership but returned as an independent in 2016. It's starting Saturday with 3 members and is talking itself up as being a ‘grassroots’ movement.

We see what you did there… ABC psephologist Antony Green noted last night that almost half of the votes have already been lodged, so many Territorians have already made up their minds. But we’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to see whether Labor can hold on, Finocchiaro can improve her party’s position, or if Mills can stage a political comeback. But it will be a tough gig for whoever takes the win because of the Territory’s economic woes. It was in trouble before the coronavirus crisis hit with the mining cycle set to ebb. But COVID-19 might have helped Labor because, as Green says, “Michael Gunner's role as part of the 'national cabinet' has since rolled the NT's economic and financial problems into a shared and much larger national issue.” Still, some weird stuff could happen with the Territory Alliance turning it into a three-cornered contest. But one thing’s certain: the coronavirus means it’s an election without a sausage sizzle. And that’s just wrong…



Steve Bannon, an architect of US President Donald Trump's 2016 election win and early White House chief strategist, has been arrested over accusations he's defrauded donors to a fundraising campaign to build a wall on America’s border with Mexico. More than US$25 million was raised for the ‘We Build The Wall’ campaign to build segments on private land. Prosecutors allege Bannon received $1 million of the funds and spent it on personal expenses. Asked about it overnight, Trump said "I feel very badly" for Bannon. But he says he heard about the campaign after its launch in 2018 and "I said, 'This is for government; this isn't for private people' - and it sounded to me like showboating and I think I let my opinion be very strongly stated at the time." Three other men have also been charged for generating fake invoices “to launder donations and cover up their crimes”.


Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is in intensive care in a hospital in Siberia after a suspected poisoning. The 44yo is unconscious and is on an artificial lung ventilator, reports say. He began feeling unwell during a flight from Siberia to Moscow after drinking tea at the airport. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing, and he was taken to hospital. It’s the second time Navalny, who is an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been laid low. And he’s been the target of repeated arrests and detention - moves the European Court of Human Rights says is politically motivated. It’s not unusual for opposition politicians to be targeted with poison since Putin came to power in 2000, pundits say.


Thousands of people have been evacuated as wildfires burn across central and northern California amid what Governor Gavin Newsom has called "extraordinary weather". Things escalated after 11,000 lightning strikes and a record-breaking heatwave this week sparked 360-plus fires in the area, including 26 major ones. One water-bombing pilot has been killed, at least 7 people have been injured, and thousands of homes are under threat. San Francisco is shrouded in a blanket of smoke. It comes as we recorded the first big blaze of the 2020-21 bushfire season. Crews are battling a fire near the town of Duranbah in NSW’s far northeast. Despite the early start, firies are hopeful this year’s season won’t be as bad as the last. NSW has recorded 702 bush, grass and scrub fires since 1 July - that compares to 2,224 blazes by the same time last year.


The Flying Kangaroo could be rebranded as the Bad News Koala Bears as CEO Alan Joyce yesterday delivered the company’s earning result for the 2019-20 financial year. As Australia’s biggest airline in an industry that was hit early and hard by the pandemic, Qantas staggered over June’s finish line with a $1.96 billion loss. That’s a big turnaround from its $840 million profit the year before, and Joyce said the company woulda coulda shoulda delivered a $1 billion profit had it not been for COVID-19. To help it through the months ahead, Joyce called for more industry support from the Morrison Government. And he’d like to see a national framework for state border restrictions, saying the industry is frustrated by border bans that "don't seem to make any medical sense". The share market wasn’t fussed about the report - investors already knew things would be bad…


If you’re looking for a more vibrant experience with your “where the heck am I”, Google Maps’ visual overhaul this week is for you. Thanks to a new algorithm that uses satellite imagery, users will be able to distinguish between various natural and built environments. “You can know at a glance how lush and green a place is with vegetation, and even see if there are snow caps on the peaks of mountaintops,” product manager Sujoy Banerjee said. New maps will also be released for the world’s major cities in an attempt to make navigation easier for cyclists and pedestrians. Not that it will help you if you’re looking to get to the Toowoomba Showgrounds...


We’ve probably spent more time on the phone this year than the last 3 years combined. So it’s not surprising that job interviews by phone are a thing right now. These tips are handy whether you’re tackling your career, or just trying to get some important work done down the line.

Rachel Castle is a favourite artist of ours - she does fun art and clothing/homey stuff that you can check out. Example: this embroidery she showcased this week on Insta nailed the mood…

Sometimes the answers to life’s great questions is cheesecake. We made this last weekend. It’s easy, and we didn’t even observe the overnight refrigeration instruction - made early Saturday arvo, eaten that night. And we topped it with fresh blueberries instead of passionfruit just after the top layer cooled. Delish.


12.00pm (AEST) - Joe Biden to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination to be its US presidential candidate for November’s election

National Cabinet to discuss the latest coronavirus issues, including border bans

Company Earnings Results - Suncorp

UN International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

Birthdays for Usain Bolt (1986) and Kacey Musgraves (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the marriage of Peter the Great and Catherine II (1745)
• the founding of Hobart (1842)
• 100th anniversary of the birthday of Christopher Robin Milne, who was immortalised in AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh series (1920)
• the marriage of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (1929)
• the death of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1940)
• the release of Walt Disney's Bambi (1942)
• Hawaii becoming the 50th state of America (1959)

Northern Territory Election

UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

Birthdays for actor Ty Burrell (1967), actor Kristen Wiig (1973), comedian/TV presenter James Corden (1978), and singer Dua Lipa (1995)

Anniversary of:
• James Cook’s expedition landing on the east coast of Australia (1770)
• the adoption of the first Geneva Convention by 12 nations, which established the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war (1864)

UN International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition

Start of Speech Pathology Week (on until 29 August)

Anniversary of:
• the Battle of Stalingrad - 40,000 died (1942)
• the World Wide Web being opened to the public (1991)
• the release of Jeff Buckley's only studio album Grace (1995)
• Hurricane Katrina forming over the Bahamas, later becoming a category 5 hurricane (2005)
• the first use of the hashtag in a tweet by US product designer Chris Messina (2007)
• the birthdays of actor Gene Kelly (1912), actor River Phoenix (1970), and basketball star Kobe Bryant (1978)

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