Squiz Today / 23 August 2019

Squiz Today – Friday, 23 August


"I just wanted to drive a little."

Said an 8yo German boy who stole his parents’ car and was clocked driving 140km/hour on a motorway early on Wednesday morning. But to give him credit, he was safely parked at the side of the road, and had put the car's hazard lights on and a warning triangle behind the vehicle when police found him. So, you know, swings and roundabouts…


Australia lost one of its political giants yesterday with the death of former deputy PM and Nationals leader Tim Fischer. A Vietnam veteran, farmer, politician, father, diplomat, author, train enthusiast and advocate, 'The Boy from Boree Creek' was remembered as "a man of courage, conviction and congeniality". Also known as 'The Man in the Hat' (for his attachment to his Akubra) and 'Two Minute Tim' (for his hectic work schedule), the 73yo died from an acute form of leukaemia that he'd lived with for more than 10 years.

Three things were highlighted yesterday:

• As the leader of the Nationals, it was Fischer's constituents who were most affected by the gun law reforms that followed 1996's Port Arthur Massacre. Despite some loud resistance, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with then PM John Howard to take more than 700,000 firearms out of circulation. "There are people alive today who wouldn't be if not for Tim Fischer," Nats leader Michael McCormack said yesterday.

• He was also at the forefront of several other tricky issues of the day. The rise of One Nation and implementing reforms in the agriculture sector were all bruising episodes for the Nationals’ leader.

• But the outpouring of tributes from across politics highlighted his integrity. Howard said he “always punched hard for the bush, but with an eye for what was right for all Australians.” PM Scott Morrison said he “walked his own path with honesty and humility”. And former PM Julia Gillard said he was “a good bloke, a character and a high-achiever”. (For a cracking yarn about what kind of bloke he was, it’s hard to go past this one.)

As one of the few to exit politics of their own accord and not via one of the 'three Ds' (defeat, disgrace or death), Fischer departed to spend more time with his family (and in his case, that’s actually what he did). Late to meeting and marrying his wife Judy, the couple had two kids, Harrison and Dominic. Harrison, who has autism (and was profiled in a glorious episode of ABC TV’s Australian Story last year), required more of his dad’s time than a political career allowed, so Fischer stepped down as party leader in 1999. Now in his mid-20s, Harrison has a job and lives independently of his family. "I will eventually leave this planet Earth, sooner or later, in the knowledge that Harrison is now far better placed than he was 10 years ago or 20 years ago," Fischer said last year.



That’s what G7 leaders are looking forward to. And by G7 we’re talking about France (but you got that from the headline…), the US, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada and Japan. The idea is the leaders of those nations get together every year to talk about the big issues of the day. As host, French President Emmanuel Macron will channel John Farnham saying he wants to take the pressure down between the US and Iran. Also on his wish list - an overhaul of global corporate taxes (Google and Amazon, he's looking at you…). UK PM Boris Johnson has one thing on his mind, and it starts with a 'B'. No, not boulangerie, although when in Rome… He’s focused on Brexit. As for US President Donald Trump, he wishes Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was coming. And everyone (except maybe Trump…) is worried about America’s escalating trade war with China. PM Morrison is going as an observer, let’s hope he has better seats than Aussie basketball fans had last night…


Up to 1.3 million homes in Victoria could face blackouts during the coming summer due to extreme heat conditions and two offline power stations, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) reported yesterday. And 770,000 NSW homes face the same fate if/when the Liddell power station closes in a few years. It's deja vu all over again with the regulator highlighting the need for an increase in dispatchable power (which includes coal, gas, battery-stored and hydro-generated electricity). In the meantime, maybe put some candles on your shopping list?


The Amazon rainforest in Brazil - which is the largest in the world and is said to provide about 20% of the world’s oxygen - has been burning at unprecedented levels for the past three weeks. With fires consuming the equivalent of a soccer field every minute, a thick blanket of smoke has spread as far as São Paulo, more than 3,000km away. A record 74,000 fires have burned so far this year, up 80% on last year, and it’s suspected many have been started by loggers and farmers. Environmental groups are blaming Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro for the disaster, with data showing rates of deforestation in the Amazon significantly increasing since he took office at the start of the year. He says environmental groups that have had funding cuts are starting fires, and his government doesn’t have the resources to fight them.


Some bad news for office workers, with new research finding that sitting for nine-and-a-half hours a day or more is linked to lower life expectancy in those who are middle-aged and older. There is good news - you don't have to take up an intense workout regimen just yet... The study, led by researchers at the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, found from yoga to CrossFit, undertaking exercise at any intensity will help you add a few more years to your life.


Pop megastar Taylor Swift is no stranger to a fight over music ownership. This time, she says she’ll re-record her early songs after her former label, Big Machine Records, sold the master recordings of her first six albums to her arch-enemy Scooter Braun. While the music industry has seen the likes of Rihanna and Jay-Z buy back their masters, Swift says Big Machine only offered her the opportunity to gradually earn her back master tracks by continuing to produce new music. So she left for a better deal with Universal Music Group/Republic. All of which means the PR pro has provided the world with a reason to mention her new album Lover is out today/tomorrow Oz time.


So you may have noticed that the subject line of each day’s email features a song lyric, which is because we connect news to music in our heads as we write each day’s edition. Don’t know why, it just happens that way. So our minds exploded this week when the New York Times analysed some presidential candidates' campaign playlists and did some analysis on how it represents them. It’s a fun and insightful read/listen (note: turn the sound on...).

Spring is around the corner, although it might not feel like that in some parts of the country (Canberra, we're looking at you with -5C this morning...). That means it’s time for a t-shirt refresh, and a white tee is the place to start. This guide has everything you could want. Note: you can pick up Vera Wang’s recommendation in certain sizes for A$13 for a three-pack.

And for a weekend cooking adventure - an updated apricot chicken recipe. Given its daggy past, some might baulk, but we're game… or should that be 'we're poultry'?


Company Earnings Results - Goodman Group; Ardent Leisure; Costa Group

Daffodil Day - organised by the Cancer Council for the benefit of cancer research

Start of the last round of AFL games before finals start on 5 September

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

Krishna Janmashtami - one of the most important events in the Hindu calendar

Anniversary of the World Wide Web being opened to the public (1991)

2.00pm (AEST) - Basketball World Cup Warmup - Australia v Team USA - Melbourne

G7 Leaders Summit (on until 26 August)- Biarritz, France

First anniversary of the ouster of PM Malcolm Turnbull/Scott Morrison's first anniversary as PM

Start of the last round of Super Netball games before finals start on 31 August

Ukraine’s National Day

Anniversary of Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly nonstop across the United States (1932)

Uruguay’s National Day

Billy Ray Cyrus’ birthday (1961)

Anniversary of the liberation of Paris by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation (1944)

Start of Speech Pathology Week

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