Squiz Today / 29 October 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 29 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you get the week done.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“13 December”

Is the last date for east coasters to send any Christmas prezzies via the regular parcel service if they want it to arrive on time, according to Aussie Post. For mail to and from the People’s Republic of Westralia and the Top End, it’s 8 December. Santa has to be organised this year…

Konnichiwa to an election in Japan

You know that an election is a thing of joy here at The Squiz, and Sunday’s general election in Japan is set to be a cracker. Japan is of interest to Australia as our closest partner in Asia. And it’s the world’s 3rd largest economy after the US and China, so plenty of eyes will be on the outcome of what’s a thrilling and unusual race.

Roger that.

• Japan’s parliament is called the National Diet, and it’s a bicameral legislature. That’s a fancy way of saying it has 2 houses, like many corporate executives… This election is for members of the lower house – the House of Representatives. It has 465 seats, and a party needs to claim 233 to hold a majority.

• Today, PM Fumio Kishida marks one month as the nation’s leader. He took over from Yoshihide Suga whose abrupt resignation followed poor reviews of his management of the COVID crisis. He had only been in the job for a year after Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving PM, resigned due to ill health. So the political scene has been a bit hectic…

• Those 3 blokes are from the centre-right Liberal Democratic Party, which has held onto power almost continuously since its formation in 1955. The LDP goes in with 276 seats and the support of Komeito, a conservative party with 29 seats. As for the opposition, the Constitutional Democratic Party is next with 113 seats, so it has a lot of ground to cover if it is to win.

It is, and that’s because the polls show that the LDP could lose its majority on Sunday, and that could have dramatic consequences for who will be PM and what direction the government takes. That’s possible because the LDP is seriously weakened after the leadership changes, and polls show many voters reckon they have fumbled recent challenges. Meanwhile, opposition parties have coordinated in a way that hasn’t been seen before, so pundits are watching closely. Two things to keep in mind: about 40% of the electorate is still undecided, and voters turnout is expected to be low. So the outcome is far from certain…

World News

Squiz the Rest

COVID a stage-5 clinger in Victoria

Victoria yesterday recorded its highest single-day death toll of the current COVID outbreak. There were 25 deaths and 1,923 new local cases reported yesterday. But to be glass-half-full for a sec, Victoria is expected to hit its 80% vaccination target today, and more restrictions are set to ease across the state. From 6pm, masks outdoors – no longer mandatory. ‘Non-essential’ businesses and gyms  – open. Travel allowed between Melbourne and regional Victoria – pack the car. Also coming into force tonight is a tightening of the rules for medical exemptions from vaccination requirements. Going forward, Victorians must receive an exemption from the Australian Immunisation Register, not just a doctor’s letter. 


Too close, too personal

So it was for those following along with NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing yesterday… Former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire told those conducting the investigation into his former flame, ex-Premier Gladys Berejiklian, that the pair had been in love and had discussed marriage and children. Berejiklian previously said they had a “close personal relationship”, but it was not of sufficient status to disclose it. Putting the feelz aside, phone calls intercepted by investigators in 2018 had Maguire urging Berejiklian to “just throw money at Wagga” for projects  – something she said she would do. Maguire resigned a few days later when ICAC exposed a property deal where he’d taken advantage of his position as an MP. Maguire says the calls with Berejiklian merely show “politics at play”. She fronts ICAC today.


A trio of summit updates

• Australia has inked a new security pact with ASEAN – the Association of South-East Asian Nations. It’s the first ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ the block of countries in our region has made, and it’s seen as another step for Oz to strengthen diplomatic ties as China muscles up.

• The G20 summit kicks off in Rome tomorrow, and top of the agenda is climate change, recovering from the pandemic, and curbing misinformation on social media. PM Scott Morrison may get the chance to speak in person with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron after a thawing phone call yesterday.

• And US President Joe Biden hasn’t got a formal climate policy to take to next week’s COP26 summit. A whopping big spending package including $555 billion for climate measures has divided his Democratic party. Biden is in the process of reformulating it, but not in time for next week’s climate get together.

ASEAN, G20 – what does it all mean? We have a Squiz Shortcut for that.

World News

Supermarkets tackle ‘pallet-gate’

They’re pretty unassuming objects, but a shortage of the humble wooden pallet is set to muck up the supply of fresh food and groceries to the supermarket retailers towards the end of the year, Coles boss Steven Cain warned yesterday. He dubbed it ‘pallet-gate’, and says lockdowns in NSW and Victoria, wood shortages, and panic buying during the last couple of years means pallets – which are essential to transport goods from the supplier to the retailer – are few and far between. It’s such a problem that it has seen Coles and Woolworths lower their competitive force fields to join with the Australian Food and Grocery Council to create a ‘pallet taskforce’ to get them back into circulation. If you see one, maybe let your local store manager know…

Business & Finance

Holy hoverbikes

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It could be a hoverbike with tech start-up ALI Technologies launching its new model earlier this week. Costing a cool $900,000 a pop, the Mitsubishi-backed company’s inventions can fly for 40 minutes at speeds up to 100km/h on a single charge. Kicking off in Japan, the company says the flying machines could offer a solution to congestion in Tokyo if it gets some cars off the roads. Japan’s current laws ban hoverbikes from flying over busy roads, but ALI boss Daisuke Katano hopes they will be taken up by rescue teams to help them reach inaccessible areas. It still seems like science fiction, but analysts say the flying vehicle industry is starting to take off. The industry could be worth as much as US$1.5 trillion by 2040, they say. That’s a lot of zeroes…


Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Always having a camera on you (thanks, smartphone…) means an abundance of opportunities for less than flattering pictures of yourself. This woman’s mission is to show people how to pose. A quick showreel is here.

Given the advice of Australia Post, it’s time to get heads around Christmas gifting. We’re starting here.

And we enjoyed Only Murders In The Building (Disney+) with Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez – the podcast angle was fun. And we dig the idea that Short’s character Oliver only eats dips. So with avos such good value at the moment, go crazy with this fresh and easy one.

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which animal has a sense of rhythm, according to a new study out this week? Have a go at the S’Quiz.

Squiz the Day

Public holiday for Brissie for the People’s Long Weekend (or Ekka Holiday in non-COVID times…

9.30am (AWST) – Crown Resorts major shareholder James Packer fronts the WA Royal Commission into the company’s conduct – Perth

10.00am (AEDT) – Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to front the ICAC inquiry into her conduct in office

6.00pm (AEDT) – More restrictions set to ease in Victoria as it passes its 80% fully vaccinated target

ABS Data Release – Producer Price Indexes, September; Retail Trade, September

Company Results – Macquarie Group

Turkey’s National Day

World Teacher’s Day in Australia

Day for Daniel (Morcombe)

National Bandanna Day, supporting young people impacted by cancer

World Stroke Day

World Psoriasis Day

Birthdays for the voice of Homer Simpson Dan Castellaneta (1957) and actor Winona Ryder (1971)

Anniversary of:
• the release of the first ballpoint pen, manufactured by Biro (1945)
• the first publication of comic Asterix in the French magazine Pilote, illustrated by Albert Uderzo (1959)
• 77yo John Glenn becoming the oldest person to go into space onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (1998)
• China announcing the end of its one-child policy after 35 years (2015)
• the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after takeoff near Jakarta, Indonesia. All 189 on board were killed and it sparked concerns about the aircraft’s safety (2018)

Squiz the Day

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