Squiz Today / 08 March 2019

Squiz Today – Friday, 8 March


"It’s astounding that it is deemed mandatory viewing in so many circles. Astounding.”

Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the Daily Telegraph she has dipped into Nine’s Married at First Sight. What did she think? It's hard to say. We think they call her response ‘diplomatic'... Or maybe, to use former PM Malcolm Turnbull's phrase, the MAFS craze is "an Australian form of madness"?


Stung by bans against it in the world's largest economy, Chinese telco giant Huawei is suing the US government saying it has been prevented from engaging in fair competition. In a lawsuit filed in Texas, the company says the law that prevents the country's government agencies from using Huawei and ZTE technology is unconstitutional because it's singled them out for punishment without a trial.

America’s Huawei equipment ban was in response to security agency concerns that the Chinese government could use its equipment to spy on other nations. And although no specific evidence has been provided, it’s a move Australian and Kiwi governments have followed. It’s particularly pressing at the moment as work on preparing for the rollout of 5G mobile networks begins. Huawei, which describes itself as an ‘employee-owned company', is known to have close ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has emphatically and repeatedly denied the allegations of being a security risk.

The above, and three other things come to mind:

• There are all the complications that have arisen from the arrest of Huawei's CFO (and daughter of its founder) Meng Wanzhou in Canada. She’s accused of breaches that broke US sanctions on Iran. Her lawyers claim her arrest and requested extradition to America have been politically motivated.

• There’s the difficult dance that is the America-China relationship, particularly when it comes to recent trade troubles. It’s only recently that there’s been a glimmer of hope on that front…

• And there’s the broader uncomfortableness the West has over the rise of China. Coupled with security concerns over things like state-sponsored cyberhacking, countries like America and Australia are walking a tricky geopolitical path.

(Tip: use some of those lines over a vino tonight, and you'll be a sure-fire hit…)



James Packer can’t take a trick. Entertainment websites and gossip pages were alight yesterday with news the Aussie billionaire had become inadvertently embroiled in a classic Hollywood casting couch scandal involving an old flame, English actress Charlotte Kirk (it's ok, we had to look her up too). It's all rather complicated: suffice to say Packer introduced Kirk (with whom he'd had a brief dalliance post-Erica) to the head of the Warner Bros movie studio ostensibly to help her get work. Things then got complicated, and when the flurry of text messages that ensued (including allegations of blackmail) ended up in the media’s hands, Kirk issued a statement saying she bore no ill will to anyone involved nor felt anyone owed her anything. Clear as mud? Good.


We all want to move out of the town square and into the living room, according to Facebook founder and Knower of All Things, Mark Zuckerberg. The tech gazillionaire yesterday flagged changes to Facebook’s privacy settings to reflect better what he said was users' desire for "a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won't all stick around forever. " Analysts wondered aloud if it was all a ploy by Zuck & Co to shake off the myriad government regulators that are on the social media behemoth’s case. The proof, as they say in the classics, will be in the social media pudding.


DE BELIN’S SUSPENSION SUSPENSION - That's not a typo… St George rugby league player Jack de Belin was the first player to fall foul of the NRL's new ‘no fault' rules to stand down players charged with serious criminal charges. He is not happy about it and has taken footy administrators to court. In a preliminary hearing yesterday, the judge found that the suspension was premature, and therefore de Belin is eligible to take the field in the league’s opening round next week. The NRL says it will have the new rule in place in the coming couple of days so he shouldn't waste much time lacing up his footy boots. But with more legal wrangling scheduled for next week, who knows where it’ll land...

TRUDEAU’S CLOSE ADVISERS DEFEND THEIR MAN - A parliamentary panel is looking into accusations by former Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his inner circle pressured her to go easy on an engineering firm facing a criminal trial. Yesterday, Trudeau’s bestie and former-close adviser Gerald Butts and the country's top public servant Michael Wernick lined up behind the PM.

CRYPTOCURRENCY FORTUNE DISAPPEARED BEFORE IT WAS LOST - Experts finally cracked the code on the iPhone and laptop of deceased crypto boss Gerald Cotten. Colleagues had said around A$195 million worth of cryptocurrency was linked to his account. Happy days! Nope. Upon logging in, there was no money to be found. Cue the conspiracy theories...


So… it's International Women's Day, and we thought we'd look up a remarkable Aussie woman we didn’t know much about. You might be all over the achievements of aviator Nancy-Bird Walton, but we weren’t. And when it was announced this week that the new airport in Sydney’s west would be named in her honour, we looked her up. So buckle your seatbelt, place your seat in the upright position and prepare for takeoff…

• Nancy-Bird, a name given to her by her husband, was the first Australian woman to earn a commercial pilot’s licence at 19yo in 1935. Her instructor was the man considered to be one of the world’s greatest ever aviator, Charles Kingsford Smith.

• She helped set up an air ambulance service based in Bourke, NSW and flew for the Royal Far West Children's Health Scheme. It was the first time a woman had worked as a pilot in commercial aviation, and she became known as the ‘Angel of the Outback'.

• Interesting fact - Qantas honoured her by putting her name on an A380. It was the plane that suffered engine failure after takeoff from Singapore in 2010.

Nancy-Bird died in 2009 at 93yo after a lifetime of service to Australia’s aviation industry, always advocating for women. Nice.


We're starting heavy… There's been a lot said and written about the screening of Leaving Neverland in the US early this week. It centres around the accounts of Wade Robson (an Aussie) and James Safechuck who entered Michael Jackson's world as boys and said they suffered horrendous abuse. The two-part series starts tonight on Ten, and we've cancelled our glamorous going out plans (as if we had any plans...) to watch.

You can tell by the song and lyric selection in our email subject line that a deep-dive on mixtapes is right down our alley. There’s also some interesting factual information about the distribution of music.

Navigating social media is hard enough, but could you be committing etiquette faux pas while doing it, particularly if you have fancy friends/acquaintances? That’s likely, according to this guide. And for the more rough-and-tumble amongst us (our hand's up…) this might be more helpful.


International Women's Day

ABS Data Release - Schools, 2018; Livestock and Meat, January

Fifth anniversary of the disappearance of MH370

Birthday anniversary of Tom Roberts, the British-Australian artist - think Shearing the Rams (1856)

Barbie turns 60yo

Birthday anniversary of Yuri Gagarin, the world's first man in space (1934). Which is a great excuse to link to one of last year's showstoppers...

Mario Day (think MAR 10)

Anniversary of the TV debut of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

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