Squiz Today / 16 December 2019

Squiz Today – Monday, 16 December


“It was tradition. It’s a legacy.”

And it’s inedible. But Julie Ruttinger’s brick of a fruitcake has an excuse for being unappetising (unlike your great aunt Norma’s offering…). It’s 141 years old


PM Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party scored a thumping win in last Thursday's snap general election. Delivering his party's biggest victory since Margaret Thatcher's in 1987, Johnson steered his side out of the stalemate of minority government towards a majority of seats in the House of Commons. From where they stood going into the election, the Conservatives seized an additional 66 seats, taking their numbers to 365 of the 650 seat parliament. By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party suffered its worst defeat of modern times losing 42 seats. Labor now makes up less than a third of the Commons with 203 seats.

First, Johnson had to beat out Count Binface, Lord Buckethead and Elmo to win his own seat. That done, the Conservatives also received strong support from voters in the traditional Labour heartlands of the north and midlands of England - areas that overwhelmingly backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Johnson said the result - which was crafted by Australian Issac Levido - gave his government “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.” Speaking directly to those voters who voted Conservative for the first time; “I will not let you down,” he said. Meanwhile, Corbyn said he was “obviously very sad at the result we’ve achieved”. His internal critics said the loss was a consequence of his shift away from the centre-ground that brought Labour success under former PM Tony Blair, but Corbyn supporters said there was no option but to fight Brexit.

First up, it’s expected the Queen will open parliament on Thursday. Johnson says he will move swiftly to ratify the Brexit deal he’s done with the European Union. That would see the UK leave the EU by the end of January. Cue the queue of countries like Australia lining up to get trade deals done... As for the other parties, Labour needs a new leader with Corbyn stepping down. So do the Liberal Democrats after its leader Jo Swinson lost her seat. And there’s a fight brewing in the north with the Scottish National Party (known as the SNP) picking up 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats. It has renewed calls for a referendum on Scottish independence, which Johnson opposes.



The official death toll from last week’s volcano eruption on New Zealand’s White Island rose to 16 people yesterday with confirmation an Australian man who had been flown to Sydney for treatment had died. His family have requested his identity not be released. The names of seven Australians who died in New Zealand have been released. Six bodies that remained on the island were also recovered, and the search for two others continues. Foreign Minister Marise Payne will travel to New Zealand this week to convey Australia's gratitude for their response to the disaster. NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the disaster at 2.11pm local time today (12.11pm AEDT).


Another big climate summit, another struggle to reach agreement on measures needed to tackle climate change… COP 25 Summit delegates worked into the weekend to strike a compromise deal. That is: new and improved plans to cut carbon emissions will need to be tabled in time for next year's conference in Glasgow. Unable to get firm commitments for further carbon emissions cuts by the end of 2020 to meet the Paris Agreement's goal of capping global average temperature rise to below 2C by the end of the century, the plan to have a plan was the next best thing. It was the European Union and small island states pushing for stronger commitments, while countries like America, China and India are reluctant to change what they’re already doing to cut emissions. As for Australia, we’re more column B than column A…


Well, you need to look no further than the weather predictions for this week. South Australian authorities have put out a public health warning - including that “alcohol is not hydration source” - with temperatures expected to hit the mid-to-high 40Cs from Tuesday. The western reaches of Victoria, Queensland and NSW are also likely to reach similar high temperatures over several days from the middle of the week. The heatwave conditions follow what have been scorching conditions in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Oz in recent days. Not surprisingly, fire authorities are warning affected areas of elevated risks. Meanwhile, the 'mega blaze' burning north of Sydney is believed to have destroyed homes in the Hawkesbury area on the weekend as firefighters battled 70m high flames. And Sydneysiders can get ready to welcome back that smoke haze


There’s been some more procedural wrangling in America’s corridors of power meaning the impeachment of US President Donald Trump looks set to go ahead. The historic vote on Trump’s alleged misuse of power and obstruction of the Congress is likely to take place on Wednesday local time. If the vote splits down party lines as is predicted, he will become the third President sent to face a trial in the Senate. “How do you get Impeached when you have done NOTHING wrong,” Trump protested via Twitter on Saturday.


It's the second last weekend before Christmas, and if you're a retailer, you want everything to go right so you can sell, sell, sell. That wasn't the case for Myer on Saturday with its cash register system going down for almost three hours. Shoppers took to social media to vent their anger with the tech meltdown with many saying they took their business to other retailers. With Myer's sales falling further last financial year, the glitch could not have come at a worse time. Retailers have been hoping for a good Christmas season - traditionally their most profitable time. And with sales hard to come by, we'll find out a bit more about how cautious consumers have been when the government releases its mid-year financial report (seductively known as MYEFO…) today.


It's an achievement few aspire to but is worth celebrating all the same. The Forever Young Sir Rod Stewart knocked Robbie Williams’ Christmas album from the UK’s top spot to become the oldest male solo artist to have a number one album. At 74 years and 11 months old, Stewart took the mantle from Paul Simon by three months. To become the overall golden oldie titleholder, he needs to raise his sights: Dame Vera Lynn had a number one hit in 2014 when she was 97yo. Who knows how many ex-wives reunions Stewart will have hosted by the time he gets to that age…


12.11pm (AEDT) - Minute’s silence to remember those affected by last week’s White Island eruption

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveils how the federal books are looking with the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

Day of Reconciliation in South Africa

Victory Day - Bangladesh

Kazakhstan’s National Day

Birthday anniversaries for Ludwig van Beethoven (1770), Jane Austen (1775) and Sir Noel Coward (1899)

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