Squiz Today / 17 October 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 17 October

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Get it and go.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

15 / 19
5 / 17
17 / 24
11 / 23
10 / 21
8 / 14
26 / 35
7 / 17

Squiz Sayings

“I missed out on the paid parental leave. Is there a chance they’ll back date it? About 30 years?”

Asked one mum after learning the Albanese Government will extend the paid parental leave scheme by 8 weeks to 26 weeks from July 2026. The short answer is no…

Xi set to tighten his grip on power

Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday opened the Communist Party Congress in Beijing with a speech that has set the scene for talks and power moves over the coming week. He’s defended China’s ‘COVID Zero’ policy following a rare public protest on Thursday. He also talked up his regime taking “full control” of Hong Kong and said China might use force to bring the self-governing island of Taiwan under its authority. “We reserve the option of taking all measures necessary,” he said. And the 69yo declared China has won “the largest battle against poverty in human history” as he promoted his “common prosperity” policy to grow China’s middle class while reining in powerful billionaires.

The twice-a-decade, week-long gathering brings together 2,300 delegates from around the country for the most significant event in China’s political calendar. It’s the 20th Congress in the party’s 101-year history and is held in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square under tight security. Long story short, the week is a big one for Xi – he is set to extend his leadership for another 5 years and further cement his power over his party and the country. Experts say it makes him the country’s most powerful ruler since founder Mao Zedong. After Mao’s death, the party introduced an unofficial system of collective leadership and term limits to prevent the concentration of power from happening again. But during Xi’s 10 years as leader, he’s ditched all that. Critics say those moves are at the core of concerns about his authoritarianism and decreasing tolerance for dissent.

Good question… As with most of China’s political events, little information about what will take place has been released publicly. The sessions will be held behind closed doors with the outcomes formally announced next weekend. If past protocols are followed, the new leadership team (aka those who Xi has handpicked to work with him) will be unveiled the day after the Congress closes. Given Xi’s track record of cracking down on free speech, analysts say there are few left to argue against it. Watch this space…

World News

Squiz the Rest

More flood drama is on the way…

If you needed proof that flooding in the east of the country is extensive, PM Anthony Albanese provided it yesterday with confirmation of the areas that now qualify for disaster support payments. In Victoria, financial support is available to those in 23 local government areas (LGAs). In Tassie’s north, residents in 17 LGAs are eligible, and in NSW, people across 31 LGAs can access support. The one-off, non-means-tested payments of $1,000/adult and $400/child are designed to help in the emergency phase, followed by ongoing disaster recovery allowances for those who qualify. The focus was on Victoria yesterday as officials warned that floodwaters would inundate thousands of properties with rivers set to burst their banks in the coming days. That would make bad situations worse in places including Shepparton and Echuca. So far, the worst hit is the town of Rochester in Victoria’s north, where water levels are expected to hold at major flood levels for days.

Australian News Weather

Lehrmann’s trial continues…

…but it’s likely to wrap up this week after 2 former Morrison Government ministers – Western Oz senators Linda Reynolds and Michaelia Cash – give evidence about their interactions with former staffer Brittany Higgins. She finished her evidence on Friday in an “emotional” session as she told her former colleague/accused attacker Bruce Lehrmann that “nothing was fine after what you did to me”. He’s also given his account of the night – he says he went back to Parliament House to attend to some Question Time briefs, and after entering the office, he didn’t see Higgins again. The alleged rape “simply didn’t happen,” he testified. Other witnesses also gave their evidence last week, but it was confirmed that journos, including Lisa Wilkinson, have been dropped from the witness list. This week, Higgins’ partner David Sharaz will be called, and the prosecution is set to deliver closing remarks on Tuesday, with the defence to follow later in the week.

AusPol Australian News

Quick world news wrap

RUSSIAN TROOPS TARGETED – Two volunteer soldiers opened fire at a military training ground in Russia’s southwest near the Ukraine border, killing 11 and injuring 15. The 2 men – who came from former Soviet republics and were described by Russian officials as terrorists – were shot and killed in the attack.

IRAN SIMMERS – A major fire at Iran’s notorious Evin prison in Tehran broke out on Saturday night – it’s notable because it’s where political prisoners, journalists and foreign nationals are sent, including Aussie-Brit academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert before her release in 2020. There have been significant anti-government protests in Iran recently, but a direct link with the prison fire hasn’t been made yet.

SALAD DAYS ARE OVER – Almost 6 weeks into her time as the UK’s PM, Liz Truss’s leadership has hit the rocks after sacking her Chancellor (aka Treasurer) Kwasi Kwarteng. His replacement Jeremy Hunt said the new team’s mini-budget went “too far, too fast” with a tax-cutting plan that shocked financial markets. Expectations are low – all Truss has to do is beat a lettuce and she’ll be a hero…

World News

Vale Robbie Coltrane

The beloved Scottish actor died on Friday at 72yo – the cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, but his agent said he was in hospital and had been unwell for a while. Known to younger audiences as the beloved half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, his career was much more than that… Born Anthony McMillan, he took his stage name in a nod to the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane after turning to acting when he didn’t make it as an artist. From there, Coltrane carved out a 4-decade long career across comedy and Hollywood blockbusters (including 2 James Bond films). To many, his best turn was in the hit series Cracker as Fitz, the brilliant/troubled criminal psychologist. In that role, he won BAFTA’s best TV actor award 3 times in the mid-90s – and Helen Mirren’s heart… Coltrane’s Harry Potter co-star Miriam Margolyes said “he loved to drink. I used to wag my finger at him.” He was “huge in stature, in personality, in heart. He was exceptional,” she said.


Twice as nice

That was the case in the southern Nigerian city of Igbo Ora, where the Festival of Twins has just taken place. More than 1,000 pairs have gathered there from around the world to celebrate their special sibling situation – but why there? Because nearly every family in the city has a set of twins or other multiple births, according to local chief Jimoh Titiloye. The city has more than 200,000 people living in it, so that’s a lot of twins… There’s no accepted scientific evidence for why that’s the case, but locals reckon it has something to do with a local delicacy they eat a lot there called amala, which is made from yam flour. Just flagging that with you in case you’re looking to get up the duff…

Quirky News World News

Apropos of Nothing

Heaps of Paddington Bears and teddies were left by a grieving public paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth. Yesterday, officials said more than 1,000 of them had been rescued, cleaned up, and will be sent to kids charity Barnardos for distribution to families in need.

“The movie Ratatouille is probably the most accurate gastronomic film about 3-Michelin-star cooking that has ever been made, if you take away the rats in the kitchen,” said food innovator Heston Blumenthal. Fine diners would be grateful for the last bit…

If you have a t-shirt from the 70s, 80s or 90s with a “stupid” slogan on it, this is your time… Designers are getting in on the act with new offerings like “free styling tips”, but the original items are selling for hundreds. We’ll stick with a movie-themed one

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.45am (AEDT) – Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Women Katy Gallagher and state representatives to launch a new 10-year national strategy to end violence against women and children – Melbourne

3.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket T20 World Cup Warm Up – Australia v India – Melbourne

NSW’s Independent Casino Commission to hand down a decision following its investigation into money laundering and criminal activity at The Star – Sydney

The winner of the Booker Prize for fiction to be announced

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

A birthday for rapper Eminem (1972)

Anniversary of:
• Queensland decriminalising abortion (2018)
• the birthdays of playwright Arthur Miller (1915) and actress Rita Hayworth (1918)
• the death of composer Frederic Chopin (1849)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.