Squiz Today / 19 June 2023

Squiz Today – Monday 19 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Let’s do it. 

Today’s listen time: 8.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Lunch of suffering”

Is what some Chinese social media users have labelled Western lunches filled with sandwiches and other al desko favourites. A new trend where Chinese are trying it as form of self torture will probably stay as fresh as a tuna/mayo sandwich in an unchilled school lunchbox…

China and America come back to the table


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently in China for 2 days of diplomatic talks in the first visit by an American official of his seniority to the country since 2018. Blinken’s visit is a step towards mending the damaged relationship – and it was scheduled to happen a lot sooner… America’s top diplomat was due to go to Beijing in February, but a Chinese spy balloon that drifted over the US mainland threw a spanner in the works. Now that Blinken is there, analysts are keen to see if China’s President Xi Jinping will meet him or if Xi will keep his distance. 


The US wants to reopen diplomatic channels with China, and the fact that the trip is happening at all is a bit of a moment. According to US officials, having open channels is important to avoid the escalation of tensions – or even armed conflict – when the world’s 2 largest economies bump heads. For its part, China is expected to register its unhappiness with America’s continued support of an independent Taiwan, the breakaway territory that China claims as its own. Chinese officials are also tipped to raise an eyebrow at America’s recent moves to deepen security ties in the Pacific and strengthen alliances, including via the Quad with India, Japan, and Australia. As for concrete outcomes? Expectations are low… One American official said, “We’re not going to Beijing with the intent of having some sort of breakthrough.”


Yep – reports say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is on the list. Earlier this year, the US government warned China against providing “lethal aid” – aka weapons and ammo – to Russia’s military, and that warning will be reiterated. That’s not what Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin would want to hear… He’s been requesting that kind of support from China since the start of the war. Speaking of Putin, the Russian leader met with a delegation of African leaders this weekend who urged an end to the invasion, with the leaders saying the war has had “a negative impact on the African continent and indeed, on many other countries around the world”. Reports say Putin interrupted the African leaders as they were calling for the return of Ukrainian children to their families, the same conduct that led to Putin’s arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court. Putin told the African leaders that “children are sacred” and that “we moved them out of the conflict zone.”

World News

Squiz the Rest

Students killed in Ugandan school attack

At least 41 people – mostly teenagers – were killed in a Ugandan high school massacre on Friday night. About 20 members of an ISIS-linked rebel group called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been accused of killing 37 students, a guard and 3 local community members at the Lhubiriha school (near Uganda’s border with Congo) before abducting another 6 students. The details are pretty grisly – suffice to say the school was set alight, and there are fears more bodies could be found inside. Reports say the ADF is responsible for several similar attacks on civilians – including one last week – in the eastern Congo, despite regular efforts by the Congolese and Ugandan militaries to stop them… And one expert says the extremist group might have targeted the school for shock value. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “appalling attack” and called for the release of those abducted. 

World News

Dutton rallies Liberals after Van quits party

The Nationals’ leader in the Senate, Bridget McKenzie, yesterday backed Lidia Thorpe’s raising of misconduct claims against Senator David Van, saying Thorpe was “absolutely within her right” to speak up. Thorpe’s disclosure prompted former Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker to air her own claims against Van, and reports say an unnamed third accuser also came forward. Van denies the accusations and will take leave from Parliament this week, although a report says he won’t quit Parliament altogether. After being dumped from the Liberal party room last Thursday, Van resigned from the Liberals on Saturday. He said the party had shown “wholesale disregard for due process and natural justice in relation to allegations made”, leaving him “deeply distressed and hurt”. The fallout has added to the Liberals’ recent troubles, but Dutton told a weekend meeting of senior party officials that “parties will be down but they’re never out”.

AusPol Australian News

Housing stoush comes to a head

You read that right – federal parliament is back for a final week before the long winter break, and you can expect a tussle between the Greens and Team Albanese over the government’s plan to fund social and affordable housing. Labor wants to set up a $10 billion investment fund called the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and use the returns to build homes for low-income Aussies. The Coalition isn’t interested in supporting it, so the government needs support from the Greens to pass the plan. Sensing an opportunity, the Greens are demanding even more money be poured into easing Australia’s housing crisis. They also want a national rent freeze. Over the weekend, PM Anthony Albanese announced a one-off $2 billion “boost” to social housing, but it’s unclear if the extra cash will be enough to secure the Greens’ votes. We’ll see… 

AusPol Economy

Dropping the mic at Spotify…

Speculation’s been brewing about what went down between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Spotify execs after last week’s announcement they are parting ways after a single podcast series. You might remember that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s partnership with the audio giant came to life in late 2020 when they signed a US$20 million deal to publish exclusive content on Spotify, and Meghan’s 12-episode Archetypes series debuted last August. There are conflicting insider reports that Spotify wanted more content from the couple, while Prince Harry and Meghan wanted to “move away” from exclusive Spotify distribution. On the other side of the pond, Harry’s rellies had a more PR-friendly weekend… King Charles enjoyed his first Trooping the Colour – his official birthday celebration – as monarch by riding horseback in the parade, but it was 5yo Prince Louis (and his bevy of facial expressions) who was once again a crowd fave…

Culture Entertainment

TikTok takes Kylie to the Top 10

Talking about royalty… Aussie pop princess Kylie Minogue has broken into the UK top 10 with her biggest hit in over a decade after going viral on TikTok. Her dance track Padam Padam – which Minogue says was inspired by French singer Edith Piaf’s song of the same name – has been embraced as a queer anthem during Pride month celebrations around the world. It’s currently at #9 in the UK – and reports say that’s made 55yo Minogue one of 4 women to reach the UK’s top 10 across 5 decades, joining Cher, Lulu and Diana Ross. And as for the word ‘padam’, Minogue said “it’s become a noun, a verb, an adjective” with her Gen Z fans. “It’s taken on a life of its own and I am having the time of my life seeing what people are doing,” Minogue says.


Apropos of nothing

Golf’s US Open wraps up this morning, the first major tournament since the controversial PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger… But the shot that had everyone talking was a drive from American Cameron Young, which swung wide and ended up in the golf ball holder compartment of a faraway golf buggy. He should have just claimed it was intentional…

Elsewhere in sporting heroes is Juno, the Oregon Zoo otter who plays basketball to ease arthritis in her elbow joints. “She gets so excited whenever we bring the ball out for her training sessions,” the zookeeper said. “And she’s good too!” 

Sneakerheads are having fun with Nike’s latest shoes, saying their ‘worn-in’ appearance makes them look as if they’ve been “picked out of a landfill”. New names were suggested, including “Dumpster Dunks” and “Foot Fungus”…

Quirky News Sport

Squiz the Day

Australian Energy Week begins (until 22 June)

Juneteenth public holiday in the US, marking the emancipation of enslaved African Americans

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Start of Heart Failure Awareness Week (until 25 June)

World Sickle Cell Day

Start of World Continence Week (until 25 June)

Start of Learning Disability Week (until 26 June)

Birthdays for Aung San Suu Kyi (1945), Salman Rushdie (1947), Boris Johnson (1964), and Paul Dano (1984)

Anniversary of:
• the first celebration of Father’s Day in Washington state (1910)
• the British Royal Family renouncing its German names and titles and adopting the name of Windsor (1917)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show musical debuting in London (1973)
Garfield, created by Jim Davis, first appearing as a comic strip (1978)

Squiz the Day

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