Squiz Today / 20 February 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 20 February

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

Squiz Today Podcast

Earphones in, informed conversations out.

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

18 / 29
21 / 35
19 / 30
24 / 38
14 / 26
14 / 28
27 / 33
12 / 31

Squiz Sayings

“This is certainly the worst travel experience I’ve ever had.”

Said airline passenger Bryan Gottlieb, whose flight from Auckland to New York turned around halfway through its planned journey, landing back at Auckland more than 16 hours after take-off, all thanks to an electrical outage at JFK Airport. The inflight entertainment/refreshments better have been good…

Heading towards a year of war in Ukraine

Munich was the hot place to be this weekend for important geopolitical types. And it’s on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference where some big meetings have taken place – most notably, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi. A hot topic was China’s surveillance activities, and Blinken made it clear “the United States will not stand for any violation of our sovereignty”. For China’s part, Wang said America’s response after a high-altitude surveillance balloon was shot down off the South Carolina coast was “absurd and hysterical”. But the main game at the conference was Russia’s war on Ukraine and China’s part in bringing about peace.

We’re glad you asked… Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are besties. And since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, the West has pressured Xi and China’s top officials to denounce the war and talk to their Russian counterparts about a retreat. That hasn’t happened, but China has walked a fine line down the middle (except late last year when Xi rejected the use of nuclear weapons after Putin made that threat…). But China is set to step it up this week when Xi delivers a “peace speech” outlining his position on resolving the Ukraine conflict. Reports say there will also be a document on maintaining warring countries’ territorial integrity. Despite that, the US isn’t convinced that China is about to break with Russia – it’s concerned that under their ‘unlimited partnership’, China could move to provide Russia with weapons and other support.

You’re on fire for a Monday… Friday is the anniversary, and the Munich get-together was an opportune moment for American and European leaders to discuss their support for Ukraine as it fights the war. But there isn’t universal support for that strategy – many leaders from Africa, Asia and South America say they are suffering under high prices brought about by war-disrupted supply chains – they want peace ASAP. Later this week, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on a draft resolution “to reach, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in Ukraine. If passed, it carries no legal weight, but Ukraine and its supporters hope it helps keep the pressure on Russia to withdraw. Estimates say 40-60,000 Russian soldiers and 14,000 Ukrainian troops and civilians have died, but that’s a best guess with no updated official numbers released by either side.

World News

Squiz the Rest

North Korea fires up – again…

North Korean state media says an intercontinental ballistic missile was launched over the Sea of Japan on Saturday to test its reliability – its 3rd test of the long-range weapon in less than a year. The missile flew about 900km east for 67 minutes before landing in the ocean. Analysts say Pyongyang is retaliating against joint exercises planned by the US and South Korea next month with “enemy” drills. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo-jong has warned the hostile acts would be met with an “overwhelming” response. Japanese authorities said the missile could have travelled further – about 13,000km further – meaning it could reach the US mainland. Leaders meeting at the Munich Security Conference condemned North Korea’s actions, saying they “threaten regional and international peace and security”.

World News

Updates on some natural disasters

Our Kiwi neighbours continue to assess the damage left behind after the country’s worst storm in decades, ex-Cyclone Gabrielle, passed over the North Island last week. The death toll has risen to 11, and more than 5,600 people remain uncontactable across NZ. Authorities say they have grave concerns for 10 of them. Recovery teams are working round the clock to carry out building assessments on thousands of damaged homes, while helicopters have delivered critical supplies to stranded communities. And nearly 2 weeks after the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the death toll has risen to more than 46,000 people. Reports say more than 84,000 buildings have been critically damaged, causing ongoing housing and infrastructure problems for survivors… And there’s continued concern over aid access in Syria – authorities from the UN’s World Food Programme say they urgently need to get into the country’s northwest to help hundreds of thousands of people in need.

World News

That’s a long time in one job…

Today, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews will become the state’s 5th leader to reach 3,000 days in office – if you’d rather not do the maths, that’s more than 8.2 years. Andrews says he’s nonplussed about the milestone, saying it’ll be just another day at the office. “People who spend a lot of time talking about legacy usually spend not enough time actually building one,” Andrews said last week. But thanks to Victoria’s former premier Jeff Kennett’s legwork back in 1999, Andrews is now eligible for a celebratory bronze statue in Melbourne… Kennett set 3,000 days as the threshold to memorialise the state’s leaders, and as a result, statues honouring long-serving leaders Albert Dunstan, Henry Bolte, Rupert Hamer and John Cain were erected. By that standard, Andrews is now eligible. The state’s Department of Premier and Cabinet says to hold your horses – the honour is considered after the leader’s left office…


Ups and downs for Aussie cricket

Let’s start with the ups… Our brilliant T20 women defeated host nation South Africa yesterday morning to sail through to the World Cup semi-finals. And yes, we’re the top-ranked team and tournament favourites, but it still feels good with our top players firing and those needing to find form, like Tahlia McGrath, hitting the mark. And we won yesterday’s match without opening batter/wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy – she’s injured but expected to return on Saturday. And that’s where the joy ends… Our men’s Test team was whacked by India again, going down to the hosts by 6 wickets after a batting collapse where we lost 9 wickets for 52 runs. The thumping victory means India retains the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, leaving the Aussies searching for answers about their misadventures with the bat. With more than a week off and 3 matches in the series to go, it’s back to the nets…


A curly cure against the heat

Those with curls likely know the pain of dealing with summer frizz, but scientists have found there might be a cool benefit to having coiled locks… A group of researchers tested how much heat a mannequin absorbed in a climate-controlled chamber with different textured human hair wigs – the result was curly hair performed the best. Their research suggests that although all hair reduces the heat humans absorb through their scalp, “tightly curled hair is most protective”… The studies are ongoing, but researchers believe the reason is that curly hair has the benefit of not lying flat, letting the scalp ‘breathe’ better while still offering sun protection. The research also points to curly-haired people sweating less via their scalp. We always knew we should have eaten our crusts…

Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

King Charles’ 6 May coronation will feature a new number from musical theatre giant Andrew Lloyd Webber to reflect the “joyful occasion”. Those forced to suffer the aural assault in person haven’t yet been confirmed, including whether the Sussexes will have a lucky escape.

Male humpback whales looking for a mate aren’t singing the loud/melancholic underwater ‘songs’ like they used to… Researchers say protections have seen their numbers rebound, meaning they’re less lonely – but let’s hope they’re still wooing their whale mates right… 

If you’ve ever smashed something fragile in public, you’ll know how loud the breakage is. Imagine how one woman felt when she toppled a balloon dog sculpture by artist Jeff Koons worth $60,000 at an art fair in Miami. And bystander said she was “very very sorry” and “just wanted to disappear”. Understandable…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00am (AEDT) – BAFTA Awards ceremony – London

Aussies aged over 18yo get access to an additional COVID jab from today

Daniel Andrews marks his 3,000th day as Victorian Premier

Company Results – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank; Ampol; BlueScope Steel; GPT Group; Northern Star Resources

CISO Sydney Conference – Sydney (until 22 February)

Presidents’ Day in the US

World Day of Social Justice

Birthdays for Cindy Crawford (1966) and Rihanna (1988)

Anniversary of:
• British naval officer John Moresby discovering the site of what would become Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and claiming it for Great Britain (1873)
• Kurt Cobain’s birthday (1967)
• the Southern Hemisphere’s most powerful storm on record (296km/hour), Cyclone Winston, hitting Fiji (2016)
• Venezuela becoming the first country to launch a virtual currency, the petro, to counteract their financial crisis (2018)

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.