Squiz Today / 21 June 2021

Squiz Today – Monday, 21 June


“Nobody has eaten the mona lisa and we feel jeff bezos needs to take a stand and make this happen.”

Said one petition-maker who jokingly asked people to support his idea but is now fielding questions about wealth, art, and the protection of heritage. It's a lot to digest…


You know what federal politics has been lacking during this term of government? A leadership challenge... Thankfully, the Nationals look to be stepping up to the plate with Deputy PM Michael McCormack again facing pressure from his predecessor Barnaby Joyce. And speculation mounted over the weekend that it could all blow up at a party room meeting this morning.

Tensions within the junior Coalition partner have simmered since McCormack took the reins in 2018. You’ll remember that happened when Joyce resigned as Deputy PM in February 2018 after his private life exploded all over the media and former PM Malcolm Turnbull's sense of propriety. Joyce unsuccessfully challenged McCormack early last year, but the potshots have continued with some calling the leader's performances "an embarrassment". And look, he is known for his verbal flourishes like last week's effort when he said he would "much sooner live in Australia than anywhere else in the nation"... His critics also say he rolls over too easily with the Liberals (aka the Nationals' coalition partner) on policy issues, like climate change. But his supporters say that he’s stabilised the party after a period of Joyce-inspired turmoil and done a lot for the people of regional Australia.

Shrugging lady emoji… Since the Financial Review revealed on Saturday (paywall) that it could be on like Donkey Kong, a bit has been said about whether Joyce has the 11 votes he needs in the 21-strong party room to win. And even if a challenge is mounted this morning and McCormack stands aside, it might not go all Joyce’s way with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said to be keen to be considered for the top job. For his part, McCormack has brushed it off, saying not one of his colleagues has told him "it's on" - and if it is, "they'll have to blow me out," he says. At least history is on McCormack's side with hostile leadership takeovers in the Nats a rarity. The last time it happened was 1989 when Charles Blunt defeated Ian Sinclair. Just nod and pretend you remember…



The COVID cluster in Sydney has grown to 9 with 2 new cases of community transmission reported yesterday. Officials are concern about the outbreak's Delta strain with a man catching the virus as he walked past the first case (aka the limo driver…) at a shopping centre. That prompted NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to reintroduce mandatory mask-wearing in public indoor venues if you live in or visit 7 local government areas across the city, including at the shops. Masks are also a must on public transport across Greater Sydney. NSW isn’t the only state on high alert with one new local case confirmed in Queensland - a cabin crew member who tested positive after completing 14 days of quarantine. And can we get a woohoo for Victoria - it recorded no new cases yesterday with the outbreak there starting to sputter out. On the agenda: rejigging the vaccination program will be discussed at today’s National Cabinet meeting


• China says it has administered more than a billion vaccine doses. That includes a whopping 100 million doses that were given in the 5 days to Saturday. About 1.4 billion people live in China, and it aims to have 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of the year.

• More than 500,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Brazil - the world's second-highest death toll after the US. President Jair Bolsonaro (who refuses to implement measures like social distancing) is under pressure for his handling of the crisis, with protests taking place across the country.

• And the European Council has recommended that EU countries lift their non-essential travel bans with 14 nations, including Australia and the US. It will be up to nations to make their own arrangements, and some like Greece and Spain already permit fully vaccinated travellers.


Ebrahim Raisi is the winner of the weekend’s presidential election in Iran. He’s Iran's top judge and is known for his ultra-conservative views. He will replace centrist president Hassan Rouhani (who has served the maximum 2 terms) who was often at odds with the nation’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and conservative clerics. Raisi says he will form a “hard-working, anti-corruption and revolutionary” government - words that didn't inspire high voter turnout in an election that was set up for him to win. And he didn’t get warm congratulations from Israel either. It says Raisi is Iran's most extreme president yet, and that he will ramp up Iran's nuclear ambitions. The US has previously assessed the new president - he was sanctioned for his part in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. All that happened as talks resumed yesterday in Vienna to get Iran back onboard the deal with several world powers to limit its nuclear capabilities…


Just as Queen Elizabeth found something to smile about, reports are hot and heavy with details of the rift between her grandkids, Princes William and Harry. The investigation into claims that Meghan bullied royal staff was due to be published this week, but reports say that could be delayed until next year. Her lawyers said the allegations were a “calculated smear campaign” before the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. And a new book from biographer Robert Lacey (whose CV includes consulting on The Crown…) adds fuel to the fire. In excerpts published in London newspaper The Times on Saturday, he says palace staff “thought she was a complete narcissist and sociopath”. Her behaviour saw Prince William lead the move to split their households in early 2019 to ensure he and Kate were “separated from Meghan on a day-to-day basis,” Lacey writes. All as the brothers are due to come together to commemorate their mother Diana’s 60th birthday on 1 July…


Australia, we get you… New data from the Bureau of Stats says Aussies rushed out and got our paws on every carb we could as the pandemic set in last year. Pasta - tick. Rice - tick. Flour - the only thing holding us back was how many kilos we could get through the checkout… All these saw sales spikes of 40% in March 2020 compared with the previous month. It seems like a while ago, but you'll recall that things were a bit whackadoo at the shops early last year as shoppers went crazy for pantry staples. Things normalised in June, and then there was a spike in Victoria in September during Melbourne's lockdown. Another telling number: ice cream sale in June last year well and truly outpaced sales in March. That was the period of 2020 that was 'settle in and eat what makes you happy'...


The acceptable face of German Shepherds in the White House, Champ, has died at 13yo (aka 96 human years). “Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us,” said America’s First Family, the Bidens. There’s now some pressure on Major to step up

Wondered what happened to Gorilla Glue Girl? Strangely enough, we have… So it was pleasing to see her hair is back, and she has a new haircare line. Which is kinda like taking fashion advice from medieval men

And put it in your diary: the Dee Gees (aka the Foo Fighters in the form of a Bee Gees tribute band) are releasing a disco album on 17 July. Can you dig it?


National Cabinet to discuss the COVID vaccination program's 'recalibration'

It's the Winter Solstice - get ready for a long night...

World Music Day

International Yoga Day

Go Skateboarding Day

World Humanist Day

National Selfie Day

National Continence Week (on until 27 June)

Birthdays for Ian McEwan (1948), Indonesian President Joko Widodo (1961), Prince William (1982), Edward Snowden (1983) and Lana Del Rey (1985)

Anniversary of:
• the first Victoria Cross won during the Crimean War (1854)
• the birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905)

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