Squiz Today / 27 February 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 27 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

An easy way to walk the talk. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

SYD
21 / 27
MEL
17 /20
BNE
20 / 31
ADL
12 / 26
PER
23 / 36
HBA
15 / 19
DRW
26 / 29
CBR
13 / 29

Squiz Sayings

“8/10”

Is the score music legend Daryl Braithwaite gave Harry Styles’ rendition of The Horses during the Aussie leg of his world tour. The veteran was at his concert on Saturday night – there was no duet on offer, but there was a Bunnings hat, so swings and roundabouts…

A world divided over peace for Ukraine

THE SQUIZ
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will not hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin but says he plans to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping because “it will be beneficial for our countries and for security in the world”. On Friday, China released a 12-point plan to end the war in Ukraine and called for a comprehensive ceasefire (aka suspending all aspects of the fighting). From there, the plan urges an end to Western sanctions against Russia, establishing humanitarian corridors for evacuating civilians, and the resumption of trade, including the export of Ukrainian grain. China also gave a thumbs down to the threat or use of nuclear weapons. Russia has welcomed the plan, and even though experts say it covers what China has said before, Zelensky has cautiously welcomed China’s interest in peace. 

SOUNDS LIKE A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT…
Not according to US President Joe Biden
. His response: “Putin’s applauding it, so how could it be any good?” It follows a week of Chinese engagement with Russia – efforts one analyst says are focused on “rescuing President Putin by arranging some kind of face-saving peace deal”. And global divisions over the biggest conflict in Europe since WWII are deep… G20 Finance Ministers – aka those managing the world’s largest economies – failed to agree on a closing statement following a weekend summit in India that condemned the invasion “in the strongest terms”. And at the United Nations General Assembly, a vote condemning Russia passed with 141 nations of the 193 supporting the resolution. Amongst the 32 nations refusing to vote were India, China and South Africa. And included in the 7 nations to vote against it was Russia (of course…), Belarus, North Korea and Syria.

AND WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE BATTLEGROUND?
There has been talk of a Russian resurgence as they head into spring – but the latest assessment from Western officials is that its capabilities have been significantly run down over the last 12 months. If it can muster a new push, analysts say it will not be like the early days of the invasion when Russia came at Ukraine from the north, south and east by air, sea and on the ground. As for Ukraine, its fighting capabilities have increased significantly with sophisticated weapons and Western training. That includes 200 recruits who finished a UK-based training program, including Aussie soldiers/trainers since last month – they shook hands with King Charles at a ceremony on Friday.

World News

Squiz the Rest

A good result in PNG

Professor Bryce Barker – Kiwi citizen/Aussie resident captured by criminals in Papua New Guinea – has been released along with researchers Cathy Alex, Jemina Haro, and Teppsy Beni. They were in the highlands to work on a project looking into early human migration from the region into Australia when a criminal gang took them more than a week ago. Last week, PNG PM James Marape said he was confident authorities would secure their release despite the gang’s demand for a ransom of 3.5 million kinas (A$1.5 million). Reports this morning say a smaller amount was paid to secure their release. Barker’s details had been kept secret during the ordeal – yesterday, it was confirmed he works in the anthropology department at the University of Southern Queensland’s Toowoomba campus. The Aussie and Kiwi governments thanked PNG for their work in achieving the successful outcome.

World News

Not ruling in, but ruling out

After floating the balloon last week, Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the Albanese Government is looking at the tax breaks offered to Aussies with super balances of more than $3 million – which equates to less than 1% of the population. Speaking yesterday, Chalmers said those who have more than that amount are attracting “incredibly concessional tax arrangements”, and with the government’s finances squeezed, tax breaks on multi-million-dollar balances could change. Over the weekend, Coalition MPs said any changes to super would mean the Albanese Government mislead voters. Feeling a bit more ready with the red pen was Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen… He says the government won’t take up a Greens’ suggestion of imposing bans on new coal and gas projects. That’s come up as part of negotiations for measures to help hit Australia’s more ambitious emissions reduction targets.

AusPol

Turkey/Syria quake toll rises as Kiwi officials track down missing locals

The death toll from the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria 3 weeks ago is now more than 50,000 people – and that will continue to increase as the search for bodies continues. In Turkey, the public is angry over what many people say are corrupt construction practices, with authorities promising to hold people accountable for the 160,000 buildings – containing more than 500,000 apartments – that collapsed. As the probe continues, about 200 people have been arrested, and 600 have been investigated. Meanwhile, Kiwi authorities are still searching for 8 people who have not been in touch after ex-Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle passed through, with police saying they are “exploring all avenues to try and locate them”. The death toll is 11 people, and thousands have been displaced as the cleanup continues.

World News

Three on the trot

That’s what the Aussie women have achieved when it comes to T20 World Cup titles… The team delivered a 19-run victory over hosts South Africa in front of a packed stadium in Cape Town overnight. We batted first and put together 156 runs for 6 wickets in the 20 overs – that’s a relatively small total, and Beth Mooney, who top scored with 74 off 55 balls, said it was “bloody tough” on a sticky wicket. In reply, South Africa scored 137 runs for 6 wickets thanks to some top Aussie bowling and fielding. Mooney was named player of the match, and Aussie allrounder Ash Gardner was player of the tournament. Our captain Meg Lanning said it was “a pretty special effort from the group … We knew it would be a great atmosphere, and we wanted to – when the pressure was on – keep things simple.” It’s a formula that works for our women who have claimed 6 of the last 7 T20 world titles…

Sport

A mystical leader in Mexico

Usually, when we’re talking about world leaders, it’s a bit further up the list. But Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s posting to social media of a picture that he says could be an elf-like figure puts him down at the end of our chat today… López Obrador says a photo taken by an engineer appears to show an ‘alux’ – a mythological woodland spirit from Mayan folklore. It’s said to be a “mischievous creature that inhabits forests and fields and is prone to playing tricks on people, like hiding things,” and people leave small offerings to appease them. As for López Obrador’s interest – he’s known for his reverence of indigenous cultures and beliefs. As the Mexican leader says, “everything is mystical” – or maybe you just absentmindedly left your keys at the coffee shop…

Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

A walrus named Thor has turned up in Iceland after spending a year off the English coast (and really did his dash when he was responsible for the cancellation of Scarborough’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display…). Researchers say the youngster made the 1,360km trip in good time.

Ketchup company Heinz is trying to track down Elvis Francois – a Dominican sailor rescued off Colombia last month after drifting for more than 3 weeks surviving on the sauce, garlic powder and stock cubes mixed with water. The company wants to give him a new boat with navigational equipment “to avoid another disaster in the future”.

Long-distance relationships are hard – so what if there was a way to smooch from a distance? Behold a Chinese invention featuring warm/moving silicon ‘lips’ to pucker up with… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEDT) – Screen Actors Guild Awards – Santa Monica

The coronial inquest into the death of Kumanjayi Walker resumes – Alice Springs

ABS Data Release – Business Indicators, December

Company Results – TPG Telecom; Downer Group; Woodside Petroleum; InvoCare; Appen

International Polar Bear Day

World NGO Day

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of author John Steinbeck (1902) and actor Elizabeth Taylor (1932)
• the world’s first women’s magazine Ladies’ Mercury published in London (1693)
• the discovery of carbon-14 (radiocarbon dating) at the University of California Radiation Laboratory (1940)
• General Hafez al-Assad becoming head of Syria via military coup starting the family’s rule over the country (1969)
• the deaths of Louis Vuitton (1892), Ivan Pavlov (1936), Spike Milligan (2002), Fred Rogers (2003) and Leonard Nimoy (2015)

Squiz the Day

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