Squiz Today / 06 January 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 6 January


“When you write a date on a document, don't shorthand the year 2020 to just ‘20’.”

Is the advice from consumer advocates. That's because scammers and scoundrels could turn it into '2019', for example, and that can lead to nasty cases of fraud. Ain't nobody got time for that…


Conditions on Saturday were as bad as authorities said they would be with high temperatures and erratic winds upping the fire risks, particularly in NSW and Victoria. With NSW the hardest hit in the latest crisis, 13 fires were burning at emergency warning level making it the second-worst fire day in recent memory. More than 10 people have died in fires across the country in the last week. The homes, infrastructure and animals lost in the danger zones including on NSW’s South Coast and Southern Highlands, in Victoria’s East Gippsland, and into the Snowy Mountains/Alpine areas are still being counted but is said to be extensive. And it's far from over with many areas experiencing new and ongoing fire threats.

There are 139 fires burning in NSW, more than half are uncontained. In Victoria, about 40 fires are burning, and four people remain missing. South Australia is battling 15 fires, including one that has burned through more than a third of Kangaroo Island. Fires are also burning in Queensland, Western Oz and Tassie. The weekend also saw the breaking of high-temperature records in Penrith (in Sydney’s west) and Canberra. The nation’s capital choked on heavy smoke, as did other cities, towns, and even New Zealand. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said we’re in “uncharted territory”. “The weather activity we’re seeing, the extent and spread of the fires, the speed at which they’re doing, the way they attack communities that have never seen fire is unprecedented.”

Three things to note:

• On top of our Defence Force chipping in to evacuate areas like Mallacoota in Victoria, PM Scott Morrison announced that up to 3,000 Reservists would be called up to assist with fire fighting and recovery efforts. More funding and Defence assets would be made available ASAP. And former Federal Police boss Andrew Colvin will lead the recovery effort.

• Also on the agenda is criticism of Morrison’s leadership. Off the back of an ill-timed Hawaiian holiday, his tour of fire-affected communities last week was fraught. And NSW firefighting chief Shane Fitzsimmons didn’t appreciate being left out of the loop about the Reservists’ announcement. Maybe he didn’t have time to watch the video

• And a lot of people put their hands in their pockets. Comedian Celeste Barber’s can-rattler for the NSW Rural Fire Service has raised more than $30 million. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have donated $500,000, as did singer Pink. Aussie tennis stars Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios also served fundraising aces. And if you're wondering how you can support efforts, here’s a good place to start.



General Qasem Soleimani - said to be the second most powerful man in Iran - was killed early on Friday in Baghdad, Iraq by an American drone strike. US President Donald Trump said the attack was necessary because Soleimani was “plotting imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans abroad. The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force was "directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people," Trump said. It followed the latest in escalating tensions between the US and Iran in the last few days. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "severe revenge awaits the criminals" behind the attack. But Trump yesterday tweeted that he has further attacks in mind if Iran wants to go there… The action surprised many world leaders and was followed by calls for calm, including from PM Morrison#squizshortcut


New year, same problems… Eight months into the unrest in Hong Kong over the territory’s relationship with China and there’s still no end in sight. Which pundits say is what’s behind Beijing’s decision to make a change to its lineup. Luo Huining, a former Communist Party provincial chief, has been appointed to head China's liaison office in Hong Kong, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday. Luo is said to be a President Xi Jinping fan, has no experience in Hong Kong issues, and is at the age when top Chinese officials retire. He sounds perfect…


The man at the epicentre of the #metoo movement, former supremo Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, will be before a New York court this time tomorrow for a trial relating to allegations made by two women of assault in 2006 and rape in 2013. He has pleaded not guilty. High profile movers and shakers are expected to be called to testify or attend the hearings. Weinstein’s lawyer said he would be "the first one to say he did bad things," but he's not a criminal. A group of 25 women who have made allegations against Weinstein said the trial would show "that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change." Just as the Golden Globes kick off mid-today our time...


The SeaChange actor died on Saturday from encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), it was confirmed yesterday. The 51yo was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a blood cancer) in 2012 and given just two years to live. He had travelled to the US to take part in a Car T-cell therapy trial last year, giving his family new hope. "The treatment did work, I just want to set that clear. He didn’t die from multiple myeloma,” his wife, Rebecca Fleming, told Nine newspapers yesterday. Long won hearts playing surfer Angus Kabiri in the ABC TV show, and he was also in cracking Aussie movie The Dish. Co-star David Wenham said he was a "sublime actor" and a "beautiful human being".


And with the tough start to 2020, what we need is a love story with a difference. Warning: they were quite determined to have some ‘alone time’…


Want to know a bit more about what's gone on since we broke for Christmas? Get back on top with a quick Squiz at 10 significant stories. It's enough to bluff your way through any social/workplace interaction today...


12.00pm (AEDT) - Golden Globes ceremony starts

Cabinet Meeting of the Morrison Government - Canberra

Start of the CES consumer electronics show - Las Vegas

Wedding anniversary for King Henry VIII of England and Anne of Cleves. It was his fourth marriage, and it didn’t quite work out… (1540)

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