Squiz Today / 06 November 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 6 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I was training for a competitive MMA fight early next year, but now that’s delayed a bit.”

Said Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg of tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments, requiring surgery. After putting his beef with Elon Musk to rest and embracing friendship bracelets, there were thoughts his fight club phase was over…

Big in Beijing

The Squiz

PM Anthony Albanese is in Beijing today to start talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Yesterday, Albanese said it’s “in all our interests” to have a working relationship that enables regular dialogue and cooperation. And he told attendees at Shanghai’s International Import Expo that both Oz and China have benefited from a region that has “become more open and interconnected.” As for his big day ahead, Albanese said he scored the invite to see Xi after taking a “patient, calibrated and deliberate” approach to getting things back. 

What’s on the table?

A lot has been made of Albanese being the first Aussie leader to visit China in 7 years – Malcolm Turnbull was the last to go in 2016 – so that makes it significant. One Chinese state media outlet has already referred to the trip as “ice-breaking”. The big goal is to see the China-imposed impediments on Aussie trade “removed and dealt with”. But it’s not a one-way street – China is lobbying to be let into the regional CPTPP free-trade agreement that includes Australia, Japan, Singapore, and others. Albanese has also said that he’ll raise the case of Dr Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-Aussie writer who has been detained for 4 years. When asked about human rights abuses in China, Albanese’s line has been that while we “must cooperate with China where we can, we will disagree where we must.”

Got you. Will the PM get any panda time?

Funny you ask… In Shanghai, the PM was also asked about 2 pandas – Wang Wang and Fu Ni – currently on loan from China to the Adelaide Zoo. That arrangement runs out in 2024… The pair first arrived in Australia in 2009 as part of China’s soft-power ‘panda diplomacy’ program that has seen 63 pandas sent to 19 countries, and their time here has already been extended by 5 years. When asked about the possibility of getting another extension, Albanese said his understanding is that “pandas do get homesick.” He added that he was “pro-panda” and would like to see the bears “maintain a presence in Australia.” But China has form with nations where relations are bumpy – the National Zoo run by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC will say goodbye to its bears this month after a request to extend the loan was denied.

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Distress in Daylesford

Police say that 5 people died after a car ploughed into a beer garden in the rural Victorian town of Daylesford. Among the dead are two men, a woman, a teenage girl, and a 6yo boy. The driver of the car is a 66yo man from the nearby town of Mt Macedon, who was taken to hospital after the crash – that’s all we know about the cause so far. Daylesford is a town of less than 3,000 people, and locals say the garden of the Royal Daylesford Hotel was busy at the end of a warm day. The crash happened at around 6:05pm. Witnesses described “bedlam”, and Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said the scene was “absolutely horrible”. According to reports, dozens of locals rushed to help the victims while waiting for emergency crews to arrive. Police have said they’re waiting to interview the driver in hospital to determine the cause of the crash.

Australian News

The fog of war on 2 continents

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hit back at claims that the war with Russia is at a standstill despite the frontline not budging for nearly a year. It’s been suggested that Ukraine’s supporters want it to enter peace talks with Russia given the lack of progress, but Zelensky said yesterday that’s not the case. He added that the recent Israel-Hamas conflict is diverting global attention away from Ukraine and said this was “Russia’s goal”. As for the war in the Middle East, talks about a ceasefire continue, but the US is worried that Hamas would use the time to regroup. And Israeli forces are pushing deeper into Gaza City. PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s troops have had “impressive successes” in killing 10 Hamas leaders in the last week. But US special forces commander Demetries Andrew Grimes says their goal of isolating and destroying the terror group is an “extremely challenging endeavour”.

World News

‘Terrible’ loss as bushfires burn

Three crew died in a crash of a firefighting surveillance plane near Mount Isa in northwest Queensland on Saturday. The men worked for Victorian aviation company AGAIR, which works closely with rural fire services in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Its boss, Rob Boschen, said he was “utterly devastated” by the loss. And PM Albanese said it was “terribly sad that 3 brave souls working to help their fellow Australians have lost their lives”. Investigators say the crash site is in a “very remote” area, and it will take a couple of months to finalise their report. The bushfire situation in Queensland is easing thanks to some rain and cooler conditions, but there are still 20 fires burning across the state. In Western Oz, out-of-control bushfires south of Perth – one at the emergency level – have threatened lives and homes over the weekend. Authorities are hopeful of bringing the blazes under control early this week. 

Australian News

High airfares are here to stay

If you’re planning a big overseas trip in the first half of 2024, you might want to throw in some more leg days at the gym to strengthen your hip pocket muscles… International airfares are set to stay high just as Aussies get on a ‘revenge travel’ roll, taking bigger, longer trips after being cooped up during the pandemic. Airlines continue to operate fewer flights than before the pandemic, and rising fuel prices and inflation are adding to high-priced fares. Qantas chairman Richard Goyder told shareholders last week that the airline has absorbed most of the increased cost rises but decided to increase fares last month by 3.5%. That and other uncomfortable issues were aired at the company’s AGM on Friday, which saw one of Australia’s largest-ever protest votes against executive pay. Goyder said it was a “very clear message” that was “matched by our determination to restore confidence and trust”. 


Unlucky 13 months

What if every month was February? And by that, we mean what if every month was 28 days? That was the dream of calendar reformists post-WWI, who advocated adopting more uniform months. A writer in the Washington Post says the proposal, which was supported by American business leaders, would have given us 13 months of 28 days, with an extra ‘world holiday’ making up the 365th day. Against the proposal were Jewish leaders, who pointed out that because their Sabbath is every 7 days (aka on Saturday in our Gregorian calendar-led world), it would mean that every year it would shift to a new day, and a Sabbath on a Wednesday was beyond the pale. The Vatican also disagreed with a uniform calendar, and the proposal faded into history… Change – it’s never easy… 


Apropos of nothing

A diver’s excellent eyesight has led to the discovery of 30-50,000 ancient bronze coins off the coast of Italy. The coins are in a “rare state of preservation”, according to Italy’s Culture Ministry, and the discovery could mean a notable nearby shipwreck.

What’s that, Lassie? Timmy fell down the well? The dream of animal-to-human chit-chat might be one step closer as AI researchers attempt to use the tech to understand our pets. Cats are first, and the researchers said they’ve already found “a much greater richness in cat expressions than we appreciate”.

David Kirke, the inventor of the bungee jump, has died aged 78yo. A founder of the Dangerous Sports Club at Oxford, he took the initial leap on April Fools’ Day 1979 dressed in a top hat and tails, with a bottle of Champagne in hand. “The main thing going through my mind was ‘whoooppeeee!’” he wrote of the feat.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.00pm (AEDT) – Women’s Soccer – AFC Asian Women’s Club Championship – Sydney FC v Bam Khatoon (Iran) – Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Senate sits for 2 weeks

Trial for war crimes whistleblower David McBride begins – Canberra (expected to last 3 weeks)

Pacific Islands Forum – Cook Islands (until 10 November)

Senate sits for 2 weeks

Company Results – Westpac

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

Day of Liberation of Kyiv

Birthdays for Sally Field (1946) and Emma Stone (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Catherine the Great (1796) and composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1893)
• Abraham Lincoln being elected as US President (1860)
• the first performance of the Sex Pistols (1975)
• Australia voting against a proposal to become a republic (1999)

Squiz the Day

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