Squiz Today / 09 September 2019

Squiz Today – Monday, 9 September


"Alright Zuckerberg, I’ll play along. With the constant matches with yoga pants and cheese dip recipes, you clearly know me better than I know myself. Who better to find my soul mate?”

Said one Twitter wag about the launch of Facebook Dating in the US. Let’s just say the mega-matchmaking algorithm also has its critics… And sorry singletons, no word on an Aussie rollout yet.


Extremely dry and windy conditions on the east coast have helped to kick off the 2019/20 fire season way too early. More than 100 fires burning in Queensland and New South Wales destroyed homes and tore through tens-of-thousands of hectares of vegetation over the weekend. "It is an historic event. We've never seen this before in recorded history - fire weather has never been as severe, this early in spring," said the manager of Queensland’s predictive services unit, Andrew Sturgess. PM Scott Morrison yesterday promised affected communities they would “get all the support that is needed”.

Or the smoky state, as it has been the last few days… Twenty homes have been destroyed since Thursday. For context, reports say 40 homes in the state had been lost to bushfires in the previous 130 years. Fires at Stanthorpe (a town that was nearly out of water), Applethorpe and in the Gold Coast hinterland (where the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge was destroyed) have been particularly dangerous. Authorities say it will take them into this week to bring the Gold Coast hinterland fire under control.

Authorities say 18 fires are burning out of control, with the worst in the state's north around Armidale and Tenterfield. Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers yesterday said the fire in the Armidale area was more than 100km wide, "so it's a major concern for us." Five homes and plenty of outbuildings have been lost, but reports say firefighters have done a good job of protecting many small villages in the area. Blaming the drought (that is affecting 95% of the state) and the low humidity, Rogers said the conditions were a “recipe for disaster”.



There’s nowhere nicer than Canberra in the springtime*, so why wouldn’t our federal pollies to be pleased to be back in town after the six-week winter recess? And there’s a bit to get on with… PM Morrison flagged with Nine's Sunday newspapers that welfare reform would be a priority, including the national rollout of the cashless welfare card. The measure puts 80% of some welfare recipients' payments aside for the essentials to stop their money going on alcohol, drugs and gambling. The Coalition is also keen to revive it's shelved 'pee for the dole' trial, which will also be put to the parliament this week. Morrison heads into the sitting fortnight with the Coalition maintaining its 51:49 Newspoll lead over Labor. On the personal standings, support for Morrison has increased a point to 49, while Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s satisfaction rating has fallen from 41 to 35 points.

*We offer no evidence for this statement, but it is lovely...


Secret talks that were scheduled to happen between US President Donald Trump, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban leadership overnight have been canned indefinitely. Trump said he called it off after the Taliban took responsibility for an attack in Kabul last week that killed 12 people, including a US soldier. “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Trump tweeted. Experts said it was a significant blow to the peace process which kicked off last year and was nearing a conclusion. Cynics suggested with the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks coming up on Wednesday, it might not have been the week for Trump to chat.


United Nations officials say about 70,000 people on Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are homeless and in need of assistance. And the death toll (currently at 43 people) is expected to rise dramatically. Now officially a humanitarian crisis, efforts are underway to move evacuees to safety, including on cruise ships. Health Minister Duane Sands said there will be "unimaginable information about the death toll and the human suffering" coming soon. And after the days spent hovering over the Bahamas, Dorian didn’t take long to travel up the east coast of the US to the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Downgraded to a tropical storm, winds of 160km/hour took out a crane, toppled trees and cut power to more than 450,000 homes.


Many around the world ignored the social nicety of not speaking ill of the dead when Friday’s news dropped that Zimbabwe’s first PM and later president had died in Singapore where he’d been for some months receiving medical care. The man who tipped him and his family out of power at the end of 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, said Mugabe was “an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people.” Others described him as a power-hungry tyrant who wrecked the nation’s economy and inflicted a brutal and corrupt regime on his people. The response from Zimbabweans was described as “muted”.


THE ASHES - Strike a light, they’re ours. Australia won the fourth test match overnight beating England by 185 runs. That’s given us a 2-1 series lead, and even if England wins the next one to level the series, we retain the tiny urn having won it last time. Australia hasn't managed a series win in England since 2001. "I am pretty pumped. This team has been through a lot," said captain Tim Paine. Former captain Steve Smith was awarded man of the match - his 211 run knock in the first innings set the Aussies up for the win.

US OPEN (ALMOST) OVER - Ash Barty and Victoria Azarenka lost the women’s doubles title in straight sets this morning. And Dylan Alcott’s dream of winning all four major quad singles titles in the same calendar year has been dashed. He lost in straight sets against Brit Andy Lapthorne. And the women's singles title was won yesterday by 19yo Canadian Bianca Andreescu - she dominated Serena Williams to win in two sets. The men’s singles final is about to start as we press send.

AND BOOM(ERS) - Our basketballing blokes have made the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals - the first time for 37 years. Yeehaw…


You know those days when nothing will go right? Have pity then for the Albanian soccer team. Lining up for its European Cup qualifying match against France, the national anthem of Andorra was played by mistake. And once the correct anthem had been found, the stadium announcer compounded the error apologising to 'Armenian' fans. Oops… Oh, and France won 4-1.


6.00am (AEST) - US Open Men's Final

Federal Parliament resumes

ABS Data Releases - Lending to households and businesses, July; Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, 2017-18

North Korea’s National Day

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