Squiz Today / 10 February 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 10 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

We’ll talk you through it.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“She has an Australian accent, so there are some words she says a bit funny.”

Said Princess Isabella, the 14yo daughter of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (aka ‘Our Mary’…). Her children have had a go at her grip on the Danish language in a doco marking her 50th birthday. Fair suck of the sauce bottle, kiddos…

Blinken you’ll miss him


Since US President Joe Biden was sworn in a year ago, Australia hasn’t received a visit from a high-level official of the new administration. That changed last night when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken jetted into Melbourne for talks with Aussie officials starting today. And then attention will turn to a meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – a 2-day affair that begins tomorrow. It’s a lightning-quick trip Down Under as he moves on to Fiji on Saturday to meet with Pacific Island leaders.


Let’s go with the cool name that foreign affairs types use and call it the Quad… It includes the US, India, Japan and Australia, and its aim is to support a “free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region”. It’s been around for a while, but last year was the first time the leaders of those nations met under the Quad banner. For this meeting, it’s foreign ministers who are getting together, and Marise Payne yesterday said the agenda items include COVID vaccine distribution in our region, cyber security, countering disinformation, counterterrorism, and climate change. There are a few ‘C’ words in there – the one she left off was ‘China’… What she did say is Quad nations are “committed to very practical cooperation and ensuring that all Indo-Pacific nations – large and small – are able to make their own strategic decisions and make those decisions free from coercion.” And as Lithuania will tell you, China’s aggressive push into the world is still a thing…


On any given day, America’s top diplomat to the world is a busy fella, and you’d have to think that Russia getting the grumps would add significantly to his workload… People asking if he has the time to come to Oz and meet with lil’ old us have been told that it sends a message that despite the crisis on Ukraine’s border, America is not distracted and can focus on multiple issues at once. That’s important because last week China and Russia announced a “no-limits partnership” and promised to collaborate more against the West. And just on the situation in Ukraine, 6 Russian warships heading towards the Black Sea (aka Ukraine’s southern coastal border) “for naval drills” yesterday wouldn’t have distracted Blinken at all, surely…

And just on the situation in Ukraine x 2 – it’s the subject of this week’s Squiz Shortcut. A few minutes and you’ll be all over it.


Squiz the Rest

As if it wasn’t hard enough to find a mate…

Foreign spies are active on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. “I’ve previously highlighted our concerns about approaches on professional networking sites, but during the pandemic, we’ve seen this threat spread,” said security agency ASIO’s boss Mike Burgess, who delivered his annual threat assessment last night. That includes social media sites and match-making apps. Attractive spies in trenchcoats aren’t lurking in dark corners these days – it’s more likely to be a technician with questionable personal hygiene lurking behind a keyboard pretending to be someone much cuter. And they’re picking Aussies who work in government and key businesses to contact, strike up a conversation online, and collect intel. Burgess says espionage and foreign interference has overtaken terrorism as ASIO’s major  security concern, and to be on guard this year in the lead-up to the federal election.

Australian News

Two women with “nothing to lose”

And that’s why yesterday’s National Press Club address by advocates for the survivors of sexual assault Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins was eagerly anticipated… We’ll pull out 2 points to note. First, Tame (aka last year’s Aussie of the Year) said she received a “threatening phone call” from a government-funded organisation in August last year. She didn’t give specifics but reports say it was the Australia Day Council and a senior official wanted to know if she was planning on bagging PM Scott Morrison at this year’s ceremony. Tame said the conversation crystallised her view that powerful men fear losing their power, and will prioritise keeping it over addressing equality for women. Morrison said he didn’t authorise the approach, and an investigation has been launched. And the second point is from Higgins. She said what bothered her most about Morrison’s statements on her case last year was “I didn’t want his sympathy as a father. I wanted him to use his power as Prime Minister.” She says she’s part of “a new wave of women who are just not copping it”.

Australian News

Cummins hits back at Langer

Men’s cricket captain Pat Cummins has broken his silence on the resignation of coach Justin Langer, saying it’s time for a “new style” of leadership. Langer resigned on Saturday after rejecting Cricket Australia’s offer of a 6-month contract extension. Said to be an “intense” micromanager who put many team members and officials offside, his departure had been whispered about for months. Key figures like Cummins became a contortionist as he wriggled out of questions on the saga, but yesterday he thanked Langer for his service. He “admired” Langer’s intensity and passion for the baggy green, but said the team has evolved and a “calmer”, more collaborative approach is required. As for the personal criticism directed at Cummins by our former cricket greats, he said “just as you have always stuck up for your mates, I’m sticking up for mine.” Boom…


Vale Johnny Raper

The last of the Australian rugby league’s original ‘Immortals’, Johnny Raper, has died at 82yo after a long battle with dementia. Raper started out playing for the Newtown Jets in 1958 before making his name with the Dragons where he helped the team claim 8 straight grand finals between 1959 and 1966. Raper also played 39 Tests for Australia and captained the team to win the 1968 World Cup. He represented NSW 31 times and was named in the league’s Team of the Century in 2008. Widely considered the game’s greatest-ever forward, he’s said to have revolutionised and perfected the position with his trademark low tackle behind the defensive line. Just nod along… Legendary coach Jack Gibson said he was “small and not all that quick, but he had football instinct. There was an intensity about him. Nobody trained like he did.”


A great big seizure…

The US Justice Department has seized US$3.6 billion (A$5 billion) worth of Bitcoin from a New York couple in what it says is the biggest-ever case of cryptocurrency theft. Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan face up to 20 years in jail after they were charged with conspiring to launder 119,754 Bitcoin that was stolen in 2016 from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. While the stolen Bitcoin at the time was valued at $71 million, it has since risen in value to over US$4.5 billion, US officials said. Federal prosecutors accused the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde of spending some of the funds on gold and non-fungible tokens to “absolutely mundane things” like a $500 Walmart gift card. And Morgan – who side-hustles as a surrealist artist – boasted about her lavish lifestyle on social media. But the thing that caught the internet’s attention is her interest in amateur rap music

World News

Apropos of Nothing

Chinese parents and toy lovers are spending hours queuing up in freezing conditions in the hope of snagging a plush toy named Bing Dwen Dwen, that’s the official mascot of the Winter Games. In high demand but short supply, the panda is fetching more than US$500 online. 

The saga of freeing an elusive Indonesian crocodile from the motorcycle tyre stuck around its neck for 6 years is finally over. Experts from all over the world have had a crack, but it was a local named Tili who got the job done. Thankfully he didn’t have to fish him out of this award-winning lake… 

Spending time in nature is therapeutic – so much so that Canadian doctors can prescribe a national parks pass. Just leave the dog at home

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

12.30pm (AEDT) – Winter Olympics Men’s Individual Figure Skating Final – Beijing. Watch out for Aussie Brendan Kerry

6.15pm (AEDT) – Winter Olympics Men’s Snowboard Cross Final – Beijing. Watch out for Aussie Olympic 2018 Silver Medallist Jarryd Hughes

A 2-day meeting of Quad foreign ministers begins

National Cabinet meets

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, December 2021; Building Approvals, December 2021 (Additional Information)

Company Full-Year Earnings Results – AMP

Company Half-Year Results – Mirvac; Northern Star Resources; AGL; ASX

First Half Company Results – Mirvac; AGL Energy

AIHW Release – Young people in residential aged care

World Pulses Day

Birthdays for actors Laura Dern (1967), Elizabeth Banks (1974) and Chloe Grace Moretz (1997)

Anniversary of:
• the debut of the Tom & Jerry cartoon (1940)
• Glenn Miller’s In the Mood hitting #1 (1940)
• the sinking of the HMAS Voyager after colliding with aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne killing 82 people (1964)
• IBM’s Deep Blue becoming the first computer to win a game of chess against a reigning human chess champion – in this case Gary Kasparov (1996)
• more than 30 bushfires in NSW being put out by the heaviest rainfall in 30 years, helping end one of Australia’s worst bushfire seasons ever (2020)

Squiz the Day

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