Squiz Today / 14 February 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 14 February


"Coincidentally, our observations are very close to where the fantasy Marvel comic country of Wakanda is suggested to be located."

Said San Diego Zoo scientist Nick Pilfold of his team’s rare sighting of a black panther. The magnificent cat has not been photographed in Kenya since 1909, and given the runaway success of Black Panther, the episode confirms why some people don’t believe in coincidences… #wakandaforever


Things are less shouty, but there has been little progress made by North Korea when it comes to giving up its nukes. That’s the assessment of America’s top commander on the Korean Peninsula, General Robert Abrams, who briefed US senators yesterday. Abrams said South Korea, America and their allies continued to be at risk from the Hermit Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal making it necessary for US forces to "maintain a postured and ready force to deter any possible aggressive actions."

Yeah, nah… Since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump met in Singapore in June last year, officials have been reporting a lack of progress towards denuclearisation. In fact, it's worse than that - North Korea continues to actively develop its nuclear capabilities. And while Trump recently tweeted his confidence in Kim’s leadership, there will be some deft handling required to confront the situation when the leaders meet in Vietnam in a couple of weeks (27-28 February).

For your ‘that's weird' file... It is a well-established custom for North Koreans to gift crystal meth as a part of their Lunar New Year celebrations. The government was in the ice manufacturing business until the mid-2000s and while it’s now illegal, this New York Times report says there are plenty of people who know how to make it, and its widespread use is an open secret. Wonder who the North Korean Walter White is?



Claims and counterclaims of harassment involving United Australia Party Senator Brian Burston and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson have been levelled in the last day and a bit. Pauline Hanson momentarily stopped political traffic on Tuesday night when she made a statement in the Senate about a senator being investigated for harassing six former staff members, although she didn't name names. (The details of one claim is outlined in the Sydney Morning Herald/Age today.) Last night, Burston, who was one of Hanson’s mob before he defected to join Clive Palmer’s party, said he believed Hanson’s was attacking him. And he told the Daily Telegraph (paywall) that Hanson had harassed him a number of times over the last 20 years. "I might be 64, but I'm not that desperate," Hanson responded via Sky News last night. Burston was also involved in an altercation with Hanson's controversial chief-of-staff James Ashby after a function in Parliament House last night. What a mess...


With the Senate having passed the medivac bill that will give doctors more say in the medical transfer of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru yesterday, it’s clear some old themes are on their way back:

• Operation Sovereign Borders - it describes the government’s border security approach that includes offshore processing, the turning back of boats and the regional resettlement of refugees. The Coalition says it’ll put more resources towards it in anticipation of new boat arrivals. Labor says it’s committed to continuing the policy.

• Christmas Island Detention Centre - that will be reopened to deal with any new arrivals as well as transfers from Manus and Nauru. Reports this morning say the government is preparing to move 300 refugees who are likely to be recommended for transfer straight off the bat. The local council said the island was not equipped to deal with people with complex medical needs.

• And reports saying “government sources” are warning that “up to 14,000 asylum seekers in Indonesia could attempt unauthorised journeys to Australia”. Note: that’s a United Nations number that’s been kicking around for a while.

Don't worry, it’ll all come back to you…


The holiday paradise had quite a year.

• The US 24-hour rain record was broken when Kauai received more than 1.27 metres (yes, metres) in April last year. And the state tropical rainfall record was broken with Hurricane Lane (which was one of three big storms to hit last year).

• The Big Island recorded the strongest wind in the state’s history at more than 300km/hour last week.

• And yesterday, snow was recorded at the lowest level they’ve seen with Maui’s Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area turning into a winter wonderland.

If they’re lucky, maybe they’ll get the dregs of our dust storm


Words exchanged on the cricket pitch in a match between England and the West Indies has propelled the game into the spotlight again. This time there’s some good in it. The gloriously named English captain Joe Root was commended for his response to an unknown comment from West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel. Root was captured on camera replying to Gabriel; "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay." Gabriel was later charged for a breach of the code of conduct. Root received plenty of praise from former players, fans and anti-discrimination campaigners for his display of leadership.


King, the wire fox terrier, that's who. The pooch resembling Lord Kitchenertook out Best in Show at one of the world's premier dog shows, Westminster, in New York yesterday. The championship runoff was embroiled in controversy with one of the seven finalists - Colton the schipperke (just nod…) - was excluded because his owner had a ‘distant’ business relationship with the judge. Some pictures of the event are here. And to get a sense of how it works, here’s a video of the judging of our favourite category (because go the Frenchies), the non-sporting group.


If you're all loved up, well aren't you amazing. And if you're a member of the ‘I don't do Valentine's Day because it's is sooo commercial', there's a little something in your thinking. There’s a bit of confusion as to the real story, but the popular telling is St Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century who secretly married Christian couples who were being persecuted by the ruler of the day. He was jailed and martyred on 14 February but not before he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. On the day of his death, he wrote to her signing off ‘from your Valentine’. He developed a following over the centuries, but it wasn’t until 1913 when a card company in Kansas City called Hallmark mass produced cards - a move of marketing genius. Now that we've ruined it for you, happy Valentine's Day…


Morrison Government to deliver the 11th Closing the Gap report to Parliament on indigenous health and other measures

ABS Data Release - Livestock Products, December

Company Earnings Announcements - AMP; Telstra

First anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Former student Nikolas Cruz was charged over the deaths of 17 people and injuries to 17 more.

Anniversary of the decimalisation of Australia's currency (1966)

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.