Squiz Today / 17 June 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 17 June


"The book of all books.”

Said former US President Donald Trump of the account he says he’s penning on his time in the White House. He also says publishers are fighting over it, but they say it would be “too hard to get a book that was factually accurate”. Ouch...


Flexing its military muscle, Beijing has sent 28 military aircraft into Taiwan's air defence identification zone (aka an area outside of a country's territory but where foreign aircraft are closely tracked for national security reasons). It happened on Tuesday and it's said to be China's largest incursion to date. And yesterday, Ma Xiaoguang from China's Taiwan Affairs Office said they didn’t appreciate the acts of “collusion” between foreign governments and Taiwan over its bid to be recognised as a sovereign nation, not a Chinese territory. It comes after days of China’s ambitions being the topic of conversation amongst the world’s most powerful democratic leaders - and even with Queen Elizabeth

Quite a bit… On Sunday, G7 leaders condemned China for its use of “non-market policies and practices” to cause economic havoc. And they took China to task over human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, called for Hong Kong to remain autonomous from the mainland, and expressed concerns about its military step up in the Taiwan Strait. And on Tuesday, leaders at the big NATO meeting formally scolded China for becoming a "constant security challenge”. In response, China said it would "unswervingly defend our sovereignty, security, and development interests."

There are a lot of words that have been thrown around in the last week, which is one thing. But when it comes to sending increasing numbers of military planes towards Taiwan, experts say there isn't much clarity about what China might do. All of this is unfolding in our backyard, which has made Australia very relevant with the leaders of like-minded nations. Visiting President Emmanuel Macron in Paris yesterday, PM Scott Morrison was told that we have a friend in France. “You are at the forefront of the tensions that exist in the region, of the threats, and sometimes of the intimidation, and I want to reiterate here how much we stand by your side,” the President said. Now, if only he would crack on with building us some submarines



After a little more than 3 hours of talks, Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have wrapped up their highly anticipated meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Putin got to the media first and showed off his hardline positions on Ukraine (where it has been building up troops on the border) and dealing with the opposition (where leading dissenter Alexei Navalny is locked up). He says Russian authorities are doing nothing different to those in the US. For Biden’s part, he said the tone of the meeting was "good, positive" and "I did what I came to do". That means laying out his world view and telling Putin directly that "the US will respond to actions that impair our vital interests or those of our allies." As predicted, there were no big breakthroughs, but there was some progress. Talks will start on nuclear arms control, and the countries will return ambassadors to each other's capitals. That leaves plenty to cover in future talks, not that Putin is into happy endings. "There's no happiness in life. There's only a mirage on the horizon, so we'll cherish that," he said.


A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza that has been in place since last month is up in the air. Israel yesterday launched airstrikes on Hamas militant targets in Gaza in what it says is retaliation for incendiary balloons that were launched on Tuesday. What’s an incendiary balloon? It's a balloon with a bomb or other device attached to it, and on this occasion, reports say they caused multiple fires near the Gaza border. Tensions in the ongoing conflict have been in the spotlight after Israel's new government came to power on Sunday, headed by PM Naftali Bennett. Reports say Hamas launched the balloons after a march by Jewish nationalists in occupied East Jerusalem, which had drawn threats from the militant group that runs Gaza. #SquizShortcut


Victorians will see a further easing of COVID restrictions from tomorrow as the state takes another step out of its 4th lockdown. Melbourne and regional Victoria will be reunited as travel limits are dropped. Masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors, and gyms and indoor entertainment venues will reopen. And there’s something for footy fans (but disappointment it’s not more…): 7,000 spectators can attend the Geelong v Western Bulldogs AFL game in Geelong tomorrow night. It comes as Victoria recorded 3 new local COVID cases yesterday, which are all linked to known outbreaks. Meanwhile, NSW recorded 2 new locally acquired cases after a Bondi man came into contact with international flight crew through his work as a driver. The source of his infection is currently being investigated, and a list of exposure sites in Sydney’s east was distributed.


The Fair Work Commission yesterday announced the minimum wage will be lifted by 2.5% to $20.33 an hour later this year. While the latest increase sits below past rises of between 3 and 3.5% - and includes no "catch up" for last year's COVID-reduced 1.75% increase - Commission President Justice Iain Ross said the decision was made because “economic recovery is well underway." But not everyone’s happy… The unions were pushing for a 3.5% increase while business groups had advocated for a 1.1% increase. The decision will see 2.2 million Aussie workers get a pay bump.


Cristiano Ronaldo: not just a bloke who inspires questionable sculptures… Yesterday, the soccer great set the record for most career goals at the European Championship (this year known as Euro 2020). It’s usually a once-every-4-years tournament that people who know a lot more about soccer than us say is second to the World Cup in terms of prestige. And then analysts say Ronaldo contributed to a fall in Coca-Cola's value in the order of more than $5 billion. And all Ronaldo had to do was take the bottles of Coke off the press conference table and purposefully replace them with water. “Agua!” he said. The company said that “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” - even football gods…


America’s Associated Press will no longer name people suspected of committing minor crimes. It says “such stories can have a long, damaging afterlife on the internet”. It’s not the first news publisher to make the move, but it is the biggest.

Making cool stuff from plastic waste is in. This iteration: mixing it with lab-engineered E coli bacteria to make vanilla flavouring. Mmm, tasty…

And for something more dazzling: the last of Western Australia’s pink diamonds are up for sale, or there's former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Barbie form. You take your pick.


ABS Data Release - Labour Force, May

Iceland’s National Day

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Birthdays for Venus Williams (1980), Kendrick Lamar (1987) and Stephanie Rice (1988)

Anniversary of:
• Charles Goodyear obtaining his first rubber patent (1837)
• the Statue of Liberty arriving in New York aboard French ship Isere (1885)
• the last public guillotining in France (1939)

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