Squiz Today / 02 November 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 2 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Buff and hulking or small and meek?”

The internet is having a field day with the different courtroom sketches emerging from the trial of alleged crypto-fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried. It’s more of an art than a science…

D-day for undocumented Afghans

The Squiz

Pakistan will today begin arresting and deporting foreign nationals who have been in the country without documentation. It’ll largely affect about 1.7 million undocumented Afghans who fled their home country over 4 decades, starting after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 80s and, more recently, as the Taliban retook control. It’s another “human rights catastrophe” in the making, according to the United Nations. It says many Afghans facing expulsion – particularly women, children, journalists, ex-government officials and human rights activists – will be at risk if they return home.

Why is Pakistan forcing them to leave?

There’s been a significant rise in crime this year, particularly along the country’s northwestern border with Afghanistan. That’s the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and it’s seen more than 300 attacks this year. The Pakistani Government says the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – which has ties with the Taliban – is behind it. Officials have accused the Taliban of giving the militants sanctuary, which Taliban officials deny, and Pakistan’s caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti also points to “14 out of 24” suicide bombings in 2023 being carried out by Afghans. So those tensions have set the scene for Pakistan’s Government to issue the expulsion order on 3 October, setting a 31 October deadline for anyone in the country “illegally” to get out or face deportation. 

What happens now?

Reports say that by Monday this week, close to 200,000 Afghans had already returned, and Pakistan’s officials say now the deadline’s passed, deportations will “be done in phases” – likely starting with people with criminal records. Many Afghans facing expulsion have spoken about their fears of going back to life under Taliban rule, but the Taliban – which called the situation “unacceptable” – claims it will set up basic services for those returning. Earlier this month, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Afghans “will return to their country without any worries and adopt a dignified life”. But human rights groups say the outlook is dim and have called for Pakistan’s order to be cancelled. Watch this space…

World News

Squiz the Rest

A plea to free Yang

The children of detained Australian writer Yang Hengjun have pleaded with PM Anthony Albanese to up the pressure on China to release their dad. Dr Yang has been held without charge for 4 years, and he’s said to be in a bad way because of a kidney cyst that isn’t being treated. In a letter to the PM, his sons say consular officials who were allowed to visit Yang last week found him bedridden, and they’re worried he might die from “calculated medical neglect”. Albanese has promised to raise Yang’s case with Chinese leaders – and he’s also been asked by Aussie Uighur, Tibetan, and Hong Kong communities to raise China’s “crimes against humanity” during his visit to Beijing starting on Saturday. Dr Yang’s sons say they were inspired by Australian journalist Cheng Lei’s release and hope the PM can “achieve a second miracle by saving our father”.

AusPol Australian News

Hope for a way out of Gaza

Australian citizens in Gaza have been advised to travel to Rafah in the south of the territory, where the crossing into Egypt has opened to allow 335 foreign nationals and 76 injured Gazans to leave. Consular officials emailed Aussies they know are in the Palestinian territory, telling them to “seize this opportunity to depart Gaza” provided that they “deem it safe to do so”. It’s the first time since the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel that people in Gaza have been allowed out. It’s not clear yet if any Aussies were in the group of people who left, but our Government reckons 88 Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their families have been trapped in Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said an airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp – the biggest in Gaza – couldn’t be avoided. They were targeting Hamas and its “vast underground tunnel complex” underneath the Palestinian territory, an official said. The strike is said to have killed at least 50 people.

World News

A big warning as house prices surge

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has poked its formidable nose into the Aussie interest rate debate… It says it should go up to assist with getting a handle on inflation. The IMF’s call comes as the Reserve Bank mulls whether to hike the 4.1% cash rate at its meeting next Tuesday. The major banks reckon it will – especially after inflation for July-September came in higher than expected at 5.4%. The IMF is worried that stubborn inflation + low unemployment + high house prices are signs the economy is running a bit too hot. And new data from CoreLogic backs that up – home values across the country are on track to hit a record high with a 7.6% rise in prices since January. Sydney, Perth and Brissie are all especially tough spots to grab a bargain – prices in those cities are up more than 10% this year.

Australian News Economy

Where do we come from?

A shout out to our Nepalese mates – they’re the fastest-growing group of overseas-born Aussies and have almost caught up with Italians who call Australia home. According to new Bureau of Stats data, Nepalese residents have surged from 30,000 10 years ago to over 150,000 in 2022. England is still our biggest source of migrants (961,000), then India (754,000), China (597,000) and Kiwiland (586,000). West Oz has the highest proportion of residents born overseas at 34%, while Tassie’s got the least at 16%. And rounding out the picture of what makes an Aussie – new official health stats also look at some of our bad habits. Smoking is still the leading cause of cancer, and cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug. Alcohol consumption has remained pretty stable for the last 30 years – with wine the top tipple of choice over beer.

Australian News Culture

Small home, big award

The country’s top architecture awards have given their highest honour to a tiny house built on a 30m2 “scrap” of land wedged next to a factory. The home in Surry Hills in Sydney used a bunch of rejected materials like broken bricks and turned them into something that’s quite the showstopper. The judges reckon because of our housing crisis, it’s time to move beyond rewarding the traditional 4-bedroom standalone home (that now averages 229m2 FYI). Another big gong went to the Rockhampton Museum of Art, and kudos to designer Lindsay Clare, who created a space where “you can wander in there in your shorts and t-shirt”. And not to be left out in its 50th birthday year – the redeveloped concert hall at the Sydney Opera House also won two awards for heritage and interior architecture. Encore…

Australian News Culture

Apropos of nothing

It’s getting hot in here… The 2024 Australian Firefighters Calendars are out, with different variations featuring dogs, cats, and horses. Proceeds go to various animal welfare charities, as well as the Kids With Cancer Foundation, and those abs go straight to your dreams…

Speaking of Aussie heroes, Darrell Lea has expanded its Sydney factory after the business got back on track after nearly shutting up shop a few years ago. The growth is coming from America – apparently, they like a chocolate bullet as much as we do.

And while Darrell Lea has been making tracks in the US, a Kiwi brand is coming at us with innovation. Whittaker’s ‘Hazella’ bar has been called the world’s best by fans, and the milk choc/hazelnut gianduja block is now available this side of the ditch.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

The 2023 Economic and Social Outlook Conference begins – Melbourne

Company shareholder meeting – Star Entertainment

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods, September; Lending Indicators, September

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

Day of the Dead – Mexico

A birthday for David Schwimmer (1966)

Anniversary of:
• the birthday of Marie Antionette (1755)
• the first publication of women’s fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar (1867)
• the start of cheerleading in the United States as Johnny Campbell leads the crowd cheering on the football team at the University of Minnesota (1898)
• Democrat Jimmy Carter elected President of the United States (1976)
• the start of ‘The Great Emu War’ when Aussie soldiers were engaged to cull crop-destroying emus in WA (1932)
• the release The Godfather (1972)

Squiz the Day

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