Squiz Today / 26 July 2018

Squiz Today – Thursday, 26 July


“They should actually change their flag and honour the fact that we got there first with this design."

Acting NZ PM Winston Peters, a firm defender of the Kiwi flag, says we should change ours to eliminate the persistent confusion between the two. Stay tuned for the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are?...


Eighty-one people have died and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed by Greece's worst fire in decades. More than 180 people are in hospital with injuries. Officials said arsonists looking to rob abandoned homes could have started the blazes. There's suspicion because 15 fires started simultaneously on three fronts around Athens.

The search for victims has commenced in burnt out areas, and in the water where many fled the flames. There is no official count for those missing, but reports say there are around 100 people unaccounted for. One government official said they expect the number of dead to exceed 100. A state of emergency has been declared, and all emergency services have been mobilised, and a number of European countries have sent help.

“The country is going through an unspeakable tragedy.” - Greek PM Alexis Tsipras who declared three days of national mourning in the memory of those who perished.

"They had tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their kids didn't make it in time. Instinctively, seeing the end nearing, they embraced." - Nikos Economopoulos, head of Greece's Red Cross, of the 26 people who died clinging to each other.

“Greeks, like Australians, fear the fury of summer bushfires fuelled by dry weather and strong hot winds… But no country is accustomed to such a sudden, horrific mass loss of life. The shock here is palpable. – ABC Europe correspondent James Glenday from Mati.


Hold your Martians… The Italian Space Agency says there is evidence of a persistent liquid water lake under the planet’s southern polar ice cap. While this is an exciting development, reports say we’re no closer to finding life there. That’s because the water would have to be highly salty to remain liquid which would be unlikely to sustain life, but experts say it’s a good place to look. To get to the water has its challenges. "It will require flying a robot there which is capable of drilling through 1.5km of ice. This will certainly require some technological developments that at the moment are not available," said study leader Professor Roberto Orosei.

Counting is underway, and a result should be known today. Sadly the day was not terror-free. Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside a polling station in the city of Quetta. Five policemen and two children were among the 31 victims of the attack. Other areas reported minor blasts and clashes that left two dead.

The trade war with China is hurting American farmers, so US President Donald Trump yesterday announced US$12 billion in financial assistance to buy up surplus ag products to be used in food assistance programs. Sounds like a lot but their peak body said farmers are losing that much every month because of trade disruptions. And our National Farmer's Federation boss Tony Maher said it’s a blow. "Australian farmers are amongst the least subsidised in the world, which means our agriculture exports are particularly vulnerable to increased government assistance in competitor nations," he said.

And while we have you… The US Food and Drug Administration declared that because plant-based products don’t lactate, they can’t be turned into 'milk'. It’s a win for the dairy lobby that has been arguing the point for almost 20 years.

One prisoner remains at large after escaping from WA’s Greenough Regional Prison near Geraldton late on Tuesday. Ten men scaled the fence during an hours-long riot (where stolen angle grinders were used to break into the female inmates' unit) that left three guards injured. Authorities recaptured seven, two handed themselves into police, and 35yo Bradley Silvester is still on the loose. Locals have been advised to keep their homes and cars locked.

The short story is inflation rose 0.4% in the April-to-June quarter to 2.1% for the year – just a tick over the Reserve Bank's target range of 2-3%. The leading causes of the increase were rising petrol prices and the April increase in private health premiums – two things we love spending our hard-earned on... But the good news is the price of food went down 0.4% in the quarter. On these numbers, economists aren’t expecting an official interest rate rise anytime soon.

When photographer Brent Cizek saw a mother duck on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota with more than 76 chicks, he couldn’t believe it. A merganser duck can lay about 12 eggs, and it's common for them to dump their eggs in the nests of other ducks to keep their options open. Still, Mama (as she's known) couldn't have hatched that many eggs, so experts say she is likely an older bird on crèche duty. Speaking of old ducks


ABS Data Release - International Trade Price Indexes, June

Macquarie Group AGM - Sydney

World Trade Organisation meeting on US-China trade dispute

Mick Jagger (1943), Helen Mirren (1945) and Sandra Bullock's (1964) birthdays

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.