Squiz Today / 26 November 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 26 November


“Free periods”

No, it’s not a bit of time in your day where you have nothing scheduled… Scotland yesterday became the first country in the world to pass a law that will see free tampons and sanitary pads provided to "anyone who needs them”. Must be that time in the election cycle...


Reports say authorities in Thailand are launching a legal crackdown on protest leaders who have been calling for reforms to the country’s monarchy and the dismissal of the government. Protests have been ongoing since July, and the military-backed government has been unsuccessful in shutting down the unprecedented youth-led movement. So the move against 15 protest leaders, who have been summoned to face charges under Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté law, is seen as the next step.

Lèse-majesté. It’s a French term meaning "to do wrong to majesty" and it describes an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state. Anyone who "defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent" can be punished with a jail term of between 3 and 15 years. And for many young people in Thailand, it’s been hard to refrain from criticising the monarch with King Maha Vajiralongkorn giving them a lot of material to work with…

What demonstrators want is for the government headed by PM Prayuth Chan-ocha (and backed by the military) to be dissolved; that the monarchy be reformed, the constitution be rewritten; and for authorities stop harassing critics. And while the protests have been relatively peaceful, there was a violent clash last week. Pundits say the legal steps taken yesterday come ahead of more planned demonstrations and that the targeting of the movement’s leaders is an attempt to get protestors to stand down. The United Nations has repeatedly called on Thailand to amend their lèse-majesté law with critics claiming it’s used to clamp down on free speech.



That’s according to Iranian media reports this morning. The Australian-British academic is said to have been freed in exchange for three jailed Iranians "who had been detained abroad". A video purporting to show the exchange was published by a state broadcaster. Dr Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer at Melbourne University, had been travelling on an Australian passport when she was detained in Tehran as she tried to leave following a conference. That was in September 2018. She was then tried in secret and was serving a 10-year sentence for espionage in some of the country’s most brutal prisons. Concerns for her wellbeing were expressed by her friends and officials. Fingers crossed she’s home soon…


China says almost $700 million worth of Australian coal sitting off the coast of two major Chinese ports has been prevented from being unloaded due to "environmental quality" problems. Media outlet Bloomberg says it estimates up to 1,000 people are stranded on 66 Australian coal ships in Chinese waters in the standoff. The development confirms the worst fears of Aussie officials and exporters after coal was recently named as one of 7 exports being held up, but official confirmation wasn’t forthcoming. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian last night said they’ve stepped up checks "so as to better protect the legitimate interests and the environmental interests of the Chinese side". However, there are concerns that China has launched a passive-aggressive (or just aggressive…) trade action against Oz. Our pollies will probably have something to say about this today.


The Duchess of Sussex has outlined the pain and grief she and Prince Harry have suffered over her miscarriage in July. Writing in the New York Times, Meghan said she felt a "sharp cramp" as she picked up son Archie. "I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right." she wrote. Many tears later, she said she was shocked by the “cycle of solitary mourning” suffered by so many parents. And in this year of chaos (and on Thanksgiving in the US…), she’s made a plea for tolerance and compassion. Health advocates thanked her for helping to break down the stigma attached to miscarriage. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "It's a deeply personal matter we would not comment on."


Legendary Argentinian soccer player Diego Maradona has died of a heart attack at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, his lawyer has confirmed. He was 60yo. Get ready to watch his controversial 'Hand of God' goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico on high repeat today… Argentina went on to win that tournament making Maradona, the team’s captain, a national hero. There were turbulent stints with Italian clubs Barcelona and Napoli in the 80s and early 90s - and issues with the mafia/drugs/alcohol. The midfielder ended his professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday. Stints managing and coaching Argentina and club sides in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico followed. There were reports of health issues earlier this month when he had surgery for a brain blood clot. Despite all the ups and downs, Maradona was regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez has declared 3 days of national mourning.


After a mild spring, much of the country is set to sizzle for the rest of the week with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting a "severe" heat wave. While those in northern and central Oz have already been feeling the heat over the last few weeks, and those warm vibes will move southeast. South Australia will be the worst-hit with consecutive 40C days forecast. The warm front will then hit northern Victoria, NSW and southeast Queensland. The heat is expected to peak on Saturday with parts of South Oz set to reach temperatures in the high 40s - but will cool off a little by Monday. Authorities have warned people to take extra precautions, and to check vulnerable people, including the elderly and the young, are keeping their cool…


Congrats go to Tame Impala (winning album of the year, best rock album, and best group) and rapper Sampa The Great (taking out best female artist, best independent release and best hip hop release) for their big wins at last night’s ARIA Awards. Legend Archie Roach was named best male artist, and he was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. And Amy Shark had the best pop release of the year with Everybody Rise. Meanwhile, the 2021's Grammy Awards are shaping up with Beyoncé leading the pack with 9 nominations. Pop sensations Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift, and rapper/singer Roddy Ricch received 6 nods each. Not on the list: The Weeknd, who called the Recording Academy “corrupt” after he failed to get a nomination. The list of nominees is here, and put 31 January in your diary when the awards are, well, awarded.


ABS Data Release - Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, September

Thanksgiving in America and Brazil

Birthdays for singer Tina Turner (1939) and comedian Dave Hughes (1970)

Anniversary of:
• the publication of Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
• English archaeologist Howard Carter opening Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt (1922)
• the premiere of Casablanca (1942)

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