Squiz Today / 27 August 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 27 August


“I put myself in a bad situation. It’s like dating a guy that you know sucks.”

Said tennis champ Serena Williams after giving away the lead to record a surprise loss in the Western & Southern Open yesterday. We’ve all been there. Dating a loser, that is, not losing an ATP tennis tournament...


After sitting the Chinese embassy’s deputy head of mission Wang Xining down to a meal of beef and barley, he delivered a rare address at the National Press Club yesterday where he unpacked the recent deterioration in his country’s relationship with Australia. And it was the Morrison Government’s calls for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus and China’s handling of it that really got their goat. Likening the episode to “Julius Caesar in his final date when he saw Brutus approaching him," Wang said it was “illogical paranoia”, “outdated stereotypes” and “political distortion” that resulted in “this shocking proposal from Australia, supposed to be a good friend of China”.

Not really… Giving his best ‘that’s life’, Wang said “this is diplomacy” when asked about why senior government figures have not been able to get in touch with their Chinese counterparts to discuss trade sanctions applied to some of our exports. "There is no block in between," Wang said - something Trade Minister Simon Birmingham's dialling finger might disagree with... Also on the denial end of the scale - Wang’s assessment that Wuhan was the site of the first reported COVID-19 infection, but not necessarily the place where it started.

Reports this morning say the Morrison Government is pushing to regulate all agreements that state and territory governments, local councils and universities make with foreign nations. And they would have the power to end any arrangements that are inconsistent with the Commonwealth's foreign policy. Hello, Victoria's Belt and Road deal with China... #SquizShortcut



US President Donald Trump is sending federal law enforcement to the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin after three nights of demonstrators clashing with police. Three people have been shot, two of them fatally, during the protests that formed after 29yo black man Jacob Blake was shot by police on Sunday. Blake has been left paralysed from the waist down after he was shot 7 times in the back. Few details of the shooting have been released so far, but his lawyers say he had been trying to "de-escalate a domestic incident" when police drew their weapons. Court records reveal there was an open arrest warrant against Blake on sexual assault and domestic abuse charges. Within hours of the shooting, protestors took to the streets burning buildings and vehicles, and they have not stopped.


Hong Kong opposition legislators Lam Cheuk-ting and Ted Hui Chi-fung are among 16 people arrested in relation to pro-democracy protests last year. Lam was one of the dozens of protestors injured in an attack at a train station by men thought to be triads in July 2019. Police were criticised at the time for their slow response and dereliction of duty to protect the demonstrators. Police have so far arrested 44 people suspected of being involved in the attack, and critics say yesterday's arrests further demonstrate China's determination to silence its critics. Two weeks ago, media tycoon and vocal Beijing critic Jimmy Lai was arrested under a controversial new security law imposed on the city by Beijing.


Chinese fintech Ant Financial is set to embark on a record-breaking debut on the stock market. It’s said the company, which is affiliated with e-commerce giant Alibaba and China’s leading online payment platform Alipay, will be valued at up to US$300 billion - more than most US banks. And Ant is expected to launch the biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in history when it trades on Hong Kong and Shanghai markets. “The world's largest financial institutions are now in China," Shaun Rein from China Market Research Group said.


Just in time for some warm weather, a drink trend from the US has arrived in Oz: hard seltzer. It's essentially an alcopop. Or more specifically, it's flavoured alcoholic soda water which fans describe as ‘wellness-adjacent’ - which is the perfect description of our diet ATM... The US is experiencing what the New York Times has dubbed a “seltzer bubble". It's a billion-dollar industry featuring Insta-worthy startup stars. Between 2018 and 2019, White Claw, a popular brand of hard seltzer, saw its US sales jump by 320% - and it's set to arrive on Aussie shores in October. In the meantime, several hard seltzer brands are already available here, including those made by Aussie producers.


After feeling “more out than in”, Lionel Messi has burofaxed his soccer club Barcelona (presumably from 1990) advising that he wants to leave immediately. The 33yo Argentine believes he can walk away as a free agent, but his ability to do that expired at the end of May, the club says. That means he could be tied to the club until 30 June 2021 unless another pays a fee. And by fee, we mean a €700 million exit payment (A$1.15 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘b’...). What seems to have upset the golden goose cart is the arrival of a new manager at Barcelona, Ronald Koeman, who is reported to have told Messi that “your privileges here are over” at their first meeting. Messi has been at the club since he was 13yo, and he's considered to be one of the best players - if not the best - in the world.


The West Wing is getting back together for a reunion episode. And look, it might be nice to reflect on fictional politics from a kinder, gentler time when Bartlett took on Ritchie, or an even kinder/gentler Santos v Vinick race…


The Republican National Convention continues. Look out for Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway

The sentencing hearing of Christchurch mosque attacker Brenton Tarrant to rap up. He was to give a statement this morning - that will be made by his standby lawyer

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

Company Earnings Results - Woolworths; Afterpay; Nine Entertainment; Ardent Leisure; Ramsay Health Care

National Meals on Wheels Day

World Rock Paper Scissors Day

Birthdays for designer/director Tom Ford (1961) and former F1 driver Mark Webber (1976)

Anniversary of:
• the largest eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, west of Java in Indonesia, which killed approximately 40,000 people (1883)
• the first publication of the Guinness Book of World Records (1955)
• the premiere of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964)
• the death of Lord Mountbatten, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II (1979)

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