Squiz Today / 28 May 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 28 May


“It’s a work of love.”

Says Dr Farvardin Daliri, the creator of a 750kg sculpture of a kookaburra, laugh and all. Born in Iran and educated in India before settling in Queensland, Dr Daliri is the organiser of the Townsville Cultural Festival. And his massive kooka is registered as a boat trailer. You’ve gotta love Oz…


The next big global summit on climate change will likely be pushed out to late next year due to the coronavirus crisis. It was flagged last month that the COP26 meeting scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November this year would be delayed. And now the UK Government has proposed a new date - 1-12 November 2021. As for where, that’s TBC. A meeting of the United Nations climate body is being held later this week where the proposal will be discussed. The talks, which will be attended by the who's who of world leaders, are considered the most important since the Paris Agreement was struck in 2015.

Because countries are expected to promise stronger emissions cuts than what they signed up to in 2015. To backtrack for a sec: it was agreed in Paris that nations would work to keep global average temperatures from rising below 2C compared with pre-industrial levels. But the experts say the world is on track for more than 3C of warming, which would be terrible. Many nations were on course to sign up to new plans to deliver ‘net zero emissions by 2050’ to keep that temperature increase down - except for Australia with the Morrison Government sticking to our Paris target of reducing emissions by at least 26% by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

Almost 200 nations are expected to take part in COP26, and there’s consensus that it has to be done in person. And the health advice is it's likely restrictions will still be in place in some parts of the world well into next year. Aside from logistical concerns, some experts say very little progress will be made this year on climate policy because national leaders are too distracted by the coronavirus crisis. And they’ll need more time to get a grip on where their economies are at before finalising new emissions reduction plans. However, critics of a long delay say that with a 'green recovery' being talked about by many nations by investing in climate-friendly projects as a way to boost jobs, it would be better to have conversations about putting the climate back on their policy agendas ASAP.



• Work on a travel bubble between Oz and New Zealand is progressing with a plan to be discussed next week in the hope that it would be operational in September. Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern said she wants to “move on this as quickly as we can. We are both very keen on it ... across both sides of the dutch.” Sorry, ditch…

• There’s a grim prediction about where the spread of the virus in Brazil will lead. The University of Washington says the death toll could reach 125,000 by August unless President Jair Bolsonaro puts his citizens into a strict lockdown - something he’s firmly resisted. Brazil has recorded almost 400,000 cases and 25,000 deaths.

• And the latest installation in a new series called ‘restaurants helping customers to maintain their social distancing’ - behold the Burger King crown


The Federal Police will not lay charges against News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, whose home was raided last year following the publication of a story she’d written based on classified intelligence documents. After reviewing materials seized from her home, police say "no one will be prosecuted" for the leak. However, the fate of ABC journos Dan Oakes and Sam Clark is still uncertain with authorities continuing to investigate their reporting on war crimes allegedly committed in Afghanistan, also based on leaked classified information. Australia’s news publishers and broadcasters have slammed the raids saying it is a threat to press freedom, but the Federal Police have defended the actions.


About 300 protestors in Hong Kong were arrested yesterday as its Legislative Council debated a new law cracking down on the misuse of China's national anthem. It's been brought forward because Hong Kong does not have its own anthem, and so China's is sometimes played at events. In recent years, it's been booed by Hongkongers, embarrassing China. Protests are set to escalate with China’s National People’s Congress expected to today wave through a new security law for the territory that critics say will see it lose its autonomy from China. To that point, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s told Congress that Hong Kong, which has been seen as distinct from China, no longer merits special treatment under US law. "No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China,” he says.


In an unprecedented move, Twitter yesterday added a fact-check label to two of US President Donald Trump’s tweets as part of its crackdown on political misinformation on its platform. The President claims in the tweets (here and here) that mail-in voting (like our postal votes) would lead to an increase in voter fraud. But underneath them, Twitter provides a link to its own fact-check page saying "Get the facts about mail-in ballots” which includes links to articles which debunk the claims. An already established fan of ‘alternative facts’, Trump tweeted Twitter trashing their troublesome turn, accusing the platform of "stifling FREE SPEECH". He said overnight that he would consider regulating social media platforms that silence conservative voices. Others criticised Twitter for not doing enough by not outrightly labelling the tweets as misinformation.


A black bear that’s got a bit too comfortable with coming into Florida's Fort Myers has been lured into a humane trap by treats that bring even the most hardened health food-lovers unstuck - donuts.

The Indian government has been asked to return a pigeon it’s arrested for spying. Police said the pigeon from neighbouring Pakistan has a ring on its leg that’s inscribed with a code. The Pakistani villager who owns the bird says it’s his mobile phone number.

Feeling chatty? We might have our primate cousins to thank for that... Scientists reckon they have taken a “critical step” towards finding out how humans evolved the ability to speak after discovering chimpanzees smack their lips in a pattern similar to human speech. Wonder if they talk about more than how much they’d like a banana?


6.33am (AEST) - fingers are crossed that the SpaceX Demo-2 manned-mission to the International Space Station lifts off from the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida (although the weather’s looking a bit grim…)

7.50pm (AEST) - NRL returns with Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels - Brisbane

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

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea to support people impacted people with cancer

A birthday for Kylie Minogue (1968)

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