Squiz Today / 06 October 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 6 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you get it done. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“People are doing their brows now not from the angle of ‘I look better this way’, but ‘this is a cool way to look’.”

Said makeup guru Sam Visser of the thin/no eyebrow trend. As anyone who lived through the beauty trends of the 90s knows, we’re entering a very dangerous territory. Take care out there…

A critical neighbourhood catch-up

PM Anthony Albanese will greet his Solomon Islands counterpart Manasseh Sogavare in Canberra today for the first time since they had a “productive meeting” at the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji in July. It’s nifty timing following reports yesterday that China has been actively trying to discredit Australia to our Solomons friends with a slew of misinformation. Despite a positive last interaction, the relationship between Australia and Sogavare remains strained over the Solomons’ controversial security pact with China and awkwardness over our offer to pay for their upcoming election.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) says Chinese officials have been running a coordinated disinformation campaign in Solomon Islands against Australia, Taiwan and the US to spread “false narratives”. In particular, China blamed the nations for instigating violent riots in the capital Honiara late last year. ASPI also found that Chinese diplomats tried to paint Australia as “colonialist bullies” intent on threatening the sovereignty of the Solomons by generating headlines like ‘Solomon Islands not Australia’s lackey‘. Interestingly, locals didn’t seem to buy it… Despite heaps of articles surfacing, they were shared on social media just a handful of times, and most comments were anti-China.

Despite the tensions, there’ll likely be some nice scenes. Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles will join the meeting and dinner at The Lodge. But with Sogavare considered a mercurial character, you never know… Solomon Islands expert Clive Moore describes him as “intelligent”, “energetic”, “emotional”, “quite paranoid”, and “self-serving” – so he’s not an easy guest to host… But Sogavare does seem to be interested in repairing ties with the West. Last week, he signed an agreement with the US and 13 other Pacific nations promising to work together to ensure a peaceful/democratic region. And it looks like Albanese has his eye on a similar prize, saying he looks forward to engaging with Sogavare to work on “building a strong and prosperous Pacific region, based on principles of transparency, respect and partnership.”

AusPol World News

Squiz the Rest

Higgins delivers her patchy account

The highly anticipated trial of former federal Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann is on in earnest… So far, his former colleague Brittany Higgins’ take on the alleged rape in March 2019 has been front and centre, and late yesterday she started her turn in the witness box. Higgins said Lehrmann had tried it on with her – and was rebuffed – a couple of weeks before the alleged assault. And that night, she got “beyond schoolies” drunk with a group of workmates, including Lehrmann, before accepting a lift home. It was a detour to their Parliament House office where Higgins says she passed out and came to during the rape, but there’s a lot she doesn’t remember. In the days following the alleged attack, she didn’t seek medical help, but she eventually took a pregnancy test, she said. The hearing so far has been a setting out Higgins’ side of the story – Lehrmann’s version of events will be outlined in the coming days.

Australian News Crime

Big missile contests in Korea

Four missiles were fired off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast yesterday during a joint drill by South Korea and the US. America says it was a protest against “provocations by the North” after the Hermit Kingdom launched a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time since 2017 on Tuesday. A statement from the White House denounced North Korea’s latest test as “a danger to the Japanese people, destabilising to the region, and a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.” US President Joe Biden and his Japanese and South Korean counterparts are talking about a long-term response to North Korea, but with denuclearisation talks off the cards, analysts say there’s little that can be done to halt the weapons tests. So that’s reassuring…

World News

Musk u-turns on Twitter deal

The world’s richest man caused a bit of whiplash yesterday after he said he would follow through with the US$44 billion ($64 billion) deal to buy Twitter. Musk was due in court later this month after the social media giant launched legal action over his attempt to terminate the deal. Musk wasn’t budging on a disagreement about the number of bot accounts on the platform. Also not helping matters was Twitter’s falling share price… But Musk has seemingly changed his mind again – news that sent Twitter’s share price soaring by more than 20% and heading back towards the price underpinning the deal. It follows last week’s release of a trove of Musk’s private text messages between him and big names like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. Yesterday, Musk tweeted the acquisition would be “an accelerant to creating X, the everything app”. Not a lot is known about those plans, so the saga continues… #SquizShortcut

Business & Finance Technology

Electric cars go vroom…

Speaking of the Tesla founder… Elon Musk’s Twitter issues may be demanding a lot of attention, but his clean energy company is not short of its own twists and turns. Tesla is the world’s most valuable car maker, but analysts are worried it won’t meet its financial targets as the global economy slows. In the July-September quarter, it made more cars than its sold, and this year, its share price is down more than 35%. But there’s no hitting the panic button yet because of the expected strong demand for Tesla electric cars for some time to come. And Aussie drivers can put their hand up to that… In September, the Model Y electric car was the 3rd-best-selling vehicle of any type in Oz behind the Ford Ranger ute and Toyota HiLux ute. But electric vehicles have some way to go – this year, 21,771 EVs have been sold out of 811,130 new vehicles.

Business & Finance

I hear the blues a-callin’ – again…

There have been so many reimaginings of classic TV and film in 2022, but one that has (some of) us genuinely excited is the reboot of Frasier, as Paramount+ confirmed a new 10-episode series yesterday. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s a spin-off from 80s sitcom Cheers and centres around Dr Frasier Crane, a Seattle-based radio psychiatrist, and his intelligent/kooky family and friends. Unlike most of its contemporaries (ahem, Everybody Loves Raymond…), it made high-brow jokes about opera, Freud, and fine wine. What was initially seen as a strange commissioning choice turned into a massive success, winning37 Emmy Awards – a record at the time. It ran for 263 episodes between 1993 and 2004, and its popularity hasn’t waned. We don’t know much about the new plot or cast, except that Kelsey Grammer will return as Frasier but in a new city. In the meantime, you can catch up on all 11 seasons on 10 Peach.


Apropos of Nothing

A running joke at Google Japan is the release of a novelty keyboard every year, and the latest is one measuring 1.6m long. It’s touted as great for stretching, sharing with a friend like a piano, and keeping the cat from stepping all over your keys…

Aussie software giant Atlassian is looking to hire more than 1,000 new employees and has launched a literal recruitment drive in the form of a branded RV that will travel around Oz. Here’s hoping it has a better run than Pauline Hanson’s Battler Bus

And Flippy 2 – the sibling of burger-flipping robot Flippy – is being rolled out across several US fast food chains and is said to make fries faster and better than humans. As long as it doesn’t skimp on the salt…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.30pm (AEDT) – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Lowy Institute

10.00pm (AEDT) – Nobel Prize for Literature announced

Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare meets with PM Anthony Albanese in Canberra

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, August

Bathurst 1000 begins (until 9 October)

Melbourne Fringe Festival begins (until 23 October)

World Cerebral Palsy Day

Colourblind Awareness Day

Anniversary of:
• the opening of the Moulin Rogue in Paris (1889)
• inventor Thomas Edison shows his first motion picture (1889)
• the High Court of Australia sitting for the first time (1903)
• the release of the first film with a soundtrack, The Jazz Singer. It signalled an end to the era of silent films (1927)
• the launch of Instagram (2010)

Squiz the Day

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