Squiz Today / 08 December 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 8 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Here you come again…

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

17 / 23
10 / 16
21 / 37
11 / 21
17 / 27
9 / 14
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8 / 20

Squiz Sayings

“I’m a rock star now, that’s what they say.”

Said country music legend Dolly Parton while informing talk show host Jimmy Fallon that she’s planning to record a rock album in response to her entry to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year. She’s Dolly – she can do whatever the heck she wants and it’ll be brilliant…

US to send more troops Down Under

The US will increase its air, land and sea forces in Australia in an effort to help maintain “a free and open Indo-Pacific region”. Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles met with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for this year’s Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in Washington DC yesterday. There’s no word on when it will begin or the exact number of troops involved, but the deployment will include bomber aircraft and fighter jets. Austin says the increased military cooperation will “deepen our inter-operability and create more agile and resilient capabilities”, which is a fancy way of saying we’ll be working closely with the US military to be faster and stronger in our region. Plans to invite Japan to cooperate more closely with the US and Oz were also flagged.

Austin pointed to China’s growing presence as the biggest threat to “regional peace and stability” and condemned its “coercive actions”, particularly towards Taiwan… Reports say the US sees Oz as potentially playing a key logistical role in defending Taiwan if China tries to reclaim it. There’s a bit of a backstory there but essentially, it could happen as Chinese President Xi Jinping recently said “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”. In response, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry says it will continue to work closely with like-minded countries to protect the Taiwan Strait and defend democratic values. Looking more broadly at the China relationship, Blinken gave a nod to China’s “economic coercion”, saying the US “will not leave Australia alone on the pitch”. But in a speech this morning, Wong is expected to call for increased economic engagement with Asia and discourage the US and China from fuelling a potentially catastrophic conflict through “nationalistic domestic posturing”.

There’s one thing we’re not getting an A+ for… All 4 officials agreed the Aussie defence force has a “capability gap”, and Marles says Oz really needs nuclear-powered submarine capabilities. So remember the spat between Australia and France last year when former PM Scott Morrison canned a deal to build conventional subs and announced plans to build nuclear-powered subs with the US and UK? It set our defence timeline back, and leaders are now making plans to cover the gap… There’s speculation that Oz wants to nab one of America’s new nuclear-capable bombers, the B-21 Raider. Not much is known about the secretly-developed aircraft, but if Oz gets one, it’ll cost a pretty penny – about $1 billion each. There’s been no response from China to all of this just yet, but pencil in something along the lines that they’re not happy…

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Economy misses the mark

Australia’s economy has seen a 4th consecutive quarter of growth following last year’s COVID lockdowns. Our gross domestic product (GDP, aka all activity across the economy) grew by 0.6% between July-September and 5.9% between September 2021-September 2022. But the latest figures from the Bureau of Stats missed economists’ expectations and are slower than the 0.9% growth of the April-June quarter. The result was driven by a 1.1% rise in household spending and 1.4% drop in household savings as Aussies flashed their cash on things like eating out, travel, and new car purchases. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the data showed the economy is “performing solidly” despite the challenges it’s facing now and into the future. But some economists say it’s unlikely to last as cost of living pressures continue to bite. FYI the Reserve Bank is forecasting GDP to hit 1.5% next year, which is a long way from 5.9%… 

Australian News Business & Finance

Bali bomber freed

Convicted terrorist and bombmaker Umar Patek has been released from prison in Indonesia after serving just half of his 20-year sentence. Patek played a fundamental role in the 2002 Bali Bombings, which killed over 200 people, including 88 Australians, and was a member of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah. He fled Bali just before the attack happened and was on the run for 9 years before he was finally captured. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese lobbied to keep him in jail for the full term, describing him as “abhorrent” and said his early release would only renew distress and trauma for the victims’ grieving families. But Indonesian authorities say Patek has met the requirements for parole, including “good behaviour” and has “shown changes” after completing a de-radicalisation program. The 55yo will remain on parole until 2030 and will be sent back to jail if he fails to report when required or breaks the law again.

Australian News Crime World News

Georgia runoff result a setback for Trump

After weeks of uncertainty, Democrat Raphael Warnock has been re-elected to the US Senate after winning the Georgia runoff vote, narrowly defeating Republican Herschel Walker. It’s an important win for President Joe Biden, giving his party an outright 51-49 majority in the Senate. The President congratulated Warnock and linked his success to a rejection of “MAGAism”, given former President Donald Trump backed Walker in the vital race. Leading Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer called it a “victory for democracy” after a record showing of people to vote again. Meanwhile, the Trump Organization was found guilty on all charges of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. Neither Trump himself nor his family were charged personally, but the company faces a fine of US$1.61 million and could impact its ability to do business. No doubt someone will be hearing the words “you’re fired”

World News

The science of swearing

For many English speakers, part of the fun of swearing is the thrill of sounding out naughty words, but a new study has found many curses around the world share similar sound patterns despite being unrelated linguistically. Without naming names, many English curses use sharp P, T or K sounds called ‘stop consonants’ because they interrupt the airflow of speech. To see whether this pattern was found in other languages, UK researchers asked fluent Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean and Russian speakers to write a list of the rudest words they could think of and then compared those to a list of neutral words in the same language. They found those languages didn’t use the harsh-sounding stop consonants of English curse words – rather, they didn’t include any gentle-sounding L, R, W and Y consonants. That was also true of Chinese, Arabic, German, Spanish and English. French was the exception, but then again, everything sounds lovely in French…

Quirky News

What we Googled in 2022

The tech giant has released its most-searched terms for 2022, and topping the list in Oz was Wordle, the online word game that had many of us hooked at the start of the year – and kudos to those still going… And Aussies sure love their sport, with searches for terms including ‘Australian Open’ and  ‘World Cup’ accounting for 6 of the top 10 spots. News of the death of cricket legend Shane Warne was #4 on the list, putting him above late greats Olivia Newton-John (#9), Betty White (#10), and Queen Elizabeth, who didn’t crack the top 10… As for other big news, Aussies wanted to know about what was happening in Ukraine (#5), and we searched for the terms ‘floods’, ‘La Niña’ and ‘when will the rain stop?’ more than any other country in the world this year. But the biggest revelation was that the thing we were most interested in learning how to cook was… tripe? We have so many questions…

Australian News Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

No one likes taking out the bins, but one Adelaide woman has taken it to the extreme by foregoing the domestic duty for 2 years… And Alice Clanachan still had room to spare when she finally dropped it curbside for the first time in 26 months. Some people thought she was talking rubbish, but she says she’s wheelie committed to “reduce, reuse, recycle”…

He might be a 52yo documentarian, but Louis Theroux proved he’s down with the kids after his viral track Jiggle Jiggle was named one of TikTok’s most-played songs of the year. The unlikely rapper spawned over 6 million videos with stars, including Shakira and Blackpink, making up accompanying dances. Even The Squiz got on board… 

We can’t get enough of red carpets for some festive fashion inspo, and yesterday’s AACTA Awards in Sydney came up with the goods. Aussie superstar Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky stole the show, but we’re all about influencer Suzan Metusi’s mirrorball look

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEDT) – Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek delivers a keynote at a symposium held by the Queensland Conservation Council – Brisbane

12.30pm (AEDT) – Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

3.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket – 2nd Test – Australia v West Indies – Adelaide

Australia’s energy ministers to meet – Brisbane

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, October; Industrial disputes, September quarter

AIHW Release – Specialist Homelessness Services 2021–22

Sport Australia Hall Of Fame Awards – winners of the Don and Dawn awards announced

Harry & Meghan doco drops on Netflix

A birthday for Nicki Minaj (1982)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542), singer/actor Sammy Davis Jr (1925), and rocker Jim Morrison (1943)
• John Lennon’s death (1980)
• SpaceX becoming the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft, after the second launch of the SpaceX Dragon (2010)

Squiz the Day

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