Squiz Today / 11 May 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 11 May


"I was already planning to come to the castle and I just thought it was the two-for-one special.”

Said Fernando Orozco about his visit to 'Dracula's Castle' in Romania, where medics offer free COVID shots to all-comers. He might have a mark on his arm, but at least it's not his neck...


In a lightning visit, Foreign Minister Marise Payne has been to Afghanistan to meet with President Ashraf Ghani. She says the Australia-Afghanistan relationship will enter a "new chapter" in the wake of our military withdrawal by 11 September, and Oz will continue to "support our shared aspiration of peace, stability and prosperity". Australia is following America's lead to remove troops from the troubled country after almost 20 years of conflict, and there are worries the country will slip into further violence as the government and Taliban continue to clash.

The Taliban continues its campaign to overthrow the Western-backed Afghan Government - a fight they have waged since they were toppled after the 9/11 attacks on America in 2001. But talks hosted by the US saw the Taliban agree to a pathway to peace - pending America's withdrawal of its troops. And despite the agreement, Taliban-led violence has been on the rise in recent months. On Saturday, a bomb attack outside a school killed 68 people - mostly schoolgirls. President Ghani blames the Taliban, but the group has denied involvement. The Taliban yesterday declared a 3-day ceasefire to mark this week’s Eid al-Fitr holiday, but at least 11 people were killed and dozens injured when a bus was bombed in the country’s south.

The Biden administration thinks so... Their troops could be out as soon as 4 July despite advice from military and intelligence leaders that the withdrawal could see al-Qaeda regroup. Some analysts say it’s a pragmatic move that will enable the US to focus on other pressing challenges, like China’s rise. But others say there are dark days ahead for Afghanistan, and the “possibility of an intensified and potentially highly fragmented and bloody civil war is real”.



Get your Budget Bingo cards as we prepare to get the numbers outlining Australia's finances for the next 4 years. And with the books in a better position than expected, analysts have seen the big pre-Budget spending announcements and concluded there is more where that came from. Or, as Stephen Bruce from Perennial Value Management put it to the Financial Review (paywall), "I think the budget will be very, very, very stimulative for the economy." Tune in at 7.30pm tonight for more… The Morrison Government's confidence in Australia's economic recovery was boosted yesterday as the Australian Stock Exchange closed yesterday at a record high. That means the losses from last year's crash when the index of our top 200 listed companies lost a 3rd of its value have been recouped.


A man has been arrested after 4 people were injured in a knife attack in a Countdown supermarket in the city of Dunedin on New Zealand's South Island yesterday. Police said they believe it was a "random attack" rather than a domestic terror event, and there are no other suspects. Authorities confirmed 3 of the victims are in hospital in critical condition. Southern District Police Commander Superintendent Paul Basham praised the actions of bystanders who "acted heroically to try and prevent this offender from causing any more serious harm". Countdown, Woolworths' Kiwi supermarket chain, said it was concerned about increasing violence towards its employees. The alleged attacker has not been named, and he is due to appear in court today.


It's been a dangerous night in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip as Israel and the militant group Hamas launched airstrikes at each other. Hamas fired 7 rockets at Jerusalem and dozens more at southern Israel last night after violent clashes near the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem between Israeli police and protesters left more than 300 Palestinians injured. Israel has retaliated this morning with airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Reports say 20 people were killed, including 9 children. Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the counter-attack was necessary because the “terrorist organisations in Gaza crossed a red line”. It follows days of unrest ahead of yesterday's Jerusalem Day march to mark the anniversary of Israel's capture of East Jerusalem in 1967. Palestinians, who also lay claim to the land, considered the event to be a provocation. Experts say what has unfolded in the last few days is the worst violence Jerusalem has seen in years.


Former Australian Post boss Christine Holgate has been appointed CEO of Global Express - one of her former employer's rivals. "I am really excited about it, and I want to look forward. I've spent 6 months having to look backwards," she said yesterday. Global Express has $3 billion in annual revenue and employs 8,000 workers in Australia and New Zealand. The months-long saga appears to be winding down with the two parties agreeing to mediation talks. And next week, a Senate inquiry is due to hand in its report on Holgate's departure as chief postie following the purchase of expensive watches as rewards for senior execs. Holgate says she still hasn’t heard from PM Scott Morrison, but he can "find my number on the internet, and I will take his call any day," she said. Maybe a letter's in the mail?


Patti Newton said her husband, legendary entertainer Bert, has a “big journey ahead of him” as he recovers from an emergency leg amputation. The 82yo has been in hospital for the last 6 weeks after developing a "life-threatening" toe infection last December. The 4-time Gold Logie winner is diabetic, further complicating things. Bert has largely stayed out of the limelight in recent years following quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2012. He remains in hospital for now, but Patti said her husband was in "really good spirits" following the operation and was already cracking jokes. "He got through the operation, it was huge. It was needed, he had a choice, and his choice was to live," she said.


TVs, laptops and jewellery are common targets in burglaries. But windows and doors? There are so many questions...

When it comes to selecting a pup to join our pack, grumpy pooches aren’t always the first choice when up against cuddly and fun fluff-balls. But a new study says we might want to re-think that...

They've had a good innings, but it could be time to retire cricket bats made of willow. Scientists have conjured up a replacement they say will be similar in performance but is cheaper and more sustainable. Howzat?


7.30pm (AEST) - Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers the 2021 Federal Budget in Parliament - ABC TV

Anniversary of:
• William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth embarking on their expedition westward of Sydney (1813)
• the premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats (1980)
• the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when 8 climbers were caught in a blizzard and died

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