Squiz Today / 21 January 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 21 January


"When Will resigned, my children were in Hobart with my wife at a skatepark. I wasn't skating."

Said Tasmania’s new premier Peter Gutwein of locating his family so he could talk to them about going for the top job as longtime Liberal leader Will Hodgman resigned last week. He needed to clarify he wasn't there dropping a sick tailslide given his recent skateboarding accident


Nothing says "impeachment trial? What impeachment trial?" like a president jetting out to speak to the good and the great in a Swiss setting just as hearings to consider his removal from office kick off... And so it is for US President Donald Trump who will tonight (our time) address the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos. He enjoys top billing at the power pow-wow with teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. And with the pair not seeing eye to eye on much, it will bring a sharp focus to the current state of discussions on climate change.

As Late Show host Stephen Colbert once said, "Basically, it's what Lex Luthor would point his space laser at." Organisers say the annual get-together hosts "the world's top academics, politicians, business, and civil society leaders to engage in addressing the most pressing issues on the global agenda." What that means is 3,000 rich and influential people (including 119 billionaires) are in for four days of it. This year's theme: 'stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world.' Tickets are invite-only, and they're expensive. Not going: a lot of women... This year, women make up 22% of meeting-goers - a record high.

It’s mostly about networking and discussion. There are conference sessions on the climate and environment (including an address by Prince Charles on "how to save the planet"), diversity and inclusion, technology, foreign policy and the world economy. And on the sidelines, deals are done with a large serve of hobnobbing and partying. Which leads us to the critics… WEF founder Klaus Schwab himself recently said; "People are revolting against the economic 'elites' they believe have betrayed them, and our efforts to keep global warming limited to 1.5°C are falling dangerously short." As many 'elites' arrive in Davos in their carbon-emissions-rich private jets, questions about the sustainability of the meeting itself will again be asked.



Hailstones the size of golf balls caused chaos in the capital of Canberra yesterday. And dangerous thunderstorms resulted in two tourists being struck by lightning in the Blue Mountains National Park in NSW. Hail also hit Sydney trapping drivers in cars and stopping trains. Heading further north, thunderstorms in southeast Queensland yesterday arvo left 19,000 residents without power. In recovery mode, the central NSW towns of Dubbo, Nyngan and Parkes were breathing again after Sunday’s massive dust storm that blacked out the sky. A cleanup was also underway in Melbourne after weekend hail. Looking ahead and Darwin is overdue for a week of monsoonal rain. Despite the wet conditions across Australia’s fire-ravaged east coast, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews warned the bushfire crisis is “far from over”. About 80 blazes still burn across NSW and Victoria.


The Morrison Government is set to overhaul the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after an independent review found issues that are stopping participants from effectively accessing it. Twenty-nine recommendations to reduce waiting times and red tape, and make the application process better were made just as it was reported last week that 1,200 Australians died while waiting for NDIS support between 2016 and 2019. Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said a lot of good has happened under the scheme. But "many others have had frustrations with wait times, complexity of processes and a lack of understanding of their needs,” he said yesterday. The government is expected to announce changes in the coming weeks.


Oh, Harry… If you watch the video of him making his first public remarks since announcing he, Meghan and Archie will quit their lives as senior royals, it's hard not see the sadness. Speaking yesterday at an event held by the HIV-AIDS charity he co-founded, Harry said he and Meghan had hoped to continue serving the Queen without public funding, but it wasn’t to be. The key quote: "It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges and I know I haven't always got it right, but as far as this goes there really was no other option." Harry’s speech comes after their future arrangements were finalised on Saturday. And while making it clear it was his call, not Meghan’s, he again cast the media as the problem. One ray of light in what has been a difficult start to 2020: baby Archie has seen snow for the first time “and thought it was bloody brilliant,” Harry said. Reports this morning say he is now on his way to Canada.


The world’s waste champion is set to phase out plastic bags and other single-use plastics across the country. Non-degradable plastic bags will be phased out across China’s major cities by the end of this year, and country-wide by 2022. Restaurants will be banned from offering plastic straws and reduce their use of single-use plastics by 30% by the end of the year. And hotels must stop offering single-use plastic items by 2025. The move comes as other countries in the region, including Thailand and parts of Indonesia, also move to phase out plastic bags. The United Nations says single-use plastics is one of the world's biggest environmental challenges.


Another January day, another film awards do… But this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards was unusual on one big score - Korean thriller Parasite became the first foreign film ever to win best motion picture cast. Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Renée Zellweger (Judy), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) Brad Pitt (for a film that’s not a one-word title) all repeated their Golden Globe wins. Congrats also went to The Crown for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Morning Wars’ Jennifer Aniston had an unexpected win - and encounter. And of course, we wouldn’t leave you hanging without a red carpet gallery...


50th World Economic Forum begins in Davos, Switzerland (until 24 January)

Opening arguments in US President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial expected to begin

NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s inquiry into Crown Resorts’ alleged criminal links starts - Sydney

Anniversary of the execution of the last king of France, King Louis XVI during the French Revolution (1793), as well as the deaths of Vladimir Lenin (1924) and George Orwell (1950)

Anniversary of the start of the Battle of Khe Sanh (1968)

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