Squiz Today / 24 May 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 24 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Coffee queue appropriate. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“This item is not waterproof and is meant for sun protection or decorative use.”

Reads a disclaimer from luxury brand Gucci on a $2,342 umbrella that isn’t designed to be used in the rain. Its new collaboration with activewear brand Adidas includes clogs, bucket hats, and activewear that also have practical application limitations…

PM Albanese takes the world stage

It’s been a massive 72 hours for Anthony Albanese, Australia’s new PM. Even though the votes are still being counted, the Labor leader was sworn in alongside his new Foreign Minister Penny Wong before the pair left for Japan for a crucial international summit. At a media conference, he vowed a new brand of leadership. “People do have conflict fatigue, they want to work with people, and I’ll work with people whether it’s the crossbenchers or the Opposition,” he said.

He’s attending a summit called the ‘Quad’ – aka the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – which involves the leaders of Australia, America, Japan and India. Analysts say the Quad’s goal is countering China’s rising power – on that note, US President Joe Biden backed Japan’s plans to beef up its defence capabilities. For our nation’s part, Albanese said his key message to Quad leaders would be “that you have a strong partner in Australia” and that he will work with “friends” in the nation’s interest. While he’s there, Albanese will sign us up to a new US-led economic bloc – the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. Again, it’s aimed at countering China’s regional dominance. He will return to Oz tomorrow when his eyes will be back on the domestic prize.

You betcha. China’s Premier Li Keqiang (aka the nation’s 2nd in charge after President Xi Jinping) congratulated Albanese on his election win overnight. That ends almost 3 years of being on China’s ‘do not answer’ list – so there’ll be more to come on that. And Albanese and UK PM Boris Johnson had a good natter on the blower yesterday – one topic of discussion was broadening the AUKUS pact to “other domains” like energy security. The security grouping that includes us, the UK and the US was announced in September last year with deeper cooperation on intelligence and strengthening defence capabilities at its core – including developing a nuclear-powered submarine fleet here. Reports say Johnson was concerned that Albanese wasn’t much of an AUKUS fan but has been reassured it’s onwards and upwards. Johnson and Albanese are also on a joint ticket on taking more action on climate change. So there is lots to talk about as Albanese gets his feet under the desk – or onto a plane…


Squiz the Rest

What’s the election wash-up?

For the Liberal Party, it continues to be more like dumping waves of disappointment… Josh Frydenberg has conceded defeat in his inner-Melbourne seat of Kooyong by Teal independent Dr Monique Ryan. That makes Peter Dutton the frontrunner, and reports say he will announce his candidacy this week. As for the deputy position, Sussan Ley, Jane Hume, and Karen Andrews are names being floated. Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan (whose political dominance over the state has been credited with helping Labor’s strong result there) hit out at the likely Dutton leadership. “He’s an extremist, and I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all,” he said. Safe the say Dutton doesn’t get his vote when the Liberal partyroom reconvenes [insert winky face…]. WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash said McGowan’s “arrogance and hubris knows no bounds.” As for an updated count – Labor are on 73 seats to the Coalition’s 54, and there are 15 ‘others’. Nine seats are still in doubt.


Deadly floods follow heatwaves in India and Bangladesh

Following intense heatwaves since March, extreme rainfall has brought relief to Dehli but misery to many others. More than 60 people have died, and more than 3 million more have been left homeless and without food, drinking water and communications by widespread flooding and landslides in eastern India. And in Bangladesh, about 2 million people have been stranded by some of the worst floods for nearly 2 decades. The 2 countries are prone to flooding, but with monsoon season not usually starting until June, the early run of heatwaves and rain has experts pointing to climate change, which they say increases the likelihood of extreme weather events around the world.

Speaking of displaced people, the United Nations refugee agency says conflict and disasters have driven a record 100 million from their homes – the war in Ukraine has added significantly to the total.

World News

Cosby in court again

A notable civil lawsuit against comedian Bill Cosby is going to trial in Los Angeles today. The 85yo was jailed in 2018 after he was found guilty of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, but he was released from prison a year ago when his conviction was quashed over a “process violation”. The latest case was first filed in 2014, and it’s based on accusations Cosby assaulted Judy Huth at the Playboy mansion in 1975 when she was underage. Another Cosby accuser Victoria Valentino said the latest trial could be his victims’ “last stand for justice” with 11 similar claims ending in settlements. Cosby has long denied all the allegations against him, spanning 5 decades. The 85yo won’t appear in court, and opening arguments are expected to begin on 1 June. The trial is expected to last around a week.

Entertainment World News

The flu rips through Queensland

Queenslanders are being offered a free flu jab to protect against Influenza A as case numbers surge across the state. The jabs will be available for all ages starting at 6-month-old until mid-June from local GPs and pharmacies. Queensland Health says 151 people are in hospital with the flu, and 10 are in intensive care – that’s set to rise with more cases on the way. Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken urged locals to get the jab, with vaccination rates currently at 6%. And it’s not just the Sunshine State – 7,000 cases of flu have been logged with health authorities across Oz this month, compared to 18 in May last year and 52 in 2020 when the borders were closed. “The length of this year’s flu season is unpredictable, but we should prepare for the worst,” said World Health Organization Professor Ian Barr.

Australian News Health

Hug it out

And that’s directed to all of us, not just those involved in federal politics… After 2 years where hugging your extended circle of people was effectively banned due to COVID, a new study has confirmed that cuddling is a great stress-reliever, particularly for women. Researchers from Ruhr University in Germany analysed 76 people in romantic relationships. First, they conducted a stress test where participants kept one hand in an ice-water bath for 3 minutes. Then half the couples hugged, and they recorded female stress levels dropping considerably – but there was no change for men, suggesting hugs do little to relieve their anxiety. The authors have called for research into social restrictions and rises in stress and depression. And it “could have implications for stress reduction in everyday situations that often induce stress like exams, oral presentations or job interviews,” the researchers concluded. A hug from an interview panel? We’re not sure that’s gonna fly…


Apropos of Nothing

Colin Cantwell, the designer behind the legendary spacecraft in Star Wars, has died at 90yo. The former NASA employee was credited with creating the X-Wing and Death Star. He also worked on the iconic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As huge rain and flood events continue to wreak havoc across Australia’s east coast, potholes pose an expensive problem for motorists and local councils. One independent candidate in southwest Victoria found a unique way to draw attention to the issue…

In a trial experiment, 21 pooches and their owners were allowed to roam free in a special carriage on Japan’s iconic Shinkansen (aka bullet) trains last weekend. Dogs are usually required to travel in a carrier on the trains, but demand for pup-friendly options is driving change.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

PM Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, Indian PM Narendra Modi and Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida and foreign ministers meet for the QUAD leaders summit – Tokyo

Directors of the Star Entertainment Group and its outgoing chairman John O’Neill are scheduled to appear at the NSW Liquor and Gaming inquiry into its suitability to hold a casino license

Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation launches its Indigenous Employment Index

Independence Day in Eritrea

World Schizophrenia Day

National Coffee Day in Brazil

International Tiara Day

Miles Franklin literary award longlist announced

Birthdays for Bob Dylan (1941) and Priscilla Presley (1945)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686) and Queen Victoria (1819)
• Samuel Morse tapping out “What hath God wrought” in the world’s first telegraph message (1844)
• Amy Johnson becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia (1930)
• American management consultant Marilyn Loden first coining the term “glass ceiling” to describe invisible career barriers for women (1978)
• the completion of the world’s largest cat-proof fence (44km) at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, in central Australia (2018)

Squiz the Day

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