Squiz Today / 26 April 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 26 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

The shortest route from A to up-to-speed. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“​​I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and that was a first.”

Said Tim Manly, the chief of the Brinnon Fire Department in Washington state, after his team was called by a woman who had fallen headfirst into a waterless toilet at a local campsite. The bad news: she’d dropped her phone down the hole. The good-ish news: she found it…

The drums of war beat on Anzac Day


Yesterday’s Anzac Day celebrations became the backdrop for a warning from the Morrison Government that previous sacrifices won’t prevent future conflicts in the region. In his address at the dawn service in Darwin, PM Scott Morrison warned about an emerging “arc of autocracy from Beijing to Moscow”, and said that “coercion” troubling the Indo-Pacific region was a challenge to peace and stability across the world. When asked about the comments a few hours later, Defence Minister Peter Dutton said “the only way you can preserve peace is to prepare for war, and to be strong as a country.” 


Well, it’s about the war in Ukraine, but it’s also about the new security alliance that’s been signed by China and Solomon Islands. That deal – which will see more Chinese forces in our region – has stoked fears that China will eventually build a permanent military base in the Pacific. On Sunday, Morrison said if that was to happen, it would be a “red line” for Oz and the US – but he didn’t say how we’d respond. Morrison said Solomons PM Manasseh Sogavare assured him there won’t be a military base, “so he clearly shares our red line”. Yesterday, Dutton compared China’s ambitions to those of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, which annexed parts of Europe ahead of its invasion of Poland in 1939. “We have to stand up with countries to stare down any act of aggression to make sure that we can keep peace in our region and for our country,” he said. 


Well… It’s not the first time that the spectre of war has been invoked by those in charge of our national security. In an Anzac Day message to staff last year, Home Affairs boss Mike Pezzullo said free nations “again hear the beating drums” of war, as military tensions rose in the Indo-Pacific region. Dutton has also talked about the possibility that China could start a war in Taiwan, which could draw in Western nations. But the Solomons deal has elevated national security to one of the central issues of the federal election campaign – an area that has been a strength for the Coalition until it came under attack over how China was able to enter our backyard. Yesterday, Labor dismissed Dutton’s statements and ramped up the criticism. “Words are one thing, action is another,” deputy leader Richard Marles said, adding “this is a government which beats its chest.” We’ll hear more from Labor on this today when they announce their plan for better relationships with our Pacific Island neighbours. 


Squiz the Rest

America promises more military aid to Ukraine

It comes as the highest-level US visit to Ukraine was made yesterday since the start of Russia’s invasion with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visiting Kyiv for a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky. They pledged US$713 million in military aid, taking America’s support for Ukraine’s fight to almost $3 billion. The US is also keen to reopen its embassy in Kyiv ASAP. The visit was kept under wraps until the senior Biden administration figures had left the country and arrived safely in Poland – it was all a bit awkward because Zelensky had told local journalists about the visit on Sunday. Also challenged on the expectations front is Russia – it’s yet to achieve a significant breakthrough in its offensive in eastern Ukraine. According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, Ukrainian troops holed up in a steel plant in Mariupol are fighting on, and that’s stopping Russian forces from being added to the offensive elsewhere in the Donbas region.

World News

Macron vows to unite France

French President Emmanuel Macron has become the 2nd leader this century to be returned for a second 5-year term with a win in Sunday’s run-off election. Macron won 58% of the vote – more than had been anticipated – compared to 42% for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. The poll was a repeat of the last election, but with a reduced margin for Macron who scored 66% of the vote in 2017. The 44yo leader told supporters at the foot of the Eiffel Tower that he’d be a “president for all” and said “an answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right.” Concerns about cost of living pressures and immigration are seen to be behind support for Le Pen. Despite the loss, 53yo Le Pen said more support for her policies amounted to a victory of sorts. Still, thousands of voters were impressed – turnout was 72%, which is the lowest for a presidential run-off since 1969.

World News

Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is close

Speculation is rife that Twitter is close to selling to the world’s richest man, Elon Musk. The board of the social media company met yesterday to discuss his US$46.5 billion takeover offer, and reports this morning say an announcement is imminent. Negotiations became more serious after Musk lodged documents with America’s corporate regulators last week that outlined a plan to finance the deal with a mixture of his own assets and the backing of banking giant Morgan Stanley and other firms. Analysts say the formal disclosure of the financing has put pressure on Twitter’s board to take the offer seriously. The billionaire, who has ridden the wealth rocket via Tesla and Space X, has said that he wants to take Twitter off the stock exchange to remove shareholder pressure and allow users to speak more freely on the platform. Stay tuned…

Business & Finance Technology

Return of the ANZAC crowds

Aussies had not attended an ANZAC Day service since 2019, so it was an open question about how well attended they would be yesterday. But the crowds came in our cities, town and across the world – and in significant numbers… Marking the 107th anniversary of the ill-fated landing on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula by Australian and New Zealand soldiers during WWI, commemoration services had grown in attendance in recent years. Yesterday in Canberra, 18,200 people came out for the early service in the cool morning. PM Scott Morrison and Labor’s deputy leader Richard Marles (who represented an isolating Anthony Albanese) were in Darwin – it was a focus yesterday because it’s the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin. In Melbourne, an estimated 50,000 people gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance, and almost 10,000 watched the march in Sydney’s CBD. As Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau said ”this eternal flame will keep burning – as long as we keep returning and remembering.”

Australian News

Patty Mills wins NBA’s top award

Aussie basketball captain/Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills has won one of American basketball’s most coveted gongs, the Sportsmanship Award. It recognises the player who’s been voted by his peers as best representing the ideals of sportsmanship on the court. Mills won from a 30-man shortlist – one from each NBA team selected by a panel of league executives – but the winner is chosen by players themselves. After the 33yo was short-listed for the award, his teammate Kevin Durant said “Patty puts in the work every day to be the player he is and he respects his opponent too. That is the sign of a true sportsman.” The 13-year NBA veteran – who’s had 2 technical fouls or deliberate penalties for bad play in more than 800 games – received the trophy on the weekend. It’s been a bumper couple of years for Mills, who led the Boomers to their first medal at the Olympics and was named as the Aussie athlete who’d most inspired the nation in 2021. There aren’t enough walls to dedicate to him.


Apropos of Nothing

Dr Jill Biden has a big job in front of her – the White House needs new crystal glassware… The last full set was acquired by Pat Nixon, and there’s no longer enough for a full state service. 

The World Snooker Championships are underway in Sheffield, England and it’s survived an incursion from a pesky pigeon…  Flying at Yan Bingtao in his match against defending champion Mark Selby before taking a stroll across the table, officials say the feathered fan took his, ahem, cue and flew off to the dressing rooms. 

Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest person, has died at 119yo. The Japanese superstar recently became ill, but her family said she continued to enjoy chocolate and soda to the end. Lucile Randon, a 118yo French nun, now holds the title.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

ABS Release – Australia’s Population by Country of Birth, June 2021 (First Edition)

Company Results – Woodside Petroleum

World Intellectual Property Day

Start of Food Allergy Awareness Week (until April 30)

Birthdays for former US First Lady Melania Trump (1970) and actor Channing Tatum (1980)

Anniversary of:
• the Chornobyl nuclear disaster (1986)
• the wedding of Prince Albert Duke of York (King George VI) and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1923)

Squiz the Day

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