Squiz Today / 27 September 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 27 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Earphones in, informed conversations out.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Motorised esky rider put on ice at Lake Eildon”

Is the headline of Victoria Police’s press release about nabbing an innovative 20yo and fining him $925. How’s the serenity

Another state funeral – this time in Japan

PM Anthony Albanese is attending his 2nd big state funeral in 8 days – this time for former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe who was assassinated in July at 67yo. Former PMs John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull will join him, all of whom worked with Abe during his relatively long run leading Japan. The funeral will begin at 3pm Aussie eastern time at Nippon Budokan (Tokyo’s big indoor arena), and about 6,000 people will attend the 90-minute ceremony. In line with tradition, senior members of Japan’s Imperial family won’t attend. We also won’t see a repeat of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral when it comes to world leaders attending, but US Vice President Kamala Harris, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and the leaders of Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam will be there.

Well, Abe’s death was a big shock in a country where gun-related deaths are rare – and there is also some controversy about today’s funeral. In recent days, polls say more than half the country is not in favour of the event due to its cost. At an estimated $17.7 million, the funeral is more expensive than the Queen’s, which reports say set the UK back $13.9 million. The expenditure is being blamed on 3 factors: high levels of security, hosting foreign dignitaries over 3 days in what has been dubbed “funeral diplomacy”, and the company organising it has ties to an event that led to Abe being accused of cronyism in 2019. Like elsewhere in the world, Japan is battling inflation, and the government recently intervened to stop a significant fall in its currency for the first time in more than 2 decades. That means some critics say the money could be better used elsewhere.

No, others think Abe doesn’t deserve a state funeral based on his record in office, and that’s led to protests. So for a bit of context: the other state funeral held for a former leader was for Shigeru Yoshida in 1965. Critics say the honour ignores Abe’s links to the controversial Unification Church and his re-interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution. These days, Japan can exercise “collective self-defence” and join military action overseas – Abe’s supporters say this was necessary to protect Japan from an increasingly assertive China. PM Kishida has defended the decision to hold a state funeral saying Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader and an “outpouring of condolences” from foreign leaders followed his murder. Albanese was one – he said Abe as “one of Australia’s closest friends on the world stage.”

World News

Squiz the Rest

Labor gets on with integrity promise

PM Albanese might be in Japan, but in Canberra, the government is getting ready to put legislation for the establishment of a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) before the parliament. The plan is to get final approval from Labor Caucus today (aka the party’s MPs and senators). Next is introducing the bill into the lower house, then it will go to an inquiry involving representatives from both houses, and then Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus will hustle to get it passed by the end of the year. The Albanese Government doesn’t have the numbers to get its own way on legislation, so deals have to be done – and this time, it’s Coalition first in line with the major parties holding “good faith” discussions. That could make Peter Dutton a party-pooper for the many independents and minor parties who campaigned at the May election on integrity. And it would make life easier for Labor if it doesn’t have to implement hardline measures many independents want that could make governing harder. To be continued…


Italy takes a step to the right

The European nation looks like its elected Giorgia Meloni and her far-right Brothers of Italy party, as they claimed victory in the country’s general election held on Sunday. With 44% of the vote counted, Meloni’s party is predicted to win up to 26% of the vote – up from 4% in the 2018 election. And together with the League and Forza Italia parties, it looks to have gained control of both houses of the national parliament. The alliance is set to form Italy’s most right-wing government since the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini in WWII, and it will make Meloni the country’s first female PM. After years of political instability, Sunday’s election saw a record-low voter turnout of 64% – down from 74% in 2018. And after campaigning on lower taxes and curbing illegal immigration, Meloni will face pressing issues like soaring energy prices, a slowing economy, and the Ukraine war.

World News

Cyber reforms on the cards

After last week’s news of a huge data breach at Optus, the Albanese Government says it will strengthen cybersecurity laws to better protect telco customers. The cyberattack compromised the personal data of about 9.8 million of Optus’s past/present Aussie customers (and for 2.8 million of those, 100 points of identification were exposed…), raising serious questions about its cybersecurity set-up. In parliament yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said “I want to note that the breach is of a nature that we should not expect to see in a large telecommunications provider in this country.” She called on Optus to provide free credit monitoring to impacted customers so they can be alerted if someone’s getting up to some funny business with their personal information – and the company agreed. A class action lawsuit could be saddling up… And official tips on what to do if you’ve been affected are here.

Australian News

A humanity-saving space mission

That headline might sound a bit OTT, but it’s the gist of what NASA aims to achieve when it crashes a spacecraft into a piece of space rock this morning. Don’t worry, the end is not nigh… But it is part of a world-first experiment to see whether it would be possible to deflect an asteroid that’s on track to hit Earth and avoid a potentially catastrophic impact that could see us go the same way as the dinosaurs. The DART mission – aka Double Asteroid Redirection Test – targets an asteroid measuring 160m in diameter called Dimorphos, which poses no threat to Earth and orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos. And we’ll get a chance to see what unfolds with a briefcase-sized satellite set to record the collision and stream the images back to Earth. You can watch the live stream here.


Play that funky music

If you’ve ever wondered why you love a particular song or music genre, researchers reckon your younger years and personality are responsible. Previous studies show most people form their musical tastes during adolescence – the same time they develop their identity. That’s why many remain fond of music from their teen years, even when they’re older and musical horizons have expanded (guilty…). And a new study involving 356,649 participants from 53 countries has found a correlation between personality traits and preferences for certain music genres, despite sociocultural differences. Using the Big 5 personality traits – Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism – extroverts preferred upbeat contemporary music, while open folks liked more complex, instrumental music. And there’s a relationship between the music you enjoy and how similar you think you are to the artist. Which must be why we like Beyoncé so much…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Sorry Taylor Swift fans, it will be Rihanna who will take one of the world’s biggest stages to headline the half-time entertainment at the 2023 Super Bowl final in February. The 100 million-plus viewers who tune in will hope to see more than her hand

Peaky Blinders, the gritty Netflix drama set in 1920-30s Birmingham, is set to become… a dance show? Like the victims of its king gangster Tommy Shelby, we didn’t see that coming…

And get your diary out toot sweet… The 5th season of The Crown will be released on 9 November. It’s covering the period that might have led to Queen Elizabeth’s “annus horribilis”, but it’ll make our 2022…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.14am (AEST) – NASA to crash spacecraft into an asteroid as part of its DART mission

3.00pm (AEST) – Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral – Tokyo

World Tourism Day

Birthdays for Ray Hadley (1954), Gwenyth Paltrow (1972) and Lil Wayne (1982)

Anniversary of:
Anniversary of:
• French scholar Jean-François Champollion announcing he has deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics using the Rosetta Stone (1822)
• the physics journal Annalen der Physik publishing Albert Einstein’s paper which introduces the equation E=mc² (1905)
• WC Handy publishing the first blues song, Memphis Blues (1912)
• the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring about the environmental impacts of pesticide use in the US (1962)
• George and Amal Clooney’s wedding (2014)
• the death of Hugh Hefner (2017)

Squiz the Day

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