Squiz Today / 28 June 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 28 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Take it for a Tuesday walk.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

9 / 17
5 / 14
10 / 21
5 / 16
7 / 18
5 / 15
22 / 29
-3 / 12

Squiz Sayings

“We deeply regret that we have profoundly harmed the public’s trust in the administration of the city.”

Said an official from the Japanese city of Amagasaki after a contractor downloaded sensitive information on all of its 460,000 residents to 2 memory sticks, went out drinking, and lost them. The sticks were eventually found – the man’s memory of the evening, not so much… 

Pushing back on China and Russia

The Group of Seven leaders are together in Germany for a 3-day summit, and they came out of the blocks strongly with a US$600 billion commitment to finance infrastructure in developing countries. If that sounds familiar, you’d be right – its job is to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that President Xi Jinping launched in 2013 as his major platform to win foreign friends and influence people. Western leaders have some ground to makeup – the BRI has funded projects in more than 100 countries. The G7’s catchy ‘Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment’ – or PGII – will focus on projects in low and middle-income democratic nations to tackle climate change and improve health, gender equity and digital infrastructure. “I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity. It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone,” US President Joe Biden said yesterday.

It’s an acknowledgement from the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful countries that they’ve let nations that don’t share their values of democracy and freedom get away from them on the foreign affairs front. We’ve seen that play out close to home with the Solomon Islands and others in the Pacific doing deals with China – moves that threaten our security, experts say. The G7 meeting hasn’t just been about China – the other non-aligned nation that’s getting a lot of airtime is Russia. And whether it was posing for photos (where UK PM Boris Johnson suggested they get their pecs out to “show that we’re tougher than Putin” – spare a thought for the European Commission’s Ursula von der Leyen…) or discussing how to turn the economic and military screws on Russian President Vladimir Putin, the war in Ukraine isn’t far from G7 leaders’ minds.

That’s the plan – and for the long haul. That commitment includes purchasing more weapons/ammunition and further economic sanctions that inflict more pain on Russia’s economy. That’s what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants from the West – he addressed the meeting overnight and asked leaders to keep up the pressure, even though it’s hurting the global economy. Analysts say Russia’s economy is hurting – and it defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century. Russia has the money to make the $100 million payment that was due at the end of May and is willing to pay, reports say, but sanctions have made it impossible to get the sum to its international creditors. Analysts say it isn’t significant in and of itself, but it’s embarrassing and a sign that major financial trouble could be ahead…

World News

Squiz the Rest

The ‘Teacher’s Pet’ podcaster has his say

After years with his head in the investigation, The Australian’s investigative journo Hedley Thomas yesterday told a Sydney court he initially thought it was “likely” that Chris Dawson murdered his wife. The former teacher/rugby league player is accused of murdering Lyn – who disappeared from the couple’s Northern Beaches home in 1982 – so he could pursue an “unfettered relationship” with a teenager known in the trial as ‘JC’. The now-73yo denies the claims, but in 2018, the unsolved case became the subject of the heaps popular podcast, which has been downloaded 60 million times internationally. Dawson was granted a judge-alone trial over concerns about finding an impartial jury, and his lawyers say the podcast has tainted witnesses in the case. Yesterday, Thomas said he wasn’t “on a campaign to incite prejudice against the accused” and didn’t think Dawson was guilty before starting the project.

Australian News Crime

Emissions on the up

Australia’s carbon emissions increased by 0.8% last year as COVID restrictions were eased, according to the latest government data. Our emissions fell by 5.3% in the year to March 2021 as many things ground to a pandemic-induced halt, but that was reversed after transport, agriculture, manufacturing and gas production revved up late last year. Australia’s emissions are down 21.4% on 2005 levels, primarily due to significant falls in land use/forestry emissions. Earlier this month, the Albanese Government raised our 2030 emissions reduction target to 42% on 2005 levels from the Coalition’s 26-28% target. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek declared the environment is “back front and centre” of federal priorities as she addressed the United Nations’ ocean conference in Lisbon. She said Oz would unveil 5 new blue carbon projects later this week, which will address ocean restoration, marine biodiversity, flooding mitigation, and assistance for developing nations. Get your goggles on to keep your eyes open for that…

Environment & Science

Census me up

Talk about delayed gratification – data from the 2021 Census has just dropped, and here are some quick takes… In some bad news for God, we’re a less religious nation. For the first time, fewer than half of us identify as Christian, but it’s still the dominant religion, with 43.9% of Aussies identifying as believers. And maybe it was a mood driven by pandemic lockdowns, but 38.9% said they have no religion, up from 30.1% in 2016. The fastest-growing religions are Hinduism (2.7%) and Islam (3.2%). The first points to the increase in the number of people saying they were born in India – they make up almost a quarter of the 1 million people who moved to Australia since the last Census. As for our age – Millennials (born between 1981-95) and Boomers (1946-65) are level-pegged as the biggest groups, accounting for 21.5% of Australia’s 25.5 million residents each. The latter group does a lot of caring for children, while the former embraces individuality in life and at work. One thing that hasn’t changed – Millennial women are unlikely to ever earn as much as their male counterparts

Business & Finance

Charles’ charity cashes in

Sadly, no one has rocked up with bags of cash to pay us – yet… But it’s happened to Prince Charles 3 times – all the work of the same man, former Qatari PM Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani – known as ‘HBJ’. He’s a billionaire and a fan of the Prince’s charity work, so between 2011 and 2015, he made cash payments totalling more than £2.5 million ($4.4 million) – once with a suitcase full of cash, another time with bills stuffed into shopping bags from Fortnum & Mason. Prince Make It Rain (aka Charles…) is said to have accepted the payments himself and immediately passed the money on to his charity. Clarence House says there’s nothing to see here, “all the correct processes were followed”. Still, the UK’s Charity Commission is going to take a look. The Prince’s charity was recently under scrutiny after his former right-hand man was accused of attempting to secure British honours for donors.

Business & Finance

A historic space launch in the Top End

In the early hours of yesterday morning – and with around 100 scientists, politicians and Indigenous leaders looking on – NASA successfully launched a rocket from the Arnhem Space Centre on the Northern Territory’s Dhupuma Plateau. It marked Australia’s first-ever commercial space launch and the iconic space agency’s first commercial launch outside the US. The rocket is expected to travel about 300km into space and is carrying an X-ray quantum calorimeter (just nod…) that will allow scientists to study how a star’s light can influence a planet when it comes to habitat creds – research NASA says can only be undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere. The space centre was built with the help of the local Yolngu people, who will also get involved in future launches and projects at the site, with 2 more launches set to go ahead in July. And if you haven’t seen it yet, NASA’s official video of the launch is, shall we say, enthusiastic…


Apropos of Nothing

Former Beatle Paul McCartney – who at 80yo became the Glastonbury Festival’s oldest-ever headliner – has shared a virtual duet with John Lennon. It’s something Prince would feel uneasy about

Speaking of raising the dead, Amazon is developing a feature for its Alexa virtual assistant that can mimic a specific person‘s voice – either dead or alive – based on less than a minute of audio. It’s expected to raise some ethical issues, but having Ruth Cracknell narrate our life holds some appeal…

Could this be Australia’s worst rental apartment? The clear-panelled bathroom situated next to the kitchen (which has no cooking facilities) puts it in contention, according to the Twitteratti. An Adelaide bargain at $400/week…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.15pm (AEST) – Wimbledon – Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur take the court for their first-round matches

Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced – New York

ABS Data Release – 2021 Census


Birthdays for director Mel Brooks (1926), actors Kathy Bates (1948) and John Cusack (1966), and SpaceX/Tesla boss and ‘technoking’ Elon Musk (1971)

Anniversary of:
• Catherine the Great declaring herself sovereign ruler of Russia (1762)
• the coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey (1838)
• the patenting of the saxophone by Antoine-Joseph “Adolfe” Sax (1846)
• the last stand of the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan (1880)
• the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (1914)
• the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, ending WWI and establishing the League of Nations (1919)
• the start of the Stonewall Riots (lasting 3 days) in Greenwich Village, New York (1969)

Squiz the Day

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