Squiz Today / 30 July 2019

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 30 July


“Where are the tissues, my God?"

Said One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in reaction to former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce’s declaration yesterday that he’s finding it tough making ends meet on his $211,000 salary (and don’t forget the travel and other allowances…). However, Joyce did a better job than the animals on our coat of arms when he tried to walk it back…


After two months of protests, Chinese officials have made a statement on the situation in Hong Kong. Speaking late yesterday, it was the first time officials from the Beijing-based Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office have held a press conference since the British handed Hong Kong to China in 1997. And China-watchers say it indicates the rising power’s top leaders have discussed the situation and arrived at a view on the “grave” situation.

Officials said China has "understanding and respect" for Hong Kong's decision to walk away from extradition laws that would allow locals to be taken to mainland China, Taiwan and Macau to face serious criminal charges. (Note: it was this issue and locals’ concerns that it would be a step towards China’s takeover of Hong Kong’s legal system that kicked this all off…) But China supports Hong Kong's police, chief executive Carrie Lam, and the 'one country, two systems' approach. What China doesn’t support is ongoing civil unrest and violence. And what it really doesn’t support is Westerners getting involved. “Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong's internal affairs are those of China. Interference is not allowed,” said spokesman Yang Guang.

Well, the officials were clear about what China wants to see, and that's no harm to national security; no challenge to China's authority; and no using Hong Kong as a base to undermine China. Analysts said while none of that is radical, yesterday’s statement is Beijing’s attempt to get a handle on the unrest without sending its army in. They also expect it to be a red rag to many pro-democracy advocates. Watch this space.



Accused Aussie drug-cheat Shayna Jack could have come into contact with a banned substance via mushrooms. Or meat. Or through something she drank. That’s what her manager Phil Stoneman said they would be looking into as the source of the contamination that’s put Jack on an unenviable list of athletes. It was revealed on the weekend that Jack tested positive to Ligandrol - a drug that's credited with building lean muscle mass. Richard Ings, the former head of Australia's Anti-Doping Authority said the 'I have no idea where it came from and I'd never take anything intentionally' excuse is used “in every one of these cases”, which means it carries little weight with investigators. But Jack’s coach Dean Boxall believes her. The fight begins in earnest when Jack fronts a meeting with the Anti-Doping Authority on Friday.


There has been a possible sighting of suspected killers Bryer Schmegelsky (18yo) and Kam McLeod (19yo) near York Landing, Manitoba. After receiving the tip-off yesterday, police focused their efforts on the small town, which is located 200km from where they had been searching. The pair are suspected of killing Sydneysider Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese. They have also been charged with the murder of 64yo Canadian professor Leonard Dyck, who was found shot dead close to the teens' abandoned vehicle on 19 July. Since a warrant for their arrest was issued, 1,000 police officers have been involved in the search on foot and from the air.


The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey tracks 17,000 households, and it’s one of the most insightful datasets going around on how we live our lives. Reports this morning say the latest numbers show poverty in Australia increased in 2017. That is, the proportion of people living below the relative poverty line (ie 50% of 2017's median household income of $80,095) increased from 9.6% to 10.4%. And the Financial Review reports (paywall) there is a startling number of young people reporting diagnosed depression and anxiety. The number of young women aged 15-34yo reporting these conditions increased from 12.8% in 2009 to 20.1% in 2017. For young men, depression and anxiety affected 11.2% in 2017, up from 6.1% in 2009. The stats will be released the government and Melbourne Uni today.


Another canary in our sluggish economic mine, growth in the number of vehicle registrations in Australia has slowed, according to new data from the Bureau of Stats. Registered vehicle numbers have enjoyed a 2.1% annual growth rate since 2015, but that dropped to 1.7% in the year to January 2018 taking Oz to 19.5 million registered vehicles. What’s king of the cars? Toyota has maintained its status as Australia’s most popular car brand, followed by Holden, Mazda, Ford and Hyundai. And while the number of registered petrol-powered vehicles has dropped slightly over the past few years, diesel-powered vehicles make up almost a quarter of all registrations, up from 18.5% in 2014. The survey doesn't address electric-powered cars specifically - they fall into a tiny bucket of just 1.9% of cars labelled 'other'.


American teen Kyle Giersdorf (16yo) - also known by his gamer tag 'Bugha' - is laughing all the way to the bank after pocketing a cool US$3 million (AU$4.3 million) with his win in the Fortnite World Cup in New Yorkyesterday. For context, that’s $200,000 more than tennis champions Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep received for winning Wimbledon this year… For the uninitiated, Fortnite is a Hunger Games-style video game that has become a worldwide phenomenon since its release in 2017. The tournament’s massive prize pool of $43 million is the biggest ever for an e-sports competition in the US, showing that online gaming is only growing in popularity.


But not how you might think. As the first-ever guest editor of the exalted edition, we were preparing for impossibly fabulous photos of Meghan Markle just weeks after having her first child. But it’s not going down like that. Markle has selected 15 trailblazing women to grace the cover including Kiwiland’s Jacinda Ardern, youthful climate activist/sailor Greta Thunberg, and refugee/Aussie model Adut Akech. The theme is 'Forces For Change' and the issue will also include a conversation between the Duchess and former US First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as an interview between Prince Harry and anthropologist Dr Jane Goodall. So stick that up your fine-knit cashmere jumper, Sloane Rangers… The mag hits digital and actual newsstands on 2 August.


American and Chinese officials restart trade talks - Shanghai

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, June

Vanuatu’s Independence Day

International Day of Friendship

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

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