Squiz Today / 05 January 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 5 January


“I am free at last!!"

Tweeted Greta Thunberg who turned 18yo yesterday. Adulthood means she can expose the “evil handlers” who have forced her into climate activism, she joked. They sure grow up fast…


“An assault on American democracy” is how critics summed up US President Donald Trump’s Saturday call to Georgia’s top election official urging him to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in the state. The “extraordinary” one-hour phone call was captured on tape, given to the Washington Post and released yesterday providing new insights into Trump’s ongoing efforts to cling to power.

• Georgia was one of the 5 states that flipped from Trump to challenger Joe Biden in November’s election. Usually a safe bet for Republican presidential candidates, Trump lost the state by 11,779 votes out of nearly 5 million ballots.

• His call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, at this stage of the game - and the fact that the long recording was leaked - is unusual to the max.

• “All I want to do is this,” Trump pleads. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” And his unwavering/unsubstantiated justification: “Because we won the state.”

• And it appears the call wasn’t a brain snap - reports this morning say the White House made 18 attempts to contact Raffensperger since early November. Overnight, Raffensperger said Trump’s claims of voter fraud are “just plain wrong”. Meanwhile, senior Republicans have stayed silent.

• Democrats? Not so much... Incoming Vice President Kamala Harris called Trump’s conversation a “baldfaced, bold abuse of power”. Whether Trump has done anything illegal is being looked over.

This is likely to be the week Trump is forced to face reality as the Congress gets set to certify the election result on Thursday (our time) - despite Republican infighting. Also moving on are the voters of Georgia… They will host 2 super important runoff elections between now and then to determine the balance of power in the US Senate. The incumbents are Republicans, and with more than 3 million votes already cast, observers say it's too close to call.



Last night, a UK court rejected America’s request to extradite Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange based on his mental condition. Assange has Asperger's and autism, has at times been severely depressed - and was facing possible detention in near-solitary confinement in a ‘supermax’ prison. "I am satisfied that the procedures will not prevent Mr Assange from finding a way to commit suicide," Judge Vanessa Baraitser said.* She rejected every other defence offered by Assange’s legal team over the publication of thousands of sensitive military documents in 2010 and 2011, including that America’s pursuit of him is politically motivated. US authorities have 2 weeks to lodge an appeal, which is expected. That could see years of legal wrangling, analysts say. Assange was taken back to Belmarsh Prison and will have his bail application heard tomorrow.


The official result was zero new cases in NSW yesterday - but 2 cases linked to the Berala cluster were disclosed and will be officially included in today’s numbers. That brings the total number of cases linked to the Western Sydney outbreak to 15. Officials welcomed the result but urged more people to get tested. Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 3 new locally-acquired cases - all are linked to the Black Rock cluster. Despite the low figures in both states, authorities won’t rush into making a decision on reopening the NSW-Victoria border. Meanwhile, the number of people allowed to attend the Oz v India Test cricket match starting on Thursday in Sydney has been dropped to about 10,000 people a day - 25% of the SCG’s capacity. Ticket holders received a refund and have an exclusive window until mid-today to repurchase a seat.


Phew… It wasn’t the disaster analysts thought it might have been. Australia’s housing market fell 2.1% between April and September, but new figures released yesterday show combined capital city home prices ended 2020 up 2% on the previous year. Darwin led the results (up 9%), followed by Canberra (+7.5%), Hobart (+6.1%), Adelaide (+5.9%), Brisbane (+3.6%), Sydney (+2.7%) and Perth (+1.9%). Melbourne was the only capital to post a decline (-1.3%) as it recovers from last year's lockdown. But the real star: regional centres. Outpacing the capital cities for the first time in more than 15 years, regional home prices increased 6.9% for the year. Take a bow, Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Geelong, Daylesford, Ballarat, Wollongong and Newcastle. Research director Tim Lawless said the trend was likely to continue this year and could see supply and affordability decrease in regional areas.


Despite concerns that Nike’s new ZoomX Dragonfly shoes provide an unfair advantage to sprinters, World Athletics president/former running champ Sebastian Coe yesterday said they won't be banned ahead of this year's Tokyo Olympic Games. The spikes have been called the ‘fastest shoes ever’. Nike-sponsored long-distance runners have also had success with their Air Zoom Alphafly Next% shoes featuring in record-setting efforts since they were released in September 2018. That includes Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge's incredible sub-2-hour marathon that he ran in late 2019. While some are concerned about the shoe’s competitive edge, others say rivals will step up their efforts to develop new technologies.


Gerry Marsden, the man who fronted iconic British band Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died at 78yo after a short non-COVID related illness. The group made their name in 1963 becoming the first UK band to have their first three singles go to number one - including How Do You Do It?I Like It and their version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song You'll Never Walk Alone. Up against The Beatles, the Liverpool-born bands were both managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin. After the Pacemakers’ success waned in the late 60s, Marsden turned to stage and television productions, and in 2003 he was appointed MBE for services to charity. "He was our dad, our hero, warm, funny and what you see is what you got," Marsden's daughter Yvette Marbeck said. Liverpool FC, which adopted You'll Never Walk Alone as its anthem to eye-watering effect, said his music would "live on forever with us".


This 33-metre sculpture - the ultimate Brazilian.

Sure, we’ve seen the doco and thought we too could have an eight-armed BFF. But no one likes a bully

Your cabbie can make or break a taxi ride. This guy’s karaoke cab in Taiwan takes it to another level... Giving discounts for good performances - which usually ends with the passenger tipping more than the fare - is genius.


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