Squiz Today / 13 January 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 13 January


"Welcome to the Brexit, sir."

Said a Dutch border official to a truck driver coming from the UK. With meat, fruit, vegetables, fish and "that kind of stuff" no longer able to move across the border without a permit, the driver's ham sandwiches were confiscated. Which in our neck of the woods would be a declaration of war…


A state of emergency was declared in Washington DC by US President Donald Trump yesterday as fears grow that the violence will escalate from the weekend building up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on 20 January (Thursday next week Oz time). The city’s mayor had already made the declaration, but Trump’s order means the federal government’s security agencies can help with any emergency response.

An internal FBI memo that’s found its way into journalists’ hands warns that armed protestors will be active not just in the nation's capital, but in every capital across the country. Analysts say violent rallies are again being organised online by Trump supporters and others (like the so-called ‘boogaloo’ movement) in the same way that last week’s siege of the Capitol was. Leaving the White House for the first time since the riot, President Trump this morning said that his speech before the march on the Capitol was ”totally appropriate” and it's the moves to impeach him that are “causing tremendous anger”.

Facebook is cracking down on content using the phrase ‘stop the steal’ - a rallying cry for Trump supporters. Since last week's riot, Twitter has suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory. And Amazon’s withdrawal of its web hosting services to Parler - a 'free speech' app popular with those kicked off Twitter - saw it go offline yesterday. Reports say all that is causing fringe groups to splinter online. And when it comes to 'boots on the ground', law enforcement agencies are gearing up for what could be a rough week across the country.



NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday held her ground as the elimination v suppression debate staggers on… After coming in for criticism from WA Premier Mark McGowan on Monday, she says she will continue to be someone who makes decisions “based on science, based on the facts, based on the health advice". For his part, McGowan said the approach should be that "if there's the virus in the community, you kill it". Anyhoo, NSW reported 5 new locally-acquired cases as Queensland reported one - the partner of the quarantine hotel cleaner with the worrying UK variant. And in Victoria, officials have unveiled the “strictest rules for tennis” as those coming for the Australian Open start arriving. One player who won't be there is America's Denis Kudla… He received a positive result during his qualifying match in Doha yesterday.


Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah has declared a national state of emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19. That saw PM Muhyiddin Yassin announce a nationwide travel ban and a 2-week lockdown of Kuala Lumpur and five states as new daily infections hit the 3,000-plus mark last week - the highest rate since the pandemic was declared last year. Muhyiddin says the country's healthcare system is at a breaking point and action is needed. Also part of the emergency declaration is the parliament's suspension until August, and no elections can be held. That's led critics to say Muhyiddin, who has been fighting to hold onto power, is more concerned about his political survival. Mid last year, he kicked 95yo Mahathir Mohamad out of the top job. Muhyiddin yesterday assured citizens in a televised speech that the move is “not a military coup.”


German authorities say they have shut down "probably the largest illegal marketplace on the Darknet" and arrested the man they say is behind it as he fled to Germany's border with Denmark. He’s a 34-year-old Australian who has not been named. His site, known as DarkMarket, had more than 500,000 customers and 2,400 vendors selling drugs, forged money, stolen/forged credit cards, anonymous mobile phone SIM cards and malware. Prosecutors allege the operation processed more than 320,000 transactions with €140 million (A$220 million) in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exchanged. The operation was supported by law enforcement agencies across the world, including Australia’s. The darknet is the part of the internet that’s only accessible using specialised tools to protect users’ identities and is known as the place where dangerous/illegal things happen.


Must come down. The rules of finance don’t always work that way, but just as quickly Bitcoin smashed the US$40,000 mark for the first time after a meteoric 1,000% increase in value since March last year, the bubble could be bursting, analysts warn. Since Friday, it’s lost about a quarter of its value - the biggest slide the digital currency has seen since early last year. Some analysts have said that its growth could not be sustained and a correction was in order. The question is how big the correction will be… The spike has been welcomed by investors looking to make a buck with high growth opportunities hard to come by in recent times. But Bitcoin has its sceptics. For example, fancy bank JP Morgan's boss Jamie Dimon says it's a "fraud", and his team would be toast if they traded it.


You don’t often see our public figures saying ‘I got it wrong’. That’s what Aussie men’s Test cricket captain Tim Paine did yesterday after his performance during the 3rd match in Sydney didn't exactly elicit rave reviews… Over the 5 days, he mouthed off at the umpire and was fined, he was criticised for his brutal sledging of India’s Ravi Ashwin, and he dropped three catches on the final day. "I'm a captain who wants to play the game with a smile on their face, and yesterday I fell short of my expectations and our team standards. So I'm human. I want to apologise for the mistakes that I made yesterday,” he said. Former captain Steve Smith is also in focus as his between-play shadow batting quirks have led to cheating claims after he mucked up the pitch marks of an Indian batsman. Onwards and upwards as the chance to do better comes around on Friday with the start of the final Test in the series in Brissie...


It's a most unfortunate thing to report, but whale tails are back.

If you've ever wondered how good it would be if giraffes came in a smaller size, here you go.

And you can almost smell Australia Day… The latest Australian Lamb ad is up, and if a BBQ’d cutlet can’t unify us, nothing can.


The mass trial of 355 ’NDrangheta mafia suspects begins - Calabria, Italy

ABS Data Release - Job Vacancies, November

Birthdays for actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1961), Patrick Dempsey (1966), Orlando Bloom (1977), and Liam Hemsworth (1990)

Anniversary of:
• the death of Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon/Princess Margaret’s ex (2017)
• the false emergency alert warning of an impending missile strike on Hawaii (2018)

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