Squiz Today / 14 July 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 14 July

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Get your ears on the job.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

9 / 16
7 / 13
8 / 20
5 / 15
11 / 20
3 / 13
15 / 29
-2 / 12

Squiz Sayings

“Amusing to see such beloved, um, meth makers get this tribute.”

Tweeted on wag about plans for the New Mexico city of Albuquerque to unveil bronze statues of the 2 main characters from Breaking Bad. Donated by the show’s creator Vince Gilligan and Sony Pictures Television, they will be undercover to save them from the pigeons. They are the danger

Hugs for the Pacific

Australia and the US have vowed to do better for the Pacific region and give it the support it needs. In a surprise address to the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting yesterday, US Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden administration recognises “that in recent years, the Pacific Islands may not have received the diplomatic attention and support that you deserve. So today, I am here to tell you directly: We are going to change that.” She also urged leaders to hold true to their longstanding partnerships. “At a time when we see bad actors seeking to undermine the rules-based order, we must stand united,” she said in a not too subtle dig at China. PM Anthony Albanese expressed the same sentiment, saying his government must make up for the recent absence of Australian regional leadership.

Funny you ask… Albanese had his first face-to-face meeting with PM Manasseh Sogavare, which kicked off with a warm embrace. “Ah, I need a hug,” Sogavare said as he snuggled in. Albanese took a more formal approach with “It’s good to meet you and thank you for the discussion we’ve had on the phone about our common interests.” The Oz-Solomons relationship has been the case study of our broader issues with Pacific nations – and it’s a discussion dominated by China’s reach into the region. So Albanese’s approach at the Forum is to let nations know that Oz is here for them, with no strings attached. He says “what I bring to this forum is a positive energy, and I’ll be doing all that I can to bring all of the nations who are members of the Pacific Forum together.”

Not that we’ve heard, but Australia and the US are saying what Pacific Islands nations want to hear. But China is said to be undeterred and is ploughing ahead with its engagement plan via a new version of a big economic and security deal that it presented to 10 Pacific leaders in May. Maybe that’s what 2 Chinese embassy staff snuck into yesterday’s meeting to gauge before they were escorted out by police? Discussions continue today with a leaders retreat where they’re expected to approve a 30-year plan to “protect and secure our Pacific people, place and prospects”.

AusPol World News

Squiz the Rest

Gota’s gone, but not entirely…

It’s been a big 24 hours in Sri Lanka… President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country hours before he was due to step down, and the nation is still waiting for his letter of resignation… Hours after his departure, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a national state of emergency as protests picked up in Colombo. He’s been appointed Acting President and has asked the parliament’s Speaker to nominate a new PM who is “acceptable” to both the government and the opposition parties. Protesters have turned their attention from Rajapaksa to Wickremesinghe and have breached the PM’s office and compound. He told the military to “do whatever is necessary to restore order”. For months, Sri Lankans have struggled with power cuts and shortages of fuel, food and medicines. Many blame the Rajapaksa family and their government for the nation’s economic collapse.

World News

Twitter takes Musk to court

The social media platform is suing Elon Musk after he announced his intention to walk away from the US$44 billion ($64 billion) takeover deal last week. The world’s richest man claims Twitter violated the agreement by not declaring the number of fake accounts. Twitter disagrees and has asked a Delaware court to order the Tesla boss to complete the merger at the agreed price. Like many tech stocks, Twitter has lost a 3rd of its value since April, and Musk’s latest move has seen it fall even further. Tesla’s share price is also down 40% this year. Musk was planning to finance part of the deal by selling some of Tesla shares, and he’s been accused of walking away because of the changed circumstances. Breakups are never easy… #SquizShortcut


Watch your face

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has launched an investigation into the use of facial recognition technology in some Bunnings and Kmart stores. It comes a month after consumer advocacy group CHOICE sounded the alarm over the retail giants’ “completely inappropriate and unnecessary” use of the technology without customers’ knowledge. Bunnings said it uses it to “maintain a safe and secure environment” in its stores, but the OAIC look-see will probe the retailers’ handling of the biometric data it collects. Speaking of privacy concerns, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned Aussie TikTok users to “be careful” about what information they share after the Chinese-owned company admitted the data could end up in the hands of the Chinese Government.


An epic State of Origin decider

Queensland has taken State of Origin back from NSW with a 22-12 win at Suncorp Stadium in Brissie last night. The Maroons got the first try and the last when Ben Hunt stole a Blues chip kick and ran the field length to score in the game’s closing minutes. That clinched it for the home side. It was a hard-fought encounter – two Queenslanders (Selwyn Cobbo and Lindsay Collins) and one NSW player (Cameron Murray) were taken from the field with concussion in the first 4 minutes. And after half-time, they ‘brought back the biff’ with the Maroons and Blues losing players to the sin-bin. Commentators say the game was lost by NSW making too many errors and Queensland playing very hard footy. NSW alum Andrew Johns – well, let’s just say he was far from impressed, which means the Blues still haven’t won a decider in Brisbane since 2005… Man of the match went to the Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga.


Pass the salami…

…or maybe not after French health authorities confirmed a link between processed meats and a heightened risk of developing colon cancer. It was back in 2015 that the World Health Organization broke hearts when they warned that delicious foods like salami, ham and bacon should be classified as group 1 carcinogens due to the nitrates that are added to them to improve their shelf-life, flavour and appearance. A study by France’s national food safety body has backed up that conclusion, and that’s a blow to the country that’s one of the world’s biggest producers of cold cuts. The French Government said it will start working with the charcuterie industry to reduce the use of additives later this year. It’s a solution welcomed by those who wish to have their ham and eat it too. After all that talk of bacon and more bacon, we’ll balance it with a mention of an Aussie study that confirms you can’t out-exercise a loose diet. Boo…


Apropos of Nothing

Speaking of interesting dietary choices, a new Coles product has divided Aussies. Behold – panko-crumbed ‘chicken donuts’

Kiwis might appreciate a few of those donuts being shipped across the Tasman as the nation experiences shortages of chicken nuggets, bourbon and craft beer due to supply chain issues. It’s been dubbed a “national emergency”…

And speaking of national emergencies, inflationary pressures have seen Bunnings hike the price of its iconic sausage sizzle for the first time in 15 years. As of 23 July, a snag in bread will increase by $1 to $3.50, with the extra proceeds going to community groups. The fundraiser has helped raise more than $140 million for charities in the past 5 years.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

2.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Basketball – FIBA Asia Cup – Australia v Saudi Arabia – Indonesia

5.00pm (AEST) – Golf  – The Open Championship begins – Scotland

The Parliamentary Budget Office releases its 2022 election commitments report, which provides the cost of the major parties’ election commitments 

First public hearing for the inquiry into Star Entertainment’s Queensland operations

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, June

Bastille Day – France, marking the anniversary of the beginning of the French Revolution with the fall of the Bastille Prison (1789)

International Non-Binary People’s Day

Birthdays for former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh (1960), actor/writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (1985), and UFC champion Conor McGregor (1988)

Anniversary of New Zealand holding its first general election (1853)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.