Squiz Today / 14 November 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 14 November


“On the night itself, I was strangely calm… though I definitely had an out-of-body ‘is this actually happening?!’”

Recalls Holly Ransom about her interview with Barack Obama. Holly has helped some big companies, charities and organisations navigate change. She’s someone the likes of Sir Richard Branson has sought out, so you could say we’re stoked Holly’s a Squizer. Please welcome her to today’s Three Minute Squiz.


Giddy up, it’s Summits Season… And the coming days bring two of the big ones with more diplomatic wheeling and dealing, trade talks, and extreme organisation than you can poke a stick at. Throw into the mix a newish PM in Scott Morrison, who is untested on the international stage, and you’ve got yourself a multilateral humdinger.

You betcha! Let’s start at the top (warning: put your acronym helmet on…):

• The ASEAN Summit (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in Singapore is on today/tomorrow. Oz is not a member, but we're involved, and Morrison is there.

• A major item is the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) - a 16-member free trade agreement between Asian and Pacific nations, including China and Oz. It’s become more relevant with US President Donald Trump mucking around with America’s trade deals. The hope was to get it sorted at the ASEAN Summit, but that’s now in doubt.

• IA-CEPA (Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) – That’s fancy talk for a free trade deal with Indonesia. Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Morrison were meant to sign it on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, but that is also in doubt.

• On Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a historic visit to Darwin – the first time a Japanese leader has visited the city it bombed in WWII. Not only will Abe and Morrison demonstrate our post-war reconciliation and strategic partnership, but talks on deeper economic and military ties are on the agenda.

• And to round it out, with the weekend will come to APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Russian President Vladimir won't be there. Neither will Trump, but US Vice President Mike Pence will commute from Cairns. Meanwhile, concern abounds about how PNG - one of the world’s poorest countries - can afford to host the meeting.

First, most PMs are elevated in the minds of Aussie voters when they hit the international scene. It's like the further away they are, the more we like/tolerate them. But it takes a bit of practice, and Morrison will have to learn in the open with little room for error. And secondly, these are complicated times for Australia. With China as our biggest trade partner and America as our biggest ally (sing along if you know the words…) these regional forums are not all silly shirts and group photos.


A jury took less than an hour to find James Gargasoulas guilty of killing six people and injuring 27 others in a rampage that saw him drive his car into pedestrians on Melbourne’s Bourke St. 'Guilty' was read out 33 times as each victim was accounted for. Gargasoulas underwent extensive examination by mental health experts and was found competent to face trial after a jury heard he’d ‘gamed’ his mental health defence with his parents. Herald Sun journo Shannon Deery tweeted; “He thought he could beat the system but failed. In doing so he prolonged the Hell he’s already caused so many. Pure evil.”

Because a freshen up is nice.

CALIFORNIAN FIRE HITS NEW RECORD – The Camp Fire in the state’s north is officially the deadliest as well as the most destructive. Forty-two people are confirmed dead. The Woolsey Fire, just north of Los Angeles, has caused extensive damage around Malibu and Thousand Oaks, the town where 12 people were gunned down just a few days ago.

BREXIT PROGRESS – Officials from the UK and European Union have reportedly agreed on the technicalities. Now it's just a small matter of the politics…

“TELL YOUR BOSS” – Is what people familiar with the recording of the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi say can be heard on the tape. “Your boss” is thought to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia – which, if true, is seen by intelligence operatives as the strongest evidence yet linking him to the murder. The plot thickens…

Elections in Fiji are scarcer than an affordable bottle of white wine at an island resort. Today's poll is just the second since Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2006. And until this week Bainimarama’s main opposition, former PM and coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka, didn’t look like he’d be a starter with legal wrangling over alleged breaches of the campaign funding laws. With that in mind, the incumbent is the favourite.

Reports this morning say Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will announce a new Australian Business Securitisation Fund (it's a surprise that catchy name hadn't been trademarked…) that will see the Feds inject $2 billion into the small business loans market. The idea is with the worsening credit crunch (think Royal Commission), it will give small businesses looking for a loan of less than $2 million access to finance with a better interest rate and without having to put the family home up as security. The benefit to the government is more jobs and economic growth.

• Soy sauce – too much salt. A new report found one teaspoon can contain your entire daily recommended intake of sodium.

• Freakshakes – a UK delicacy that can contain up to 39 teaspoons of sugar/1,200 calories.

• Bunnings sausage sizzle – you’d better get acquainted with the new OH&S rules for the Aussie taco…

If you’d like to hear more about this sorta thing, check out our Squiz’splains Health podcast.

Imagine being the person who created or co-created created Spider-Man, Black Panther, the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk. That honour goes to Stan Lee - writer, editor and publisher of Marvel Comics. Kicking off in the 60s, Lee’s characters had personality, not just superpowers. Like all Marvel employees, Lee had no rights to the characters he created. Still, he did alright, with his estate believed to be valued at $70 million. His cameos in nearly every Marvel film between 1989 and this year are legendary. Lee died yesterday aged 95yo.


11.00am (AEDT) - Women's World T20 - Australia v New Zealand - Guyana

12.30pm (AEDT) - Joseph Stiglitz, 2018 Sydney Peace Prize Recipient, to address the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Wage Price Index, September

Westpac Consumer Confidence Index

World Diabetes Day

Prince Charles turns 70yo

Anniversary of the wedding of Michael Jackson to Debbie Rowe in Sydney (1996)

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