Squiz Today / 15 November 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 15 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“There’s not a lot you can do with a 600kg seal at your car.”

Said Tassie woman Amber Harris, who had the best possible excuse for not going to work yesterday after she discovered local celebrity Neil the seal in her front yard. She said “he’s welcome to stay as long as he wants” – wonder why… 

Biden and Xi’s headline hangout

The Squiz

It’s APEC Leaders’ Week in San Francisco – aka the annual talks between the forum’s 21 member states’ leaders about how trade and economic growth across the Pacific region can be encouraged. PM Anthony Albanese will be there later this week, but it’s a side chat getting top billing with US President Joe Biden coming face-to-face with China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday local time. It’s Xi’s first visit to the US since 2017 and just the second time the pair have met in person since Biden moved into the White House in 2021. 

What’s been the problem?

Tensions have been building for years, but US-China relations hit the rocks last year over China’s threats towards Taiwan – and then, in February this year, a Chinese spy balloon floated over the American mainland. And like other Western nations’ the US has been locked in a trade war with China – things hit the skids during the Trump years, and Biden kept things going when he signed an order to restrict China’s access to the computer chips they needed to keep up with the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. So things have been bad, but intense diplomatic efforts over the last year have led to this Biden-Xi meeting. From this meeting, the US wants to reestablish military communication between the nations, as well as combating shipments of the drug fentanyl from China. On China’s end, analysts have concluded that the Chinese economy is in trouble, which might be why Xi will also use his San Francisco trip to meet with American business leaders, including at a ritzy $2,000-a-head dinner

So what should we expect?

A meeting that’s been planned to within an inch of its life… Reports say that American and Chinese officials have been haggling over the smallest bits of choreography, from who should enter the room first and what the pair will eat (note: there were headlines in 2017 when former President Donald Trump and Xi talked over “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” – that’s a Trump quote if you haven’t guessed). Security considerations also mean that we don’t have a lot of where-and-when details ahead of the meeting – we just know that Biden and Xi plan to meet sometime on Wednesday in a scrubbed-up San Francisco. Watch this space…

World News

Squiz the Rest

Hamas offers hostages for a stop in the fighting

Defrosting the US-China relationship isn’t the only thing on Biden’s mind – yesterday, he said the US wants to see “less intrusive action” from Israel at Gaza’s main hospital, which he says “must be protected”. Reports say that Israeli tanks are stationed outside the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which is digging a mass grave for the 40 patients who have died due to the blockade. Israel says the hospital sits on top of an underground command-and-control centre operated by Hamas – a claim the terror group denies. The World Health Organization says the hospital is “nearly a cemetery” with 3,000 patients and hospital staff and 15,000 sheltering Palestinians trapped there due to nearby fighting. Yesterday, Hamas confirmed it has told Qatari mediators that it would release up to 70 women and children held in Gaza in return for a 5-day truce. Since the start of the war, Israel has said talks of a ceasefire aren’t possible until all 240 hostages taken from Israel by Hamas militants on 7 October are released. 

World News

A joint ticket on released detainees

On Monday, we told you about the release of a group of people from immigration detention following a landmark High Court ruling a week ago. The court ruled that non-citizens can’t be indefinitely detained if they’re unable to be deported, and yesterday, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles confirmed that 81 detainees had been released. Among them, 3 murderers and several sex offenders… Giles says they must check in with authorities daily. Under pressure from the Coalition in Question Time yesterday, Giles said the Albanese Government argued against the detainees’ release in court, and said there’s a “shared rejection and revulsion” at the men’s criminal conduct. He also said he’s looking into legislative and regulatory options in response to the ruling. 

Australian News

Bunnings benches engineered stone

The national hardware chain says engineered stone used for kitchen and bathroom benchtops won’t be found on its shelves from 2024. There have been concerns about the rising rates of silicosis in workers who dry-cut engineered stone products like the popular Caesarstone for a while. The disease has been likened to asbestosis because its fine dust can cause an incurable lung disease if inhaled. A recent Safe Work Australia report into engineered stone made the case for a ban, and federal, state and territory ministers will meet next month to make the call. But union members have been protesting outside Bunnings stores, and yesterday the company said it was “proactively making this decision to allow suppliers and customers time to prepare for a transition”. So if you’re doing a reno in the next few months, you might like to adjust your plans accordingly… 

Australian News Health

Rental rises across Australia

The latest Rental Affordability Index report shows rents continue to march upwards… In fact, the data points to increases in every capital city in the past year, with Sydney’s affordability declining by 13% while Melbourne and Perth became 10% more unaffordable. It doesn’t stop there – economist and report co-author Ellen Witte says intrastate moves during the pandemic also led to steep regional increases. “The main takeaway really is it’s now a national problem,” she says. To illustrate that, reports say single low-income Aussies on unemployment payments are forking out at least 78% of their income on one-bedroom apartments in capital cities. Outside our metropolitan areas, homes in regional South Oz are the most expensive to rent, costing single jobseekers 53% of their income.

Australian News

Australia sounds like slip, slop, slap

It became one of Australia’s most iconic jingles after it debuted in 1981, which is why ‘Slip, slop, slap’ has been named one of the 2023 inductees for the National Film and Sound Archive’s (NFSA) Sounds of Australia. The public service announcement that reminded sun-loving Aussies to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat was credited with changing the nation’s attitude to sun safety over the years, and creator Phillip Adams reckons it’s the longest-running ad in Oz. Every year, the Archive picks 10 Aussie recordings to add to the collection, and among those joining the jingle are The Seekers’ anthem I Am Australian and the boppy Howzat by Sherbet – the full list of inductees is here. And speaking of Aussie sounds, we’ll be hearing some more tonight as the ARIA Awards kick off tonight – you can tune in on Stan or Nine. 

Australian News Culture

Apropos of nothing

You might remember the days of Avon ladies turning up at your house, and now it’s opening its first stores in the UK. The move came about after the pandemic put a pause on Avon’s door-to-door sales approach. 

“Yeah nah” has been the general reaction to French luxury label Dior’s pricey skincare range for babies and kids. For US$361, your bub can take their “very first step into fragrance” with the Bonne Étoile ‘scented water’. It’s “inspired by the childlike spirit of couturier-perfumer Christian Dior,” no less… 

And in a development no one had on their 2023 bingo card, Jim’s Group – best known for its mowing franchise – has launched its latest venture: Jim’s Beauty. Think facial and skin treatments, lash extensions, eyebrow treatments, waxing, bridal packages, hair, teeth whitening and nail treatments at home. The logo is really something…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Chair of A New Approach and President of The Myer Foundation Rupert Myer, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

5.00pm (AEDT) – ARIA Awards – Sydney (available to watch live on Stan or on Nine from 7.30pm)

APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting begins (until 17 November) – San Francisco

ABS Data Release – Wage Price Index, September; Estimates of Industry Level KLEMS Multifactor Productivity, 2021-22 financial year

Company shareholder meeting – News Corp; Hotel Property Investments; Flight Centre; SEEK

Company Results – Aristocrat Leisure

AIHW Release – The health of people in Australia’s prisons, 2022

Birthdays for ABBA singer Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad (1945), Jimmy Choo (1948), and Shailene Woodley (1991)

Anniversary of:
• the ousting of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe (2017)
• the death of rapper Lil Peep at 21yo (2017)
• the world’s population reaching 8 billion (2022)

Squiz the Day

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