Squiz Today / 18 October 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 18 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It takes time for language to evolve in culture, so this shift in favour of soccer is significant.”

Said sports data nerd Kevin Alavy of new info showing more Aussies now associate the word ‘football’ with soccer than the AFL. The survey was taken during the Women’s World Cup in August so that sentiment might have waned, but it’s still a bit awks for the rugby codes…

President incoming: Biden heads to Israel

The Squiz 

US President Joe Biden is set to arrive in Israel’s Tel Aviv today following an invitation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The pair have known each other for 4 decades, and Biden’s visit is seen as critical to preventing the crisis in the Middle East from widening. Commentators have pointed out that the trip presents a security risk for the president, given his host is at war with its neighbour, but arrangements have been hashed out between Israeli officials and America’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is back for a second visit in a week. 

What’s Biden doing there?

It’s a short agenda of 2 action items, but they are massive and complex… First, Biden’s presence in Israel during an active war is unprecedented and a huge show of support for the nation. The trip is also a deterrent to others – like Iran and Hezbollah – who might want to spread the conflict. Analysts say the US’s emphatic support will make others think twice about taking up arms against Israel… And second, the American contingent is working to ensure humanitarian assistance can reach Gazans… which will be particularly necessary after reports that Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza, killing hundreds of people. Biden plans to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who declared 3 days of mourning over the hospital deaths. While he’s in the region, Biden will also meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; he’s a critical player because Egypt’s border with Gaza is still blocked up, making it hard to get aid in and foreign civilians out…

Are any Aussies still stuck in Gaza?

At least 45 of them, according to Deputy PM Richard Marles. Yesterday, Marles said that the Aussies have been making themselves known to the Department of Foreign Affairs and that the number includes children. At least some of the group have joined other foreign nationals at that border with Egypt near the city of Rafah. Fortunate enough to get out of Israel are hundreds of Aussies who touched down in Sydney last night on a Qatar Airways repatriation flight, ahead of a Qantas flight that also left from Tel Aviv. Reports say that Emirates and Virgin are also helping to get Aussies back home.

World News

Squiz the Rest

A high-profile trip to China

That’s what Russian President Vladimir Putin is undertaking as he touched down in China to catch up with bestie/President Xi Jinping and attend the Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing. There are a couple of reasons it’s notable… This is a rare OS trip for Putin because he has an international arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. But also of note is Putin and Xi’s commitment to bolster Chinese-Russian ties. As for the Belt and Road Initiative, it’s one of Xi’s signature policies… The idea is to fund infrastructure/road projects through Asia and Europe to boost China’s geopolitical influence. Reports say it’s cost China about $900 billion so far, but there has been extensive criticism about the debt some countries have racked up. Attendees of this year’s forum will mark its 10th anniversary.

World News

… meanwhile, returning from China

Aussie journo Cheng Lei has made her first public appearance since being released from Chinese detention, and boy is she happy to be out. Cheng said she was arrested at her work, the Chinese broadcaster CGTN, and that throughout her 3 years in prison the lights in her cell were never turned off, day or night. We also got some more details about why she was imprisoned: Cheng said her ordeal was all because she shared a government briefing document “a few minutes” before she was officially allowed to… which might seem like a nothing, but Cheng said the purpose of her arrest and detention was “to drive home that point – that in China, that is a big sin”. As for what’s next, Cheng plans to cook, travel, and write – although her detainment has left her “expecting people to drop out of the sky and arrest me.”

Australian News World News

Calling for answers on the Voice spend

Telco giant Telstra has become the first big Aussie corporation to be grilled by shareholders on its significant financial support for Voice referendum’s ‘Yes’ campaign. Telstra’s annual general meeting (AGM) was yesterday, and outgoing chairman John Mullen copped it over the $1 million contribution of company/shareholders’ money. He said there were opposing views on the Voice, “even within Telstra,” but the decision was made in consultation with Indigenous leaders. “Support was in the best interests of the company, and therefore the best interests of our shareholders,” Mullen said. There were also questions over the suitability of new director Maxine Brenner – who’s on the Qantas board but will leave early next year – but Mullen said he backed her fully. And just a forewarning – it’s AGM season, so expect more of this over the coming weeks…

Australian News Business & Finance

Make room for granny

As the nation’s housing crisis continues, a new report has found granny flats are an “untapped” resource in Australia’s capital cities. Research by property analysts, including CoreLogic, found at least 655,000 existing homes in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brissie had the right zoning and town planning codes in place to build a granny flat (aka a self-contained second dwelling on a property not exclusively used by grandmothers…). And outside those 3 cities, the report found there is potential for a million more granny flats or other affordable accommodation to be built on existing properties. CoreLogic’s Tim Lawless said it wouldn’t just provide an “immediate and cost-effective opportunity” for lawmakers – it could also benefit homeowners by boosting the value of their property or earning extra rental income. Which might be welcome news with another interest rate rise potentially on the horizon

Australian News

The rise of eager eaters

Whether it’s a dinner party attendee or a toddler – or maybe you put your hand up – you’ve probably come across a fussy eater before. But a new UK study is less concerned with picky eaters than another group of kids… After surveying 995 parents and guardians of 3-5yos, they split kids into 4 groups of eaters: ‘avoidant’, ‘typical’, ‘happy’, and ‘avid’. Most of the group (44%) were considered ‘typical’ or ambivalent eaters, while 18% were ‘happy’ eaters who enjoyed food, and fussy eaters were the smallest group of the bunch at 16%. But researchers were concerned about the one in 5 kids (22%) classified as ‘avid’ eaters, meaning they ate quickly and didn’t respond to fullness cues – they said this group had the highest risk of becoming overweight. But something no one’s at risk of overeating is the world’s new hottest chilli. It’s said to cause cramps, if you like that kinda thing…


Apropos of nothing

US President Joe Biden’s social media team has pulled the ultimate trolling move by joining Republican rival Donald Trump’s platform Truth Social under the handle @BidenHQ. In their first post, they said, “Converts welcome!” before following only one other user – Trump.

There’s been a bit of back and forth over whether queen of daytime TV, Oprah, planned to disrupt Trump’s 2020 presidential run with one of her own… A new book on Republican Senator Mitt Romney claims she wanted to pair up with him to beat Trump, but Oprah says it wasn’t on the cards.

And in high-stakes politics in another jurisdiction, outgoing Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s son – 36yo Gibran Rakabuming Raka – has been cleared by a court to run for vice president in the 2024 election. Usually you have to be over 40yo to qualify…

Quirky News World News

Squiz the Day

5.45am (AEDT) – Men’s Soccer Friendlies – Socceroos v New Zealand – London

12.30pm (AEDT) – Australian economist Richard Holden addresses the National Press Club on “Is Australian Economic Exceptionalism Over?” – Canberra

Independence Day in Azerbaijan

Alaska Day (marking the anniversary of the US taking possession of the territory after purchasing it from Russia)

Company AGM – Origin Energy

Rural Medicine Australia conference begins – Hobart (until 21 October)

World Menopause Day

National Ride2Work Day

International Pronouns Day

A birthday for Zac Efron (1987)

Anniversary of:
• the founding of the British Broadcasting Company, later called British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)(1922)
• the first all-female spacewalk by NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir outside the International Space Station (2019)

Squiz the Day

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