Squiz Today / 24 February 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 24 February


“First Daft Punk, now Craig Kelly and the Liberals. When will these breakups end.”

Tweeted ABC election expert Antony Green of yesterday's seismic moves. To witness history, you sometimes don't need to stay up all night to get lucky...


After 6 calls between Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg since Monday, the tech giant will remove the block on Australian news. A deal was struck yesterday with the government agreeing to amend the proposed media bargaining laws that will see Facebook and Google to pay Aussie news outlets for their content.

There are a couple of things. First, the government won’t apply the code if the tech company can demonstrate they have deals in place with the media outlets to pay them for content. And second, the tech companies will have more time to do deals with news providers before the government gets involved. Given the changes, Facebook's Aussie boss Will Easton said "we can now work to further our investment in public-interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians”. And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it has "been a difficult process, but these are really important issues."

The legislation is still in the Senate, and it could pass through the parliament by the end of tomorrow. For Facebook, it was quick out of the gates yesterday afternoon with an announcement that it’s reached a commercial agreement with Seven West Media to pay for news content. Facebook also has negotiations underway with News Corp and Nine Entertainment. And on the Google side, it’s already done content deals with Seven West Media, Nine, News Corp and the Guardian. As for you - you’ll continue to be sucked into the time-eater that is Googlin’ stuff and scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. But going forward, the tech companies will be paying for the Aussie news content you see - or at least some of it, anyway.



And look, we’re not suggesting that the federal Liberal MP will soon be out of work - that’s for the fine people of his southern Sydney electorate to decide. Yesterday morning’s Coalition team meeting was focused on approving a (lower than many hoped) increase to the JobSeeker payment rate - until Craig Kelly announced he was quitting the party. He and PM Morrison fell out this month over Kelly’s views on COVID treatments and vaccines. Reports also say misconduct claims against a staff member in Kelly's office was an issue. But yesterday, Kelly said he didn’t want to be a distraction as he continues to speak out “fearlessly and faithfully”. He’s now an independent MP who says he will vote with the government. It leaves Team Morrison with 75 seats in the 151 seat House of Representatives after they provide the Speaker - one less than is needed for an outright majority. Morrison says he can work with that while Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the PM hadn’t done enough to rein Kelly in.


With the military set to hold onto power in Myanmar, our Vice-Chief of the Australian Defence Force David Johnston made a Monday phone call to Vice-Senior General Soe Win to appeal for the return of Aussie economist Sean Turnell. A statement said he also called for the restoration of democracy and release of the nation's democratically elected leaders. That’s seen some human rights groups criticise the approach, saying it elevates the regime’s status. And Rawan Arraf from the Australian Centre for International Justice says Soe Win is a man our government shouldn’t play ball with because he is “credibly accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity." Others said it was a smart move given concerns for Turnell. "By using military officers to deliver that message, Australia avoids conferring any legitimacy on the Myanmar armed forces' coup," said Aaron Connelly from the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Australian officials have said they're concerned for Turnell's safety.


The wife of a jailed Mexican drug lord known as ‘El Chapo’ has been arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia over claims she was part of a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the United States. So just a couple of things… Emma Coronel, a 31yo American/former teen beauty queen, met Joaquín Guzmán in 2007 and quickly agreed to marry the then 49yo when she was 17yo. She's been accused of being involved in her hubby's famous prison escapes, including plans to bust him out before his extradition to the US in 2017. El Chapo was Mexico’s most powerful drug lord and was sentenced to life in prison in a federal court in Brooklyn in 2019. Far from keeping a low profile, Coronel attended every day of her husband’s high profile trial and has since featured in the Mexican reality show Cartel Crew.


Victorian coroner Paresa Spanos wants AFL players to donate their brains to research when they die to further the understanding of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The recommendation followed an investigation into the death of AFL playing and coaching great Danny Frawley, who died in a car crash in September 2019. A post mortem found he was suffering from low stage chronic CTE - likely linked to the 20 concussions he sustained during his playing career. However, Spanos yesterday said it was impossible to tell how much and when the brain disease potentially started changing Frawley’s personality, finding personal stress and not taking his mental health medication were factors in his death at 56yo. More research into CTE, which is linked to mood and behavioural changes, is required the coroner said. CTE can only be diagnosed by an autopsy.


NASA’s Perseverance rover has recorded what it is like to land on Mars with the space agency releasing a series of videos, images and audio files. Kitted out with microphones and 20 of the most advanced cameras ever used on a Mars mission, more than 20,000 images were downloaded over the weekend - including the first ever images of a rover's landing. Perseverance (which is essentially a 6-wheeled robot) is the 5th NASA rover to successfully land on Mars since 1997 and is tasked with exploring whether life existed there. Rock samples will also be collected and left on Mars until space agencies work out how to bring them back to Earth at the end of the 2020s. Until then, enjoy the images and videos described by NASA as “the stuff of our dreams”.


The shred of our soul that belongs to late-1990s/early-2000s EDM (aka electronic dance music) died yesterday. No, retiring supergroup Daft Punk weren’t just collaborators on radio hits Get Lucky with Pharrell Williams and I Feel It Coming with The Weeknd. They're artists who created beauty, like Something About Us. Their farewell message = on brand.

But it’s up and up for music industry maverick Taylor Swift. Her remake of 2008 hit Love Story is storming back up the charts proving that success is the best revenge.

Whether it's retirement or moral victories - or profiting from a successful commercial venture - a bottle of Jay-Z's Armand de Brignac bubbles is in order. The music entrepreneur/Mr Beyonce has sold 50% of his champagne house to luxury booze emporium Moet Hennessy. It’s meant to be better than the drop from Donaghy Estates...


12.30pm - Defence Minister Linda Reynolds addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

Former Liberal Staffer Brittany Higgins due to make a formal complain to police in Canberra about an alleged sexual assault in 2019

ABS Data Release - Wage Price Index, December; Construction Work Done, Preliminary, December

Teal Ribbon Day for Ovarian Cancer

Launceston Cup Day = a public holiday for the city

Birthdays for boxer Floyd Mayweather (1977) and tennis champ Lleyton Hewitt (1981)

Anniversary of:
• the sinking of the SS Gothenburg after hitting the Great Barrier Reef, killing approximately 100 (1875)
• the birthday of Steve Jobs (1955)
• the announcement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s engagement (1981)
• Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s wedding (1992)
• former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein being found guilty in New York following associations that ignited the #MeToo movement (2020)

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