Squiz Today / 25 May 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 25 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you past the halfway mark. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

12 / 20
8 / 19
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5 / 16

Squiz Sayings

“Sour milk with earthy characteristics”

Is how Victoria’s Environmental Protection Agency described a strong odour that saw a Yarra Valley cheesemaker slapped with a $9,000 fine after local residents complained. The vivid description probably won’t make it to the product’s label…

All eyes on China’s mission to the Pacific


China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to arrive in the Pacific region tonight for a 10-day trip after establishing a controversial security pact with Solomon Islands. It comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang – China’s #2 leader –  congratulated PM Anthony Albanese for his win in Saturday’s election, breaking a years-long deterioration in relations between the 2 countries that was supercharged by the pandemic. “I have received, now, a letter of congratulations from Premier Li, as I have from other world leaders, and I welcome that,” Albanese said yesterday.


Under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, there’s been a resurgence of Chinese nationalism and an increasingly assertive approach to global affairs. Relations began to sour in 2017 when PM Malcolm Turnbull said the Australian people will “stand up” to foreign interference by authoritarian states like China, which Beijing didn’t like. Then we excluded Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from the 5G telco roll-out and lobbied our Western ‘Five Eyes’ partners to follow suit. But perhaps the most damaging episode was when former PM Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the origins of COVID after it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. In response to that, China went after our exporters and the leaders hadn’t spoken since. So Premier Li’s message of congrats to Albanese and vow to “uphold principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit” is seen as a chance to hit the reset button


From Tokyo, PM Albanese said China should dump its tariffs on Oz exports if it was serious about mending relations with Canberra. He told the media that Oz seeks good relations with all countries, “but it’s not Australia that’s changed, China has,” he said. The new PM told the leaders of America, Japan and India that it was important to engage and push their “shared values” in the region at a time when China was trying to exert more influence. On the Pacific, Labor has pledged to increase the aid budget and overhaul of the Pacific Island work visa program. Foreign Minister Penny Wong released a video statement on Monday about her desire to build a “stronger Pacific family” – with the strong hint that China isn’t part of the extended clan. With China’s Foreign Minister about to arrive in the ‘hood, expect to hear more about it.

AusPol World News

Squiz the Rest

What else happened at the Quad…

A lot. But not before ‘the family photo’ of the 4 leaders, where PM Anthony Albanese was seen wearing a blue badge, reportedly a Japanese government seal which denotes his seniority as a leader in case someone doesn’t recognise him… It’s hard to think of a steeper learning curve for the new national leader, but his counterparts congratulated him on the election win. “I don’t know how you’re doing it,” President Joe Biden joked, telling Albanese that it would be ok if he snoozed off during the talks. He stayed awake and the 4 leaders agreed they were navigating “a dark hour in our shared history” due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Biden urged the group to redouble their efforts to stop President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. And it’s time to send the welcome mat off for a shampoo: Oz will host the Quad leader’s summit next year.

AusPol World News

La Niña to hang around

We’re heading into winter next week, but it seems the east coast missed the autumn memo after receiving a record-breaking soaking during its 2nd consecutive stint of La Niña. The weather system usually loses steam in autumn, but thanks to strong trade winds over the Pacific, new analysis from US meteorologists suggests La Niña has a 59% chance of continuing throughout the rest of winter and potentially into spring. That differs from the local weather bureau, which has predicted La Niña will slosh off by the start of winter due to warming ocean temperatures. And according to the BOM’s latest climate forecast, the west coast version of La Niña – the Negative Indian Ocean Dipole – could bring even more rain to much of Oz this winter. If that’s not enough rain for ya, experts say there’s a chance another La Niña could emerge for a super-rare 3rd summer in Oz. Time to invest in the fancy gumboots… #SquizShortcuts


Mike Cannon-Brookes becomes a person of influence

So says Time, and its 100 most influential people list. The Atlassian co-founder is one of their innovators of 2022 with former US Vice President Al Gore singing his praises for “redefining the role of climate activism in business and investment.” He’s talking about Cannon-Brookes’ support for the massive Sun Cable project that hooks up a giant solar farm in Northern Australia to Darwin, Indonesia and Singapore. Gore also called out the Aussie’s efforts to disrupt AGL to make Oz’s biggest electricity generator “move the utility away from coal and toward clean energy.” Just on that, the company has asked Cannon-Brookes to correct a false statement about its plans to split the company in 2. The renewable energy advocate is AGL’s biggest shareholder and he’s campaigning against the demerger. It goes to a vote of shareholders on 15 June.

Want to know more about the man in the Bunny cap? Check out our Squiz Shortcut on Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Business & Finance

Guidance on what’s fit to flush

Ever thought about flushing something down a toilet but wondered if you really should? Us neither… But fatbergs are a thing that are creating havoc for the good people who look after our sewage systems. If you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a fatberg is a giant congealed mass of insolubles like wet wipes, cat litter, rags and sanitary products that get stuck in the underground pipes, collecting fats and oils. They can weigh tonnes and grow to a size bigger than a bus. Now that we’ve put you off brekkie, take heart that some Aussie products are set to be labelled within 6 months about whether they can be disposed of via the loo after utilities providers and manufacturers worked together on developing a national standard. As for those who work on maintaining the critical infrastructure, they say stick to flushing the ‘3 Ps’ – pee, poo and paper.

Australian News Quirky News

Billie Eilish talks Tourette’s

Pop star Billie Eilish has opened up about having Tourette’s syndrome, saying she finds it “exhausting”. The 20yo was diagnosed with the neurological disorder that can cause uncontrollable vocalisation and movements at 11yo. And in an interview with talk show host David Letterman for his new Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Eilish said while most of her tics have subsided and she doesn’t do it while performing, she expressed frustration that people don’t get her. “The most common way that people react is they laugh because they think I’m trying to be funny. And I’m always left incredibly offended by that,” she said. Letterman admitted he “was guilty of that,” thinking “Oh, she’s fed up with me”. The Grammy award-winning artist responded by saying it was “interesting” that “so many people have it and you’d never know”, with other artists privately sharing with her that they also have the syndrome.

Entertainment Health

Apropos of Nothing

Bestselling author Margaret Atwood has unsuccessfully attempted to burn one of her own books. No, she’s not having a crisis – it was to promote a one-of-a-kind, burnproof edition of her modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale, which will be auctioned off to raise funds for an organisation that supports free speech. 

Hundreds of people named Josh descended on a Nebraska park last Saturday to decide the top Josh in a mock ‘Josh Fight’ featuring costumes and pool noodles. It was 5yo Josh Vinson Jr who defended his #1 Josh crown for another year, with attendees raising US$21,000 in the process.

Seven years, 38 countries and 46,000km later, American Tom Turcich and his pup Savannah have returned home after circumnavigating the world on foot. Savannah – who Turcich adopted from a shelter 4 months into his walk – becomes the first dog to achieve the feat, while Turcich is the 10th person to walk the world.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Founder and CEO of the Aminata Maternal Foundation, Aminata Conteh-Biger, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Construction Work Done, Preliminary, March

Africa Day

Independence Day – Jordan

World Thyroid Day

International Missing Children’s Day

World Otter Day

Geek Pride Day

Birthdays for actors Ian McKellen (1939), Mike Myers (1963), and Cillian Murphy (1976)

Anniversary of:
• author Oscar Wilde being sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment for “gross indecency” (1895)
• athlete Jesse Owens equalling or breaking 4 world records in 45 minutes – known as “the greatest 45 minutes ever in sport” (1935)
• the release of the original Star Wars movie, Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and Return of the Jedi (1983)
• the airing of the last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, ending her 25-year run (2011)
• the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (2020)

Squiz the Day

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