Squiz Today / 26 July 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 26 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

An easy way to walk the talk. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


Is the name given to a recently-identified “microgeneration” of people born between the early 90s and early 00s. Sociologists say they’re squished between Gen Z and millennials, giving them the characteristics/identity crises of both…

‘Top Gun’ pilot faces extradition


Lawyers for ex-US fighter pilot Daniel Duggan were in court in Sydney yesterday, arguing for Aussie officials to end an extradition request from his former country. Earlier this week, Duggan said he’s been “living a nightmare” since his detention in October last year after America’s FBI accused him of training foreign pilots, including from China. The case is a first for Australia, and the 54yo who flew for the US Marines (yes, just like Top Gun…) is fighting for his right to stay in regional NSW with his Aussie wife and their 6 children. 


Duggan left the Marines in 2002 and became an Aussie citizen in 2012. At the centre of his extradition fight are claims that he provided training to Chinese pilots between 2009-12 in breach of American laws. Claims that former British, American, Kiwi, and Australian pilots are training the Chinese were made in October last year – the same month that Duggan was arrested after his lawyers say he was lured back to Oz from China. One of the ‘third-party’ schools mentioned was the Test Flying Academy of South Africa – a name that features in Duggan’s case. The US alleges that Duggan trained pilots at the school in an American T-2 Buckeye jet, and the school has since been put on a US ‘export control list’. And it’s not just a Duggan issue – Australia’s ASIO chief Mike Burgess has also said he’s watching a “small but concerning number” of Aussie veterans “willing to put cash before country”.


Duggan says he “strenuously rejects the indictment in its entirety” and that none of his training was top-secret. He reckons anybody “could Google it or look it up on Wikipedia”. Lawyers for Duggan have also weighed in – Bernard Collaery says that the extradition attempt makes Duggan “a pawn in this China game”. In other words, they reckon the US is trying to send a message to China and military veterans to stay away from each other. Outside the court yesterday were Duggan’s wife Saffrine and a handful of their kids holding signs saying “Let Him Go” and “Free My Dad!!!”. The extradition hearing is set for 24 November.

Australian News World News

Squiz the Rest

That’s where he’s been…

For weeks now, the world has been wondering about the absence of China’s foreign minister, who was last seen publicly on 25 June. Now we have an answer of sorts… Qin Gang has been officially removed from his post and replaced by the man who previously held the job, Wang Yi. Qin was seen as a rising star in China’s Communist Party with a close relationship to Chinese President Xi Jinping that saw him chosen to take a top position in the government. The last time Qin was talked about much was when he met with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – that was a bit of a breakthrough moment last month after the America-China relationship hit another rough patch. No reason has been given for Qin’s removal from office, and international observers say it’s another example of how difficult it can be to build diplomatic relationships with China.

World News

Murray-Darling plan set to miss the mark

The $13 billion plan to restore water to the Murray-Darling basin won’t be completed on time, according to the government agency running it. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was legislated in 2012 to improve the health of the country’s multi-state river system. It aims to return 3,200 gigalitres of water to the basin by June 2024 – aka water guaranteed to flow downstream for environmental reasons – using infrastructure upgrades and buyback programs. Earlier this month, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek asked the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) for its assessment on the likelihood of the plan meeting its target, but the advice is there will be a 750 gigalitres shortfall – 25% of its target. Plibersek says there’s work to be done with the states to develop new timelines. The Coalition and irrigators welcomed the extension, but the Greens warned delays could cause severe environmental damage as Oz heads into an El Niño-inspired dry spell. 

Australian News Environment & Science

Welcome to Targ-mart

Two iconic stores will become one $10 billion business, with parent company Wesfarmers announcing the merger of Target and Kmart. But before you get too excited about shopping at Targ-mart, the brands will keep their names and shoppers won’t see much difference, according to boss Ian Bailey. It’s more of an “internal reorganisation” that will see backend processes shared between the 2 businesses – and if you know anything about retail, you’ll know that a good backend is important… Their hope is that as Aussies tighten their belts, the businesses are well-positioned to attract more shoppers looking for value. Target has been around since 1926, and while it’s not related to the American version, they are frequently compared. It’s almost the same with Kmart, which has been a thing here since 1969… 

Australian News Business & Finance

Eight habits to change your life

A new US study has found that adopting 8 lifestyle changes could add more than 2 decades to your life. The study drew on data from questionnaires and health records of more than 700,000 US veterans aged 40-99yo between 2011-2019. Due to the study’s observational nature, researchers analysed the data to find which lifestyle factors were associated with – rather than caused – a longer lifespan. And it’s nothing we haven’t heard before… Exercising regularly was at the top of the list, followed by avoiding opioid addiction, tobacco, and alcohol. Managing stress, eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, and having positive social relationships rounds out the 8. Simples… But if you don’t find yourself in the position to do all that, the study found that implementing one of those changes could add a couple of years to your life at any age, but doing it earlier is better. 


A wave of good Farnsie news

It’s been a big week for John Farnham, and it’s only Wednesday… On Monday, his son Robert confirmed his dad is cancer free and said he’s “doing really, really good.” His music icon father was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2022 – which led to a massive surgery to remove the tumour and part of his jaw, and reconstructive surgery has followed. So that’s quite something… And on Monday night, Channel 7’s airing of the movie Finding The Voice, about his rise and fall and rise again, was a ratings hit with 1.3 million viewers tuning in nationally. The film became the highest-grossing Australian feature-length documentary of all time since opening at cinemas in mid-May – just don’t ask Farnham if it’s any good because he hasn’t seen it. Robert said his dad’s “not one to watch himself, you know, on TV, or even read reviews.” That’s fine, but Monday’s result shows we’re sticking with him like the honey and the bee… 

Australian News Entertainment

Apropos of nothing

Congratulations to Shankari Chandran, whose novel Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens won the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The book is set in a Western Sydney nursing home run by a Tamil wife and husband, which sounds calming until the rage and violence seep in

If you’re a diehard Hass avocado fan and can’t get onboard the Shepherd train, your interest might be piqued by a new variety.

The Luna avocado has been unveiled by scientists, who promise it “ripens very well”. Providing some competition in the ‘big things’ category is a recently unveiled Big Peanut in the small US town of Ashburn in Georgia. Anaphylactics should probably leave it off their itinerary…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

2.30pm (AEST) – PM Anthony Albanese meets with Kiwi PM Chris Hipkins for the annual Oz-NZ Leaders’ Meeting

7.45pm (AEST) – Women’s Cricket – 2nd ODI – Australia v Ireland – Dublin

Independence Day in Liberia

ABS Data Release – Consumer Price Index, June Quarter; Monthly Consumer Price Index indicator, June

Company Results – Mineral Resources; Rio Tinto

International Day for the Conservation of Mangroves

Birthdays for John Howard (1939), Mick Jagger (1943), Helen Mirren (1945), Kevin Spacey (1959), Sandra Bullock (1964), Jacinda Ardern (1980), and Stormzy (1993)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Carl Jung (1875), Aldous Huxley (1894) and Stanley Kubrick (1928)
• the capital of New Zealand moving from Auckland to Wellington (1865)
• the formation of the US Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation) (1908)
• US President Harry S Truman signing the National Security Act which establishes the Central Intelligence Agency (1947)

Squiz the Day

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