Squiz Today / 03 October 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 3 October


“Going whole days forgetting to drink water and spending way too much time on my phone.”

That’s what happens when you’re busy launching a new news channel… But Squizer Kylie Merritt has done just that with Your Money now online and on your TV. Somehow she found time to give us a Three Minute Squiz.


Like narky in-laws, America and China aren’t doing a great job of getting along for the sake of the rest of the family. In the last week alone, there have been a number of clashes that have added to the simmering tensions between the world’s largest economies.

Military moodiness – A US Navy ship and a Chinese warship came too close for comfort during a ‘freedom of navigation’ operation in the South China Sea. China has been stepping up its claim to the contested area while the US and allied countries including Australia have been conducting joint exercises to keep the important trading route open.

Economic edginess – America last week imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. And pundits say the deal President Donald Trump has done with Canada on trade on the weekend was more about China than his neighbour – ie Trump is not afraid of blowing it all up to get a deal he believes is better for the US.

Diplomatic distemper – Last week Trump accused China of meddling in the upcoming US mid-term elections. And his oft-mentioned ‘friendship’ with Chinese President Xi Jinping is probably over; “But I think he probably respects me,” Trump said. Reports also say US Defence Secretary James Mattis has pulled out of a planned visit to Beijing later this month.

Sheesh, you’re as feisty as Matilda today… It’s important for Australia because America is our biggest strategic ally and China is our biggest trading partner. (Heard that before? Good because it’ll be in the test at the end of the year…) The bottom line is bad blood between the US and China is not good for our economy. And there doesn’t seem to be a resolution in sight with Trump saying it’s not time to sit down and talk just yet (even though it was China who declined the latest invitation to resume trade talks). We’ll let you know when it’s time to brace for more turbulence.


The death toll has pushed past 1,200 people, and rescue workers are focused on retrieving bodies and burying them. Reports say there is widespread looting with locals suffering a shortage of food, water and petrol. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said Australia has donated $500,000 to the Indonesian Red Cross and is in discussions with their government to send expertise and resources. For a sense of the devastation, check out these before and after pictures.

The Nobel Prize in physics last night pushed through a couple of barriers – it has been awarded to the oldest ever winner Arthur Ashkin (who is 96yo), and Donna Strickland (the first woman to win the prize for 55 years) and Gerard Mourou for their work with lasers. Strickland is the third woman to win the prestigious award after Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert-Mayer.

Alcohol is banned in Iran, but that hasn’t stopped a raging bootleg booze industry from selling grog across the country. Sadly that’s led to the deaths of 42 people after drinking bad brews in the last three weeks. Another 16 people have gone blind, 170 have undergone dialysis, and 460 people have been hospitalised. Commentators say with the US reintroducing sanctions against Iran and the collapse of their currency, many Iranians have turned away from foreign imports instead buying homemade, and sometimes toxic, alcohol.

The power grid operator yesterday said the latest addition to Australia's ‘big' things – the big battery in South Australia – is making the system more stable. While it’s a small contributor in the grand scheme of things, what the battery does is kick in within milliseconds when big power producers ‘trip’. The SA Government has bought the battery’s power for $4 million. But the operator says managing the gaps has cut costs by $33 million in the first quarter of this year, in large part because of the battery’s stealthy response time. Imagine what Elon Musk could do with the big banana…

The Tax Office yesterday said 200,000 people missed out on a potential refund last year because they failed to lodge a return. They hope that incentive is enough to encourage us to get organised ASAP. If you’re filing your own return you have until 31 October, or you need to be on a tax agent’s books.

Because sometimes only some randomness will do.

Matilda (not the Trump adversary) has achieved a dubious world first – she’s the only echidna known to be allergic to ants, her primary food source. Her allergy caused her to suffer hair loss, a sore belly and red/puffy eyes. She’s ok now but where does she keep her EpiPen?

Some new peregrine falcons have been welcomed to the world on top of a building in Melbourne’s CBD. It didn’t work out so well last year, but you can monitor their progress here.

Peggy Sue Gerron, the inspiration behind the Buddy Holly song, has died. She went to school in Texas with Holly and band member Jerry Allison, who she married and divorced. "Peggy Sue was always just plain good to people," said one local. An epitaph worth aiming for.


12.30pm (AEST) - Julie Inman Grant, Australia's eSafety Commissioner, to address the National Press Club on 'Australia’s approach to keeping its citizens safer online - the risks, challenges & opportunities' - Canberra

Meeting of Federal, State and Territory Treasurers - Melbourne

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, August

US to test their emergency system with a 'Presidential Alert' text message going to all mobile phones in the country

Day of German Unity commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990

National Foundation Day - South Korea

Anniversary of Emily Post's birthday (1872). She was an authority on etiquette

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.