Squiz Today / 04 November 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 4 November


“A little sugar not all that bad.”

Is a new campaign from the Indian Sugar Mills Association encouraging locals to feel the sugar rush after a bumper crop this year. Indian’s consumption of sugar is below world averages. They’re sweet enough already…


As we get our day started, the polls have been open in America for several hours in the race to determine which septuagenarian will be America’s president for 2021-25. Republican candidate US President Donald Trump went into today’s election as the underdog against Democratic challenger/former Vice President Joe Biden. But like almost everything to do with 2020, COVID-19 has created an aura of uncertainty. And ‘anxious’ is a word that’s being thrown around a lot this morning...


• When Trump took on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, he lost the popular vote. That didn’t matter because of the way the ‘electoral college’ process works.

• Long story short, 538 ‘electoral votes’ are distributed amongst the states proportionate to population size. Voters’ ballots are tallied within their state, and the winning candidate is awarded all of that state’s electoral votes (well, in every state but 2…). And the magic number to win the presidency is 270 electoral votes.

• Trump’s winning formula last time was to win more of the smaller states, often by small margins. That plus polling showing a preference for Biden in some tight races has seen Trump given a 10% chance of securing a second term. Still, pundits have been reluctant to say Biden's a shoo-in...

• And that’s because of the coronavirus. As an issue, it has dominated the campaign as case numbers soar in the US. And it has driven never-seen-before high levels of early voting as citizens cast their vote safely by attending a voting centre over the last few weeks, or by mailing it in. It's thought that will benefit Democrats. But there are a few more things at play…

• Trump solicits strong reactions. To his supporters, he’s the best thing since the Big Mac. To his critics, he’s a divisive wrecker. So while early voting could be mostly COVID-related, turnout on election day - when more Republicans are expected to vote - could impact the final numbers. We’ll know more about that today.

The polls opened at 10pm (AEDT) last night, and there are reports of a solid turnout at voting centres. The first polls on the US East Coast will close at 11am (AEDT) today. And by early-to-mid-arvo our time, we'll have a sense of whether it's going to be a close one or a convincing win for one of the candidates. But to set expectations, an official result is unlikely to be declared today. And Trump says he’ll lawyer up if there's a sniff of it going against him. That might take days/weeks to resolve. To help, we’ve mapped out a few things to look out for to sound like a smartypants today. But if we can suggest one state to watch: Ohio is considered the bellwether state. It’s picked every president bar one since WWII. Now hold on tight, enjoy the tune, and enjoy the ride…

Can’t get enough? We’ve done a series of Squiz Shortcuts on the US elections, including the US Senate and House of Reps races that are also being run today. Get ‘em up ya here.



Austrian authorities have arrested 14 people in connection with an attack in central Vienna yesterday. Four people and a gunman were killed, and 22 people were injured across 6 locations. The man blamed for carrying out the attack was a 20yo "Islamist terrorist" who had been in jail for trying to travel to Syria to join Islamic State. He was released in December last year. Authorities also believe he may have acted alone after launching a manhunt yesterday to track down others believed to have been involved. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called the attack "repulsive", and there is speculation the attacker picked his time with people out and about just hours before a new nationwide coronavirus curfew was enforced. European leaders condemned the attacks with French President Emmanuel Macron (who is dealing with recent attacks in his country) saying Europe must not give up in the face of terror.


It was yesterday’s hot tip, and it came home as predicted… The Reserve Bank yesterday confirmed that official interest rates would be lowered from 0.25% to a new record low of 0.1%. Also confirmed: rates aren’t expected to go up for at least 3 years. And the RBA will pump $100 billion into the economy via another round of quantitative easing. Governor Philip Lowe fronted a rare post-board meeting press conference to emphasise the bank’s commitment to helping Australia recover from the biggest economic shock we’ve seen in almost 100 years. Things are looking a bit better than they were 3 months ago, he said. But “the recovery is still expected to be bumpy and drawn out, and the outlook remains dependent on successful containment of the virus."


Jack Dorsey has seen off a challenge to his leadership of social media platform Twitter from an activist investor. Hedge fund Elliott Management took a 4% stake in the company early this year, and it’s of the view that it could do better with someone else in charge. Dorsey is known for his hands-off management style and commitment to wellbeing. He walks 8km to work in San Francisco each morning. He meditates and has an evening sauna/ice bath routine. And he’s CEO/co-founder of Square, the fancied financial services company. Elliott thinks Twitter needs more of his time and agreed to a ceasefire if the board reviewed his leadership. Yesterday's result: he's cleared to stay on as tweeter-in-chief as long as targets are met. Twitter, which has been at the pointy end of managing election misinformation online, was whacked by investors last week for slowing user growth.


Lee Chun-jae, one of South Korea’s most notorious serial killers who recently admitted to murdering 14 women and girls between 1986 and 1991, says he is surprised he wasn’t caught years ago. Authorities scratched their heads for years over what became known as the Hwaseong murders. A man was jailed for one of the 10 murders despite claiming to be innocent. And after authorities discovered new DNA evidence that connected 57yo Lee with some of the murders, he admitted to all of them last year. The convicted man was given a retrial where Lee is giving evidence this week. He said authorities were never interested in him as a suspect. "I didn't try hard to hide things so I thought I would get caught easily,” he said. Lee - who has been in prison since 1994 for the murder of his sister-in-law - can’t be prosecuted for the Hwaseong murders after the statute of limitations expired. It’s a case that continues to shock the nation.


It just wasn't the same without the build-up and the on-track fashions (although there were some impressive at-home efforts) and the merry ning-nongs leaving racecourse at a certain time… But it was a special day for Irish challenger Twilight Payment, his trainer 27yo Joseph O'Brien and multi-millionaire owner Lloyd Williams. It’s Williams’ seventh Cup, and he said he had to pinch himself. The favoured Tiger Moth, who is trained by Aidan O’Brien (aka Joseph’s dad), finished second, with sentimental favourite Prince of Arran coming in third - the same spot he finished last year. Twilight Payment was up the front from the start becoming the first gee gee since Might and Power in 1998 to lead the whole way. Another O’Brien trained horse Anthony Van Dyke broke down in the final 500m and had to be euthanised - the seventh horse in the last 8 years to meet that sad end.

Meanwhile, rugby league fans - tonight’s your night with the start of the comp that pits mate-against-state (that’s how it works, right?)... It’s State of Origin time in that league mad town of… Adelaide? Yep. NSW is favoured to beat Queensland’s team of rookies. Also making an appearance - the national anthem


If 2020 wasn’t bad enough (is a term we hope to never hear again…), Baby Shark has become the most viewed video on YouTube with 7.04 billion views. It overtook Luis Fonsi’s 2017 hit Despacito this week. And if you want to hear something seriously meta - mid this year Fonsi teamed up with the Baby Shark people to record a version of the song that’s a curse on all parents.

Beyonce - she’s just like us. With her uncharged phone, lost keys and two beehives that she harvests honey from to give to her children for its “countless healing properties."

If you thought modern dating was grim, just be thankful you’re not a single and ready to mingle chatbot


11.00am (AEDT) - First polls close in the US elections

4.00pm (AEDT) - Last polls in Alaska close in the US elections

8:10pm (AEDT)  - State of Origin - Adelaide

ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, September

Tonga’s National Day

A birthday for actor Matthew McConaughey (1969)

Anniversary of:
• James Ritty patenting the first cash register to combat stealing by bartenders in his saloon in Dayton, Ohio (1879)
• archaeologist Howard Carter discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt (1922)
• the premiere of the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
• the election of Republican Ronald Reagan (1980) and Democrat Barack Obama (2008)

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