Squiz Today / 05 April 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 5 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

It’s your hands-free news briefing.

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We don’t have too many quirky ones like that come along.”

Said the director of Heritage Tasmania Andrew Roberts of the Tassie township of Penguin’s unsuccessful bid to get their bins heritage-listed. Like the birds, the application didn’t fly…

The charges against Donald Trump are revealed

“SURREAL” is how former US President Donald Trump saw the events of the last few hours, posting to his Truth Social platform ahead of his arrest and arraignment (the court hearing when someone is formally presented with the charges against them) after his historic indictment last week (aka being presented with formal written accusations that a crime has been committed). The first public details about the specific claims have been released – Trump is up on 34 felony charges (aka crimes punishable by a prison term of one year or more) relating to falsifying business records as part of hush money payments made to 2 women in 2016. He has entered a plea of not guilty. TV cameras weren’t allowed to broadcast proceedings, but 5 still photographers were allowed in, and there are glimpses of him in the corridors of the Manhattan Courthouse looking stony-faced.

Well, Trump, but you know who he is. He’s being prosecuted by…

• Alvin Bragg – Manhattan’s district attorney (aka the guy in charge of bringing criminal cases in New York City) with a cracking name. The first black district attorney for the city is also a Democrat who has already scored points against other high-profile Trump allies. In a press release, he says he’s pursuing Trump because “Manhattan is home to the country’s most significant business market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct.” And Bragg will rely on testimony from his star witness, who is…

• Michael Cohen – the fixer who flipped. Cohen was Trump’s lawyer and once said he’d “take a bullet” for him. Then, after 12 years of bullet-taking, Cohen was charged and pleaded guilty in 2018 to bank fraud, tax fraud, and campaign finance violations, which directly incriminated Trump. Cohen is literally a convicted criminal, so he can expect a tough grilling from…

• Joe Tacopina – Trump’s new personal lawyer is a big-talking, Brooklyn-born attorney known for his celebrity clients and for, ahem, owning an Italian soccer team… Tacopina has also been the public face of the pushback against Trump’s indictment, claiming it’s “political persecution”. You can expect plenty more of that from Trump’s legal team, which also includes heavy-hitter Todd Blanche. Experts reckon Trump’s legal defence will centre on attacking the legal/political system trying to silence him.

Now that Trump has been arraigned, he’s expected to give a speech in Florida mid-today our time. After that, the criminal case will enter a pre-trial limbo where Trump’s team is expected to cause delays whenever possible. Meanwhile, Trump will continue his campaign for the 2024 presidential election, where he’s far and away the leading candidate for the Republican nomination. But as for this trial, there’s a scenario where it happens in the middle of the presidential election campaign, which would be absolutely bananas. Then again, spectacle is Trump’s speciality…

Crime World News

Squiz the Rest

A breather from interest rate rises

The Reserve Bank has given borrowers some Easter respite after it decided to hold the official cash rate steady at 3.6% at its board meeting yesterday. It’s the first time the central bank has hit the pause button since May last year. Governor Philip Lowe says they’ve opted to wait and see how the economy fares this month, with early signs previous rate hikes were impacting consumer spending and taking the heat out of inflation. He also said the economy faced “considerable uncertainty” following recent concerns about the global banking system. Lowe warns future rate hikes may be needed to tame inflation to the bank’s target range of 2-3% – but reckon it’s probably peaked and is now on the decline. And watch out, thrillseekers: Lowe will talk it though in a National Press Club address in Sydney this arvo.

Australian News Business & Finance

Time’s up for TikTok on government phones

Following similar moves from other Western countries, the Australian Government has banned the social media app TikTok on all government devices. It’s a big step up from the bans in individual federal/state departments over the past couple of months, and it’s all to do with security… The main concern surrounding TikTok is what the Chinese-owned company does with user data and whether the Chinese government can access it. The company has gone to great lengths to answer those questions, but not to the satisfaction of many governments. Attorney General Mark Dreyfus issued the mandatory direction yesterday and said it would come into effect “as soon as practicable”. He says, “exemptions will only be granted on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate security mitigations in place”. TikTok’s Aussie boss Lee Hunter says he hasn’t heard from the government, and the “extremely” disappointing decision is “driven by politics and not by fact”.

AusPol Technology

Making some big beauty moves

It’s the biggest-ever buyout for a luxury brand founded in Oz – French cosmetics giant L’Oréal has struck a deal to acquire skincare brand Aesop for a moisturising $3.7 billion. The Melbourne-based company has been a winner for its Brazilian owner Natura, which has had a controlling stake for more than a decade. Last year, Aesop posted sales of US$537 million across 29 countries and opened its first store in mainland China. And Go-To – the brand founded by Zoe Foster-Blake – is seeking new owners following the collapse of its majority owner, Aussie cosmetics giant BWX. Go-To is managed independently from BWX, but other brands, including Sukin, could be left in the lurch. Reports speculate that Foster-Blake, who sold 50.1% of Go-To to BWX in 2021, could buy it back for a reduced price.

Australian News Business & Finance

Finding the good eggs

If you’re ready to hop into the Easter spirit, the Good Food team’s put together an egg-cellent ranking of everyone’s favourite classic Easter eggs – “from sickly to sensational”. To crack open the heart of each egg’s chocolatey goodness, things like taste, texture, and value for money were all considered. At the bottom of the basket is the divisive Cadbury Creme Egg, which has drawn both abject hatred and deep love from choky monsters over the years. This year’s no egg-ception due to its interesting filling-to-chocolate ratio. A bit more surprising was the Lindt Gold Bunny scoring a mid-tier spot, which will have the brand’s fans hopping mad. As for the winner? The Haigh’s Milk Chocolate Bilby gets points for its “raisiny, malty notes”, and some proceeds go to protecting Australia’s endangered bilby. Now, that’s a good reason to indulge…

Australian News Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

An Indigenous tattooist in the Philippines has overtaken Dame Judi Dench to become Vogue’s oldest cover star after appearing in the magazine’s Philippine edition at 106yo. Apo Whang-Od is credited with inspiring a new generation to learn the traditional batok method of tattooing. 

The hash brown is a non-negotiable component in a full English brekky, but the English Breakfast Society has caused an uproar after calling for the hash brown to be replaced with bubble and squeak in the classic breakfast dish. All potato = good potato…

Also feeling hard done by are digital natives in Tokyo after a local ramen restaurant banned customers from using their phones while eating. The owner said it was affecting turnover – but it could also be because ramen is one of those foods that’s hard to eat while multitasking…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – RBA Governor Philip Lowe addresses the National Press Club – Sydney

Sentencing hearing for Terrence Kelly, who admitted abducting 4yo Cleo Smith – Perth

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to release vehicle sales figures for March

Passover begins (on until 13 April)

International Day of Conscience

Birthdays for Agnetha Fältskog (1950) and Pharrell Williams (1973)

Anniversary of:
• the marriage of American Indian princess Pocahontas and English colonist John Rolfe (1614)
• the birthdays of Bette Davis (1908) and Gregory Peck (1916)
• the death of Kurt Cobain (1994)

Squiz the Day

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