Squiz Today / 06 April 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 6 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Suits most morning toast and tea routines. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
17 / 23
MEL
14 / 21
BNE
20 / 28
ADL
13 / 23
PER
15 / 29
HBA
9 / 17
DRW
25 / 33
CBR
12 / 20

Squiz Sayings

“It’s just this beautiful – magical, really – kind of amazing phenomenon.”

Said Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles of the bioluminescence that is lighting up the waves in Napier, New Zealand. Caused by blooms of plankton which glow to evade or distract predators, locals call the rare spectacle the “aurora of the sea”. We’d settle for seeing the run-of-the-mill original in the sky…

America blasts Solomons’ deal with China

THE SQUIZ

The US has made a rare foray into diplomatic relations in our region with a stern rebuke of the security pact that’s firming up between the Solomon Islands and China. The potential deal would significantly increase China’s military presence in the southwest Pacific, and Australian and Kiwi leaders have said they are worried about it. And yesterday Admiral Samuel J Paparo, the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said “it’s a concern” for the US too.

BACK IT UP A BIT …

We’ll have you covered with a Squiz Shortcut coming out tomorrow. But for today’s purposes, let’s narrow in on what’s happened in the last couple of weeks. A draft of a security deal between the Solomons and China was leaked on Twitter, and Solomon’s PM Manasseh Sogavare confirmed that he is poised to sign it. It would allow China to deploy troops and police to the Solomons to “protect its financial interests”, and would allow Chinese warships to stop over during naval exercises. It follows Sogavare’s establishment of formal ties with China in 2019 in return for $730 million in financial aid. He defended his country’s right to “diversify” its diplomatic relationships, adding “we find it very insulting to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs.” The fear is China will be allowed to set up a permanent military base just 2,000km from Oz. Even without it, senior Defence officials say any stationing of Chinese vessels in the Solomons is a problem.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Well, this intervention from the Americans is sure to put the cat amongst the pigeons. So could new announcements made by the Coalition Government… Yesterday, Peter Dutton announced a $3.5 billion weapons upgrade that will give us long-range missile strike capabilities of about 900km sooner than planned and establish missile manufacturing capabilities here. And overnight, PM Scott Morrison has chatted to his AUKUS counterparts about getting our hands on some hypersonic missiles that can travel 2,000km. Our people say the moves are driven by a worsening global security situation, which is a sentiment backed by Admiral Paparo. “I always operate under the notion that there’s the potential of conflict within our region within a couple of years because of the incredible unpredictability of events,” he said. Yikes…

Australian News World News

Squiz the Rest

Zelensky calls on UN Security Council to expel Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned the United Nation’s Security Council that it’s giving Russia “a right to sow death” and should revoke its membership. Delivering a sometimes angry and emotional speech via videolink, Zelensky said the Council has proved powerless to stop the war and gave a detailed list of alleged atrocities committed by Russian troops, including indiscriminate killing and rape, which he said had been discovered after Russia had retreated from Kyiv. He claims that in towns like Bucha, residents have been killed and tortured “just for pleasure” and he played a graphic video showing burned and disfigured Ukrainian civilians. He called on the Council to throw out Russia as a member and take strong action to stop the violence. “Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately,” he said. The UN says 7.1 million people have now been been displaced by the war.

World News

Tragedy in the Blue Mountains

A 15yo British girl is being treated for shock in hospital after her 49yo father and 9yo brother were killed in a landslide near Wentworth Falls in NSW’s Blue Mountains on Monday. The teen’s 50yo mother and 14yo brother are in a critical condition after being treated for significant head and abdominal injuries before they could be winched out. The girl called emergency services to get help and managed to walk out of the bush unharmed – she’s been praised for her “heroic composure”. The family was on holiday from England and police are working with British officials to get family here to support the teen. “The site is still quite dangerous. There’s been quite a lot of weather, and we’ve got some weather to come as well; landslips can happen at any time,” said Acting Detective Superintendent John Nelson. With more rain forecast, all but 2 lookouts in the Blue Mountains National Park will be closed to the public from 9am this morning.

Australian News

Interest rates on hold

The Reserve Bank is holding interest rates at the record low level of 0.1% following its last board meeting before PM Scott Morrison calls a federal election. The decision was widely expected despite cost of living pressures shaping up as a key election issue and economists tipping rates could be lifted to 1.75% by the end of the year in an attempt to keep inflation at bay. The central bank’s Governor Philip Lowe said while inflation is continuing to lift, wages growth continues to lag behind. He wants to see unemployment come under 4% and a 3% lift in wages before lifting rates. And according to the latest data from the Bureau of Statistics, consumer confidence has jumped as petrol prices fell below $2/litre across most capital cities. Economists say that’s largely due to a drop in the price of crude oil, rather than the temporary cut to the fuel excise announced in last week’s federal Budget. Not that PM Scott Morrison minded a servo selfie or 2 to celebrate…

Business & Finance

Musk takes over Twitter

Tesla/SpaceX boss Elon Musk has added another notch in his belt after becoming a major shareholder of social media giant Twitter. The company revealed on Monday that the billionaire purchased around US$3 billion worth of Twitter shares last month, amounting to a 9% stake. Musk’s investment has certainly paid off since then, with Twitter’s share price jumping 30% following the news. But analysts say it’s less about the money for the world’s richest man… Musk is an avid user of the platform, and last month asked his followers whether they thought Twitter encouraged free speech. The resounding response was ‘no’, and analysts and legal experts say Musk could now leverage his position to make changes to the platform – including an edit button for tweets.  Overnight, the company announced that Musk is also joining its board and says he’ll “bring greater value” to it. For his part, Musk says he’s giving “serious thought’” to creating a new platform altogether, former US President Donald Trump will have some pointers

Technology

Pet-fluencing is the dream

Look, we’re not entirely sure how scientific this study is, but let’s run with it… In the US, pet insurer ManyPets has surveyed 2,000 cat and dog owners and found that one in 4 harbour hopes that their feline overlord/canine doofushead will one day become a social media star. More than a 3rd said they have set up profiles for their pets, and many said they put more time and effort into curating the pet’s social media presence than their own. The dream is Fluffy/Fido’s crack the big time and lucrative sponsorships dollars flow, and why wouldn’t give it a crack? Top pet-fluencers with millions of followers in the US make upwards of $15,000 for a single post on Instagram. Note: the OG of the genre, Grumpy Cat, was said to be worth around US$100 million before he died a couple of years ago. And thank you for asking, our all time favourites include Trotter Pup and Topher Brophy. Don’t judge us…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Here’s a fact for your next pub trivia: the formal name of Thailand’s capital – Bangkok – is 168 letters and 22 words long, making it a Guinness World Record winner. Now, a debate is raging over whether the city should be known by the world as ​​Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, or ‘city of angels’. 

To mark its 150th birthday, Yellowstone National Park is offering an annual pass in exchange for a US$1,500 donation that will go towards conservation efforts. There’s one catch: the ‘Inheritance Pass’ is valid in 150 years time. A nice gift for a great-great-great-great-great grandchild?

It might be the ‘boring’ flavour, but vanilla is the world’s favourite scent. It topped of a list of 10 scents presented to study participants and beat out the likes of lavender, cloves, mushrooms, garlic and sweaty goats. Sweaty goats? 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

World Table Tennis Day

Tartan Day

Birthdays for actors Paul Rudd (1970) and Zach Braff (1975)

Anniversary of:
• the establishment of Cape Colony, the first European settlement in South Africa (1652)
• the arrest of Oscar Wilde for gross indecency (1895)
• Americans Robert Peary and Matthew Henson and 4 Inuit men becoming the first people to reach the North Pole. Supposedly… (1909)
• the US declaring war on Germany, entering WWI (1917)
• ABBA winning Eurovision with Waterloo, launching their international career (1974)
• the start of the Bosnian War (1992)
• the beginning of the Rwandan genocide after the aircraft carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana is shot down (1994)

Squiz the Day

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