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Monday, 12 October 2020


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SQUIZ SAYINGS

“Tres bloody bien.”

Tweeted quad wheelchair tennis champ Dylan Alcott after picking up his 11th grand slam with a win at the French Open on the weekend. “I love winning grand slams, but it’s not the reason I get out of bed. It’s not. It’s to provide opportunities and try and change perceptions,” he said. Extrêmement bloody bien…


IT’S CONFIRMATION TIME...

THE SQUIZ
Strap yourself in, US President Donald Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett will face the Senate Judiciary Committee with confirmation hearings starting at 9am local time (midnight AEDT). Barrett’s nomination came after the death of revered feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month. And the stakes are high…

BECAUSE OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN?
Yep. Supreme Court nominations are always political affairs, but because this one is being conducted at the pointy end of an already extraordinary campaign, it’s uncharted territory. And the process will provide a focal point for broader debate about Republican v Democratic values on some big issues. That’s down to the nature of Barrett’s staunchly conservative views, including against gun law reform and abortion rights. Even though she has said that she wouldn’t try to impose her personal views upon the law, her appointment will “quickly and aggressively move the court to the right.” And the process will see committee member/vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris take centre stage to prosecute the Democrats case as big-time Republican Lindsay Graham takes Trump’s corner.

SO WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
It’s a quick one as Republicans try to get Barrett’s nomination approved and have her sworn in before 3 November. Between Monday and Wednesday this week, Barrett will face hybrid in-person and virtual hearings after 2 Republican senators tested positive for the coronavirus last week. She will introduce herself to the committee today (probably skimming over her White House announcement becoming a COVID ‘super spreader’ event…) and will then face oodles of questions about her views until the end of Wednesday. On Thursday, the committee will chat amongst itself leading up to a vote on 22 October (Thursday next week). And then the full Senate will vote on her nomination shortly after that. If the process goes as anticipated, her nomination will be approved with Republicans holding a majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee and in the Senate. But if the times have taught us anything, it’s to never assume…


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LEADERS SELL THEIR BUDGET PITCH

The post-Budget Newspoll has recorded support for the Morrison Government’s plan released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week. Despite a 2-point fall in support for PM Scott Morrison to 57 points over Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s 28 points, primary voting intention rose for the Coalition (from 43 to 44) as Labor maintained its share (stable at 34). On the Budget, 42% of voters said it would do good for the economy compared to 20% who gave it a thumbs down. More likeable was the bringing forward of personal tax cuts – a move backed by 90% of Coalition voters and 79% of Labor voters. Commentators said it makes the Budget the best received in more than 10 years. On the road selling their messages over their weekend were Morrison (who was taken for a ride in Queensland) and Albanese (who was in South Australia for the first time in months) with the House of Reps returning next week.


NORTH KOREA TURNS IT ON

Marking the 75th anniversary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party, dictator Kim Jong Un held a pre-dawn parade on Saturday to show off the latest and greatest in the Hermit Kingdom’s military might. Analysts watching online said they spotted new air defence systems, armoured vehicles, and soldiers armed with new assault weapons. And the centrepiece – what appears to be massive new long-range ballistic missiles. Over the last year, Kim has been saying that he would build up North Korea’s nuclear capabilities in many ‘look at moi’ attempts to get President Trump’s attention to restart talks about lifting sanctions. Analysts aren’t surprised Kim has continued to develop his nuclear capabilities, but many were shocked about the level of spending given the desperate economic situation the nation finds itself in.


MEGHAN TALKS TROLLS

Dealing with online abuse last year made the Duchess of Sussex feel “isolated” and “othered”. In an interview with the Teenager Therapy podcast on Saturday to mark World Mental Health Day, Meghan says she was told that she was “the most trolled person in the entire world” in 2019. “Now, 8 months of that I wasn’t even visible – I was on maternity leave or with a baby. But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable,” she said. To cope, she said keeping a journal helped her to feel “anchored”. “For me … meditation is key,” Harry said of his efforts to maintain good mental health. “I never thought I’d be the person to do that.” Royal watchers say the interview provides more clues as to why the Sussexes quit royal life earlier this year.


THE 2020 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER IS...

Drumroll, please… It’s the United Nations’ World Food Program. Recognising the work of the agency in fighting hunger and seeking to end its use as “a weapon of war and conflict”, it was noted that the coronavirus pandemic has driven millions of more people to the brink of starvation in places like Yemen, Syria and South Sudan. And the committee behind the prize said it hoped to highlight the need for global cooperation “in an era of go-it-alone nationalism.” As it happens, the Rome-based World Food Program is headed by David Beasley, a Republican former South Carolina governor who was nominated by President Trump. “I didn’t win it, you won it,” he told his team.


RECORD BREAKING SPORT

• Clay court specialist Rafael Nadal has beaten Novak Djokovic in straight sets overnight to win his 13th French Open and equal Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam men’s titles. Congratulations also went to 19-year-old Iga Świątek after she beat American/#4 seed Sofia Kenin. Fronting up to the ceremony to claim her trophy, Świątek conceded she was out of practice. “I won my last tournament, like, two years ago, and I really don’t know who to thank,” she said.

• Lewis Hamilton won the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring overnight to match Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Formula One wins. Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo came in third – his first podium finish since 2018.

• Under a new coach who had some prime ministerial ‘encouragement’, the Wallabies settled on a 16-16 draw with New Zealand’s All Blacks in a rainy contest in Wellington yesterday. The opening Bledisloe Cup game gave fans hope of a turn around after a difficult couple of years.


APROPOS OF NOTHING

Like a tall story? This record-breaking teenager from Texas has a positive body image message to go with it.

If you’re a dog owner, you know the importance of having a poo-bag when you need one. So we feel for Brissie residents who are experiencing an inconvenient shortage

Thinking about getting your Christmas decorations out? This half-tree is perfect for those with a space issue – and an outrage for traditionalists…


SQUIZ THE DAY

Term 4 starts for students in NSW, Western Oz, Tasmania, South Oz, the NT,  and ACT

Victorian primary-to-Year-7 and senior high school students start their return to the classroom

8.45pm (AEDT) – Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences announced

Spain’s National Day

Start of National Superhero Week for the benefit of Muscular Dystrophy

Start of National Nutrition Week

World Arthritis Day

A birthday for Hugh Jackman (1968)

Anniversary of:
• the first Oktoberfest when Bavaria’s royal family invited the citizens of Munich to join the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1810)
• Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh beginning to sell raincoats (macs) after patenting them (1823)
• The Day of Six Billion: when the 6 billionth human in the world was born (1999). We’re now at more than 7.8 billion…




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