Squiz Today / 11 December 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 11 December
Cricket Australia has announced a new commercial partnership with Rexona that will see Big Bash League umpires wear ads under their arms that will be visible when they are signalling a 6 or a bye. Their marketers are sweating all their assets…
BIG TECH UNDER FIRE
The US Government and attorneys general from 48 states and districts yesterday launched landmark lawsuits against Facebook over accusations it behaves like an unlawful monopoly. Their goal: to break up the social media giant because they say it engaged in, as the Washington Post puts it, “illegal, anti-competitive tactics to buy, bully and kill its rivals”. Focusing on Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp as a way to ramp up revenue and crush competitors, the lawsuits could see those businesses sold off. Facebook says it will “vigorously defend” its business practices. The lawsuits are said to be the the most significant threat to Facebook in its 16-year history. And it’s not the only burning issue it and other mega tech companies are facing…
OH, DO TELL…
In October, a similarly big antitrust lawsuit was brought against Google by the US Justice Department. It’s based on the claim that it expanded its search and advertising reach by striking special deals that were anticompetitive. And nations around the world are on Google and Facebook’s tail, particularly European Union regulators… Google and Facebook aren’t the only companies to be targeted - eyes are also said to be on Apple and Amazon over the massive positions they hold in their markets. Pundits say that the cases could see a reshaping of Silicon Valley, just like the government’s epic battle with Microsoft did in the late 90s that paved the way for businesses like Facebook and Google to emerge.
AND THEN THERE’S LITTLE OLE US...
Yep. One of the issues coming out of Google and Facebook’s digital dominance is the sucking up of advertising dollars that has weakened news media outlets’ business models. And so the Morrison Government this week announced new legislation that would put in place a News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. Which is a fancy way of saying Google and Facebook would pay for the Aussie-produced news content they carry on their platforms. The companies say they’re looking into it, but Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says it’s a world first and that "a lot of countries will see the Australian way as the possible way forward for them too." #SquizShortcut
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MEANWHILE, IN CANBERRA...
• Our political leaders gather in Canberra today for their first in-person National Cabinet meeting. Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan couldn’t be tempted to come east with his state’s guidelines preventing him from sharing space with South Australians. On the agenda: getting international students here safely for 2021, the vaccine rollout, and how the National Cabinet will work going forward. But first up, some awkward elbow bumps…
• PM Scott Morrison will get to warm up his lines with a virtual Pacific Islands Forum meeting today and its focus on climate action.
• And the United Nations’ ‘Climate Ambition’ Summit kicks off virtually tomorrow. World leaders will dial in their plans to tackle climate change, but PM Morrison doesn't have a speaking slot because he’s not pledging more ambitious climate commitments like other nations.
WHILE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT TALKING…
Another Brexit deadline for the UK and the European Union to iron out some major trade deal sticking points is closing in with Sunday becoming decision day. A dinner between UK PM Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen yesterday featured pumpkin soup with scallops and pavlova, but ended without agreement. The leaders said they remain "far apart” on issues including fishing rights, competition rules, standards, and how any deal will be enforced. The clock is ticking to reach a deal by 31 December, with both sides making preparations if Sunday ends in another stalemate. And that could see tariffs placed on $720 billion worth of goods, as well as significant disruptions to supply chains and borders.
MORE FALLOUT FROM THE JUUKAN GORGE DISASTER
Back in May, miner Rio Tinto blasted a site in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and reduced a 46,000yo sacred site to rubble. The Puutu Kunti Kuurama and Pinikura peoples (PKKP) said the miner gave them misleading information as they moved to stop work near the Juukan Gorge caves, and traditional owner Burchell Hayes says it’s “left a gaping hole in our ability to pass on our heritage to our children and grandchildren.” Rio Tinto chief executive, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, and two other senior executives resigned over the disaster in September. Fast forward to this week and a Federal Parliamentary inquiry has found Rio Tinto should pay compensation which National Native Title Council boss Jamie Lowe says could come to $250 million. The inquiry also recommended a temporary stop to official approvals to destroy cultural heritage sites at other mining sites. Remember: Rio's destruction of the Juukan Gorge site was legal under a system known as Section 18 approvals. But state Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt says that would stall billions of dollars of projects and potentially override the wishes of Indigenous groups. The Western Australian Government is in the process of overhauling the laws, but the new legislation will have to wait until 2021.
KABOOM, BUT IT’S A SUCCESS
An unmanned rocket prototype designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX exploded yesterday as it came back down to Earth after being launched from the company's testing facilities in South Texas. But as far as Musk is concerned, it went well. The test flight was the most successful yet, and was predicted to have a 1-in-3 chance of landing safely. The rocket, which is 16-storeys tall, was an early version of what has been dubbed the Starship. SpaceX hopes its will eventually transport people really fast around the world - and to Mars - but a fully operational Starship is still a long way off. NASA has given funding to SpaceX, Blue Origin (the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos), and engineering firm Leidos for the Starship project. You can catch the entire footage of the fiery landing here.
HOW DO YOU SAY THAT?
There’s a lot of ‘best of 2020’ lists going around ATM. The one that caught our eye? The US Captioning Company has released its list of most mispronounced words by newsreaders. Unsurprisingly there was a common theme of coronavirus and politics, with US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci (FOW-chee) and incoming veep Kamala (KAH-mah-lah) Harris among the most mispronounced names, alongside Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci (“dah-VIN-chee”). The full name of K-pop sensation BTS, Bangtan Sonyeondan (“PUNG-tahn SOH-nyun-dahn”) - which translates to ‘bulletproof boy scouts’ - also made the cut. As for places, Yosemite (yo-SEM-it-tee) and Nevada (ne-VAR-da) took out the top spots for most stumbled-over place names. People in glass houses…
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
This is probably coming too late to be helpful to Aussie shoppers, but there are some good nuggets of gifting gold in The Strategist’s ultimate gift guide. ‘Tis the season…
Confession time: it’s the time of year when our concentration is flagging, even when it comes to leisure. The only way we’ve found to watch and take in TV shows is to dive into something in a foreign language with subtitles. Weird, but it works. Our pick: Trapped on SBS OnDemand. It’s no wonder that its star, the ‘huge and hairy’ Ólafur Darri Ólafsso, became known as the hottest man in Iceland…
What’s cookin’, good lookin’? The oven - just 5 months old - is busted. So we’re on a no bake regime… In fact, we’ll probably just pop a bottle of champs to have with these horseradish cream oysters from Skye Gyngell and be done with it…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Last day of school for students in Queensland and South Australia
National Tango Day – Argentina
A birthday for Hamish Blake (1981)
Anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (1946)
UN Climate Ambition Summit - virtual
Gingerbread House Day
• Washington DC being established as the capital of the USA (1800)
• the birthdays of painter Edvard Munch (1863) and crooner Frank Sinatra (1915)
A birthday for singer Taylor Swift (1989)
• Dutch explorer Abel Tasman's sighting the South Island of present-day New Zealand (initially he calls it Staten Landt but changes it a year later to Nieuw Zeeland) (1642)
• League of Nations establishing the International Court of Justice in The Hague (1920)
• the capture of Iraq President Saddam Hussein (2003)
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