Squiz Today / 20 December 2019
Squiz Today – Friday, 20 December
"We've wrapped up the biggest stories from each month, and pulled out the most-clicked items from the Squiz Today email. You're welcome…"
So starts our 2019 Year in Review. As for the links you clicked on, we totally have the same sense of humour, so it's no wonder we're friends… PS - if you want to test your news knowledge, go no further than our fun and informative online Squiz Quiz.
PRESIDENT TRUMP IMPEACHED
The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach US President Donald Trump. Charges relating to Trump's alleged attempts to withhold military aid to Ukraine and pressure its president to investigate former US Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 election opponent, were approved by House members. He becomes the third president in American history to be impeached.
The votes on the articles of impeachment - that Trump abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress - overwhelmingly followed party allegiances. The House is controlled by the Democrats, and they had the numbers to vote for impeachment and defeat Trump's party, the Republicans. House Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, couldn't say enough times what a sad occasion it was - and a lot was made of her funereal outfit and moves to shoosh cheers from her side as the votes went through. As for Trump, he oscillated between being super shouty and chillaxed about the whole thing. And he quickly turned it into a story about his political opponents’ attacking his fellow Americans, not just him.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Trump faces a trial in the Senate that will determine if he is to be removed from office. It’s unlikely that he will be removed because the Senate is dominated by Republicans, and its representatives have already vowed support for their president. How and when that trial will happen is TBD. So what does any of it matter? Pundits say it will shape the 2020 presidential campaign. And just a day short of the 21st anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, it has sealed Trump’s place in American political history.
For extra points: We've got a podcast and some quick dot points on impeachment in Squiz Shortcuts.
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NSW's FIRE EMERGENCY TURNS DEADLY
Two volunteer firefighters were killed last night and eight others have been hurt in a truck accident in Buxton, on the south-west edge of Sydney. Reports say the truck was travelling in a convoy when it struck a tree and rolled. "This is an absolutely devastating event in what has already been an incredibly difficult day and fire season," the Rural Fire Service said. At least 20 homes were destroyed and three firefighters were taken to hospital with burns sustained while fighting the blaze in that area. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a week-long state of emergency as temperatures soared and four emergency level fires burned yesterday. Meanwhile, Australia’s maximum average temperature record was smashed for the second time in as many days hitting 41.9C on Wednesday as climate protestors took up at the prime minister’s residence in Sydney waiting Scott Morrison’s return from holiday. And with hot conditions across the country today and into the coming week, please take care.
BREXIT FRONT AND CENTRE AS A NEW CHAPTER BEGINS
The Queen has outlined the plans of the UK’s newly elected government with PM Boris Johnson calling it the most radical program in a generation that would herald a new "golden age”. Which is an interesting exercise in expectations management, but we digress… And then it was straight down to Brexit business. The legislation for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January was introduced with a vote expected today. It's been noted that the parliament's powers to oversee Brexit have been removed. That’s down to the change that majority government has delivered to the Conservatives. The Johnson Government has also laid out plans for increased funding for schools and healthcare via the NHS, as well as measures to improve internet safety.
MORE MISCONDUCT UNCOVERED IN HAITI
United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Haiti may have fathered hundreds of children to local women and girls, according to a new study. The Caribbean nation is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and a violent hotspot after rebels toppled the government in 2004. Then there was a catastrophic earthquake in 2010. Interviews with 2,500 Haitians have uncovered cases of sexual violence, but mostly more subtle coercions involving food or money, as well as consensual relationships between locals and peacekeepers. Years later, those left behind face poverty, social stigma and single motherhood. The scandal follows revelations last year that staff from the charity Oxfam was involved in the exploitation of local women and girls. The UN says it is committed to addressing the issue.
A GIFT FOR THE ECONOMY
Just in time for Christmas, Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen. The latest data from the Bureau of Statistics shows unemployment fell from 5.3% to 5.2% in November with 40,000 new jobs were created. Almost 36,000 of those jobs are part-time. That means nearly 13 million Aussie have a job, with more than 8.8 million of those employed full-time. And those considered to be unemployed (aka people who are looking for work) fell by nearly 17,000 to just over 700,000. The Reserve Bank wants our unemployment rate to get to 4.5% ASAP. Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this week said the government is targeting an average rate of 5.25% this financial year.
IS IT A CAT-ASTROPHE?
Despite its high voltage all-star cast, the just-released movie version of Cats has unleashed a torrent of grim reviews. The Guardian called it “a purr-fectly dreadful hairball of woe”. The New York Times said: "A doctoral thesis could be written on how this misfire sputtered into existence”. And Collider wrote: “Cats always feels like it’s two seconds away from turning into a furry orgy in a dumpster.” Still, the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic has evoked a strong response since its premiere in 1981. One for the true believers, perhaps?
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
UK retailers are renowned for their excellent Christmas ads. This one about an excitable dragon was the pick for us this year.
Controversial, but we're on board with this unorthodox present wrapping technique.
Nailing a good salad for Christmas day is super hard. But this one goes with roasted meats, ham and seafood, so it’s on our menu. And if you want to check out any of the recipes we’ve pointed to this year, here they are in one link. Nom nom…
AND WE’RE DONE FOR 2019
Yep. Two weeks holiday here we come… We’ll be back on Monday, 6 January all bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready for a big 2020. Whether you signed up to The Squiz recently or have been with us from the start - thank you. If you weren’t reading, listening and sharing us with your people, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to come back in 2020 with big plans to do even more. Merry Christmas, happy new year, and please excuse us while we find somewhere quiet to lie down for a while…
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