Squiz Today / 26 March 2021
Squiz Today – Friday, 26 March
“I love you guys and I cherish our time together, I truly do. I also hate you.”
Said Chrissy Teigen explaining her love-hate relationship with Twitter before deleting her account/abdicating her throne. The New York Times this week described her as a “model-cookbook author-mom, pop-star wife and sassy social media cynosure,” so chances are she’ll find something else to do with her time…
NORTH KOREA BACK AT IT
North Korea yesterday fired two short-range missiles into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan in the first such launch in almost a year. The ballistic missile launches follow smaller tests on Sunday, which violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
No need to pinch yourself - you haven’t woken up in 2018… But there are similarities. It highlights the same problem that’s been in focus for years, the US military spokesman said: “the threat that North Korea's illicit weapons program poses to its neighbours and the international community." And it's the same tactic from North Korea to get the attention of the same target - America. What’s different this time around is there’s a new president in the White House - one that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has so far snubbed despite US diplomatic efforts to open the lines of communication. Instead, experts say Kim is getting his missile tests to convey his feelings about the current state of affairs to President Joe Biden.
WHAT’S KIM CRANKY ABOUT?
The usual. Kim wants America to come back to the negotiating table - something that hasn’t happened since the failed second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in February 2019. Kim wants to discuss major sanctions relief in exchange for undertakings he'll scale back his nuclear capabilities. And it's an interesting time for Kim to be pressing the missile test button. Biden and Co are completing a policy review on America’s approach to North Korea in the coming weeks. And we’re not far away from the Olympics in Tokyo - and some experts say yesterday’s tests coinciding with the start of the Torch Relay isn’t a coincidence. For his part, Biden played down the threat overnight.
SQUIZ THE REST
‘LET’S CHAT’, MORRISON SAYS TO HIGGINS
A process is being set up within the Prime Minister’s office for complaints to be made against his staff members after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins made a formal complaint to PM Scott Morrison’s chief of staff yesterday. She claims members of his media relations team were involved in ‘backgrounding’ journalists against her partner. She also said she would like to participate in the review about who inside the PM’s office knew what about her alleged sexual assault. Morrison, who fronted Nine’s A Current Affair last night, said he would be “happy to sit down and have a chat with her” if she wanted. He also thanked her for starting “a very deep and confronting conversation” about the treatment of women in Australia saying “we have gone way deeper, we have gone beyond the sheer shock of violent acts.” Morrison wouldn’t confirm yesterday if Attorney-General Christian Porter and Defence Minister would move portfolios, but speculation continued to mount that a reshuffle is on the cards. And in more bad news for the Liberals on the toxic culture front, Brissie MP Andrew Laming was forced to apologise to 2 women for online trolling.
WATCH OUT, FLOOD WATER ABOUT
As we head into the weekend, many rivers across NSW remain a flood risk. There were no major rainfalls in the north of the state yesterday, but major flooding continues in Moree, the Upper Hunter around Singleton, Grafton in the Northern Rivers, parts of the Central Coast, and the Hawkesbury-Nepean region near Sydney catchment. About 60,000 people have been told by emergency services to be ready to evacuate, adding to the almost 24,000 people who have left their homes. And the rain isn't done yet - Merimbula on the NSW South Coast received 42.2mm in 30 minutes yesterday. Rainfall records were broken in eastern Victoria yesterday. And Tassie, which also has current flood warnings in the east of the state, will be attacked by a blue line with spikes in the early hours of tomorrow…
TALLY OF TRADE WOES WITH CHINA
The value of Australia's trade with China was down 2% in value in the second half of last year compared to the same period in 2019, which doesn’t sound so bad given the amount of time we spent talking about the expected downturn. But the problem with that number is it’s significantly propped up by booming iron ore exports with the price of the mining commodity soaring last year. Stip it out of the numbers, and it’s a much different story… For almost all other industries, the value of our exports to China were down by 40%. Things weren't 100% tickety-boo before 2020, but the Oz-China relationship went lemon-strength sour over a range of geopolitical issues. Paying the price were barley, wine, beef, and lobster exporters (to name a few) who saw their business suspended or disputed. China still refuses to answer Australia’s calls to discuss the trade impasse.
TRADING HALT FOR AMP AMID DOUBTS OVER CEO
Wealth manager AMP suspended the trading of its shares yesterday - a sign something significant is about to be announced. An hour before it went into the trading halt, the Financial Review published a story (paywall) that its boss Francesco De Ferrari is set to resign, which sent the company’s share price down 3.6% in an hour. AMP says De Ferrari remains as CEO of the group, didn't address whether moves are afoot for the Italian-born finance executive who once worked alongside Mother Theresa is planning to go. AMP - one of Australia's largest super providers, insurers, and asset managers - has been marred by several controversies in recent times, including revelations it had sold financial products to dead people, and mishandled a serious sexual assault complaint against one if its business division leaders.
Despite a day of effort, the Ever Given mega-ship that became wedged in Egypt's Suez Canal on Wednesday is not budging. At least the container vessel has company with at least 160 other ships waiting for the obstruction to clear. So far, dredgers, tug boats and a seemingly tiny bulldozer have done little to unwedge the 220,000 tonne, 400-metre long container vessel. According to authorities, if tugboats are unable to pull it free, containers may have to be offloaded to make the vessel lighter, and that could take days or maybe weeks. Not great options for one of the world's busiest waterways... But all is not lost - the episode has quickly turned into the hottest thing on the internet.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Songs have a way of timestamping your life. For us, Boy Meets Girl’s Waiting for a Star to Fall was the end of primary school. So their recent interview about the song and its impact was a blast from the past - and who knew they’d also written Whitney Houston’s hits How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody?
Sorry about this, but someone showed us this silly clip two weeks ago. It's beneath all of us, but we found it to be snort-laughter inducing… Sound on for the full effect.
If you like paella (or as a friend calls it, hot wet rice…), nothing beats the real thing. But it’s quite a bit of effort - unlike this baked rice with broccoli and prawns. It’s got the great paella flavour, with a fraction of the hassle. Good for a weekday meal.
SQUIZ THE DAY
Independence Day in Bangladesh
Birthdays for US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (1940), Watergate journo Bob Woodward (1943), singer Diana Ross (1944), Google co-founder Larry Page (1973) and actress Keira Knightley (1985),
• the deaths of Beethoven (1827) and poet Walt Whitman (1892),
• Boris Yeltsin becoming Russia's first President (1989)
• the Schengen Treaty going into effect (1995)
• filmmaker James Cameron becoming the first person to visit Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, in more than 50 years (2012)
Passover begins (on until 4 April)
4.30pm (AEDT) - Horse Racing - Golden Slipper - Rosehill Gardens (rescheduled after last week's washout)
World Theatre Day
Birthdays for director Quentin Tarantino (1963) and singers Mariah Carey (1971) and singer Fergie (1975)
• the patenting of kerosene (1855)
• Billie Holiday playing in front of a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall 11 days after being released from prison (1948)
• Suharto officially succeeding Sukarno as president of Indonesia (1968)
• the worst aviation disaster in history when two Boeing 747s collided in Spain, killing 583 people (1977)
JobKeeper scheme ends
Formula 1 Grand Prix - Bahrain
Birthdays for Michael Parkinson (1935), Vince Vaughn (1970), Julia Stiles (1981) and Lady Gaga (1986)
• the Lourve being opened to the public (1794)
• the end of the Spanish Civil War (1939)
• the deaths of Virginia Woolf (1941)
• the world's largest dinosaur footprint found in Western Australia (2017)
• North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. It was Kim’s first trip outside of North Korea since coming to power in 2011 (2018)
• Cyclone Debbie making landfall in northeast Queensland (2017)
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