Squiz Today / 06 December 2019
Squiz Today – Friday, 6 December
"It's just me and this lot.”
Said Princess Anne to her mother in the exchange that went viral this week. The Queen wasn’t chastising her daughter for not greeting the Trumps, reports say. What happened was QEII looked across to see which world leader she was due to receive next. No one was there but Anne and other members of the family (aka “this lot”). Which is how we hope the Queen signs her Christmas cards this year…
FIRES THREATEN NSW AS SYDNEY SUFFOCATES
More than 100 fires burned in NSW overnight as the bushfire crisis continues to grip the state. At its worst, seven fires were burning at the emergency level, but with firefighters working through the night, the Rural Fire Service says none are at that extreme rating as they kick off efforts today. Meanwhile, in Sydney the dense smoke haze has brought “some of the highest air pollution ever seen in NSW,” the state's environment officials said.
WHERE ARE THE FIRES BURNING?
You can see from this map issued last night. Townships along the NSW south coast, near Batemans Bay, were on high alert last night as a fire raged out of control. And in the Hunter region (inland from Gosford), fire crews worked to contain two large fires. And a dangerous fire to the capital's south-west also threatened homes and forced evacuations. Some dramatic images of the moment residents were told to flee was captured by photographers. Today, the Bureau of Meteorology says winds will elevate the fire risk across the northern and eastern parts of the state.
AND THE SMOKE HAZE?
Sydney really has become the big smoke… Residents and visitors spent much of yesterday cast in a strange orange light. Flights at Sydney Airport were delayed, and hospital emergency departments reported a spike in people presenting with respiratory issues. The Australian Open golf tournament was also affected with players noting they have not experienced conditions like it, even when playing in countries noted for their poor air quality. Reports say Sydneysiders may have to wait until early next week to get much relief from the oppressive conditions.
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IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS TO GO FORWARD
That’s what Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, has told her colleagues. As the House committees wrap up their inquiries into accusations of misuse of power by US President Donald Trump, she has told them to draft the ‘articles of impeachment’ that will be voted on by House members. If they vote to impeach the President, proceedings then move onto the Senate where a hearing (where Trump will be able to mount a defence) will take place. Pelosi says the evidence tendered on accusations Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden has left lawmakers “no choice but to act.” Trump responded on Twitter urging Democrats to “do it now, fast” with a presidential election less than a year away...
Need to get impeachment ready? We’ve got a Squiz Shortcut for that. It's light on the politics and focused on how the process works. Factual and fun...
MORRISON MARIE KONDOS THE BUREAUCRACY
As federal parliament wrapped up for the year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison took the opportunity to do a bit of housekeeping by restructuring the federal public service. Eighteen departments will become 14. Five departmental secretaries (aka head honchos) will lose their jobs, but there will be no other job cuts with the PM reiterating that changes are designed to "bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision making, and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people”. Morrison also flagged this won’t be the last we’ll hear from him on the topic with a formal response to the Thodey Review - a report commissioned in 2018 to look at the efficiency of the public service - to be announced next week.
FRANCE CRIPPLED BY STRIKES
Even by French standards (where striking is practically a national pastime), the strikes that swept the country overnight were epic. Labelled the biggest strike for decades, and certainly the biggest strike of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, a general walkout of workers over changes to the pension system that would see them retiring later or facing reduced payouts saw the country grind to a halt. The transport system, schools, police and health services were all affected. Even the Eiffel Tower tweeted it was shut... Along with the closures, 500,000 people marched in Paris to protest against the changes. Pundits say Macron’s handling of the crisis will key to his political future.
COLES’ MILK MESS
Coles will pay $5.25 million to farmers after the ACCC claimed it had failed to fully pass on the drought levy it raised from sales of its own brand milk. Back in March, Coles said it would support its supplier, dairy co-operative Norco, by increasing milk prices and passing the extra money straight on to dairy farmers and the processor. However, the ACCC claims Norco didn’t get the amount Coles said it would in its marketing materials, which is something regulator Rod Sims says failed "the pub test”. Coles says it disagrees with the ACCC’s "interpretation of these issues”, but they’ve offered to pay to avoid an "unnecessary dispute".
No, the champion mare hasn't had a long stint in the good paddock… Winx's having a baby. Her owners are expected to make the news official on Monday after a few more routine checks. She's said to be due in October 2020, and when someone tells her foal that he/she looks a million bucks, it will be accurate. That's how much industry players say the newborn would fetch, although it's unlikely the owners will put the million-dollar baby up for sale, reports say.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Sesame Street recently turned 50yo. How it came to be and how its producers have “stayed relentlessly true to the mission of helping kids grow stronger, smarter and kinder” is explained in this loving look at the groundbreaking TV show.
Third time lucky… Singer Billie Eilish had done the identical interview with Vanity Fair at 12-month intervals, and in her third run at it, (gasp…) she's happy. At almost 18yo, she's an old head on young shoulders.
Need a bit of green to rebalance the indulgences of the week/get ready for indulgences to come? We had this with some grilled salmon, and it made us feel holier than thou.
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ABS Data Release - Livestock and Meat, October
Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s arrest for political activities in South Africa (1956)
Anniversary of the bloody water polo match between the USSR and Hungary at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. It was one of the hardest-fought contests in Olympic history
11.10am (AEDT) - Women’s Big Bash Cricket Semi-Final - Strikers v Scorchers - Brisbane
2.50am (AEDT) - Women’s Big Bash Cricket Semi-Final - Heat v Renegades - Brisbane
The second anniversary of same-sex marriage legislation passing the Australian Parliament
Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour (1941)
2.40pm (AEDT) - Women’s Big Bash Cricket Final - SF1 v SF2 - Brisbane
Final day of the Australian Open Golf Championship - Sydney
Start of the Billabong Pipe Masters - Hawaii
Anniversary of John Lennon’s death (1980)
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