Squiz Today / 11 November 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 11 November

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Yo, what the hell is an HSC exam and why are all of y‘all failing it?”

Asked acclaimed Vietnamese/American author/poet Ocean Vuong after he was bombarded with messages from anxious NSW Year 12 students. Monday’s English exam asked them to unpack passages from his novel that the Washington Post says is “a lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal.” Yikes…

Australia’s most wanted caught at the border

The capture of wealthy restaurateur/suspected drug smuggler Mostafa Baluch will go down as “one of the great days,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott said yesterday. He was discovered in the back of a truck heading towards Queensland. Ultimately, authorities believe, he was set to leave the country on a boat to Indonesia and the plan was to get to the Balkans. Baluch breached his bail conditions when he cut off his ankle monitor and took off more than 2 weeks ago triggering one of the largest manhunts the country’s ever seen.

So 2 things to note. First, Baluch is accused of being a significant organised crime figure who had ambitions to take control of Sydney’s cocaine market. He was charged and detained in June over a plot to import 900kg of the stuff from Ecuador, but he was granted bail (an application that police opposed…) and went on the run last month. And second: check out his Hollywood-worthy capture… NSW Police were tipped off that Baluch was planning to cross the NSW-Queensland border in a truck – and that happened at 1am yesterday morning. Queensland Police noticed the truck because the container on the back wasn’t properly secured. An officer knocked on the side, Baluch knocked back thinking it was the drop-off, and he was found hiding in a Merc inside the truck. “Quite shocked” was said to be his reaction…

NSW is seeking his extradition from Queensland this morning. Once back in NSW, he will be detained and then tried. And there’s a discussion happening about why he was out on bail… NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman says he will ask the state’s Bail Act Monitoring Group to review the decision to let Baluch out – one of a “recent spate of contentious bail decisions,” he said. Both the Coalition and Labor say reforms could be needed. As for Baluch, he can subtract $4 million from his personal wealth… He put up a property worth that much as surety, and the government says it will be forfeited to the state.

Australian News Crime

Squiz the Rest

COP to call on Oz to have another go

Remember back in school, there was a subject that didn’t come easy? Big homework assignments were ugh, and it felt great when you were done – but the horror when you were told it wasn’t good enough and to have another go? Well, that looks set to happen to Australia with a draft decision paper released at the COP26 climate change summit overnight urging several countries to set more ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets by November next year. Australia has signed up to net zero by 2050, but did not shift the short term target. PM Scott Morrison says we will “meet and beat” the promise to lower emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 – a promise made in 2015. Officials at the COP are worried that with all the plans on the table, it isn’t enough to lock in global warming at a max 1.5-2C by the end of the century.

Environment & Science

Keating takes a swipe

Former PM Paul Keating has long been a passionate advocate for Australia’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific. And when it comes to the Morrison Government’s recent endeavours with our neighbours, he gives them negative-10 desiccated coconuts out of 10. In his first appearance at the National Press Club in 26 years to discuss Australia’s strategic framework, he said that Oz is “at odds with its geography”. Of particular concern to him is the current friction with China because it is “simply too big and too central to be ostracised.” Efforts by the US to contain China’s ambitions “would make a cat laugh,” he said. And we ought to keep out of the argy-bargy over Taiwan because it’s “not a vital Australian interest”. As for our old ally Britain – it’s like “an old theme park sliding into the Atlantic compared to modern China.” And its leader Boris Johnson is an “old coconut head”. Which leaves one question: what is it with Keating and coconuts?


A good day to be single

Your relationship status might not affect your shopping abilities, but Singles’ Day is the biggest global online sales event of the year. Kicked off by Chinese online shopping juggernaut Alibaba, what used to be an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration (marked by the ‘4 singles’ in the date 11.11) is now an excuse to add to cart. Last year, sales of US$78 billion were just a bit higher than America’s US$10.8 billion Black Friday/Cyber Monday… But this year, analysts say the Chinese Government’s ongoing corporate crackdown is expected to dampen the cha-ching. In line with President Xi Jinping’s vision for China’s economy, the e-commerce giant said Singles’ Day will be more low-key as the company focuses on sustainability and philanthropy. #SquizShortcut

Business & Finance

An ‘explosion’ of record-smashing rain

For much of Oz, spring has been soggy. And there will be more of the wet stuff with a “significant rain event” today and tomorrow bringing severe storms, record-breaking rain and flash flooding to much of the country’s north, east and interior. Towns along the NSW-Queensland border are expected to be the hardest hit with more than 150-200mm of rain expected. In northern NSW, some areas have already received the most November rain in a decade, and record-breaking rain delivered extraordinary scenes in Alice Springs yesterday. The weather bureau says “many areas” are at risk of flooding and emergency services want residents to “be prepared”. Come Saturday, things should be better, but with a windy, cold front set to move in, there could be snow for parts of southern NSW. Snow can you believe… See you at the weekend, sofa…


Remembering together

Ceremonies will be held across all states and territories today to mark Remembrance Day, but Victoria is the only one releasing 100 homing pigeons… At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month – the time the guns on Europe’s Western Front fell silent at the end of World War I – we observe a minute’s silence to honour the memory of those who died or suffered in Australia’s cause in all wars and armed conflicts. Today also marks the 80th anniversary of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra being opened to the public by then-Governor-General Lord Gowrie in 1941. Ongoing lockdown restrictions in the nation’s capital mean it is closed to the public, but a small ceremony will be broadcast on ABC TV from 10.45am AEDT. Lest we forget.

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing

Nobel laureate/Taliban target Malala Yousafzai announced she has “tied the knot” with Pakistani cricket official Asser Malik in a small Islamic ceremony in the UK. The 24yo women’s rights activist said it was a “precious day in my life”. Aww…

Searching for the perfect hangover cure? How about this 1,500yo amethyst ring, which archaeologists say may have been worn to stave off the booze blues. Worth a try…

This week, an unusual street sculpture unveiled in Adelaide’s Glenelg has been described by its creator Michael Kutschbach as “generous, fun, colourful and responsive”. One local’s take: “This alleged sculpture looks like a very large poo after bubble tea.” Everyone’s a critic…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.00am – A minute’s silence is observed for Remembrance Day

6.00pm (AEDT) – US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to give the 2021 Lowy Lecture – livestream available here

7.00pm (AEDT) – Kennedy Awards for NSW-based journalists – Sydney

8.05pm (AEDT) – Soccer World Cup Qualifier – Australia v Saudi Arabia – Western Sydney Stadium, Sydney

Company AGM – BHP, Nine Entertainment, Xero

Former cricketer/commentator Michael Slater to face court on stalking/harassment charges – Sydney

World Quality Day

Singles’ Day – China

No Time To Die, the new Bond film and the last one starring Daniel Craig, gets its cinematic launch here in Oz

A birthday for actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974)

Anniversary of
• 140 years since Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol (1880)
• the birthday of author Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821)
• the opening of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra (1941)
• the publication of Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22 (1962)
• PM Gough Whitlam being removed from office by Governor-General Sir John Kerr (1975)

Squiz the Day

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