Squiz Today / 26 September 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 26 September
“We absolutely fundamentally believed it was time to launch a doll line free of labels and free of rules for kids."
Said Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, of the new line of gender-inclusive dolls. And no doubt the company absolutely fundamentally believes it could rake it in by broadening its customer base to include that part of the market…
BALL STARTS ROLLING ON TRUMP IMPEACHMENT
The starter’s gun has been fired on an official investigation into accusations US President Donald Trump has abused his power. Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives (aka the Democrats' leader in the House), said 'game on' by initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump, calling his actions a “betrayal”. Trump responded yesterday, tweeting “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Trump is just the fourth president in US history to face the realistic threat of impeachment in the nation’s history.
WHAT’S HE ACCUSED OF DOING?
• The claim is Trump violated the constitution by seeking help from a foreign leader (Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky) to damage a domestic political opponent (former Vice President and presidential aspirant Joe Biden).
• This is a cool/detailed timeline of events. But in short, this came to light after a whistleblower filed an official complaint regarding a July phone call between Trump and the newly-minted Ukrainian President. The claim is Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate Biden over his son’s connection to a local gas company. Note: Biden is a candidate to be the Democrats’ pick to run for president next year.
• A summary of the call released overnight shows Trump requesting Zelensky to launch an investigation into Biden, and the Ukraine President agreeing.
IS THIS A THREAT TO TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY?
First to the process. Like so many things in life, this is a journey… Impeachment is not shorthand for the removal of the president from office - it’s the way the House brings charges against them. To actually boot the nation's leader, there are many more steps that need to be taken. And remember, this is just at the 'investigation' stage… And then to politics. There’s been a lot said since Trump took office about how the Democrats would handle an opportunity to impeach him. The concern is that it could actually firm up his support if they don’t strike a killer blow. The example of former President Bill Clinton winning public support after the Republicans went after him in the late 90s would be ringing in Pelosi and Co’s ears…
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AN UPDATE FROM THE WORLD STAGE...
There are few bigger stages than the United Nations, where world leaders are currently gathered. The upshot is:
• President Trump said 'down with globalism' and 'up with patriotism', echoing his 2016 campaign's 'America First' world view. But he wasn't without an opinion about how other nations were going. On Hong Kong, he expects China to uphold its "democratic way of life". He also laid out America’s case for the trade war, saying he is only seeking a fair deal.
• Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said negotiations with the US on its nuclear capabilities are off the table as long as sanctions remained in place. Calling America's actions "economic terrorism", he said the Western power had not solved any of the region's problems before and was incapable of it now.
• And our PM Scott Morrison has doubled down on his call for improvements to the recycling of plastics to prevent ocean pollution. He said a commercial model needs to underpin efforts, not taxes or more talk-fests. Yesterday, he urged caution in the wake of teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s emotional speech on climate change. “I don’t want our children having anxieties about these issues. I want children growing up in Australia to feel positive about their future,” he said.
Speaking of Iran… Wonder why Iran and the US are so itchy and scratchy? We’ve pulled together a new Squiz Shortcut to get you across it in 10 minutes. Spoiler alert: Ben Affleck gets a mention…
BACK WITH BREXIT...
Meanwhile, one leader who skedaddled home from New York was UK PM Boris Johnson. After the court ruled that suspending the parliament for five weeks was “unlawful”, Johnson had to make haste to be around as MPs returned to Westminster overnight. Once there, he struck a conciliatory note apologising for the mess up. Just kidding… He railed against the "selfishness and political cowardice" of Labour and crossbench MPs who still won’t support an early election. "I think the people of this country have had enough,” he said.
OCEANS RISING FASTER THAN PREDICTED
A sobering new report from the International Panel on Climate Change says global warming has already had a significant effect on the world’s oceans. Rising sea levels and melting glaciers and ice sheets are all but unavoidable given current greenhouse gas emission levels, the report says. The oceans, which cover almost 80% of the Earth's surface, have absorbed 90% of the excess heat which means our oceans are "higher, warmer, more acidic, less productive and hold(s) less oxygen," one expert said. With 85% of the Australian population living 50km of the ocean, an Aussie contributor to the report said preparations need to be made for “unavoidable coastal changes”.
Need a quick explainer on what’s happening with global warming? We’ve got a Squiz Shortcut it too.
CANBERRA EMBRACES A LEGAL HIGH
Possessing and growing cannabis for personal use in the nation’s capital will be legal from 31 January next year. The territory’s council, sorry, legislative assembly, yesterday passed a law making it totally dope for Canberrans over 18yo to possess 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants. There are questions about whether the change clashes with federal drug laws, but those in support of the bill said chill out, dude. The federal government maintains its opposition to legalising cannabis for recreational use.
WRITING TIPS FROM THE POPE
Excuse us for mixing religious metaphors – but the Pope has gone and declared a fatwa on adjectives. Yes, you read correctly – the moral arbiter of the Catholic Church has decreed that describing words are the root of all evil. Or at least largely unnecessary. In a speech yesterday to the Vatican’s communications peeps, Pope Francis declared “we have fallen into the culture of adjectives and adverbs, and we have forgotten the strength of nouns". To the Papal mind, the word “Christian” is strong enough on its own without the qualifier “authentically”. “Beauty manifests itself from the noun itself, without strawberries on the cake," the Pope added.
NEED A BREATHER AFTER ALL THAT NEWS?
Pictures of Baby Archie being kissed by Desmond Tutu are just the ticket...
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Releases - Job Vacancies, August; (And thank goodness the wait is over…) Methodological News, September
Ahoy it’s World Maritime Day
Anniversary of Australia II’s victory in the America’s Cup (1983)
Serena Williams’ birthday (1981)
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