Squiz Today / 03 August 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 3 August
“This is real, folks!!! Calf called Genie is born on Texas ranch and looks EXACTLY like Kiss rocker Gene Simmons”
Tweeted Kiss rocker Gene Simmons. Check it out - no further explanation needed. Mic drop.
TILLERSON SOFTER ON NORTH KOREA
Marking six months since his confirmation, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a surprise first press conference yesterday and made some notable statements in the process:
- The US wants dialogue with North Korea – and they don’t want regime change or the collapse of the Hermit Kingdom and reunification with the democratic South.
- America’s relationship with Russia has worsened since Trump’s election.
- And he speaks to President Donald Trump every day, including late at night “when something comes to his head.” (Something that would make you as unhappy as Angela Merkel on a hike in Italy.)
IS THAT A MORE CONCILIATORY TONE ON NORTH KOREA I HEAR?
Yes, you heard that right. The message out of the US via Tillerson and Trump has previously been very ‘down with North Korea’, so this is different. Remember: things are at a critical point with North Korea testing an intercontinental ballistic missile last weekend that probably has the range to reach Washington DC. So Tillerson’s message to the North Koreans: ‘We are not your enemy, we are not your threat. But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond,’ ” is a different tact. We suppose they call that diplomacy.
AND WHAT’S THE GO WITH RUSSIA?
In the Trump Administration’s defence (and yes, we’re possibly the first to utter that phrase…), it was probably going to be rough going with Russia no matter who was in the White House. Putting aside the issue of Russian interference in the US election and the resulting tit-for-tat diplomatic sanctions, there’s argy-bargy between the two powers on Syria, Iran and Ukraine to name three serious matters. But clearly a glass-half-full kinda guy, Tillerson said he believes they can still work together. All this will be discussed by Tillerson with his international counterparts (including our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop) at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila on the weekend. Cue the silly shirts (we hope).
SQUIZ THE REST
ONE MAN RELEASED AS TERROR PLOT INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE
One of the men arrested in Saturday night’s terror raids in Sydney has been released without charge. Police have until Saturday afternoon to charge or release the remaining three men. PM Malcolm Turnbull yesterday said conclusions shouldn’t be drawn from the man’s release, adding; “More will be said and more will be revealed at the appropriate time but at this point it is very important that I respect the integrity of the investigation process.” Authorities are being tight-lipped as investigations continue but News Corp reports it was told by someone in the know; “It was as close to a major terror attack as we have ever come.”
VENEZUELA IN CRISIS
Things have gone from bad to worse in Venezuela since President Nicolás Maduro’s power-grab-dressed-up-as-an-election last Sunday. The election has been widely condemned as a sham. Meanwhile, opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma have been taken from their homes to a military prison. And yesterday, Trump added his voice to those condemning Maduro’s march towards dictatorship saying: "The United States holds Maduro - who publicly announced just hours earlier that he would move against his political opposition - personally responsible for the health and safety of Mr López, Mr Ledezma and any others seized." The UN says it is increasingly concerned that a humanitarian disaster is imminent.
GENETIC EDITING BREAKTHROUGH IN US
Big and controversial news in the medical research world – scientists in the US have successfully edited the DNA of human embryos to erase an inherited heart condition. A faulty gene that causes hereditary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was removed from the egg and showed a high rate of ‘repair’ as the cells divided. The embryos were allowed to grow for a few days only and were never intended for pregnancy. Scientists are interested in the work’s application to more than 10,000 disorders that can be traced to a single gene. This new era also ushers in new ethical and moral concerns that will no doubt be hotly debated before any widespread application is allowed.
FACEBOOK BOTS GO ROGUE
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg has made no secret of his enthusiasm for artificial intelligence but like a parent who hasn’t given his robot children enough boundaries, they mucked up. Facebook were trialing a chatbot program mimicking human behaviour to negotiate and trade. They then paired two bots – named Alice and Bob – to get them to trade books, hats and balls with each other. The trial had to be shut down when they developed their own language that the humans couldn’t understand. At first the researchers thought it was gibberish, then they realised Alice and Bob were making plans to take over Sheryl Sandberg’s office (just jokes). Actually, they’d worked out an efficient way to talk to each other about their trades using English words – but not in any order that made sense to any human creature. Hilarious! (Actually we’re really scared by don’t want our evil robot overlords to know…)
ANDREW DENTON’S HEART SHOCK
All round Aussie TV genius Andrew Denton has advanced heart disease and will spend the rest of the year recovering from multiple bypass surgery which reports say he will undergo soon. Go Gentle Australia confirmed Denton is stepping back from its assisted-dying campaign for now – no doubt frustrating given Victoria is about to introduce legislation to legalise euthanasia, for which Denton has been tirelessly campaigning. It’s also been recently reported that Denton was in discussions with Seven for a new talk show in 2018. If true, we hope that isn’t delayed, he is missed on our screens.
BOLT RETIRES WITH DOPING WORRIES
As Jamaican athlete/superstar/good-time-guy Usain Bolt prepares for his swansong at the upcoming athletics World Championships in London, he had a stern warning for his fellow athletes and administrators: stop doping or the sport will die. He said he thought things were getting better, but there was some way to go for the sport to be totally clean. There’s been concern about his form going into his last competition because no one wants to see him lose after his glittering career. However, Bolt was unfazed; “Unbeatable. For me, that would be the biggest headline. Unbeatable. Unstoppable. Hear that guys? Jot it down,” he said at a press conference yesterday. Bolt will compete in the 100m this Friday (with the finals on Saturday local time) and the 4x100m relay the following weekend before retiring at 30yo to dedicate more time to… well, to partying (we imagine…).
PRINCE PHILIP RETIRES WITH NO WORRIES
Speaking of swansongs, Prince Philip has undertaken his last official engagement before retiring from public life. He hosted a reception for a group of Royal Marines who trekked more than 2,500km for charity. The Marines won’t be as exhausted as the Prince. Over a lifetime of duty he’s completed more than 22,000 solo engagements since 1952. Holy corgi! That’s a lot of tea and inane chit-chat. Buckingham Palace sent the world into a spin in May when it called a staff meeting and pundits thought there was a royal death or the Queen was about to hand over the keys to Prince Charles. Nope, it was just the 96yo putting his feet up. Like any good retirement, we hope he gets a great farewell pressie (like a Segway – can you see it?) – he’s certainly earned it.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Chris Inglis, Former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency, addresses the National Press Club on 'What We (at the NSA) Learned from Snowden: The New Cyber Threat Environment, Politics and Civil Liberties' - Canberra
ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, June
Melbourne International Film Festival (on until 20 August)
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
Get the Squiz Today newsletter
It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.