Squiz Today / 12 November 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 12 November
That’s an estimate of what Chinese online marketplace Alibaba pulled in over the first 16 hours of its Singles Day sale yesterday. Fun fact: it clocked A$1.5 billion in sales in the first minute. That’s one stable website…
NSW BRACES FOR CATASTROPHIC FIRE CONDITIONS
A state of emergency has been declared in NSW with temperatures in the north of the state predicted to reach the high 30s and 80km/hour winds expected to exacerbate already bad fire conditions. The Illawarra-Shoalhaven region (south of Sydney) joins the Greater Sydney and Hunter areas as those expecting catastrophic fire conditions today. Almost 600 schools will be closed as a precaution. NSW Police Minister David Elliot yesterday said this could be "the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen".
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN DANGER ZONES?
More than 30 fires continue to burn out of control in NSW. Authorities said fires have already burned through a million hectares across the state since the start of bushfire season - a worrying stat given there’s a whole summer ahead. The fire situation intensified in central Queensland yesterday with more than 50 fires continuing to burn there. Brisbane residents are suffering after heavy smoke from those fires drifted its way. And there was an emergency situation near South Australia's Port Lincoln late yesterday with an out of control fire bearing down on the town. It was later downgraded in severity.
COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?
That is a question… And one that will no doubt get quite a bit of attention soon. In the meantime, Nationals' leader Michael McCormack yesterday said “woke capital city greenies” weren’t helping by making links between these fires and climate change. Some mayors of fire-affected areas disagreed. And the Nats’ former leader Barnaby Joyce told The Australian (paywall) that Greens’ policies have increased the bushfire threat by limiting hazard reduction burning. One firefighter agreed. Meanwhile, Greens leader Richard Di Natale didn’t take a backwards step yesterday. Back in the here and now, NSW’s Rural Fire Service urged people to stay safe by going somewhere “far away from bushland areas.”
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SHOOTING STIRS UP VIOLENCE IN HONG KONG
Some of the most violent scenes in Hong Kong's protests followed the shooting of a demonstrator by authorities at close-range yesterday. The 21yo man is in a critical condition in hospital. Footage of the bloody encounter was posted on Facebook, leading to angry crowds gathering across the Chinese territory. Later yesterday, a pro-Beijing supporter was set alight after arguing with a group of demonstrators. Emotions are high after the first death alleged to be directly related to the protests was recorded on Friday. Hong Kong is in its 24th straight week of pro-democracy unrest.
AN INVITATION TO WORK AGAINST THE PRESIDENT
Two of US President Donald Trump’s most senior people asked Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, to join them in undermining him to "save the country". Former White House chief-of-staff John Kelly and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to recruit Haley to join them in managing Trump's approach to important decisions about foreign affairs, she says. But Haley didn't succumb saying she believed as the elected head of the nation, it was wrong to undermine Trump. The former Republican governor maintains a good relationship with Trump, despite some wild times. Her account of her time as America’s top diplomat at the UN is out this week.
FORMER MALAYSIAN PM TO DEFEND HIMSELF OVER BILLION-DOLLAR-FRAUD
Najib Razak, the Malaysian leader who was tipped out of government by 94yo Mahathir Mohamad last year, will speak in his own defence against allegations of abuse of power and money laundering. In this trial, he’s accused of taking A$14.7 million from state development fund 1MDB. Najib faces another 25 charges over allegations he received more than A$800 million in 1MDB funds. Many Malaysians are keen to hear what Najib has to say about his connection to the missing funds, and that will happen in early December when the court reconvenes. Meanwhile, US authorities have struck a deal with fugitive party-enthusiast Jho Low to recoup up to US$900 million taken from the fund. Yikes…
Want to know more about what these blokes have been accused of doing? It has it all - celebrity, money, and politics. Check out our Squiz Shortcuts on the 1MDB scandal.
ABC TURNS DOWN OLYMPICS
Of the reasons provided as to why the ABC will not produce a radio broadcast of next year’s Tokyo Olympics, one stood out. Budget cuts. “Due to competing budget priorities coupled with the fact that Australians can access Olympic Games coverage in many other ways, we have chosen not to pursue rights in 2020.” The Coalition Government has cut the public broadcaster’s budget since coming to office in 2013, including $84 million last year. Government supporters accused the ABC of tightening the screws over the cuts. The Australian Olympic Committee said a decision-reversal was warranted, and it wants a meeting with chair Ita Buttrose. And millennials asked "what's a radio?"
NOW YOU’RE SPEAKIN’ MY LANGUAGE…
The annual international report card on countries wot speak good English was released yesterday and the takeaways were: the Dutchies are all over (ranked #1 in the world for their English proficiency), the Scandos are not far behind, the French (31) and Italians (36) seem not to give two hoots, and Japan is in the naughty corner for slipping from 49th to 53rd position. Poland, Croatia, Singapore and Germany all made the top 15. Bottom of the class was Libya (100) and Kyrgyzstan (99) – where you’d have to think they’re too busy getting by to be worried about conjugating English verbs...
A PLACE TO POWER UP
There are few things more annoying than struggling to find a powerpoint to plug your charger in. Because charged devices are life, right? That's certainly not a problem with this joint…
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm - Former Foreign Minister and High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer to address the National Press Club - Canberra
Annual General Meetings - Nine Entertainment; Newcrest Mining
National Australia Bank Consumer Confidence Survey for October
ABS Data Release - Australian Labour Account: Concepts, Sources and Methods, October (be still my beating heart…); Patient Experiences in Australia, 2018-19
Birthdays for Anne Hathaway (1982), Ryan Gosling (1980), Tonya Harding (1970)
550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru
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