Squiz Today / 14 September 2021
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 14 September
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Squiz Today Podcast
Helping you kick into gear.
Today’s listen time: 9 minutes
“We don’t actually know what it is about this area of the New South Wales South Coast.”
Said whale expert Dr Vanessa Pirotta of something special that happened off the coast of Merimbula last week. For the second year in a row, footage has been captured of a ‘super pod’ working together to get a feed before shooting off to Antarctica. Then it’ll be long time no sea…
Afghanistan on the brink of breakdown
International donors have met in Geneva, Switzerland overnight and pledged US$1.1 billion in aid for Afghanistan. The nation was thrown into chaos when the Taliban seized power and the US and other Western nations left last month leaving millions of locals at risk. Convened by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the session was attended by international Red Cross chief Peter Maurer and government officials from around the world.
HOW BAD IS THE SITUATION?
After decades of conflict, Guterres says Afghanistan is facing “perhaps their most perilous hour”. Even before the Taliban took control of Kabul last month, half of the country’s population – 18 million people – was dependent on aid due to drought, food/medicine shortages and displacement from recent fighting. Adding to the pain: foreign donations have dried up over concerns it would end up in the Taliban’s hands. And to further complicate things, Afghanistan’s US$10 billion in foreign assets have been frozen, and the International Monetary Fund has blocked the Taliban from accessing US$440 million in emergency reserves. The UN says that means Afghans are heading into winter without the public services and food they desperately need.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has just arrived in Kabul to “assess the country’s acute humanitarian needs”. He will start discussions with the Taliban to allow aid workers to get on with it. But for many nations thinking about helping Afghanistan, they want evidence the Taliban will not trash human rights like they did last time. Overnight, UN human rights boss Michelle Bachelet accused the Taliban of going house-to-house searching for former officials and she says women had been “progressively excluded” from public life. That breaks early promises on maintaining human rights, she says.
Squiz the Rest
Indonesia cracks down on terror figures
Abu Rusydan, a suspected leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, has been arrested by Indonesian counter-terrorism police, reports overnight say. It’s part of a crackdown on the group following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. The southeast Asian terror network has been blamed for past attacks, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. And 61yo Rusydan is in focus because he is “currently known to be active among the unlawful Jemaah Islamiyah network’s leadership,” a police spokesman said. Rusydan was jailed for sheltering Ali Ghufron, the man convicted and executed for carrying out the Bali bombings, and he was released in 2006. Reports say Indonesian officials have stepped up their efforts in recent months to curtail “terrorist groups that have links to the Taliban’s ideology and networks”.World News
North Korea fires up the missile tests
North Korea says it has launched a new long-range cruise missile in its first tests in 6 months. While Kim Jong Un’s mob have tested plenty of short-range missiles in the past, this one could travel up to 1,500 kilometres (aka to Japan) carrying nuclear warheads. Analysts say it highlights the progress made by North Korea on their weapons program just as little progress is made on the US-led effort to denuclearise North Korea since former President Donald Trump’s charm offensive stalled in 2019. The standoff has led South Korea to build its own military arsenal as tensions grow with the North. Officials from South Korea, Japan and the US will meet later this week to talk it out, and Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have just been. The US military’s Indo-Pacific Command says recent events show that North Korea continues to be a local and global threat.World News
Get ready for the DPD
It’s the new hot acronym in the COVID game, and it stands for the new Digital Passenger Declaration. The Federal Government says the digital border pass will soon be in place to collect and store international travellers’ details and health information, including their vaxx status. Redundant: that special moment in departures or on the plane when you fill in a passenger card, taking extra care to stay inside the character boxes you can barely see. The DPD will be integrated with state/territory/Medicare QR code vaccination certificates that are going around and will be designed to help state and territory health authorities with their contact tracing if need be. There are future plans to use the technology across a range of government services, including visa applications, import and export permits, and licences. Accenture has been awarded a $75 million contract to develop the DPD within the next few months.Australian News Health
Hill to glory too steep for Djokovic
A special place in tennis history was waiting for world #1 Novak Djokovic yesterday – but it wasn’t to be. After winning 27 grand slam matches in a row this year, he was set to become the first man since Aussie Rod Laver in 1969 to win all 4 major titles in a calendar year. And the US Open win would have given him a record 21 grand slam trophies – one clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But there was nothing left in the tank with the Serb going down in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev yesterday morning. Djokovic broke down and later said he was “glad it was over” because the build-up was “a lot to handle”. It was a first major title win for Medvedev. After a spur-of-the-moment celebration, he thanked “the greatest player in tennis history” and acknowledged his 3rd wedding anniversary. Also celebrating: Aussie Dylan Alcott, who found out his trophy made a great beer delivery device…Sport
MTV’s night of nights
They’re the awards that have brought us iconic music moments like Britney with a snake, Britney and Madonna pashing, and Britney taking the microphone off Taylor Swift to tell the world Beyonce’s video was better. Or was that Kanye? Anyway, fast forward to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2021, and Madonna’s still a thing. So is J-Lo, who came along sans Ben. But really, the night belonged to the new generation like Olivia Rodrigo, who took out Song of the Year for drivers license, and Lil Nas X, who won Video of the Year for Montero. Justin Bieber’s still a thing – he won Artist of the Year, and was dancing on the ceiling with Aussie hip-hop star Kid Laroi as they performed their hit track Stay. Now, get your peepers around a real-life red carpet… See you here tomoz for the Met Gala…Entertainment
Apropos of Nothing
Smog is one of the leading causes of ill-health worldwide, so this inventor hopes to make it easier to breathe by scrubbing soot from the air and turning it into tiles.
Hongkongers were among the world’s most frequent flyers, so to help with the travel blues, a cruise line has come up with an alternative holiday option: a cruise to nowhere. In our travel book, it’s known as ‘hasn’t the world suffered enough’…
A comic book featuring the first appearance of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and has become the world’s most expensive, selling for almost $4.9 million. Our spidey senses tell us Superman ain’t gonna be happy…Quirky News
Squiz the Day
7.30am (AEST) – 2021 Met Gala – New York – livestream via Vogue
ABS Data Release – Residential Property Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities, June
The 76th United Nations General Assembly opens
• Francis Scott Key penning the poem that would later become known as The Star-Spangled Banner, the US national anthem (1814)
• Amy Winehouse’s birthday (1983)
• the debut of The Golden Girls (1985)
• the deaths of Princess Grace of Monaco (1982) and actor Patrick Swayze (2009)
• Malcolm Turnbull ousting Tony Abbott as PM and leader of the Liberal Party (2015)
2.00am (AEST) – Booker Prize shortlist announced
3.00am (AEST) – Apple’s annual iPhone event. It’s expected we’ll hear about the iPhone 13 lineup and the Apple Watch Series 7
And if you’re looking for a new pair of shades to rock this summer, read the email every day this week to go in the draw to win a $100 Sunglass Hut gift voucher. Easy peasy.Squiz the Day