Squiz Today / 26 November 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 26 November
“Making a sequel to Frozen was a high bar to set for yourself.”
Said Disney’s Cathleen Taff about the challenge to put the first movie aside and let it go. They went into the unknown and exceeded expectations with Frozen 2 taking more than A$500 million at the box office for its weekend debut - it’s a first time in forever record for an animated title.
HONG KONG VOTERS PUSH BACK ON CHINA
Sunday's district council elections have delivered a resounding victory for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy campaigners. Seventeen of the 18 councils are now controlled by pro-democracy councillors after they claimed 85% of the 452 available seats from pro-China candidates. Turnout was the highest since Hong Kong began holding these elections in 1999 with 2.94 million of the 4.1 million registered voters casting their ballots.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
TBD. In a practical sense, it affects Hong Kong’s administration somewhat. These councillors don’t wield much power (unless garbage collection is your thing…), but they do get to choose 117 of their number to sit on the 1,200-member committee that selects Hong Kong's leader. But its impact is probably more symbolic because it confirms that the general population broadly supports the efforts of pro-democracy protesters - that wasn’t a given after the escalating violence of recent weeks. So with the result viewed as a vote of no-confidence in the territory’s Chinese-backed leadership, chief executive Carrie Lam said her government will "listen humbly to citizens' opinions and reflect on them seriously." Many hope that it leads to concessions that could help keep the peace and keep China at arms-length.
PM Scott Morrison yesterday said that allegations of interference by China in Australia’s affairs - as outlined on the weekend - were "deeply disturbing and troubling". But we’re ready to deal with it, he said. Having said that, no one should jump to any conclusions just yet, he cautioned. Meanwhile, leaked documents outlining China’s detention and indoctrination of the country’s Muslim minorities and others made international headlines. The so-called ‘China Cables’ detail “a dystopian world of surveillance, detention, re-education and forced labour,” the ABC said.
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MILKING THE CHINA CONNECTION...
Hong Kong-listed Mengniu, one of the world's biggest dairy companies, will buy Lion’s Aussie dairy and drinks business for $600 million if it can get government approval. That includes brands like Big M, Dairy Farmers, Farmers Union, Pura, Vitasoy, Berri and Daily Juice. It comes after our Foreign Investment Review Board approved the sale of Tassie’s infant formula maker Bellamy's Organic to Mengniu in a $1.5 billion deal. For a bit more info on who’s who in the dairy: Lion is a Japanese-owned company, and the Chinese government-owned food company COFCO holds about a 16% stake in Mengniu. Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie and Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the deal will make too much of our milk production dependent on China.
WESTPAC KEEPS CALM AND CARRIES ON
According to The Australian’s front page this morning, CEO Brian Hartzer addressed his senior troops yesterday, and there’s a bit of window-dressing (paywall) to be taken care of… Christmas parties have been cancelled because “it will not look good if we have our staff whooping it up with alcohol,” Hartzer is reported to have said. But on the plus side, “for people in mainstream Australia going about their daily lives, this is not a major issue so we don’t need to overcook this,” he said of the scandal involving the bank's 23 million alleged breaches of the anti-money laundering and financing terrorism laws. One place where it's being talked about is Parliament House. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton yesterday said the bank had "given a free pass to paedophiles, and there is a price to pay for that." Corporate regulator ASIC yesterday confirmed it has launched an investigation into the alleged wrongdoing.
AGED CARE FUNDING WILL BARELY TOUCH THE SIDES
But a funding injection of $537 million into aged care will start to address the three issues the Royal Commission recently said were urgent, the government says. Almost $500 million will go towards supporting 10,000 in-home care places. The rest will fund measures to reduce the use of the chemical restraint of residents and the removal of young people from aged care facilities. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said it was an initial response and the government was aware that more needed to be done. Labor’s aged care spokeswoman, Julie Collins, said the response was a “drop in the ocean” with 120,000 older Australians on the home care waitlist.
PRICELESS DIAMONDS STOLEN IN HEIST
It reads like something out of a movie script… Three priceless diamond jewellery sets have been stolen from the Dresden Green Vault in eastern Germany. The Vault contains one of Europe's largest treasure collections, and the stolen sets (which have 37 parts each) are said to be irreplaceable, but have a dollar value of approx A$1.6 billion. The pieces are easy to identify, so experts are worried they will be split up, which will destroy their cultural value. Augustus the Strong, Saxony's ruler who went on to be king of Poland, created the collection in the 1700s. It’s thought the thieves, who are still on the run, got in after a fire to a nearby electricity junction box knocked out the Vault’s alarm system and street lights. Reports say they then removed part of an iron grille on a ground-floor window and smashed the glass to enter the building. Reports that Danny Ocean was in the vicinity have not been confirmed…
TAY TAY SLAYS THE AMAs
The winner takes it all. Yes, it’s the name of a hit from a gentler time, but it could also describe the night Taylor Swift had at American Music Awards. Picking up six trophies, including artist of the year and artist of the decade (which is a thing), Swift smashed the record for the most AMAs (a popularly voted award) previously held by Michael Jackson. Her victory capped a tumultuous year for the singer who has been embroiled in a battle over the rights to her back catalogue. Other winners on the night included Khalid and Billie Eilish. And while she didn’t win any gongs, Lizzo won the red carpet with her teeny-tiny Valentino handbag which she explained was the perfect size for all the (we'll put it politely) cares she gave about the whole awards scene. Respect. A list of winners, and a red carpet gallery (with a special shout out to the Kermit-inspired Lil Nas X…)? You got it.
IT'S PRINCE ANDREW'S PARTY, AND THE QUEEN WILL SCRAP IT IF SHE WANTS TO...
You know you’re in big trouble when your mum cancels your birthday party...
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEDT) - Jennifer Westacott, boss of the Business Council of Australia, to address the National Press Club on 'Playing to our Strengths' - Canberra
ABS Data Release - Producer Price Indexes, September
Anniversary of the premiere of Casablanca (1942)
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