Squiz Today / 05 March 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 5 March
“I strongly advise people not to eat poppy seed bread until we tell them otherwise.”
Said a toxicologist in France after it was discovered people eating bread sprinkled with contaminated poppy seeds were getting an unexpected dose of morphine and codeine. Brings new meaning to that post-lunch lull...
A BIG BASH IN BEIJING
It's that time of the year when the who's who of China's Community Party - all 3,000 of them - descend on Beijing for the National People’s Congressto discuss the important matters of the day. And by 'discuss' we mean rubber stamp what President Xi Jinping and his top team have decided on… Last year's meeting will take some beating. It was the one where term limits on Xi's reign were removed making him a ‘forever president’.
I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA...
Of course you can’t. China’s leaders are expected to adopt lower growth targets - expected to be around 6%, down from last year's 6.5%. That's a pretty big deal given that's China's lowest target for 30 years. And a major item for ‘discussion' is a new foreign investment law which, among other things, would ban the practice of forcing foreign businesses operating there from handing over their intellectual property. That's been a major sticking point in China's negotiations with the United States on a new trade relationship.
HOW’S THAT GOING?
Reports say negotiations are heading towards the final stages and there could even be a meeting between Xi and US President Donald Trump later this month that would bring to an end the year-long tit-for-tat game of tariff one-upmanship. What’s not going so well is Meng Wanzhou’s brush with Canadian law. The chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei is suing their government for "serious breaches" of her civil rights. She was arrested in December at America’s request on suspicion of breaching US sanctions on Iran. The next steps in her extradition case play out in court later this week. China remains opposed to America's legal pursuit of Meng, and has stepped up its case against two Canadians it’s holding, yesterday accusing them of spying.
SQUIZ THE REST
FIRES IN VICTORIA’S GIPPSLAND RAGE ON
Attention turned late yesterday to fires around Dargo. Rain late yesterday gave firefighters some relief and saw an emergency warning for the area downgraded. And the fires that caused problems over the weekend also eased yesterday. Nine properties were destroyed in the Bunyip and Yinnar South fires and the community of Tonimbuk really copped it. One resident who is understood to have lost her home in nearby Garfield North said; "I had a laugh with a friend yesterday that it's the easy way to Marie Kondo your house.” You’ve gotta love that Aussie spirit....
…AND THERE ARE DEADLY TORNADOES IN AMERICA
At least 23 people died when tornadoes struck Alabama yesterday. Half of those deaths occurred south of Opelika, near the state's border with Georgia. One witness said the damage from one spanned 800m wide, was several kilometres long, and looked "as if someone had taken a blade and just scraped the ground." Weather services said a dozen tornadoes hit the Alabama/Georgia area on Sunday. Some Twitter pics are here.
VALE BOSS STANDS ASIDE OVER DAM COLLAPSE
Fabio Schvartsman hasn’t completely gone - he’s stepped down temporarily as chief executive officer of the Brazilian mining giant for failing to prevent January’s dam collapse that left more than 180 dead and another 120 still missing. Schvartsman took the job after a similar tragedy in 2015 that was labelled Brazil’s worst-ever environmental catastrophe. As head of one of the world’s largest iron ore miners, he's overseen a profitable couple of years. Brazil’s government is threatening punishment for those responsible for the latest disaster.
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT HOTSPOTS UNVEILED
Outback Queensland has the country’s highest rate of youth unemployment according to a report issued yesterday by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The region topped the inglorious leaderboard with 25.7%, followed closely by NSW's Coffs Harbour (23.3%), Queensland's Wide Bay and Moreton Bay (19.8% and 18.8% respectively) and Victoria's Bendigo (18.35%). For context, the national youth unemployment rate is 11.5% compared to an overall jobless rate of 5%.
VALE 90s ICONS
Luke Perry, star of coming of age drama 90210, has died after suffering a massive stroke last week. He was 52yo. Perry, who shot to fame as Dylan McKay, the rebel boyfriend of Brenda Walsh, was a poster boy of the era for teens across the world. In later years he starred in Riverdale, a drama based on the characters from the Archie comics. His publicist said he was surrounded by family when he died.
And Keith Flint, frontman of The Prodigy, has died aged 49yo. Originally put on as a dancer, he became the British group’s most recognised face and voice. With songs Breathe and Firestarter, the group were the intersection of the rave scene with the ‘Cool Britannia’ cultural wave of the late 90s. His Prodigy collaborators called him “a true pioneer, innovator and legend.”
IT’S PANCAKE DAY…
Otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday. That’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. And Lent is a Christian festival where followers seek to replicate the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus over the 40-day journey he made through the desert. Now that you’ve made your way through that stream of consciousness, back to the pancakes… Shrove Tuesday is basically sanctioned pigging out. It was the day where people heading into Lent used up all their good perishable ingredients, like butter. We just think it's an excellent excuse to give our ye olde pikelet recipe a go.
SQUIZ THE DAY
2.30pm (AEDT) - Reserve Bank announcement on interest rates
ABS Data Releases - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, December; Government Finance Statistics, December
Anniversary of country music singer Patsy Cline dying in a plane crash in Tennessee at 30yo (1963)
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.