Squiz Today / 06 March 2018
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 6 March
“i cannot sleep at night knowing that emma watson's "time's up" tattoo lacks the apostrophe between e and s.”
Tweeted grammar-stickler (but casual orthograph observer) @leightontwonette. Maybe the tat is a falsie?
KICKING OFF THE FESTIVAL OF XI
China’s military budget will top one-trillion yuan (almost A$225 billion) for the first time. The increase was confirmed as 2,900 of China’s political elite gathered in Beijing for the 13th National People’s Congress. International eyes are closely watching the two-week-long session as President Xi Jinping asserts his control over China’s government, economy and society.
THAT’S SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF MONEY…
Compared to Australia’s defence budget of almost A$35 billion, it is. Compared to America’s US$686 billion budget, not so much… But the point is the trend. China’s military spending will go up by 8% this year, building on last year’s 7% increase. Pundits say Xi, as commander-in-chief of the Communist Party-controlled People’s Liberation Army, is determined to modernise and expand China’s military reach. And one expert says the military build-up also paints a picture of a president on the rise.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING DOWN AT THE NATIONAL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS?
…Is a question you probably won’t overhear while waiting for your coffee this morning. But you’ll be ready to step in if you do. In short, it’s the festival of Xi.
• Constitutional changes will be made to extend Xi’s term for… forever.
• Wang Qishan, Xi’s closest ally, is to be named Vice President. Reports say as head of the wonderfully named Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Wang has undermined all Xi’s political rivals.
• And a new anti-corruption body, the National Supervisory Commission, will be launched. Sounds like fun but some say the body will have investigative and detention powers beyond the courts and will oversee all government officials to ensure their loyalty to Team Xi.
Key takeout – Xi is gathering all the tools to remain the unchallenged leader for years to come. One person’s president is another’s dictator…
SQUIZ THE REST
TRUMP PROMISED AUSTRALIA NO TARIFF HIKES
In fact, “emphatically” promised. The ABC this morning reports US President Donald Trump told PM Malcolm Turnbull in front of officials from both countries that Oz steel and aluminium producers would be exempt from any US tariff increases. The meeting was hosted in Trump’s ‘steel cage’ (which seems to be as effective as Get Smart’s cone of silence given the leak) and took place in July last year at the G20 meeting in Germany. With the White House’s trade adviser confirming no exemptions will be given, the leak could put Turnbull and Trump on track for another uncomfortable phone call…
SO YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT WE HEARD BEHIND THE BIKE SHED…
Barnaby (Joyce) totally hates Malcolm (Turnbull). And Barnaby reckons he and Tony (Abbott) can, like, totally get Malcolm kicked out. And so went another day in federal politics… For the PM’s part, his office said no such threat was made by Joyce. In fact, Turnbull and Joyce had dinner together last Monday. So it’s all good. Over to Abbott, he didn’t miss the opportunity to comment on yesterday’s Newspoll result. With 28 down and only two to go before Turnbull reaches the magic 30 consecutive poll losses (which Turnbull said was a reason to kick Abbott out of the big job), old leadership scabs are going to get picked.
MORE DIE IN PNG EARTHQUAKE AFTERSHOCKS
There’s been more devastation in Papua New Guinea. Authorities said 11 people died in a magnitude 6 aftershock yesterday following last week’s magnitude 7.5 earthquake, which killed at least 31 people. Aid agencies estimate 150,000 people in PNG’s Southern Highlands are in urgent need of food and water supplies.
ITALY’S ELECTION DELIVERS NO CLEAR WINNER
Its political system is known for delivering complicated governing arrangements as a matter of course, and Italy’s general election on Sunday didn’t miss. It's looking like it's going to be a hung parliament. Former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition won the most seats and will be in the box-seat for negotiations. The populist/Eurosceptic Five Star Movement came in second. There wasn’t a lot of love for left-of-centre parties. “Everything will change” was the headline of newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
QUICK CONSUMER NEWS WRAP
Fresh food home delivery service Aussie Farmers Direct has gone into voluntary administration. Administrators KordaMentha said the collapse affects 260 employees, 100 franchisees and 100,000 customers. Suppliers were yesterday turned away and will need to find another way of getting their fruit, veg, milk and other staples to shoppers. The company said it could no longer compete with the major retailers.
And Retail Food Group, the owner of the Michel's Patisserie, Donut King, Gloria Jeans and Brumby's bakeries brands, lost 36.5% off its share price yesterday. Its bad run started when media reported on its poor treatment of franchisees late last year and deepened yesterday as the market responded to Friday’s news that 200 stores would close and its half-year profit would, in fact, be a +$87 million loss. Ouch.
OSCARS FABULOUSNESS DONE FOR ANOTHER YEAR
First things first, Aussie editor Lee Smith won an Oscar for his work on Dunkirk. Fab. And who would have thought a romance between a mute woman and a fish-man would be the year’s best film? The highly-nominated The Shape of Water won four Oscars, including best film. Best actor – Gary Oldman for The Darkest Hour. Best actress – Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The full list of winners is here. And the mandatory red carpet gallery is here. PS check out Rita Marena’s frock - she wore it to the Oscars in 1962.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEDT) - Kelly O'Dwyer, Minister for Women & Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, to deliver an International Women’s Day Address to the National Press Club - Canberra
ABS Data Releases - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, December; Retail Trade, January
Anniversary of Michelangelo's birthday (1475)
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