Squiz Today / 11 October 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 11 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“This pumpkin is called Michael Jordan because it’s the year [20]23… and he’s the greatest basketball player of all time.”

Said Minnesota horticultural teacher Travis Gienger of his 1,247kg world-record smashing pumpkin. He reckons the gourd started out “basketball round”, and its size now equals about 2,110 basketballs. That’s nearly 13 Michael Jordans, in case you were wondering…

Warnings of war crimes

The Squiz

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed the nation to call for unity and warn that there are “hard days coming”. He also vowed to unleash retaliation that would “reverberate with them for generations” and that “Hamas will understand that by attacking us, they have made a mistake of historic proportions.” That includes a “complete siege” with electricity, fuel, and water to be cut off after aid organisations confirmed that no food or medicine has reached the Palestinian territory’s 2.3 million people since Saturday. And as the death toll reached 900 on Israel’s side and 830 in Gaza, Israel’s military continued its airstrikes on Gaza and retook control of the border fence. Israel also said it has killed 1,500 Hamas militants who crossed the border from Gaza on Saturday. 

How did that go down? 

Hamas has threatened to kill an Israeli hostage every time Israel bombs a Palestinian home without warning. A senior member of the militant group has also said that the plan is to use the Israeli civilians and soldiers captured and taken back to Gaza on the weekend to secure the release of Palestinians detained in Israel and overseas. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has warned Hamas against harming any of the 100-plus hostages, saying they “will not be forgiven” if their people come to harm. Reports say it means Israeli forces could face the unprecedented task of fighting an urban war in Gaza because the hostages are likely to be hidden in tunnels and basements of strategic targets. So, between Israel’s blockade and Hamas’s hostage situation, human rights organisations and the United Nations have warned both sides against committing war crimes

Are any Aussies caught up in this?

Foreign Minister Penny Wong says it’s too early to know. “We are continuing to work to confirm the welfare of Australians who are in either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. We are obviously concerned about the situation, and we will continue to do the work to assess the circumstances of those Australians,” she said yesterday. There are reports of Aussies in the region who are concerned about their safety, and late yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese said the government was “working on a range of contingency arrangements” with officials. He also condemned the anti-Semitic chants and Israel flag burning at a pro-Palestine rally at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night. He added that he didn’t believe the rally should have been allowed to go ahead, calling it “just inappropriate”.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Biden quizzed over classified documents

Donald Trump can’t have all the fun… President Joe Biden has been interviewed by a prosecutor about the classified documents he retained from his time as Barack Obama’s Vice President. The special investigation launched in January after classified docs were found at an office he used and at his home. It’s a big no-no to hang onto the papers after leaving office… One of Trump’s 4 ongoing criminal cases is over the boxes of classified material at his Mar-A-Lago resort. He’s scheduled to go to trial over that case in May 2024. Biden’s matter isn’t at that stage, and his team are emphasising that the scale is much less and they’re cooperating with the investigation. Commentators say that Biden’s interview could mean the investigation is coming to decision time…

World News

Forking out for court costs

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith has been ordered to pay $910,000 into a court bank account as security if he’s to continue his appeal against his lost defamation case. That’s the one where he accused The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times of defaming him by publishing articles accusing him of war crimes, including the murders of unarmed Afghan civilians. The judge ruled in favour of the newspapers’ truth defence, and there’s wrangling over how much he and his supporters have to pay the publisher after both sides ran up legal bills of $35 million. And now, Roberts-Smith has been told to put some money down before the appeal starts in February. 

Australian News Crime

Signing off on a massive takeover bid

Australia’s competition watchdog has approved an $18.7 billion takeover of Origin Energy by a consortium led by fund manager Brookfield. The Canadian multinational switched its sights to Origin after launching an unsuccessful bid for rival energy giant AGL last year. Brookfield’s 45.4% stake in Victorian energy transmission firm AusNet meant questions needed to be answered about whether the takeover would reduce competition, but Origin will be independently audited as a condition of the deal. ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the deal was “finely balanced”, with Brookfield’s commitment to invest up to $30 billion to accelerate the rollout of renewable energy projects a key factor in the watchdog’s approval. Investors liked the call, with Origin’s share price up 5.5% yesterday. Next up: the Foreign Investment Review Board… 

Australian News Business & Finance

The power of sunshine

It has long been claimed that getting out in the sun does wonders, and it appears there’s some truth to the idea… In one of the largest studies of its kind, British researchers found themselves with a huge database on light exposure and health outcomes. They were using wrist-based activity trackers on 103,720 people and later realised the trackers had light sensors. That led them to find a strong association between those who had more artificial light exposure at night and self-reported mental health issues, but those who got outside were less likely to suffer from those issues. Experts reckon it has something to do with light’s effect on our body clock. It’s a great excuse to get some rays – after the sunscreen’s on, of course…


Mumma bear v hunky bad boy

Don’t worry – this is wholesome content… It’s getting to the hairy end of Fat Bear Week, where a pool of 12 portly brown bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park have been narrowed down to the final 2. Chunk and Grazer are the public’s favourite rotund ursines this year, and neither has won the coveted crown before. Chunk ‘the Hunk’ has been described as a “rugged refrigerator of a bear” – he’s one of the park’s largest males and is recognisable for his distinctive facial scar. Giving him a serious run for his girth is Grazer, a blonde-eared mum of 2 litters who is renowned for her exceptional size and fishing prowess. But just one bear will win the top honour once the poll closes at 10am today – you can get your final vote in here. We can’t bear the anticipation…

Environment & Science Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

It’s always a good day to give your pooch a treat – but if they make the list for Australia’s most popular dog names in 2023, they might deserve an extra one for being on-trend. We’re looking at you, Luna, Daisy, Milo, Bella, Coco and Teddy…

Is Christmas cancelled? Not yet, but a shortage of Santa Clauses across Oz is putting the traditional shopping centre family portrait at risk this year. One recruiter reckons COVID has led to a drop-off in the number of sign-ups for the job. 

And if you’re looking for a fresh perspective, maybe ask a football goalie… A study reckons their brains merge signals from different senses more quickly – super helpful for their on-field jobs. It’s evidently working for Matildas star Mackenzie Arnold, who’s just been named captain of her UK team, West Ham United…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEDT) – Fat Bear Week winner announced

12.30pm (AEDT) – Voice architect/WA Senator Patrick Dodson addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

1.00pm (AEDT) – Housing Minister Julie Collins speaks on ‘Tackling Australia’s housing crisis’ – livestream available here

6.00pm (AEDT) – Referendum postal vote application closes

6.00pm (AEDT) – Indian diplomat Shivshankar Menon in conversation at the Lowy Institute – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, August

Company AGM – Commonwealth Bank; CSL

Start of the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors’ Forum (until 13 October) – Brisbane –

International Day of the Girl

National Coming Out Day

First day of HSC written examinations

Birthdays for Dawn French (1957), Joan Cusack (1962) and Cardi B (1992)

Anniversary of:
• the inauguration of the University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university (1852)
• the premiere of Saturday Night Live, with George Carlin as host (1975)
• a wedding anniversary for Bill and Hillary Clinton (1975)
• the birthdays of the first Governor of NSW Arthur Phillip (1738), former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884), and actor Luke Perry (1966)
• the death of singer Édith Piaf (1963)

Squiz the Day

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