Squiz Today / 12 December 2023

Squiz Today – 12 December 2023

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

Hold onto your hats…

Hold onto your hats…

The Squiz

There are a couple of storms brewing in Queensland – one natural and one political. The natural one is Cyclone Jasper, with the Bureau of Meteorology yesterday issuing a tropical cyclone warning and predicting that its presence will be felt from today. Deputy Premier Steven Miles fronted the media to talk about preparations – and he was asked about his plans to replace outgoing Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. “I understand you’re interested in that,” Miles said, before pivoting: “My focus is absolutely, 100% on the safety of Queenslanders”.

Let’s start with the cyclone…

We’re going to assume you mean Cyclone Jasper, not the storm that can be politics… It’s on track to make landfall tomorrow, and intense winds are expected from today, with the storm getting stronger as it approaches the coast. The Bureau of Meteorology warned those living between Cooktown and Townsville that they should immediately secure their boats and property, and said flash flooding was possible in an area that includes Cairns. Miles said that “if it’s flooded, forget it”. There are 450 staff from Energy Queensland who are in the area to deal with energy outages, while the government has also set up evacuation centres in Cooktown, Douglas, and Cairns. And speaking of evacuations, the Navy has airlifted 4 BOM staff from an island weather station that was in the path of Jasper. Talk about a work emergency…

And the politics?

Steven Miles probably hoped he’d be the only contender for the job of premier, but Health Minister Shannon Fentiman announced her candidacy yesterday, saying “we need a government with fresh ideas and energy”. Media reports also say that Treasurer Cameron Dick is planning to enter the race. Under the rules of Queensland’s Labor Party, a contested leadership could take weeks to resolve… MPs, rank-and-file Labor members and the unions would all get to vote, with each group having equal weight in the final decision. Palaszczuk has endorsed Miles for the job, but we’ll have to wait and see how much weight her recommendation carries…


Squiz the Rest

The next step after Daylesford’s dark day

William Swale – the 66yo who crashed into the Royal Daylesford Hotel’s beer garden on 5 November – has been charged by police. The crash killed Pratibha Sharma, her 9yo daughter Anvi and partner Jatin Chugh, along with Vivek Bhatia and his 11yo son Vihaan. Several others were injured. Yesterday, police alleged that Swale, who is diabetic, received several alerts from an app on his phone that his blood glucose levels were low in the lead-up to the crash, but that he ignored them. Swale’s lawyer Martin Amad says there’s no proof that Swale received/acknowledged the alerts. The charges include 5 counts of culpable driving causing death, 2 counts of negligently causing serious injury, and 7 counts of reckless conduct endangering life. His bail hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Australian News

A mega chemist is coming

Running a pharmacy is a complex enterprise – it’s one of the most regulated retail operations to wrangle. But gone are the days of the scene being dominated by small community setups – Chemist Warehouse is one of the mega pharmacy franchises with more than 500 stores across Oz. And yesterday, Sigma Healthcare – another Aussie pharmacy chain that supplies Amcal and Guardian outlets – announced its proposal to buy Chemist Warehouse Group in a deal that’s said to be worth $8.8 billion. The new company would be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, but it first has to get past the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission. All going to plan, it will be a windfall for Chemist Warehouse founders – their stakes in the new pharmacy group are tipped to grow to $5 billion. That’s a lot of tinea cream…

Australian News Economy

A US-Ukraine funding fiasco

America’s financial support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia is likely to make headlines again this week… That’s because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is flying into Washington on Tuesday local time to appeal for more support from the US Senate. He was invited by US President Joe Biden, who’s been upping the pressure on Republican senators to sign a deal for a fresh aid package for Ukraine – something they’ve been digging their heels in on. Last week, Republican senators blocked $106 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine and Israel – in return, they want stricter domestic immigration reforms signed off on. The White House says there’s an “urgent” need for additional money for Ukraine, given its current financial support is due to run out in weeks.

World News

Big gig for footy legend

One of the AFLW’s greatest-ever players Daisy Pearce is set to take up a new head coaching role with the West Coast Eagles. Pearce retired from the game in January after leading Melbourne to its first AFLW premiership and was quickly snapped up by the Geelong men’s side as an assistant coach. And now, Pearce will become one of just 3 women in top AFLW coaching roles, and the Eagles have gone crazy with the puns celebrating their new hire. In more sober news on the footy front – the Victorian Coroner has recommended the AFL limit the amount of contact players are exposed to in training in the wake of the death of Richmond player Shane Tuck. The 38-year-old was diagnosed with the degenerative brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death, and the Coroner accepted it was caused by repeated head knocks.

Australian News Sport

Don’t ask Dr ChatGPT

Move over Google – ChatGPT has become the new go-to for people wanting to DIY diagnose their aches and pains at home. But a new study out of America’s Long Island University reckons the artificial intelligence chatbot is less reliable than the search engine. To test ChatGPT’s medical know-how, researchers asked it 39 legitimate questions about medications – such as whether 2 medications can be safely taken at the same time – and had pharmacists review the responses… They found ChatGPT answered 10 questions accurately – meaning three-quarters of its responses were incorrect. The researchers say those answers were incomplete, didn’t answer the questions, and in some cases, provided “dangerous” advice. Moral of the story? It’s probably best to book in with your GP IRL…


Apropos of Nothing

Five environmental protesters have been expelled from Venice after they dyed the city’s famous Grand Canal green on the weekend. Officials said the group were “eco-vandals” and they’re not welcome back for 4 years – although there’s no word on how that will be enforced…

A restaurant nestled in one of the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge has become the city’s hottest venue, with tables booked out until February. The food’s by famed chef Luke Mangan and costs a cool $345 a head – and you have to be prepared to walk up (and down) 200 steps…   

Barbenheimer is back in the news, with 2 of the biggest movies of the year – Barbie and Oppenheimer – leading the 2024 Golden Globe nominations. You can see the full list of nominees here, or keep an eye out for the awards ceremony on 7 January

Australian News

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