Squiz Today / 14 December 2023

Squiz Today – 14 December 2023

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Why is no one having a good time? I specifically requested it.”

Said Captain Raymond Holt, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine favourite played by Andre Braugher, who died on Monday at 61yo after a short illness. There are whole pages devoted to Holt’s best/driest one-liners, and we know he’ll be looking down on Jake, Amy, Terry and the whole precinct…

Changing lanes on a Gaza ceasefire

Changing lanes on a Gaza ceasefire

The Squiz

Australia has hardened its stance on Israel’s war against Hamas by splitting from the US and voting in favour of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza at the UN General Assembly. The last time the issue came up a few weeks ago, Australia abstained because the resolution did not recognise that Hamas was responsible for the 7 October attack. 

What went down?

A large majority – 153 member states – agreed to a resolution demanding a ceasefire be implemented in war and that there is the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages as well as “ensuring humanitarian access” to Gaza. Ten countries voted against the resolution, and 23 abstained. Note: the resolution is not binding, but it carries political weight… It’s led US President Joe Biden to warn Israel that it is losing international support, telling PM Benjamin Netanyahu that the approach “has to change”. For Australia’s part, reports say the change in approach came because our position of condemning the Hamas attacks while backing Israel’s right to self-defence has become increasingly difficult. And we’re not the only ones – the desperate situation in Gaza and the Hamas-reported 18,000 civilian deaths saw several countries change their vote yesterday. 

How was that managed?

Following the vote, PM Anthony Albanese and the leaders of Canada (Justin Trudeau) and New Zealand (Christopher Luxon) issued a joint statement condemning the 7 October terror attacks on Israel – and they cautioned Israel, saying they are “alarmed at the diminishing safe space for civilians in Gaza.” Yesterday, Foreign Minister Penny Wong argued that the government’s position had not changed, but Israel and Jewish groups were disappointed, saying the vote switch has created “uncertainty and confusion”. Also confused were Albanese and Wong’s Labor colleagues… Reports say they were surprised by the decision to support an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

AusPol World News

Squiz the Rest

An agreement at COP28

It took a bit to get there, but the 198 nations attending the COP28 climate summit in Dubai have, for the first time, taken explicit aim at the use of fossil fuels. To be clear, the statement does not include an explicit commitment to ‘phase out’ or even ‘phase down’ fossil fuels – what countries have agreed to is to contribute to global efforts to move “away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”. Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen says it will send a clear message that “our future is in clean energy and the age of fossil fuels will end”, but acknowledged it did not go as far as many countries wanted. Pacific Island nations are among the disappointed – they say the deal was rushed through without them, and a commitment to phase out fossil fuels is what’s needed.

Environment & Science World News

Jasper leaves a mess

As the experts predicted, Tropical Cyclone Jasper intensified into a category 2 storm as it made landfall in Far North Queensland late yesterday afternoon. It hit the coastline near Cape Tribulation, bringing winds of up to 120km/hour along the coast. As far as big population centres, Port Douglas has copped the worst of it, with Palm Cove and Cairns also smashed by wild weather. Across the region, trees have been brought down over powerlines, leaving more than 31,000 homes without power. And just like we are some mornings, Jasper’s slow-moving, progressing at about 13km/hr inland. This morning, the Bureau of Meteorology downgraded Jasper to a Category 1 storm, with residents reporting that they can still hear “a fair few palm fronds dropping“…


Turning the tabletops

Australia has made a world-first move to ban engineered stone due to a surge in workers developing the lung disease silicosis. The ban, agreed upon yesterday by all the workplace ministers across the country, will kick in from 1 July 2024. The popular benchtop alternative to granite and marble has been on the health radar since the first Aussie silicosis diagnosis linked to its use was reported in 2015. Supporters of the ban say it is a necessary measure to protect public health, but some say it won’t be a cakewalk for the construction industry despite home improvement retailers Bunnings and IKEA already walking away from engineered stone ahead of the ban.

Australian News

Khawaja digs his heels in

But it’s probably not surprising the Gaza conflict has spilt onto the sporting field… Cricket Australia has quashed a plan by batsman Usman Khawaja to wear shoes with pro-Palestinian messages written on them in the first Test match of the Aussie summer that starts today against Pakistan. Khawaja had been wearing the shoes in training but was told by the sport’s administrators that there were strict rules about bringing politics into the game. He disagrees, calling the ‘all lives are equal’ message a “humanitarian appeal” that will see him fight the ruling. Aussie captain Pat Cummins says “I don’t think his intention was to make too big of a fuss, but we support him”. And speaking of navigating sticky wickets, Australia’s netballers have cracked a pay deal. After a long standoff, Netball Australia has agreed to give them back pay and a slice of the game’s revenue. 


Bad kitty cat

Cats have long been talked about as A-Grade predators – even the musically talented ones… And now a study published in Nature Communications has found that cats are dining out on more than 2,000 species globally, including birds, reptiles, mammals and even insects. Yep, those fluffy little furballs are down to dine on anything, with researchers finding the heaviest bird they’d attacked was an emu, and the biggest reptile was an endangered green sea turtle. So what’s the solution? Lead researcher Christopher Lepczyk – who says he’s a long-time cat lover – reckons it’s about responsible pet ownership, including keeping kitty indoors. So, next time your cat gives you those pleading eyes to go outside, remember the good you’re doing across the environment.

Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

Netflix has jumped on the year-in-review bandwagon, releasing its first ‘What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report’. It shows that global viewers couldn’t get enough of the US government thriller The Night Agent, with 812 million hours viewed this year. We haven’t watched it… 

Too much ain’t enough love for Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes as he recovers from emergency open heart surgery. The 67yo has been battling bacterial pneumonia, which spread to a previously replaced valve in his heart. His son David Campbell is only channelling positive vibes

Have you ever crunched through a bag of Doritos and thought, “what I want is some Doritos-flavoured alcohol to wash this down”? Well, a custom nacho cheese-flavoured spirit that “tastes just like the real thing” is here. We might stick with salsa…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

NSW and ACT Year 12 students get their ATAR results

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, November; Industrial Disputes, September; National, state and territory population, June

Company shareholder meeting – Westpac; Elders

Last day of Term 4 for public schools in Western Oz

Wonka premieres in Aussie cinemas

Birthdays for Sophie Monk (1979) and Vanessa Hudgens (1988)

Anniversary of:

  • the deaths of Vlad the Impaler (1476) and George Washington (1799)
  • the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting where 20 children and 6 adults were killed (2012)
Squiz the Day

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