Squiz Today / 15 December 2023

Squiz Today – 15 December

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

21 / 27
15 / 22
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11 / 19
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19 / 29

Squiz Sayings

“The toolies and the schoolies?! That’s so fun, I love that!”

Said US talk show host Jimmy Fallon after actress Sydney Sweeney – who’s been in Oz filming a movie this year – explained the annual Aussie high schoolers’ rite of passage to him. No word on whether it’ll take off in America…

From serial killer to cleared

From serial killer to cleared

The Squiz 

After being pardoned by the NSW Attorney-General in June, Kathleen Folbigg – the woman who was jailed in 2003 over the deaths of her 4 children – has had her convictions quashed. Yesterday, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Sydney found new scientific evidence meant there was “reasonable doubt” over her guilt – in line with retired Chief Justice Tom Bathurst’s findings in an inquiry he led into the case that saw her released from prison earlier this year. Outside court, Folbigg – who was once branded Australia’s worst female serial killer but always maintained her innocence – was emotional, saying she’d always “hoped and prayed that one day I would be able to stand here with my name cleared”.

Back it up a bit…

Folbigg’s children – Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura – were aged between 19 days and 19 months when each died suddenly between 1989-99. After Laura died in 1999, police began investigating and laid charges against Folbigg in 2001. A key piece of evidence was Folbigg’s diary entries – prosecutors at the time alleged they showed Folbigg had a “tendency to become stressed and lose her temper and control with each of her children, and then to asphyxiate them”. Experts were split over whether those diary entries were evidence enough to convict Folbigg, but she was convicted in 2003. In 2021, an international team of scientists published evidence that Folbigg and her daughters shared a genetic mutation linked to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, and her sons also carried a gene linked to “early onset lethal epilepsy”. That led to a fresh inquiry, and Folbigg was let free in June after serving 20 of her 25-year sentence.

So what happens now?

Although she didn’t mention an exact dollar figure, Folbigg’s lawyer Rhanee Rego has confirmed that they’ll seek “substantial” compensation for what scientists labelled one of Australia’s most significant “miscarriages of justice”. It’s set to be a record amount… Supporters have also called for law reform to build a more science-based legal system. Australian Academy of Science chief Anna-Maria Arabia says despite scientific evidence in Folbigg’s favour being available years ago, “basic scientific principles were not adhered to”, which means “these sorts of miscarriages of justice will continue”. For her part, Folbigg said she hopes “that no one else will ever have to suffer what I suffered”.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

TV star takes the stand

High-profile journo Lisa Wilkinson has rejected accusations she was “entirely captured” by  Brittany Higgins and failed to challenge her story. The former Project host is being sued by Bruce Lehrmann over an interview with Higgins aired on Network Ten in early 2021. Lehrmann’s lawyer Matthew Richardson questioned Wilkinson extensively about the veracity of a photo Higgins’ had of a bruise on her leg. Wilkinson said she “elevated my concerns to senior members of the team” but was reassured its veracity was a “non-issue”. And after being pressed if she was “thrilled by the riveting commercial appeal of the story”,  Wilkinson said she didn’t appreciate being made to “sound like a cheap tabloid journalist”… She also defended her speech at the 2022 Logies, which delayed Lehrmann’s criminal trial. She’ll continue being cross-examined today, and the case will likely run into another week.

Australian News

Big weather bruising the coast

Far North Queenslanders are starting to clean up post-Jasper as it moves into the Gulf of Carpentaria today, where the tropical storm could again become a cyclone. While there are trees down, flooded roads and damage to a lot of infrastructure where the storm crossed the coast on Wednesday, Senator Nita Green says the community is feeling “pretty relieved”. Smaller communities in the Mareeba region are still under flood warnings after massive rainfall totals, including more than 600mm in some areas. And because Australia doesn’t do weather by halves, a whole different problem is consuming Sydney. The city had a scorcher hitting the high 30Cs coupled with high humidity yesterday, leaving energy operators to plead with residents to conserve power to head off blackouts. Sydney is sweltering through its hottest start to summer based on records going back to 1859…


Sailing into trouble

Australia is considering a request by the US to send a warship to the Middle East after Iran-backed rebels started attacking commercial ships passing through global sea lanes. The US military says the attacks by Houthi rebels have stepped up since the Israel-Hamas conflict began, threatening the world’s busiest shipping routes in the Suez Canal, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government’s weighing it up, but pointed out that “we already make a contribution to maritime security in that … often dangerous part of the world”. And speaking of Navy stuff, our plan to acquire nuclear-powered subs from the US passed through their Senate. There’d been a lot of concern that American lawmakers wouldn’t back the sale because it could deplete their own supply of submarines. 

AusPol World News

A daytime queen in the spotlight

To great fanfare, Oprah Winfrey has opened up about using an unnamed weight loss medication after what she says has been 5 decades of “yo-yoing and believing willpower was my failing”.  Winfrey’s had some big media appearances lately, including getting her own portrait at the Smithsonian, which attracted a lot of commentary about her bod. She reckons “the fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight in my lifetime feels like relief, like redemption”. Meanwhile, the growth of Ozempic and similar drugs is causing problems for dispensers and regulators alike. Eucalyptus, a local start-up backed by Woolworths, and others like it sell replica drugs after their supply of Ozempic dried up, but the drug regulator has concerns. America’s FDA is also worried and has urged pharmacists not to prescribe Ozempic substitutes.


A magical mega meal…

Ikea meatballs are the best (fight us…). If you agree and have eyes bigger than your stomach (and maybe a supersized cloche…), the Swedish retail giant has a Christmas treat for you… It’s unveiled a 4.5kg “turkey-sized” meatball, and it really has to be seen to be believed. Let’s just say it looks like you’d have to prep a few more potatoes than usual to get the meatball-mash ratio right… And while the meatball is plenty big enough to share – feeding up to 25 people, according to Ikea – there are only 30 of the “giant orbs” on offer via an Instagram comp running in the UK. That means we’ll have to stick to regular meatballs, but there’s a runway to lobby for the giant meatball for Christmas 2024. We can dream, can’t we?


Friday Lites – 3 things we liked this week

We don’t know who needs to hear this, given the season, but you can say no. To dinner with that friend you haven’t seen all year but is pressuring you for a catch-up in the week before Christmas. To the horrible New Year’s Eve party you don’t want to go to. If you don’t believe us, this might fortify your naysaying spirit

We don’t care what people say – a bucket of salt is a great Christmas present. This legendary gift guide says so… 

One of the best cooks we know put us onto this salad dressing. The salad itself looks great, but make a jar of this dressing by quadrupling the ingredients, and you can turn any salad or steamed greens you’ve got going across the week into a winner. 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day


2:00 (AEDT) the Funeral of MP Peta Murphy – Livestream 

ABS Data Release – National Health Survey: First Results 2022; Overseas Migration, 2022-23 financial year

Company shareholder meeting – NAB

QLD Year 12 students get their ATAR results

Last day of Term 4 for public schools in the ACT, the NT, and South Oz

Anniversary of:

  • Gone with the Wind’s premiere (1939)
  • the Soviet Union’s Venera 7 becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet (Venus) (1970)
  • the deaths of musician and composer Glenn Miller (1944), animator and producer Walt Disney (1966) and actress Joan Fontaine (2013)


Independence Day in Kazakhstan

Day of Reconciliation in South Africa 

Bahrain’s National Day

Victory Day – Bangladesh

Anniversary of:

  • the Boston Tea Party that saw American colonists, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “taxation without representation,” dumped 342 chests of tea, imported by the British East India Company into the harbour (1773)
  • the birthdays of composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770) and author Jane Austen (1775)
  • Shirley Temple announcing her retirement from films, aged 22yo (1950)
  • Shannen Doherty (aka Brenda) being fired from TV series Beverly Hills 90210 (1993)
  • the jumping castle tragedy at Devonport Public School in Tasmania that killed 6 children (2021)


Bhutan’s National Day

Pope Francis’ birthday (1936)

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers 

National Maple Syrup Day in North America 

Anniversary of:

  • PM Harold Holt disappearing while swimming off a beach near Portsea, Victoria (1967)
  • The Simpsons premiering on the telly (1989)
  • Kim Jong-un coming to power in North Korea after the death of his father Kim Jong-il (2011)
Squiz the Day

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