Squiz Today / 20 December 2023

Squiz Today – 20 December 2023

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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13 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“Our Test squad WhatsApp group has been going off to say it’s our shout to get dinner next.”

Said Mitchell Starc after the Kolkata Knight Riders paid a record $4.42 million during an auction to buy players for the 2024 Indian Premier League, a T20 tournament that begins in March. Fellow Aussie Pat Cummins was bought for $3.66 million, so maybe he’ll chip in for dessert…

From serial killer to cleared

A fifth leader resigns…

The Squiz 

Another one bites the dust… Not to be outdone by a year of 4 state leaders moving on, the Northern Territory’s chief minister, Natasha Fyles, has also called it quits. This time it’s not because of a desire to spend more time with family or because the electorate had their say… Fyles resigned after failing to disclose that she owned shares in a mining company that does business in the Top End. Yesterday, she said her personal admin misstep was “not deliberate, it was not intentional, but it’s unacceptable”. And it means she’ll officially finish up on Thursday.

What’s this about shares?

Fyles didn’t elaborate on this yesterday, but reports say she hadn’t disclosed just under $2,500 worth of shares in a company called South32. Fyles’ explanation is that her grandmother gifted her BHP shares back in 1985, and in 2015 when BHP spun off some of its assets into a new company called South32, she was issued the shares without her having to do anything. The problem for Fyles is South32 runs a manganese mine on the Northern Territory’s island of Groote Eylandt (note: manganese is a metal used to make steel, and Groote Eylandt is a fun Dutch name that means ‘large island’). Reports also noted that Fyles’ government has previously refused to investigate air pollution and health impacts related to the South32 mine, but Fyles says that “no decision I’ve ever made has been influenced by that small shareholding”.

So who’s up next?

The names being thrown around are Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Mansion or Infrastructure Minister Joel Bowden. Whoever it is, they’ll need to kick into gear fast because they’ll be taking the Labor government to an election in August next year as the third party leader this term. Fyles had been in the job since May last year, after the previous leader Michael Gunner stepped down to spend more time at home. As for Fyles, she said she’ll remain in the parliament and return to “my first job in politics” – that is, as the local member for her Darwin-based electorate of Nightcliff.


Squiz the Rest

A convicted terrorist goes free

After nearly 20 years behind bars, Abdul Nacer Benbrika has been released from prison. He was sentenced in 2009 over his terror cell’s foiled plots, including a plan to attack the MCG during the 2005 AFL grand final, and was due to be released in 2020 – but his detention was extended for 3 years because of the government’s concerns over his release. Experts say Benbrika’s made progress towards de-radicalisation, and so a judge has ruled that he will be released under a 12-month extended supervision order with about 30 conditions. Breaches of the order could result in a return to prison and the potential cancellation of his citizenship. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said while he welcomed the restrictions on his release, the order “does not include every condition sought by the government.” But like the recent case that saw about 150 people released from immigration detention, the Coalition says the Albanese Government could have done more to prevent it from happening. 

Australian News

The rain eases up in Far North Queensland

Less than a week from Christmas, shocked communities in Far North Queensland face an extensive clean-up after the worst flooding in decades. As the rain eased yesterday, it came too late to save many homes from the floodwaters, which locals from Cape York to Cairns say they were blindsided by. In Wujal Wujal, the small community about 70km south of Cooktown, about 120 residents were evacuated by Defence helicopters yesterday, and more are set to be picked up today. That area has been devastated by the floods, with photos showing water reaching the roofs of 2-storey homes there. Yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese offered new disaster support payments for those who have suffered “significant loss”. He says the goal is to “make this recovery as smooth as is possible”. At least Cairns Airport has finally been able to reopen


Natural disasters in China and Iceland

It’s not just Queensland that’s having a ding-dong fight with Mother Nature at the moment… A 6.2 magnitude earthquake in northwest China claimed at least 127 lives and injured over 700 on Monday night. The quake, which struck in the Gansu province and has affected neighbouring Qinghai and Xinjiang (aka some of the poorest areas of China…), has seen thousands of rescuers working in freezing conditions. China is no stranger to earthquakes because it sits across where the Eurasian, Indian, and Pacific plates meet. And over in Iceland, a volcano is erupting on the Reykjanes peninsula following weeks of seismic activity that prompted the evacuation of the nearby town of Grindavík in November. It’s the largest in the eruption-prone area since 2021, but it hasn’t disrupted international flight corridors. Which is a pretty important thing at this time of year…

World News

Bless you…

Pope Francis didn’t sneeze – but he has given the thumbs up to a new ruling that allows Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples. Note: the blessings can’t be part of regular Church rituals like marriage, and the Church’s stance remains that same-sex attraction isn’t sinful, but what gay people do when they love each other very much is. It’s a big U-turn from a previous Vatican declaration in 2021, and those in the know say it’s classic Pope Francis, who has tried to make the Church more welcoming to everyone without changing its moral doctrine. The ruling has had mixed reviews… Ulrich L Lehner, a theology professor, reckons the new guidance “invites misunderstanding and will sow confusion”. But Father James Martin, a well-known American Jesuit priest, says it “recognises the deep desire in many Catholic same-sex couples for God’s presence in their loving relationships.”

World News

A chimp face I’ve seen before

Remember that chimp you met at the zoo when you were a kid? Well, it turns out they might remember you too… In a groundbreaking new study, researchers have found that bonobos and chimpanzees can remember their friends, even after decades apart. Dr Laura Lewis and her team showed 26 apes pictures of other apes they’d never met and old pals. The apes spent longer looking at pics of their mates than the strangers – and the gold star goes to a 46yo bonobo named Louise, who recognised faces, even after spending 26 years apart… Dr Lewis reckons the results “represent some of the longest long-term memory ever found in nonhuman animals.” Wonder if Louise also remembers that old friend who never returned a favourite book, or is that just us projecting again? 

Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

A new record has been set for one of Princess Diana’s famous dresses sold at auction… Her blue and black velvet Jacques Azagury gown, which she wore in 1985-86, sold for a cool $1,707,436 – 11 times the estimated price.

And in a new sign of the times, there’s no room for Zoom on the Nasdaq 100… The US tech company index has dropped the pandemic era’s favourite video conferencing business after its growth stalled and the share price plummeted in 2023.

And NASA scientists are stoked that an ultra-high-def video of Taters the tabby cat has been successfully sent back to Earth from more than 30 million kilometres away. The experiment is a win, with scientists hoping it’ll lead the way for better space comms on missions. Beam me up, Taters…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7:00am (AEDT) NZ Prime Minister Christopher Luxon visits Sydney to meet with PM Anthony Albanese

Last day of Term 4 for public schools in Victoria

Democratic Republic of the Congo general election

International Human Solidarity Day 

Anniversary of:

  • the publication of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812)
  • the premiere of Christmas classic flick It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Paul Keating becoming PM after defeating Bob Hawke for the leadership of the Labor party (1991)
  • Queen Elizabeth II becoming the oldest ever British monarch when she surpassed Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days (2007)
Squiz the Day

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