Squiz Today / 29 January 2024

Squiz Today – 20 January 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10.15 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Simply mind-boggling…”

Says travel agent Rob Clabbers of the Icon of the Seas – the world’s largest cruise ship that has just launched. And when we say large, it holds nearly 10,000 people with the many-tiered set-up creating what’s been called ‘human lasagne’. Tasty…

Kick-starting some big conversations

The Squiz 

We start today with confirmation that 3 US soldiers have died overnight in a drone attack near Jordan’s border with Syria – they are the first American troops to be killed in strikes in the region since Hamas’s 7 October attacks on Israel. US President Joe Biden says an Iran-backed militant group is to blame, and analysts say it’s another brick in the wall of concerns about a broadening conflict resulting from Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza. Just on that, reports say negotiators are getting closer to a deal between Israeli and Hamas leaders for the release of more hostages and accompanying ceasefire. And there have been a couple of major developments in that war worth getting across…

Where do we start?

With the United Nations’ top court’s interim judgement in South Africa’s case against Israel over allegations of genocide. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found some claims were plausible, and it issued 6 emergency orders to Israel – the big one is that Israel “must take all possible measures” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. “This entails not killing members of a particular group – in this case, Palestinians,” the court said. The ICJ didn’t order a ceasefire, but experts say it will be hard for Israel to implement the orders without a pause in fighting. Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu called the ruling a “vile attempt” to deny his nation its right to self-defence. Note: the orders are unenforceable, but it has increased pressure on Israel’s Western allies to rethink their positions on the war. Here in Oz, human rights groups are calling on the government to review economic/military support for Israel.

Got you. What else?

The firing of staff of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – which spearheads the organisation’s aid efforts – after Israeli officials alleged they were involved in the 7 October attacks. Mark Regev, an adviser to Netanyahu, said one released Israeli hostage claimed she’d been “held in the house of someone who worked for UNRWA” in Gaza. And he says there is evidence showing teachers at UNRWA schools “openly celebrated” the attacks. The agency’s boss Philippe Lazzarini says the claims are being taken seriously, and that an investigation into “the heinous allegations will establish the facts”. But he’s also pleaded with countries who have paused their aid funding – including Australia, Canada, the UK and US – to reconsider, saying more than 2 million people in Gaza are relying on UNRWA to survive. Foreign Minister Penny Wong says Australia “will engage closely” on the investigations.

World News

Squiz the Rest

In the dark over Kirrily

After crossing the coast near Townsville on Thursday night, ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily dropped 100-150mm of rain and brought strong winds, which has left thousands of northern Queenslanders without power. Thankfully, the damage to property was minimal. But hold onto your hat – the official weather people are warning of more severe conditions as the remnants of the cyclone could mix with thunderstorms in the southeast. “Our waterways and infrastructure can’t deal with so much rain so quickly. So that risk of flooding is real,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Miriam Bradbury. The Queensland Government is offering hardship payments to those affected and helping councils with the clean-up costs. Yesterday, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said restoring the electricity supply was necessary because “it’s pretty hot and humid here at the moment”.


The door opens for a deal

After attempting to smoothly moonwalk away from a promise to keep the previous government’s stage 3 tax cuts, PM Anthony Albanese is standing firm on the changes he says will help “middle Australia” manage cost of living pressures. But it’s not a done deal with the changes having to pass the parliament – and to do that, some negotiation will be required… The Greens reckon the reforms are unfair to struggling Aussies and want to see the tax-free threshold lifted. And the Coalition thinks it’s dudding higher earners and that Albanese has broken trust with voters – but deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley yesterday said they’ve got to “go through the fine print” before deciding if they’ll back/oppose the changes. This week, Albanese is touring the country talking up his plan ahead of parliament returning next week.


Carroll 2, Trump 0

Donald Trump has been ordered to cough up US$83.3 million ($126.7 million) to writer E Jean Carroll after she won her second legal case against the former US president. In a case tried last year, Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the 90s (which he denied) and defaming her when the allegations went public. She won and was awarded US$5 million – which sent Trump OTT, and he had some nasty things to say about her again… She sued him again – and won again. “This is a great victory for every woman who stands up when she’s been knocked down and a huge defeat for every bully who has tried to keep a woman down,” Carroll said on Saturday. Trump posted “THIS IS NOT AMERICA!” to his social media channel – he and his legal team have promised to appeal both judgments. Until those are resolved, Carroll won’t see a cent.

World News

Wiping the court on another Australian Open

What a men’s singles final last night… Italian Jannik Sinner lost the first 2 sets against Russian Daniil Medvedev but rallied and won the final 3 to claim his first grand slam tournament win. Sinner is coached by Aussie Darren Cahill, so we’ll claim it… In the women’s final on Saturday night, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka successfully defended her Aussie Open crown with a win over China’s Zheng Qinwen. Sabalenka said she was worried she was a one-title wonder, so that’s put paid to that… In the men’s doubles, Aussie Matthew Ebden and Indian Rohan Bopanna have bagged their first title after forming their partnership last year, and for the women, Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens took the title (but not the trophy…). And Japanese teenager Tokito Oda won his first Australian Open men’s wheelchair final, with Diede de Groot winning her sixth women’s wheelchair title, equalling the record. That’s a lot of tennis…


The truth isn’t out there

Sean Kirkpatrick – the bloke who used to be in charge of UFOs at the US Department of Defense – has had it. He recently stepped down as the first director of the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) – during his time there, his team found that at least 90% of recorded UFO sightings have a logical explanation. And he’s left the job frustrated that his mission was (to his mind, anyway…) hijacked by people inside the US Government who are hard-core alien fans. Speaking to the In The Room podcast in his first post-job interview, Kirkpatrick said he could do nothing to disavow the true believers. “There is no evidence of extraterrestrials. There is no evidence of aliens, and there’s no evidence of the government conspiracy” covering the discovery of alien lifeforms up, he said. But he would say that, wouldn’t he…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

The West Indies recorded their first men’s Test cricket win against Australia in Oz in 27 years yesterday. The game-changer was rookie bowler Shamar Joseph, who took 7 wickets in 11.5 overs yesterday. “Young, inexperienced, written off – West Indies cricket can stand tall today,” said former great Brian Lara.

The nation has a new speed queen – 19yo Queenslander Torrie Lewis ran the 100m in 11.10sec on Saturday, making her Australia’s fastest-ever woman. She will need to crack 11.07sec to qualify for the Paris Olympics…

And Jakara Anthony has become one of the most successful moguls skiers of all time. She won her 10th World Cup gold of the season in the US yesterday, taking her career titles to 18, putting her level for the Aussie record with Dale Begg-Smith. “It’s been a crazy season,” Anthony said.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.00pm (AEDT) – Nemesis premiers on ABC TV/iView

South Australian schools are back for Term 1 of 2024

Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day 

Birthdays for Germaine Greer (1939), Oprah Winfrey (1954) and Stephanie Gilmore (1988)

Anniversary of: 

  • “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe being published for the first time in the New York Evening Mirror (1845) 
  • the President of France announced the “definite end” to France’s nuclear testing program just 1 day after the country exploded a nuclear device in the South Pacific (1996)
Squiz the Day

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