Squiz Today / 24 May 2024

Squiz Today – 24 May 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“There’s a perception out there [that] if you’re wearing a fly net, you’re a bit of a weak bugger.”

Said Jarrod Walker, whose town – Gascoyne Junction, which is about 1,000km north of Perth – has been inundated with an unseasonal bush fly plague. He reckons even hardened pastoralists are donning fly nets to go outside. Better to swallow your pride than a fly…

Rishi rolls the dice

The Squiz 

UK PM Rishi Sunak has surprised voters – and some of his Conservative Party colleagues – by calling an election for 4 July. The multi-millionaire leader revealed the date in a rain-soaked press conference outside 10 Downing Street, saying he’s proud of what his government has achieved and he’ll fight for “every vote”. In response, the Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (who may or may not be the bloke Bridget Jones’s Mr Darcy is based on…) also made an early pitch to voters, saying it’s “time for change” away from “Tory chaos”.

Why so soon?

An election wasn’t expected until late this year but Sunak says he decided to bring it forward after the government “reached 2 major milestones” – reducing inflation to its lowest rate in 3 years and growing the economy faster than other G7 countries. But Starmer will argue the economy is actually stalling, meaning it will be difficult for the government to deliver promised tax cuts. And there could be more bad press on the way for the government as asylum seeker boats are expected to continue landing in the UK, despite its controversial Rwanda deportation program. The early election also means the government may have to abandon some of its planned legislation, like compensation promised to victims of the infected blood scandal. That’s a response to the more than 30,000 people who were infected with HIV and hepatitis C after receiving blood in the 70s and 80s.

Who’s expected to win?

The UK held local elections earlier this month and the Conservatives were smashed, losing hundreds of seats and the London mayoral race, which Labour’s Sadiq Khan won. Labour made significant gains in those elections, and polls suggest similar results could happen on 4 July. But a Conservative win wouldn’t be the first time they’ve defied gravity – they’ve been in power for 14 years and survived against the odds before. This time around, some pundits say Sunak lasting this long since his party elected him in October 2022 to replace Liz Truss after her disastrous 44 days in office (when she was outlasted by a lettuce…), defied expectations. In UK politics, anything could happen…

World News

Squiz the Rest

Macron’s flying visit

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced he’ll delay controversial voting reforms in New Caledonia to allow time for more talks with local pro-independence groups. In a brief visit to the French territory, Macron said he wanted to restore “peace, calm [and] security” after riots in the past week have left 6 people dead and hundreds injured. To recap, civil unrest broke out over a plan to give voting rights to European residents on the Pacific Island territory – where the Indigenous Kanak people have long sought independence. After talks yesterday, Macron said there was “no common vision” on the island’s future and more time was needed to discuss the reforms – but local pro-independence leaders want them scrapped. Meanwhile, our Foreign Minister Penny Wong says the government is working to get about 200 stranded Aussies on evacuation flights today.

World News

A long road to recovery

Three Aussies are among 20 people still in intensive care at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok following Tuesday’s deadly incident on a Singapore Airlines flight. There were 229 people on flight SQ321 from London to Singapore when it hit severe turbulence and dropped sharply – flinging passengers to the roof and causing gashes, concussions and head/spinal injuries. Up to 70 passengers and crew members were injured, with many of them admitted to Bangkok hospitals for treatment. We don’t know much about the Australian victims yet – and that might be because some Thai hospital staff are stopping them from speaking to the media. This happened to Adelaide man Keith Davis, who was wheeled away by staff when telling the ABC he’s yet to hear from Singapore Airlines about a medical flight home for him and his wife, who’s still in intensive care. Other passengers have described what happened as “all hell broke loose”, and reports say the wife of 73yo Geoff Kitchen – who died from a suspected heart attack – has now been told of his death.

Australian News

Down but not out

Australia’s largest coal-fired power station has had its retirement delayed by 2 years after the NSW Government penned a deal that will see taxpayers pay up to $450 million to keep the lights on for longer than planned… Origin Energy, which owns the Eraring station at Lake Macquarie, originally planned to close it in August 2025 – but there have been concerns over whether that could cause reliability gaps in the NSW energy market during its slow transition to renewable energy. Cue concerns over a potential uptick in power outages… Premier Chris Minns yesterday said the deal means “certainty for households and businesses” as the state moves towards its net zero goals. But critics from the renewable energy sector say it wasn’t necessary, and is just “another massive coal subsidy funded by electricity users in NSW”.

AusPol Australian News

Vindication for Canberrans

In a nice bragging rights boost for those who call our nation’s capital home, Canberra has been named the second-best city in the world to live if you’re looking for quality of life. The Oxford Economics 2024 Global Cities Index ranked the top 1,000 cities around the world in various categories and placed Canberra behind only Grenoble in France for quality of life – making it the only non-European city in that category’s top 10. The report noted the “impressive feat” was down to Canberra’s high incomes/low degree of income inequality, healthcare facilities and high life expectancy. Kudos also to Melburnians – Victoria’s capital came in at number 9 on the overall city ranking thanks to its educational and economic opportunities. It narrowly beat Sydney, which came in at 16 on the overall ranking – so the rivalry will live to see another year…

Australian News

A polarising portrait of Princess Kate

The cover of July’s issue of Tatler has got tongues wagging with its cover, featuring a portrait of Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, by British-Zambian artist Hannah Uzor. It’s the third royal portrait commissioned by Tatler in recent years, following ones of Queen Elizabeth and King Charles III. These portraits are part of the publication’s Akoje Residency, a program supporting diasporic (aka people scattered from their ancestral homelands) artists. But this latest pic of Kate has copped a bit of flak, with heaps of budding art critics questioning the quality and accuracy. “It looks nothing like her” and “it’s just plain weird” are 2 bits of frequent feedback… Despite the criticism, Uzor has praised the queen-in-waiting’s grace and dignity. “She has really risen up to her role – she was born for this. She carries herself with such dignity, elegance and grace,” Uzor says. 

Culture World News

Friday Lites – 3 things we liked this week

If we’re in the mood to expand our musical horizons, we browse the best albums/songs lists, usually from Rolling Stone. This week Apple Music put out a top 100 albums list as judged by some notable experts. On our playlist this weekend is some Lauryn Hill… 

Now the weather is properly coolish, we’ve pulled out some knits, and it’s pill city… This contraption got them looking as good as new. Worth a try, right? 

How good that some old-fashioned puddings are getting a moment in the winter sun? This golden syrup dumplings recipe took us right back to our grandparents’ kitchen – just cut back on dinner a bit ‘cos these are filling…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – Former US military pilot Daniel Duggan will face a hearing to determine if he is eligible for extradition to the US – Sydney

10.00 (AEST) – Victorian Nationals State Conference 2024 (until 25 May) – Bendigo

12.30 (AEST) – Athletics: Australia’s marathon squad for the Paris Olympics to be named at the MCG in Melbourne

4.00pm (AEST) – The case of X challenging a take-down order by the eSafety Commissioner over graphic content relating to the Wakely terror attack is in NCAT for directions – Melbourne

5.15pm (AEST) – Men’s Soccer: A League All Stars v Newcastle – Melbourne, or watch on 10 Play – then back it up with the women at

8.05pm (AEST) – Women’s Soccer: A League All Stars v Arsenal – Melbourne, or watch on 10 Play 

Sydney’s Vivid Festival lights up the city (on until 15 June) 

Independence Day in Eritrea

World Schizophrenia Awareness Day

National Coffee Day in Brazil

International Tiara Day 

Birthdays for Bob Dylan (1941), Priscilla Presley (1945),  Roger Deakins (1949)

Anniversary of:

  • the birthdays of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686) and Queen Victoria (1819)
  • Samuel Morse tapping out “What hath God wrought” in the world’s first telegraph message (1844)
  • Amy Johnson becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia (1930)
  • American management consultant Marilyn Loden first coining the term “glass ceiling” to describe invisible career barriers for women (1978)
  • the death of rock and roll queen Tina Turner (2023)
Squiz the Day

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