Squiz Today / 25 March 2024

Squiz Today – 25 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 8 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“He certainly enjoyed the experience, it’s not something many people ever get to do.”

Said a defence official about UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps’ flight from Canberra to Adelaide in a Super Hornet last week. Our Air Force was keen to show off in a jet the Brits don’t have – and Shapps (who was here for strategic talks) felt the need, the need for speed…

Russia’s ready for retribution

The Squiz

Russian President Vladimir Putin says 11 people have been detained over a terrorist attack at a rock concert in Moscow on Friday night that left at least 137 people dead and over 150 wounded. It’s the deadliest attack in Russia in 20 years, and reports say the death toll will continue to rise. Witnesses say 4 gunmen entered the Crocus City Hall music venue and fired indiscriminately before setting it alight, causing large sections of the building to collapse. Survivors have begun sharing their experiences, with one woman saying, “I fell to the floor and pretended to be dead.” On Saturday, the UN Security Council called the attack “heinous and cowardly”.

Who are the attackers?

Islamic State’s ISIS-K branch has claimed responsibility – that’s backed up by US intelligence sources who warned Russia on 7 March that “extremists” had “imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow”. In the days before the attack, Putin dismissed the warning as “provocative statements” from the West intended to “intimidate and destabilise our society”. He has not responded to ISIS-K’s claim but says the terrorists planned to escape to Ukraine and that its government may have been involved. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and US officials have rejected that… As for ISIS-K, it’s based in Afghanistan and has a history of attacking Russia because it’s “complicit in activities that regularly oppress Muslims”. That includes Russia’s involvement in the Syrian war that largely drove Islamic State out and its long history of fighting Chechnyan Muslim separatists.

So what now?

In a televised address, Putin declared Sunday a national day of mourning and condemned the “barbaric terrorist attack”. He said the 4 gunmen “have been found and detained” and have “only one unenviable fate: retribution and oblivion”. Locally, some say lax security is to blame and point out that it took 1.5 hours to deploy special forces to the site because of traffic jams… There is also commentary that the attack gives Putin a further excuse to monitor locals and further restrict their freedoms. As for claims Ukraine is involved, senior Russian lawmaker Andrei Kartapolov says if it is the case, Russia must deliver a “worthy, clear and concrete” reply on the battlefield. Overnight, reports say Russian missile attacks on Ukraine have stepped up. To be continued… 

World News

Squiz the Rest

Kate finally feels the love

Princess Kate and her husband Prince William say they’ve been “enormously touched” by the outpouring of support after she released a video on Saturday morning our time, confirming she has cancer and is undergoing “preventative chemotherapy”. She didn’t specify what type, and Kensington Palace says it will “not be sharing any further private medical information.” Kate’s brother James Middleton says the family will “climb” this mountain together, as Prince Harry and Meghan wished her “health and healing”. It’s been a rocky few weeks of speculation and conspiracy theories about Kate’s wellbeing, and that’s prompted some soul-searching among celebrities who’ve joked about Kate’s absence, including a “mortified” Blake Lively… And across the pond, a reported offer by Prince Harry to step back into the fold to “plug the gaps” has been met with a thanks but no thanks… 

World News

Guterres aghast in Gaza

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has had a gutful of the blockade of relief trucks on Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip, calling it a “moral outrage”. Visiting the area on Saturday, he demanded an “ironclad commitment” from Israel for unrestricted access to humanitarian goods in Gaza, where agencies say 1.1 million Palestinians are on the brink of starvation. Guterres said he saw “the heartbreak and heartlessness of it all. A long line of blocked relief trucks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on the other.” The UN isn’t the only one voicing concerns – Western countries and aid groups have also criticised Israel over the slow processing of aid. And as another ceasefire resolution was voted down by the UN Security Council, the French are stepping up to have a go at brokering an agreement. Bonne chance…

World News

And the winner in Tassie is…

The Liberal Party, although it’ll probably take a couple of weeks to sort out what Tasmania’s new government looks like. Going into Saturday’s vote, a close contest with neither of the major parties being able to govern in their own right was the expected result – and that’s where things have landed… The Liberals are set to take 15 of the 35 lower house seats, with Premier Jeremy Rockliff claiming a historic fourth term. He’s said to be negotiating with the Lambie Network, which got its hands on 2 seats. Labor’s expected 10 seats saw leader Rebecca White throw in the towel yesterday – even if they teamed up with the Greens’ expected 6 members, they would still be 2 seats short of a majority… Not part of the new crew – John Tucker and Lara Alexander… The former Libs, whose decision to become independents saw Rockliff call the early election, both failed in their bids to be re-elected.


Surprises galore in Melbourne

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz won his first Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne yesterday, with the 29yo Spaniard overcoming some tyre troubles that had cut his lead. His Monaco-born teammate Charles Leclerc took second place, British McLaren driver Lando Norris came third, while his Aussie teammate Oscar Piastri finished fourth. Despite the ongoing drama within the Red Bull team, world #1 Max Verstappen was in pole position heading into the race, but a sudden technical issue saw him forced out when his car burst into flames… It was also a bad weekend for former world champion Lewis Hamilton, who hit a 14-year low in his career and had to pull out of the race with engine failure. The 39yo Mercedes driver had already complained about his vehicle, saying his car “really messes with the mind.”

Australian News Sport

A bizarre love triangle pays

Back in the 70s, Eric Clapton was coming in hot for Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s then wife. And now, the scandal involving 2 of Britain’s hottest music talents is back in the limelight with Boyd’s memorabilia – including photos, love letters, and artwork – fetching nearly £3 million ($5.8 million) at auction on Saturday. The star of the show? Clapton’s “most divine, beautiful letters” that Boyd was ready to part with because “I don’t want to keep reading them. It hurts.” In the notes, Clapton urges Boyd to leave the Beatle – and sure he’s got stage-5 clinger tendencies, but his handwriting’s beautiful… “I am completely blown away by the enthusiasm of international bidders for these special treasures that I have always loved,” said Boyd. As for the 2 men, Clapton got the girl before divorcing in 1989. But Harrison is ranked higher than Clapton on Rolling Stone’s greatest guitarist list…


Apropos of Nothing – Amazing legs edition

British runner Jasmin Paris has become the first woman to complete the brutal Barkley Marathons in Tennessee. With just 1 minute and 39 seconds to spare before the 60-hour cut-off, she finished the race that only 20 people have ever completed. The 100-mile (160km) course includes a climb and descent that’s twice that of Mount Everest… 

Austrian footballer Christoph Baumgartner dodged 3 challenges and fired a low shot to score in the first 6 seconds of a friendly match against Slovenia yesterday, breaking the previous record held by Germany’s Lukas Podolski. Who needs a full 90 minutes of the beautiful game?

Mount Gambier’s Lego Man – aka Alex McIntyre – is hanging up his big yellow head. Last year, he walked 100km in the homemade costume to raise $12,000 for the Cancer Council, but a dog attack earlier this year “made me realise that I actually do not enjoy it anymore.” Fair enough… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.45am (AEDT) Public Hearing: Independent Review of Secrecy Laws – Canberra

8.45am (AEDT) Cyber Wardens: Cyber Security Summit – Canberra

9.00am (AEDT) Senate Inquiry Hearing into the closure of banks in rural and regional Australia – Canberra

Counting begins for 2024 SA First Nations Voice Election – Adelaide

Federal Parliament sitting – both Houses (until 28 March) – Canberra

Independence Day – Greece

Freedom Day – Belarus

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade  

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 

Birthdays for Gloria Steinem (1934), Elton John (1947) and Sarah Jessica Parker (1965)

Anniversary of:

  • the first Easter, according to calendar maker Dionysius Exiguus (31)
  • the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire (1807)
  • the debut of The Bachelor in the US (2002)
  • And Labour won the NSW State election, putting an end to 12 years of Coalition rule (2023)
Squiz the Day

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