Squiz Today / 27 March 2024

Squiz Today – 27 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“My 7yo’s reaction has been very positive…”

Said Tasmania’s outgoing Labor leader Rebecca White, who suffered her third state election loss at the helm last weekend. After 7 years, she says it’s time for someone else to have a go – and her family wholeheartedly agrees…  

The Squiz

Julian Assange is edging closer to learning if he will be extradited from the UK to the US to face hacking and espionage charges that could see him locked up for the rest of his life. Last night, the UK’s High Court gave the American government 3 weeks to provide assurances about Assange’s First Amendment rights (that’s the one that protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press) and that he would not face the death penalty. Those are the points the court says Assange has a “real prospect of success” with getting his request to appeal the UK Government’s decision to extradite him over the line. However, the judges disagreed with Assange over his argument that the US is persecuting him for his political opinions. 

Remind me what this is about…

As the founder of WikiLeaks, Assange is wanted for the publishing of sensitive US Government documents – heaps of ’em… In 2010, Wikileaks published a video from a US military helicopter showing the killing of 18 civilians in Iraq, including 2 staff members of the media outlet Reuters. It also published classified US military documents on the Afghan and Iraq wars – things like the details of Afghan civilian casualties, efforts to pursue Osama bin Laden and much more. That was followed by more than 250,000 secret US State Department diplomatic cables that went into the inner workings of important negotiations and their candid assessments of world leaders. His team say he’s a journalist who did what journalists do and made public uncomfortable facts. But the US maintains he’s a spy who endangered the lives of thousands. 

So what’s next?

If the US Government doesn’t provide the assurances the court is looking for, he will be allowed to appeal his extradition. But if the US responds, there will be a hearing in May to decide if the assurances are satisfactory before a final decision on the appeal is made. And while it’s dragging out (again…), this is last-ditch stuff for Assange. His wife Stella spoke outside the court and called the decision “astounding”. She’s urged the US Government to not issue the assurances. “They should drop this shameful case that should never have been brought,” she said overnight. 

Australian News World News

Squiz the Rest

A bridge and troubled waters

Rescue crews in the US port city of Baltimore are searching a local river for at least 6 missing construction workers after a cargo ship crashed into a major bridge, which saw it collapse into the water last night our time. As you can imagine, the pictures are quite something… Police rescued 2 people from the water, but they’re yet to confirm any fatalities. Video footage shows the Singapore-flagged container ship, the Dali, colliding with the 2.57km-long Francis Scott Key Bridge at around 1.30am local time – reports say the ship suffered a power issue and sent a mayday call. That saw authorities able to stop vehicles from driving onto the bridge. US President Joe Biden said he’ll visit Baltimore “as quickly as I can.” Danish company Maersk, which was chartering the ship, says it’s “horrified by what has happened”.

World News

US-Israel relations on the rocks

We mentioned the United Nations Security Council’s resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza yesterday, and there’s been a lot of fallout from that… The US – Israel’s longtime ally – abstained from voting, which essentially saw it waved through and the focus now is on what that means for the deteriorating US-Israel relationship. Reports say it’s “sank to a wartime low”, and US-Middle East expert Aaron David Miller says trust between US President Joe Biden and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is fraying. “If the crisis is not managed carefully, it’s only going to continue to worsen,” he said. Biden’s been trying to persuade Netanyahu to call off a planned invasion of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering… Overnight, a UN expert has told the Human Rights Council that Israel’s campaign in Gaza “amounted to genocide” – a claim Israel rejects – and has called for sanctions and an arms embargo.

World News

A rush to pass new immigration rules

The fallout from November’s High Court ruling that saw 152 people (mostly convicted criminals) released from immigration detention continues… Yesterday, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles introduced the third tranche of legislation – this time to ensure the government can deport people who refuse to return to their birth country because they fear persecution. It would also see people from nations that don’t accept unwilling deportees denied visas to Australia – including tourists. This latest move is in response to another case coming before the High Court next month, and critics say if the legislation is passed, Australia could send desperate people to their deaths. The Albanese Government wants the legislation passed today because parliament is about to be suspended until the Budget in May. The Coalition will support it, but made a lot of noise yesterday saying Labor’s stuffed this whole chapter…

AusPol Australian News

Boeing says bye bye

After a string of safety incidents on Boeing aircraft, CEO Dave Calhoun has announced he’s hitting the departure lounge and will step down at the end of the year. Board chair Larry Kellner also says he won’t stand for re-election. The company’s had a shocker and is shaking up its management and director ranks as it continues to face intense scrutiny from the American aviation regulator and the public with more travellers checking the type of plane they are flying on before booking. Boeing says it has increased the number of checks and transparency inside its factories, particularly on its beleaguered 737 Max 9 production lines. Analysts say the company should be looking to find someone external to take on the role of CEO in a bid to regain public trust. 

World News

Don’t mess with my pancakes

Canada is facing a shortage of maple syrup, as the world’s only reserve of golden deliciousness has reached a 16-year low. It’s designed to hold up to 60 million kilograms of the sweet stuff, but the levels fell to just over 3 million kilograms last year. Experts have blamed the shortfall on rising demand and warmer weather, which has led to poor harvests. Canada produces 75% of the world’s entire production – and to add a bit of sweetness, its industry body says they “do not foresee any supply issues in the near future.” Phew… But just in case anything changes, academics in the US state of New Jersey are taking matters into their own sticky paws… They’re attempting to cultivate a different type of maple tree to establish a new local syrup industry. Good luck taking on the Canucks…

World News

Apropos of Nothing

Why does the day drag on for you but fly by for someone else? Scientists say we all experience “subjective time” – aka how we interpret sand passing through the hourglass depending on our emotions and the events taking place. 

We’re keen on a bit of amateur photography on holiday, but we’ve never taken 20,000 photos of one city… That’s how many shots artist Sohei Nishino used to create an epic, 5m wide hand-assembled collage map of the Scottish city of Dundee. Quite the time commitment, given he says he “had no expectations” of the city…

And firefighters in the Garden State have rescued an 11-month-old Labrador after her head got wedged in a tyre. One firie says Daisy was “pretty stuck in there” and had to use his cutters for cutting steel to free her… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEDT) – Inquest findings from the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20 in NSW published – Sydney

11.45am (AEDT) – Australian aquatics uniform for the Paris Olympics to be revealed – Brisbane

12.30pm (AEDT) – June Oscar, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, will address the National Press Club on First Nations Gender Justice – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Monthly Consumer Price Index Indicator, February

Melbourne International Comedy Festival begins (until 23 April) – Melbourne

World Theatre Day

Birthdays for Quentin Tarantino (1963), Mariah Carey (1971) and Fergie (1975)

Anniversary of:

  • The patenting of kerosene (1855)
  • Billie Holiday playing in front of a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall 11 days after being released from prison (1948)
  • Suharto officially succeeding Sukarno as president of Indonesia (1968)
  • The worst aviation disaster in history when two Boeing 747s collided in Spain, killing 583 people (1977)
  • And the anniversary of the detention centre fire in the border city of Ciudad Juarez Mexico, killing 40 people (2023)
Squiz the Day

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