Squiz Today / 14 October 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 14 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you across the news so you can move on to ‘whatcha doin’ this weekend?’ type conversations.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“With a name like mine, getting into the fragrance business was inevitable – why did I even fight it for so long!?”

Tweeted entrepreneur Elon Musk as he launched his latest business venture – a perfume. Boasting “the essence of repugnant desire”, his fragrance Burnt Hair has already sold 10,000 bottles at US$100 a pop. You can’t fight destiny…

Billion-dollar pay day for Sandy Hook victims

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered to pay a whopping US$965 million – that’s $1.5 billion – to 8 families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, along with an FBI agent who was at the scene. A jury in Connecticut found Jones had repeatedly lied for years when he claimed the 2012 school shooting – which saw a 20yo man kill 26 people, including 20 children aged between 6-7yo – was a hoax. Jones described the victims’ parents as “crisis actors” on his far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars and radio show and claimed the government staged it to bring about gun law reform. That saw victims’ families harassed by Jones’ supporters. Families of the victims have led the defamation action against him in 2 US states. This is the latest win after a jury in Texas told Jones in August to cough up US$49 million to 2 other Sandy Hook parents.

It seems unlikely, but there’s some way to go yet. Jones says he will appeal and that his Texas-based company’s bankruptcy – which he filed for in July – will protect InfoWars. Experts say bankruptcy would limit how much money the families can access, but with Jones said to be personally worth between US$135-270 million, the bankruptcy claim is being challenged. Commentating as he live-streamed the jury’s verdict on his website, Jones said “I’m actually proud to be under this level of attack.” He’s also asked his supporters for donations “to fight this fraud”. After yesterday’s court ruling, Robbie Parker, the dad of 6yo victim Emilie, told reporters he was proud that “what we were able to accomplish was just to simply tell the truth.”

Yes. Nikolas Cruz, the man who killed 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018, has avoided a death sentence. The 24yo pleaded guilty to the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 students and 3 staff, and the jury has decided he should serve a life sentence in prison due to “mitigating factors”, including his tough upbringing. Reports say many victims’ family members are not happy with the decision. “Our justice system should have been used to punish this shooter to the fullest extent of the law,” said one father. Cruz’s life sentence will be formally handed down at a hearing on 1 November, when survivors will address the court. The massacre is the deadliest mass shooting that has ever gone to trial in America. Nine other people in the US have shot and killed at least 17 people – they all died during or immediately after their attacks by suicide or police gunfire.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Allies strengthen Ukraine’s air defence

Ukraine is continuing to garner international support as the missile attacks by Russia targeting civilian infrastructure continue. Western military alliance NATO says it will deliver hundreds of millions of dollars worth of advanced air defence weapons to the capital Kyiv to bolster Ukraine’s defence. The pledge follows a meeting of 50 of Ukraine’s allies at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. And at another meeting, 143 countries at the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia’s attempted annexation of 4 Ukrainian regions, marking the biggest vote against Russia since the invasion began. The vote was triggered after Russia used its veto power last month to prevent a similar resolution by the UN Security Council. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his gratitude, saying Russia’s attempted annexations “will never be recognised by free nations”.

World News

On the flood frontlines

With no end in sight to the unpleasant weather in Australia’s east, parts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania are copping the brunt of wet and wild conditions. In northern Tassie, emergency crews are helping people evacuate amid concerns that Mersey and Meander rivers will reach dangerously high levels. Operations at the port of Devonport have been suspended, and several Spirit of Tasmania ferry services have been cancelled. In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews warned of “one of the most significant flood events” the state has seen. Emergency services received thousands of calls for help after parts of central and northern Victoria were drenched by heavy rain. Centres including Shepparton, Seymour, Euroa, and Castlemaine are affected along with so many smaller communities. And in NSW, parts of Forbes were ordered to evacuate, with the Lachlan River expected to peak at 10.6m today. The weather bureau says flooding will continue for several days.

Australian News Weather

Profits to take off like a flying kangaroo…

Qantas’s share price was up 8.7% following news that its business performance is really picking up. After being pretty much grounded during 2020-21 and making some big missteps in 2022, travellers have come back in droves. And despite the customer complaints and capacity remaining well below pre-COVID levels, boss Alan Joyce said that business customers’ revenue is back over 100% of pre-COVID levels, and holiday travel revenue is more than 130% of pre-COVID levels. That means travellers have put aside their grumbles and paid more to fly. Yesterday, Joyce said the negative feedback landed with management, and things are improving. He also said they’ve listened to unhappy staff who want better pay and conditions. Still, more industrial action is on the cards… For the 6 months ending 31 December, the airline’s profit should be between $1.2-1.3 billion – more than double that analysts forecasts.

Australian News Business & Finance

Playing Pong in a Petri dish

It sounds like science fiction, but Melbourne-based researchers have taught a dish of brain cells to play the 1972 arcade game, Pong. In a world-first experiment dubbed DishBrain, scientists grew 800,000 cells derived from humans and mice that together function like a primitive “cyborg brain”. Then using Pong as the ultimate test, the team signalled to the cells what side a ball was on using electrodes that also indicated whether the ball was being hit. Incredibly, the DishBrain learn how to play within minutes – something scientists say proves it has sentience (aka some awareness) but not consciousness (aka a sense of itself). Next on the list is getting the brain cells “drunk” to see if it affects their Pong playing abilities. The experiment could provide insights into conditions like epilepsy and dementia. Great, but it’s still creepy…

Environment & Science Quirky News

Plenty of sport on offer

There’s a big weekend of sport ahead, but before we get to that, the big NRL news yesterday was the Manly Sea Eagles’ sacking of head coach/league legend Des Hasler. It follows the pride jersey scandal that pitted the coach against management, and his departure is expected to see Hasler take legal again against the club. As for this weekend… Kicking off in England tomorrow is the Men’s Rugby League World Cup, where the Kangaroos will play Fiji on Sunday morning. Also on tomorrow are 2 huge horse racing events – The Everest in Sydney, where the Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip is the favourite. And Melbourne’s Caulfield Cup sees Smokin’ Romans tipped to win. Giddy up… And it’s game 2 in the Constellation Cup on Sunday after the Aussie Diamonds’ stunning loss to the Kiwi Silver Ferns in Wednesday’s opener. This year’s series marks the first time the men’s opening games will be televised. Catch all the times in Squiz the Day.


Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Kate Middleton has apparently “swapped her heirloom diamonds for an everywoman jewellery trend” by sporting a chunky gold Laura Lombardi necklace this week. We got this one earlier this year and haven’t taken it off. Which almost makes us cool, right?

At the other end of the scale, our daggiest favourite song is Kenny Rogers’ Lady. Written by Lionel Ritchie, we could go on and on about it. Anyway, this isn’t about that. Kenny’s boots from his probably more appreciated song The Gambler are up for sale…

Now that berries aren’t a trillionty dollars, we dived into this blueberry pudding recipe. Squizers know we aren’t huge dessert people because we’re sweet enough already, but this hit the transeasonal spot.

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which notable Aussie is related to the late Hollywood actor Dame Angela Lansbury? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz.  

Squiz the Day

5.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s Netball – Australia v New Zealand – Auckland

6.40pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket – 3rd T20 – Australia v England – Canberra

Mandatory 5-day isolation for positive COVID cases is scrapped nationwide, and mandatory reporting of a positive RAT ends in NSW

Brittany Higgins returns to testify in the rape trial of former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann – Canberra

Melbourne International Jazz Festival begins (until 23 October)

World Standards Day – so it’s not a day to drop them…

World Egg Day

Birthdays for fashion designer Ralph Lauren (1939) and singer Usher (1978)

Anniversary of:
• the publication of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892) and AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh (1926)
• Martin Luther King Jr winning the Nobel Peace Prize (1964)
• the premiere of reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2007)
• the deaths of Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson (1958), actor Errol Flynn (1959) and crooner Bing Crosby (1977)

Squiz the Day

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