Squiz Today / 16 December 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 16 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you across the line. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

14 / 22
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11 / 24
16 / 30
10 / 16
26 / 33
5 / 20

Squiz Sayings

“They are not all priests, and they are not all from Italy – but they are all hot”.

Tweeted one wag about the ‘hot priest calendar‘ that’s been a popular new year’s gift to buy in Rome for 2 decades now… And look, the men featured are more attractive than any priest we’ve ever seen – and now the truth has been revealed. We wonder what Sister Janet Mead would make of it…

New anti-extremism laws could be on the way

Federal pollies were back in Canberra yesterday to talk energy – and we’ll get to that… But before they got to that, condolences were recorded for the victims of the Wieambilla siege on Monday. PM Anthony Albanese delivered a heartfelt tribute, and Coalition leader Peter Dutton was visibly upset as he recognised the bravery of the attending officers and condemned the attackers and their “callous lack of heeding the pleas that would’ve echoed in between the gunshots.” Local MP and Nationals leader David Littleproud also became emotional as he described the tragedy as “one of the most vile acts”.

Queensland Police are continuing to investigate, and national security agencies are also involved. There are reports about the 3 alleged murderers’ lives and their actions that day, and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil says “it is likely that radicalisation will form a part of it.” Conspiracy theories and misinformation are being “turbocharged by technology into terrible acts of violence”, posing a new threat to Oz’s national security, she says. That was echoed by Dutton, who said disinformation “infects people’s minds and changes their whole persona”. It’s thought that Gareth Train had been active on several conspiracy websites for many years, posting about the 1996 Port Arthur massacre being a “false-flag” operation to “disarm the Australian population”, along with anti-vaccination and anti-authority conspiracies.

Good question… Two weeks ago, Australia’s terrorism threat level was downgraded, but there was a warning of increasing extremism “fuelled by conspiracy theories and anti-authority ideologies”. And last week, O’Neill flagged Oz’s counter-terrorism laws need to change to deal with right-wing extremism. Yesterday, she said new legislation might be required to stop people with extremist views from becoming violent. That’s been echoed by Labor MP Peter Khalil – former PM Kevin Rudd’s former national security adviser – who says there is a “pipeline towards extremism”. If new laws are proposed, they’re likely to have cross-party backing. The Coalition promises support for measures to make it easier for authorities to access encrypted apps, where conspiracy theories often breed. That could be on the agenda for 2023.

AusPol Crime

Squiz the Rest

Energy plan switched on for 2023

The Federal Parliament has passed the Albanese Government’s energy relief bill – that was expected after the Greens and several independent Senators signalled their support earlier this week. But o recap: a 12-month cap on gas prices and a $1.5 billion relief package for low-income households and businesses are coming. The states and territories will also kick in $1.5 billion. Australian Energy Regulator Clare Savage says the bill “doesn’t mean we will get lower retail prices next year, but … if markets keep trading as they are right now, we should see an increase next year lower than previously expected”. The Coalition didn’t support the rushed attempt to pass the bill, describing it as “reckless”. Happy or not, there was a bit of Christmas spirit before they signed off…


All the rivers run…

South Australia’s Premier Peter Malinauskas has warned that between Christmas Eve and mid-January, the state’s river towns could face the worst flooding since the record-breaking 1956 floods. Communities are beginning to feel the effects of a rising River Murray as water from the flooded eastern states flows downstream. There are predictions the Riverland town of Renmark will see a peak of floodwaters later this month, but authorities have been surprised by the speed of the rising water. Officials warn that could spell trouble sooner than thought for some of the bigger towns in the region, like Mannum, where locals have spent weeks preparing a levee they’ve dubbed “the great wall”. Malinauskas says “we’ve done all the preparation that we reasonably can, but … there is clearly a degree of anxiety on the ground”.

Australian News Weather

Unemployment stays down, job ads stay up…

Australia’s unemployment rate remained steady at 3.4% in November – but the latest numbers from the Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are notable for another reason… A record number of people are in work – so yay for us. ABS head of labour Bjorn Jarvis reckons “there are now around 221,000 fewer unemployed people and 370,000 fewer underemployed people than in March 2020”, which marks the start of the pandemic. But on the flip side, there’s a sign that Aussies are doing it tough with a record number – about 900,000 – working multiple jobs to keep up with rising costs. Callam Pickering, an economist for jobs site Indeed, says for many people, “it’s a decision made by necessity, rather than a choice”.

Australian News Business & Finance

Counting the COVID cost

The World Health Organization says the global health emergency brought on by COVID-19 was responsible for between 13.3-16.6 million ‘excess deaths’ in 2020-21 – almost 3 times more than has been reported in the past. ‘Excess deaths’ are those reported in a crisis compared to normal conditions. And in the WHO’s estimate published in the science journal Nature, deaths directly related to COVID and those from indirect impacts, like disrupted/overrun health services, have been counted. And with a bit more number crunching, it’s expected that COVID will be one of the leading causes of death in 2020 and the leading cause of death in 2021. Meanwhile, Moderna – the mRNA vaccine geniuses – has moved onto new endeavours. It’s reported progress in developing a preventive vaccine for melanoma. The deadly form of skin cancer affects almost 17,000 Aussies each year and kills 1,300, so how good would a vaccine be…


Going for glory

And then there were 2… Argentina and France are the teams left standing in Qatar’s soccer World Cup which started on 22 November with 32 nations fighting it out in the group rounds. To watch the final games, you will have to be an early bird. Croatia and Morocco play for 3rd spot at 2am eastern daylight saving time on Sunday morning. And the glorious final takes place at the same time on Monday morning – SBS TV has your back for both of those games. The incentive to watch the final is a big one, with the man many say is the greatest player of all time – Argentina’s Lionel Messi – taking to the pitch for his final World Cup game. It’s hard to explain what he means to his compatriots – luckily for us, a journalist has covered it… And on the French side, superstar Kylian Mbappé is the one to watch. France is the reigning champion, and the experts say it’s difficult to pick who will win. Exciting, huh…


Friday Lites – Three things we like this week

It snuck up on us, but ABC iView has the 3rd season of Staged, the David Tennant/Michael Sheen (or should that be Michael Sheen/David Tennant) mocumentary of their struggles to work together. It’s as fun as always… Which reminds us, we’re off to see Sheen in Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House just after Christmas. It’s the lauded actor’s first visit to Oz.

We’ve read our first book of 2022 – better late than never. Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These* is very short, but it was also a finalist for this year’s Booker Prize. Win-win… PS if you use that link for the book to buy it or anything else on the site, The Squiz will get a little commission. TYIA…

Already on our minds: trifle. This weekend, we’re doing a warm-up trifle focusing on banana, brandy and butterscotch (buy the sponge from the supermarket if you’re running out of time) before going traditional for Christmas Day. Practice makes perfect…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

Independence Day in Kazakhstan

Bahrain’s National Day

Day of Reconciliation in South Africa

Victory Day – Bangladesh

ABS Data Release – Overseas Migration, 2021-22 financial year

Company AGM – NAB

Anniversary of:
• the Boston Tea Party that saw American colonists, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “taxation without representation,” dumped 342 chests of tea, imported by the British East India Company into the harbour (1773)
• the birthdays of composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770) and author Jane Austen (1775)
• Shirley Temple announcing her retirement from films, aged 22yo (1950)
• Shannen Doherty (aka Brenda) being fired from TV series Beverly Hills 90210 (1993)
• the jumping castle tragedy at Devonport Public School in Tasmania that killed 6 children (2021)

And it’s 9 days until Christmas…

Squiz the Day

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