Squiz Today / 21 January 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 21 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

An informed slide into the weekend. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

20 / 26
16 / 31
21 / 28
24 / 35
25 / 40
13 / 25
26 / 33
11 / 24

Squiz Sayings

“I’ve just got to be more vigilant.”

Said Nigel Dow, a station worker in outback Western Oz who has been bitten not once, not twice, but 3 times by highly venomous snakes. He says his partner thinks he’s trying to slither out of getting married…

Biden reckons Russia will take a crack at Ukraine

Fronting up for his second solo presidential press conference to mark a year in the White House, Joe Biden said his “guess” is Vladimir Putin will “move in” on Ukraine. “He has to do something. He is trying to find his place in the world between China and the West,” Biden said yesterday.

Biden said he doesn’t think Russia wants a “full-blown war” – and he reissued his warning that Putin would pay a “serious and dear price” if he did invade Ukraine. But Biden also said a “minor incursion” could receive a lesser response than a full-scale invasion of the country. That statement left Ukraine officials and supporters flummoxed, and critics accused Biden of giving Putin “a green light” to rev up the tanks. On clean up duty, the White House later said he was referring to Russia’s “extensive playbook of aggression short of military action”, like cyberattacks and paramilitary dirty tricks. “And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. Moscow continues to deny that it is planning to invade its neighbour, but 100,000 Russian troops remain close to the border, and extensive diplomatic talks have not prompted Putin to step things back.

Yeah, let’s go back a little… In 2014, Ukraine’s Russian-friendly president was driven from power following mass protests. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula (which is a fancy way of saying it now claims the territory as its own), and it backed Russia-loving rebels who took up arms in Ukraine’s east. During the fighting, MH17 was downed by a missile system that belonged to a Russian brigade and all 283 passengers were killed, including 27 Aussies. In total, the conflict claimed at least 13,000 lives, and 2 million people fled their homes. A peace agreement was brokered in 2015 – but things are far from settled… Ukraine says the rebels keep violating the ceasefire agreement, and Russia has accused Ukraine of failing to give the rebel regions the freedoms promised. On top of that, Russia is livid with the idea that Ukraine is getting close to NATO, which would put Western Europe’s and America’s security interests too close to Russia’s border for comfort. So the pot is simmering…

World News

Squiz the Rest

Western Australia not ready to join the rest of Oz

Thanks, Omicron… Last night, Premier Mark McGowan said the COVID variant “has changed everything” and scuttled plans to open the state’s border on 5 February. Its ‘controlled interstate border arrangement’ will stay in place indefinitely – or at least until booster shots reach “at least 80%, perhaps 90%,” he says. The state’s 3rd dose vaccination rate is 25.8% of over 16yos. McGowan understands there will be disappointment, and “enhanced compassionate exemptions” will allow more people to enter the state – but they will still be required to isolate for 14 days. McGowan says it’s necessary because of high case numbers and disruptions in other parts of Oz, and “to do anything else without high levels of vaccination would basically mean we would be responsible for potentially lots of people dying.” Business and tourism representatives are none too happy, but medicos are divided. The state’s Australian Medical Association boss Dr Mark Duncan-Smith said delaying the re-opening was “a gutsy call”, but national president Dr Omar Khorshid called McGowan a “one-trick pony”.

Australian News Health

Unemployment plunges ahead of Omicron

The jobless rate dropped from 4.6% to 4.2% in December as lockdowns were lifted in Australia’s southeast, the Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday. That’s the lowest unemployment level since pre-GFC times in 2008. Underemployment also dropped significantly to 6.6%, and an estimated 64,800 jobs were created in December – the bulk of those in IT and HR. And although the latest data was taken before Omicron got revved up and sent consumer confidence to a 3-decade low, the jobless rate is expected to remain stable-ish. BIS Oxford Economics analyst Sarah Hunter said overseas data suggests Omicron’s economic impact “will be significant but short-lived and less economically damaging than previous waves”. Fingers crossed…

Business & Finance

A big payday for Cleo

The Nine Network is the winner in the battle for 4yo Cleo Smith’s story. Australia’s biggest commercial media company has paid almost $2 million for an interview with the family of the missing-then-found girl. It’s believed to be one of the largest deals in Australian TV history. To recap, Cleo was taken from her family’s tent at Quobba Blowholes campground near Carnarvon in Western Australia early one morning in October last year, and after an 18-day search, she was found in a home in the town. Local man Terence Kelly was arrested, and he is expected to appear in court later this month. The network’s news director Darren Wick said the network is ”honoured that the family of Cleo Smith has chosen to tell their story to Nine”. Cleo’s story is in stark contrast with 2 awful cases this week. The murder of Charlise Mutten in NSW’s Blue Mountains is one. And yesterday, we learned the body of a 3-month-old baby was found wrapped in plastic inside a freezer in the NSW border town of Corowa.

Australian News

Siu v Boo battle heats up

At this stage of the January game, the Aussie Open tennis grand slam is usually a place of easy enjoyment as we watch the world’s best battle it out on the court. But last night’s match between Russian Daniil Medvedev and Aussie crowd-stirrer Nick Kyrgios (which the former won) has again focused on some of the crowd’s behaviour. The Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired ‘siu’ chant was let rip between serves and on double-faults, a development Medvedev said was “just disappointing”. “It is not everybody who is doing it, but those who are doing it probably have a low IQ,” he said. The Herald Sun this morning says the chant has “spread like Omicron across Melbourne Park crowds this week”, and many on the court and watching from home have mistaken it for a boo. Someone who was booed yesterday: tournament organiser Craig Tiley. The Tennis Australia official is under fire for the Novak Djokovic saga – and now over players’ COVID testing (or lack thereof). Yesterday Tiley said he would not be resigning.


Precious art villa sizzles at auction

A 6-storey Roman villa housing the only known ceiling mural by Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio has failed to sell at auction. With a starting bid of €471 million (A$740 million…), it was expected to become the most expensive home sold anywhere ever, with the Caravaggio bling – which was painted in 1597 – estimated to be valued at €310 million (A$487 million). The villa also contains a fresco by Italian Baroque artist Guercino, a Michelangelo statue, and ​​letters written by Marie Antoinette. The property was put up for auction by court order after a lengthy legal battle between the villa’s current occupant, Texas-born Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, and her stepsons. The villa will go under the hammer again at a lower price, and there are calls for the Italian Government to buy it so it can be enjoyed by the public. There’s just one catch: whoever snaffles it will be on the hook for €11 million in repairs…

World News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

We are one of those people who bang on about how amazing Succession is (Foxtel/Binge). The thick and fast (and sweary) insults are a highlight, and this take on the best ones will be right down your alley if you’re as enamoured as we are.

Forget about the acting/storyline merits of And Just Like That… It’s the clothes and interiors we’re interested in…

Bread that you cook on the barbie? What now? This flatbread is easy to prepare and yum. We did a version of what’s suggested for the topping bits, but it was more like zucchini grilled on the BBQ with cherry toms and burrata dressed with a bit of olive oil and caramelised balsamic. Delish.

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which mining magnate announced this week that they’re going to run for the Federal Senate at the next election? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz.

Squiz the Day

From 12.00pm (AEDT) – Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne – broadcast on Nine. Watch out for Aussie legend Ash Barty at 7.00pm

3.00pm (AEDT) – ANZ unveils a 9×3 metre long mural of Dylan Alcott using tennis balls along Federation Square’s River Terrace to celebrate the retirement of the world number one quad tennis champion

3.15pm – The Lowy Institute hosts a Q+A with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss – livestream

7.15pm (AEDT) – Cricket – BBL elimination final – Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes – Melbourne

9.00pm (AEDT) – Football – Women’s Asian Cup – Matildas v Indonesia – Mumbai

Cycling – Santos Tour Down Under begins (on until 29 January) – Adelaide

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to meet Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton for their first formal face-to-face AUKMIN talks since before the pandemic – Sydney

PM Scott Morrison to give an address at the virtual World Economic Forum

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Russia’s foreign minister – Geneva

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, November 2021

Start of Mona Foma (MOFO) festival (on until 23 January) – Launceston

Women’s March – International

Anniversary of:
• the execution of the last king of France, King Louis XVI during the French Revolution (1793), as well as the deaths of Vladimir Lenin (1924) and George Orwell (1950)
• the start of the Battle of Khe Sanh (1968)

Squiz the Day

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