Squiz Today / 23 December 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 23 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

So close we can taste it… 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

17 / 27
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13 / 22
25 / 31
11 / 28

Squiz Sayings

“Juan Carrito came over to greet us. He asked for a panettone.”

Said chef Niko Romito of an infamous Marsican bear who rose to fame earlier this year after stealing biscuits from an Italian village bakery. Despite multiple attempts to return him to his natural habitat, Juan Carrito has popped up at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Abruzzo region. He’s got a sweet tooth that won’t quit…

‘Asia’s El Chapo’ faces court in Oz

Tse Chi Lop, one of the world’s most-wanted drug kingpins, has faced court in Melbourne 3 years after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) secured an Interpol red notice for his arrest and a decade after they first started looking for him. Yesterday, AFP Assistant Commissioner Krissy Barrett said it was “one of the most high-profile arrests in the history of the AFP”. The 59yo is often referred to as ‘Mr Big’ and Asia’s answer to infamous Mexican drug lord El Chapo – it’s alleged he runs one of the world’s biggest drug syndicates, worth billions. And Aussie authorities say he’s responsible for up to 70% of the drugs coming into the country.

Police believe Tse has been running the international drug trafficking business known as ‘The Company’ or the ‘Sam Gor syndicate’ – it’s said to rake in $12-26 billion a year, and it’s been behind vast quantities of drugs – particularly methamphetamine, heroin and ketamine – being imported into Oz. Another high-ranking cartel member, 66yo Chinese-British national Chung Chak Lee, was extradited to Oz earlier this year, and it’s taken nearly 2 years to bring Tse here… He was arrested by Dutch police in January 2021 as part of Operation Kungur – an international operation led by Aussie police. As a Canadian citizen, Tse began a lengthy court battle fighting his extradition as he denied involvement in drug trafficking. Tse didn’t apply for bail yesterday, and he remains in custody. Tse and Lee will both return to court in February. Assistant Commissioner Barrett said it’s part of the AFP’s efforts to make Australia a “hostile place” for drug traffickers.

Yes… In another high-profile Asian crime case, Charles Sobraj, a serial killer and conman known as ‘The Serpent’, is set to walk free from a Nepalese prison next week because of poor health after serving most of his sentence. The 78yo confessed to murdering several Western tourists – in total, it’s thought he killed at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong in the 70s and 80s. The French citizen’s signature move was using disguises to evade police and escape from an Indian prison in the 1980s. It took until 1997 to recapture him, and he was deported to France. Six years later, he was arrested at a casino in Kathmandu for the murder of 2 backpackers, and he’s remained in that country ever since. In 2021, the case was turned into a popular Netflix drama series called, you guessed it, The Serpent.

Australian News Crime

Squiz the Rest

Zelensky gets a rockstar welcome

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has wrapped up a whirlwind visit to Washington DC – his first overseas trip since the Russian invasion began in February. US President Joe Biden rolled out the red carpet for a meeting at the White House, where they discussed how to end the war and the further support America can provide. Dressed in his trademark khaki, Zelensky spoke in English to deliver an emotional speech to Congress, saying Ukrainians are preparing to celebrate Christmas by candlelight – not by choice but due to the ongoing power outages. He praised America’s huge financial contributions, which already exceed US$70 billion, saying it isn’t charity but an “investment in the global security and democracy”. The 44yo also emphasised the global impact of the conflict, saying it “will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live in.” Somewhat predictably, Russia wasn’t too happy about the whole trip

World News

Fears grow for China’s COVID outbreak

The World Health Organization is “very concerned” about the rise in severe COVID cases in China after lifting its strict ‘zero COVID’ restrictions. Images released on Wednesday showed dozens of hearses lining up outside a Beijing crematorium despite China reporting no new COVID deaths in recent days. Cases are believed to be widely underreported, and reports say hospitals are filling up, which is contrary to official accounts. With low vaccination rates across older Chinese, the WHO has warned that many vulnerable people are at risk, and it’s called on Beijing to provide more data. Some scientists have also warned that the unchecked spread of cases in the country could lead to the development of new variants that could spread worldwide. Closer to home, officials in Queensland and NSW have asked Aussies to exercise caution over the Christmas period to avoid a new spike in cases. And wouldn’t a COVID-free Christmas be nice…

World News

More details on shooting suspect come to light

Queensland Police say there was an arrest warrant out for Nathaniel Train – one of the alleged shooters in last week’s deadly Wieambilla siege – at the time of the attack. They say it was issued after he breached COVID restrictions in December 2021, illegally crossing the NSW-Queensland border carrying weapons. Deputy Police Commissioner Tracy Linford said the “anti-government, anti-police, conspiracy theorist” beliefs of the Trains – including his brother Gareth and former wife/sister-in-law Stacey – were unknown when 4 police went to the property last week. The funeral for Alan Dare is on today – he was the well-meaning neighbour killed alongside officers Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold. He’ll be farewelled in a private ceremony, followed by a motorcade of classic Ford cars in his honour. It comes as firies save his property from what they called a “suspicious” bushfire in the Wieambilla area, although they say the 2 events are unrelated.

Australian News Crime

Big bucks for Justin Bieber

The pop superstar is set to become the latest muso to sell off their music catalogue, with reports saying he’s nearing a US$200 million deal with Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital. Those in the know say that the deal – which would include Bieber’s recorded music catalogues and his publishing rights – ​​”would be the largest music-rights acquisition for Hipgnosis to date”, following its acquisition of Justin Timberlake and Leonard Cohen’s catalogues earlier this year. Several megastar musos have sold up in recent years for reasons including tax benefits, recouping pandemic losses, and industry uncertainties. But the catalogue-buying market has started cooling off thanks to increased asking prices and hefty taxes. The cash won’t go astray for Bieber – he was forced to take a break from touring this year due to a medical condition causing facial paralysis. #SquizShortcut


Friday Lites – Three things we like this week

Legendary director James Cameron is in the news a lot at the moment with his new film Avatar: The Way of Water. But one question continues to plague him – did Jack from Titanic really have to die because it looks like there was enough room on Rose’s plank of wood… Cameron’s had enough, so he’s done “a scientific study to put this whole thing to rest”, and the results will air in a documentary from National Geographic in February. Talk about thorough…

Like a Scandi TV series? How about a good Christmas-themed show? Our new fave is A Storm For Christmas, which tells the interconnecting stories of passengers and staff at Norway’s Oslo airport who become trapped by a snowstorm. Check it out on Netflix, along with Who Killed Santa? with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph. Hilarious…

And a recipe, eh? We’re pulling out the big guns with the perfect duck fat potatoes. Mic drop… And if you’re cooking for Christmas and it’s all going south, here’s some advice from the brilliant Adam Liaw. Bon ap…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

3.30pm (AEDT) – A funeral is held for Alan Dare, the neighbour killed in Wieambilla shootings – Brisbane

Festivus, the festival for the rest of us

Birthdays for author Donna Tartt (1963) and rocker Eddie Vedder (1964)

Anniversary of:
• the publication of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815)
• Vincent van Gogh cutting off his left ear with a razor after an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin (1888)

It’s 2 days until Christmas – and The Squiz clocks off for the holidays…

Squiz the Day

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