Squiz Today / 31 October 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 28 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

It’s your hands-free news briefing.

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

17 / 26
14 / 18
19 / 32
12 / 18
10 / 23
13 / 16
29 / 34
11 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“1 in 134,490,400”

Those were the odds that ticket holders would win last night’s Powerball jackpot of $160 million – the biggest on offer in Australian history. Half of all Aussie adults were expected to enter, and 3 winners will split the prize – just don’t tell them they were 540 times more likely to be hit by lightning than win it…

Mistrial declared in Lehrmann case

The high-profile sexual assault trial of former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann was thrown out yesterday due to misconduct by a juror. The trial was focused on former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ claims that she was raped by Lehrmann at Parliament House after a night out drinking in March 2019 – something Lehrmann denies happening. The trial ran for 12 days and called 29 witnesses, including former Liberal ministers Linda Reynolds and Michaelia Cash, to give evidence. The 12-person jury was due to start its 6th day of deliberations yesterday, but ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum instead called the jurors into court after learning one of them had obtained material not presented in the trial. She then discharged all of them, instructing them not to make comments that could prejudice a future trial.

A juror had been conducting their own research about the case outside of court… That’s a big no-no, and McCallum told the jury “at least 17 times” to avoid sourcing materials outside of what was given to them as evidence in the courtroom. She said she had told them “if you are learning something about this trial, and I’m not there, then you should not be doing it”. It all began to unravel on Wednesday evening when a security officer who was tidying the jury room found what they thought was a suspicious document brought in by a juror and reported it. The court yesterday heard it was an academic research paper about sexual assaults. McCallum said the document might not have caused harm in the jury’s deliberations, “but it’s not a risk I can take”. There are no repercussions for the juror – what they did doesn’t constitute an offence in the ACT.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, both sides of the case were shocked. Higgins cried as she spoke to reporters outside court, saying she felt like she was on trial and that system is “stacked against” sexual assault complainants. Lehrmann’s lawyers were not happy about that… His barrister Steven Whybrow said her words might be in contempt of court and that she disrespected the court’s authority after McCallum told everyone not to make comments. He has reported it to the police and the court for legal advice. A tentative retrial date has been set for 20 February next year, but a decision on doing it all again is yet to be confirmed. Lehrmann has been granted bail until that date.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Socceroos call out Qatar

Ahead of next month’s soccer World Cup in Qatar, Australia’s national team has issued a strong statement protesting against the host nation’s human rights record. The black-and-white video shows players calling for reforms and “basic rights that should be afforded to all”. The selection of Qatar by the sport’s governing body FIFA has been controversial from the start over allegations of poor labour practices, the treatment of women (particularly after an incident in 2021 when hundreds of female travellers were subject to invasive body searches) and gay rights. Openly gay Aussie footballer Josh Cavallo says the event shouldn’t be happening and criticised English great David Beckham for being an ambassador. Other teams are also planning protests, including Denmark, which has made an all-black playing shirt to honour workers who died during construction.

Australian News Sport

Xi’s new generals raise concerns for Taiwan

Just days after Chinese President Xi Jinping was re-elected for a historic third term, 3 new generals have been appointed to China’s highest national defence organisation, the Central Military Commission. Experts say it could be a sign that Xi is ensuring that there is no dissent should he decide to forcibly take control of Taiwan. China considers the self-ruled island a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as its own nation. Some analysts believe that the drawn-out conflict in Ukraine may have reinforced Xi’s thinking that any military action would have to be swift. One is Alexander Neill, who says China’s thinking on Taiwan is that there is “no room for dithering”, and ensuring the military is aligned with Xi minimises the risk of time-wasting debate. Note: it’s not speculation that this is on Xi’s mind… Earlier this month, he said that “reunification” with Taiwan “will be realised”.

World News

A new Twit in charge

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has strolled into Twitter’s Californian HQ carrying… a sink. Yep, that’s right… Ahead of today’s court-ordered deadline to complete the US$44 billion acquisition of the social platform, he’s tweeted a video of himself with the heavy bathroom item “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!”. He’s also changed his Twitter bio to read ‘Chief Twit’… Musk changed his mind a couple of times about acquiring the platform, but he now says he’s doing it “to try to help humanity, whom I love.” And while he’s all for discussion and debate, he says “Twitter cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences!” Meta (aka Facebook’s owner) also hit some corporate turbulence yesterday with its share price dropping 19% after a disappointing earnings report was released yesterday. That’s down to declining advertising revenue and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual reality pet project made billion-dollar losses.

Business & Finance

Going spare over a book launch

It’s been a year since the announcement that Prince Harry would pen a memoir in a deal with publisher Random House said to be worth $31 million as part of a 3-book deal worth $62 million. And last night, the title was revealed – Spare. It’s thought to be a reference to being the 2nd child of the sovereign and the phrase that monarchies need an “heir and a spare” – we’re pretty sure it’s not a nod to any love of 10-pin bowling… And for some extra sizzle, the PR blub says: “As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling – and how their lives would play out… For Harry, this is his story at last.” Some of the proceeds from the book go to charity, including a donation of US$1.5 million to Sentebale, an organisation co-founded by Prince Harry in 2006 to help young people in Lesotho and Botswana deal with their HIV-positive status. A guaranteed bestseller, the book will be released on 10 January, and the prince will voice the audio version.


You look like you’ve seen a ghost…

If you’ve ever felt a spirit living in your home, you’re not alone. A US study has found that nearly half of the 1,000 people surveyed believe their house is haunted by ghosts. That’s similar to another survey from an American real estate education site – fittingly called Real Estate Witch – that found 44% of 1,000 respondents claimed to have lived in a home with an invisible housemate. Photographer Shane Booth is a believer – he told The New York Times he’s noticed several unexplained “little things” happen, including finding piles of folded laundry scattered, photos removed from the wall and placed on the floor, and loud laughter when nobody else was in the house… Spooky. Researchers say these beliefs in the supernatural could be due to an increase in paranormal-themed media and a drop in religious affiliation. Who ya gonna call?

Quirky News

Friday Lites

With the announcement last night of the Stella Prize winner, we’ve just added another tome to our teetering tower of bedside reading. Welcome to the pile The Bass Rock* by British-Australian author Evie Wild…

Clogs are supposedly back in vogue, and it’s uprooted everything we thought we knew about fashion…

And there’s nothing like a hot bowl of laksa to get you through those cooler nights. This one has the perfect amount of chilli – enough to heat things up without burning off your tastebuds.

*Buy using this link The Squiz may earn a little commission

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

9.45am (AEDT) – Geelong’s AFL Premiership Cup tour launches – Melbourne

11.30am (AEDT) – ABS release – National Accounts: Income, Expenditure and Product 

7.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup – Australia v England – Melbourne

World Teachers Day in Oz 

Day for Daniel (Morcombe)

National Bandanna Day

Independence Day in the Czech Republic

Day of the Liberation of Ukraine

International Champagne Day

International Animation Day

Birthdays for Caitlyn Jenner (1949), Bill Gates (1955), Julia Roberts (1967), Joaquin Phoenix (1974), Matt Smith (1982) and Frank Ocean (1987)

Anniversary of:
• the release of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
• Italian fascists conducting the March on Rome, leading to the assumption of power by Benito Mussolini (1922)
• Elvis’s groundbreaking contribution to getting American teens vaccinated for polio (1956)

Squiz the Day

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