Squiz Today / 03 March 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 3 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

We’ve got you covered on fatigued Fridays. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

20 / 26
15 / 22
21 / 29
13 / 27
21 / 31
11 / 20
26 / 31
15 / 25

Squiz Sayings

“The main reason for this is to build our students’ character so they know discipline.”

Said Viktor Laiskodat, governor of Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, after introducing a 5am start time for public high school students. Teenagers are easy to get out of bed and into the classroom with an enthusiasm for learning, so why not?

It’s not easy being green

As more and more companies spruik their sustainability and environmental credentials, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says all may not be as it seems. The regulator took a close look at the claims made online by 247 businesses and found that 57% had made unclear or misleading statements, with those in the cosmetic, clothing/footwear, and food/drink sectors found to be the worst offenders. “This conduct harms not only consumers but also those businesses taking genuine steps to implement more sustainable practices,” said the ACCC’s Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe.

It’s called ‘greenwashing’. Many consumers want to do their bit to protect the planet – that’s why we’re seeing more and more products labelled with keywords like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘green’, or ‘sustainable’. Companies making those claims must be able to back them up with verifiable scientific reports, traceable supply chain information, and reputable 3rd-party certification. You can’t just go throwing those terms around… Another issue is the rise of the ESG investing movement, which refers to investors who want to support companies that take their environmental, social and governance obligations seriously. It’s talked about a lot in the context of mining companies, but it’s also a big deal for clothing and food/drink producers and retailers with investors interested in ethical supply chains and good environmental stewardship. These days, there are plenty of investors who want to know that their money is making a difference.  

The ACCC says it has issued some ‘please explains’… Lowe says the regulator has “several active investigations underway across the packaging, consumer goods, food manufacturing and medical devices sectors for alleged misleading environmental claims”. And that’s not where it ends – she says they will “conduct more targeted assessments into businesses and claims identified through the sweep.” There’s also a push to educate businesses about what it means when they use terms like ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, and ‘kind to the planet’ to describe their products – but the regulator will use the stick when necessary… “We will take enforcement action where it is appropriate to do so as it is critical that consumer trust in green claims is not undermined,” Lowe said.

Australian News Business & Finance Environment & Science

Squiz the Rest

Talking about sanctions on China

China’s push for peace in Ukraine was met with scepticism by US President Joe Biden given Beijing’s BFF status with Russia. And yesterday, reports said US officials are in initial talks with its allies about the possibility of imposing new sanctions on China if it provides any military support to Russia. In recent weeks, there have been allegations that’s something China is considering – claims Beijing has denied. There aren’t any details on the proposed sanctions, but China is sure to be displeased… It comes as the nation prepares to hold 2 of its most important annual meetings from tomorrow with delegates to China’s parliament (the National People’s Congress) and its top political advisory group (the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) gathering. It’s expected there will be some significant policy announcements and a focus on restarting the economy after lifting its strict ‘zero-COVID’ policy last year.

World News

Fallout continues from Greece train disaster

At least 43 people have died and more fatalities are expected following one of Greece’s worst rail disasters. Late on Tuesday evening local time, a passenger train travelling from Athens to Thessaloniki was carrying 342 passengers – many of them young students returning to uni – when it collided at high speed with a freight train near the Greek city of Larissa. It’s unclear why the 2 trains were running on the same track, but PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis says the accident occurred after a “tragic human error”. However, experts say accidents of this scale are rarely down to one thing, and the rail union says there are ongoing issues of understaffing and ageing infrastructure. A local stationmaster has been charged with manslaughter, though he denies any wrongdoing. And the country’s Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis has resigned, saying “it is impossible to continue and pretend it didn’t happen”.

World News

Havana syndrome mystery deepens

Since 2016, hundreds of US officials and military personnel have reported symptoms like ringing ears, vertigo, and brain injuries when working around the world. The mysterious ailment was named ‘Havana syndrome’ after the first case was reported by US Embassy staff in Cuba. And while there wasn’t any consensus on what caused it, some US intelligence and government officials alleged a foreign adversary had been using some kind of weapon. Now, a years-long investigation by the CIA and 6 other US intelligence agencies has found “no credible evidence” a foreign power was involved after analysing clusters of cases for forensic or geolocation patterns. The syndrome could result from “preexisting conditions, conventional illnesses, and environmental factors”, the report says. Lawyers for patients have criticised the findings and called for the whole report to be declassified.

Health World News

Hopping out of Frogmore

Prince Harry and Meghan are living out the nightmare of many a renter after it was confirmed yesterday that Buckingham Palace requested the couple vacate their Frogmore Cottage residence in January. Royal watchers are making much of the fact that the eviction seemed to happen not long after the release of Harry’s explosive memoir Spare, which reports say has deepened the chasm that’s engulfed the family. The 10-bedroom property sits on the grounds of Windsor Castle and was a wedding gift to the couple from the late Queen. The Sussexes haven’t lived there since they stepped down as working royals in 2020 and relocated to California, and until now, they had the option of staying there when visiting the UK. But the property won’t remain empty – reports say Prince Andrew has been offered the opportunity to downsize from his current 31-bedroom Royal Lodge residence. The question is whether his ex-wife Fergie makes the move with him…

World News

Trashing an icon

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the most famous thing to come out of the small town of Penguin in Tassie’s northwest coast was Grant O’Brien, the former boss of Woolworths. No? How about its Big Penguin that was unveiled to mark the town’s centenary in 1975? Nope… Residents are pushing to have their iconic rubbish bins heritage-listed in what would be an Aussie first. The reason is that locals are worried their 12 super cute garbage receptacles could be consigned to the dustbin of history after the Central Coast Council announced it would be rolling out “new bin infrastructure”. Mayor Cheryl Fuller says it’s up for discussion, trashing claims the penguin bins are headed for the scrap heap. “Those unique features of Penguin are highly valued by everyone. It would certainly be interesting to see what Heritage Tasmania thought of any such listing.” Indeed it will – it’s expected to make a decision about the application this month.

Australian News Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we like this week

Like almost every other kid, we practised and practised our signature. But it seems plenty of adults are not happy with where they’ve landed and are getting a new one thanks to calligraphers who have set up businesses for this very purpose. Cue a list of famous autographs (umm what’s going on with Angelina Jolie…).

Daisy Jones and the Six drops on Amazon Prime this morning, and we’re here for it, mainly because it’s the only book we read in 2019… Reece Witherspoon’s production house is behind it (tick). It’s a mockumentary of an all-conquering 70s band that walks away at the peak of their fame (tick). And we’ll be beside ourselves if the 10 eps are in our favoured 28-minute format (tick pending)…

This was a very dangerous dessert recipe to find because we know there will be ways we can convince ourselves that this pineapple/caramel tarte tartin is a perfectly reasonable thing to make midweek. For dinner, even… We used tinned pineapple rings for ours because midweek cooking is all about taking shortcuts…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

5.10pm (AEDT) – Men’s Hockey – FIH Pro League – Australia v Argentina – Hobart

7.10pm (AEDT) – Women’s Hockey – FIH Pro League – Australia v Argentina – Hobart

7.30pm (AEDT) – Men’s Basketball – NBL Grand Final Game One – Sydney Kings v NZ Breakers – Sydney

Global Climate Strike

World Wildlife Day

World Hearing Day

Start of Melbourne Fashion Week (until 11 March)

Adelaide Festival starts (until 19 March)

Enlighten Festival begins in Canberra (until 19 March)

Sculpture by the Sea begins (until 20 March) – Cottesloe, WA

Australian International Airshow – Avalon, Victoria (until 5 March)

World Day of Prayer

Mulled Wine Day

Birthdays for Ronan Keating (1977), Jessica Biel (1982) and Camila Cabello (1997)

It’s the anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner becoming the USA’s national anthem (1931)

Squiz the Day

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