Squiz Today / 15 August 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 15 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

Earphones in, informed conversations out. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

9 / 19
10 / 14
9 / 22
9 / 14
9 / 23
9 / 14
20 / 34
3 / 11

Squiz Sayings

“A lot of corporate planning, strategy work and marketing was necessary for the business.”

Said Lawrence Fox, a burnt-out business analyst turned entrepreneur who started a cow cuddling venture. It’s nice to know that no matter how cute the enterprise, the hustle remains the same…

An attack on Salman Rushdie – and free expression

Sir Salman Rushdie survived a vicious stabbing attack on Friday in New York state. He has been taken off a ventilator and can talk again, his agent Andrew Wylie confirmed yesterday. The author was on stage when he was stabbed around 10 times in the face, neck and abdomen. Rushdie, who is 75yo, remains in a critical condition and is likely to lose an eye. He also has severed nerves in one arm and damage to his liver, Wylie said. Hadi Matar from New Jersey is accused of the attack – he was tackled by spectators and staff members. Matar faced court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges. Prosecutors say it was a premeditated attack with Matar buying an advance pass to the event Rushdie was speaking at. Rushdie was set to address the Chautauqua Institution about the importance of America’s giving asylum to exiled writers.

He’s a celebrated author who has won the world’s top literary prizes. His writings also generated death threats… The Indian-born British-American is a lapsed Muslim who had big success early in his career. He took 5 years to write his 2nd book, Midnight’s Children, which won the 1981 Booker Prize. But it was his 4th book – The Satanic Verses, a surrealist novel inspired by the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad – that changed his life when it was published in late 1988 when it was seen to be blasphemous by some Muslims. The book was banned in India, Pakistan and many Muslim countries, and there were book-burning protests and riots. And most significantly, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s assassination. The author and his family went into hiding, and foreign language translators of the book were also targeted. In recent years, Rushdie enjoyed more freedoms, even chatting with Bridget Jones… But the threats to his life never went away. Reports this morning say Matar’s social media accounts show support for an extremist form of Islam and Iran’s armed forces.

It’s full-on. So you can see why Rushdie has been at the forefront of the discussion about the West’s preparedness to stand up for freedom of expression – the topic he was getting ready to speak about when he was attacked. Many have come out in support of Rushdie. “In no case is violence a response to words spoken or written by others in their exercise of the freedoms of opinion and expression,” said United Nations boss António Guterres. US President Joe Biden praised the writer for “his refusal to be intimidated or silenced”. In Iran, it was a different story… Rushdie’s people say his recovery will be long, and his injuries are life-changing. But his son Zafar says “his usual feisty and defiant sense of humour remains intact.”

World News

Squiz the Rest

Deadly blaze in Egypt

At least 41 people have been killed in a fire at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in Giza, Egypt. More than 5,000 worshipers were gathered in the multi-level church for Mass when the fire broke out. Reports say the fire blocked the entrance, and several of the dead were crushed as people rushed to get away. Other fatalities are said to be some who jumped from the upper floors after they were trapped. It’s also been confirmed that children are among the dead. Authorities will investigate the cause of the fire, but witnesses say the power was out and a generator short-circuited, causing a big electrical fire. Egypt’s Coptic Christians account for about 10% of the nation’s 103 million people, and there is a history of discrimination against them by the nation’s Muslim majority. Safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced in Egypt, and reports say this is one of the worst fires in recent years.

World News

Shots fired at Canberra Airport

The capital’s airport can be pretty busy on a Sunday arvo. There are lots of people heading out after a weekend visit or conference (or, like yesterday, a writers’ festival) and people arriving to move and shake the government. So there were many people were in harm’s way when shots were fired at the glass in the check-in area at 1.30pm yesterday. Police confirmed no shots were aimed at travellers or staff, and a man was arrested and a firearm seized. All up, flights were shut down for 3 hours and passengers on planes that had just landed/were about to take off were held on the tarmac. ACT Police say they believe the man acted alone, and there’s no ongoing threat to the community. As for motive, insert the shrugging lady emoji… ABC journo Fran Kelly was at the airport at the time – she said she was “struck by how calm people stayed throughout this horrible event.”

Australian News Crime

Bangladesh hits the economic skids

Fuel prices in Bangladesh have risen by more than 50% in a week, putting the nation on track for economic and political failure in the range of what’s happened to Sri Lanka in recent weeks. Petrol, diesel and kerosene prices are all up significantly, putting the livelihoods of many of the nation’s 168 million people at risk. “We know the price increase is big, but what can we do if the cost of the fuel increases in foreign countries?” asked Energy Minister Nasrul Hamid. The cause is the same as it’s been everywhere – Russia’s war in Ukraine. The government says it can’t prevent that, but its economy is ok, even though its foreign reserves are falling fast. That’s seen Bangladesh become the 3rd South Asian nation to seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund, alongside Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In recent weeks, thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest, and reports say the anger and resentment are growing.

World News

Afghanistan – one year on

Today’s the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban – time flies, eh? That led to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under President Ashraf Ghani and the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan under the Taliban’s control. Estimates say hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled, including more than 122,000 people who were airlifted out in chaotic circumstances by the US, Australia and many others in an attempt to protect those who had helped Western forces over the previous 20 years. As for life now, experts say some things have improved. Corruption is said to be down, and the fighting has mostly stopped leading to some rebuilding. But… the UN says almost every Afghan lives below the poverty line. As for women, their rights have been stripped – that was demonstrated on Saturday when female protesters were beaten. Expect to see a bit about this milestone anniversary today.

World News

A nibble on Endeavour

Earlier this year, there was an extraordinary declaration by Aussie officials that a wreck in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island, was the Endeavour. The ship that carried Captain James Cook and botanist Joseph Banks for the Pacific voyage of 1768-71 became famous when Cook became the first recorded European to land on Australia’s east coast, and Banks went nuts in Botany Bay. The problem was the Americans in charge of the 22-year-long search project didn’t back the Australians’ claim, saying it was “premature”. And now experts say seaworms are eating through the wreck’s remaining timber – that’s an issue when 10-15% of the wreck remains… The Australian National Maritime Museum says it’s aware of the new report that the termites of the sea are threatening what’s left of what could be the Endeavour, and it hopes the Americans in charge of the site will protect it.

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing

Thinking too hard is exhausting. If that sounds like a statement of the obvious, it’s now proven in science. Challenging our grey matter leads to a build-up of a chemical called glutamate and cognitive fatigue. That makes us slow down, and researchers say it protects our wellbeing. Pretty clever, eh?

The ABC Port Morseby bureau has lost a much-loved team member – a wonky German Shepherd named Fooey. She was loud and brash and could be a bit grumpy – like many journos we know…

The Mackay region is abuzz with speculation about a relationship gone wrong. On Friday, ‘Jenny’ took out a full page in the local newspaper calling ‘Steve’ “a filthy cheater”, adding she’d used his credit card to pay for the ad. If it’s any consolation, a pub in Adelaide has publicly apologised on behalf of “all the Steves”…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

India marks its 75th (platinum) year of independence from Great Britain

National days for Liechtenstein and the Republic of the Congo

One year anniversary of the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan after the capture of capital Kabul (2021)

Company Results – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank; BlueScope Steel; JB Hi-Fi; Carsales.com

Birthdays for Princess Anne (1950), philanthropist Melinda Gates (1964), and actors Ben Affleck (1972) and Jennifer Lawrence (1990)

Anniversary of:
• the first Rugby Test Match between New Zealand’s All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies (1903)
• the end of WWII, after Japan’s surrender to the Allies (1945)
• 70 years since Sukarno proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia and became its first President (1950)
• the opening of Woodstock Music Festival (1969)
• the release of musical atrocity the Macarena by Los del Rio (1995)

Squiz the Day

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