Squiz Today / 13 November 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 13 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Mission Control analysed the bag’s trajectory and determined that risk of recontacting the station is low.”

Said NASA after a toolbag slipped away during an astronaut’s spacewalk from the International Space Station. The white bag is bright enough to be seen with binoculars, but get in before it’s too late… The bag is expected to burn up in the atmosphere around March 2024.

Hospitals in the firing line

The Squiz

Gaza’s main hospital is struggling to care for patients amid allegations it is under siege by Israeli troops. According to doctors and the Hamas-run health ministry, the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is currently providing shelter to an estimated 50,000 locals. For the injured and sick, power outages and no fuel to run backup generators mean some patients have died, reports say. That’s an accusation Israel denies – President Isaac Herzog says “everything is operating”, but troops are in the area because Hamas has its base underneath the building. Overnight, Hamas said it would not participate in further talks on the release of Israeli hostages because of the situation at the hospital.

Back it up a bit…

Since Israeli troops entered the Palestinian Territory 2 weeks ago, the aim has been to root out Hamas fighters in Gaza City. Israel says Hamas is using hospitals in the territory as shields for fighters – critics point out that evidence of that hasn’t been provided and say that civilians and patients have been put in the line of fire. Reports say that includes premature babies taken out of inoperable incubators and placed onto ordinary beds – Israel has offered to help evacuate them babies. Doctors Without Borders says people attempting to flee the hospital have been shot and killed. And United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said the hospital attacks were “unconscionable, reprehensible and must stop.”

What are other countries saying?

French President Emmanuel Macron said there was “no justification” for Israel’s continued bombing of Gaza. And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken broke new diplomatic ground, saying “far too many Palestinians have been killed.” Yesterday, Foreign Minister Penny Wong called on Israel to end its fighting near the hospital and said both Israel and Hamas should take “steps towards a ceasefire. It cannot be one-sided.” Local Jewish groups have criticised her for the ceasefire call – one said it would “equal surrender”. Since the start of the war, the number of Palestinians killed has exceeded 11,000, according to local authorities. And on Friday, Israel revised its death toll from the 7 October Hamas attacks from 1,400 people to approximately 1,200.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Tuvalu residents offered a pathway to Oz

Up to 280 climate-affected citizens of Tuvalu’s small Pacific island nation will be allowed to move to Australia annually after PM Anthony Albanese signed a historic agreement with his counterpart PM Kausea Natano. The deal was drawn up after the Pacific nation – which is home to about 11,200 people – was found to be at particular risk of climate change/rising sea waters as one of the lowest-lying countries in the world. To escape the climate threat, the “special human mobility pathway” will help Tuvalu residents gain special visas to “work, study and live” in Oz. Not one to overstate things, Albanese called it “without doubt the most significant agreement between Australia and a Pacific island nation ever”. The deal was inked off the back of last week’s Pacific Islands Forum and also includes a pledge to increase security ties between the 2 countries.


Detainees released after a High Court ruling

Speaking of immigration matters… Ninety-two detainees – some of whom are convicted criminals – have been released following a High Court ruling last Wednesday. Notable among them is former Malaysian government bodyguard Sirul Azhar Umar – he was convicted of murdering Mongolian model and translator Altantuyaa Shaariibuu in 2006. Sirul escaped Malaysia, where he faced the death penalty, and arrived in Sydney in 2015. He was arrested, but Australian authorities have not sent him home, given he is facing execution. Cue last week’s High Court decision that non-citizens can’t be indefinitely detained if they’re unable to be deported that’s seen Sirul and others released. The Coalition has criticised the move, but Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles say relevant individuals “will have appropriate visa conditions imposed on them in line with the need to protect the community”.


Not ship-shape

DP World – a major shipping company – has sprung a leak with a cybersecurity breach on Friday, forcing it to suspend operations. Details on what hackers have targeted and who’s behind it have not been revealed, but its effects are enormous. DP World manages about 40% of Australia’s maritime freight, and reports say that the shutdown across ports in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane could last for days. Already, 30,000 containers have been prevented from moving, taking up about 90% of DP World’s storage space at the ports. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the framework developed after the Medibank and Optus hacks had been activated to enable the company to coordinate with the government. If you’re waiting on something, don’t bother emailing DP World with questions – it has shut down its internet to stop “any ongoing unauthorised access”.

Business & Finance Crime

It’s semi-final season…

You can see the AFLW semis fixtures here, but long story short, Geelong will play Melbourne at Ikon Park next Sunday, while minor premiers the Adelaide Crows will host Sydney Swans in South Oz on Saturday night. It’s the Geelong Cats’ first-ever AFLW semi-final appearance, so meow to them… Meanwhile, our men’s cricket team heads into their World Cup semi-final against South Africa on Thursday with an extra boost of confidence. Mitch Marsh took inspiration from Glenn Maxwell’s impressive innings against Afghanistan last week by scoring a cracking century against Bangladesh on Saturday. Marsh dedicated his performance to his late grandfather, who died earlier this month.


Women take the mic

Drumroll, please… The 2024 Grammy nominations are out, and it’s the female performers who dominate. Leading the pack is US R&B/pop/rap star SZA, who scored 9 nominations – the most overall – for her album SOS. She’s up for record of the year against the likes of Billie Eilish, boygenius, Miley Cyrus, Olivia Rodrigo, and Victoria Monét. And it wouldn’t be a music awards show without Taylor Swift – she’s nominated in 6 categories, including all the big ones. She’s become the first songwriter to score 7 nominations for song of the year – this time with Anti-Hero. That’s seen her break Lionel Ritchie and Paul McCartney’s tied record… Not that McCartney would mind – he and Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr are busy enjoying the band’s single Now and Then hitting #1 on the UK charts.


Apropos of nothing

You’ve got a new excuse to keep your Chrissie shopping couch-bound after US research found that online shopping has half the environmental impact of in-store buying. The main culprit? Driving to and from the shops…

The world’s smelliest fruit has a new fan – white cockatoos in the Northern Territory have figured out how to peck open farmer Han Shiong Siah’s latest crop. “Unfortunately, it’s our premium variety that’s getting attacked,” he said. Cheeky…

A species of Indonesian echidna named after Sir David Attenborough has re-emerged after more than 60 years, providing a chance to reminisce about all the other animals named after the famous naturalist. Who could forget the Oedura attenboroughi (velvet gecko), or the Attenborougharion rubicundus (a Tassie semi-slug)?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Both Houses of Parliament sit for a week

APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting – San Francisco

Company results – ANZ

Start of AFR Infrastructure Summit (until 14 November) – Sydney

Start of National Recycling Week (until 19 November)

World Kindness Day

Birthdays for Whoopi Goldberg (1955) and Jimmy Kimmel (1967)

Anniversary of:
• the release of Walt Disney’s animated film Fantasia (1940)
• US spacecraft Voyager 1 taking the first close-up pictures of Saturn (1980)
• the release of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, which would become the first rap song to win Academy Award (2002)
• the Islamic State carrying out a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, killing 130 people (2015)

Squiz the Day

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