Squiz Today / 14 February 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 14 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

News for every routine

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Mondays have always been the most tricky of days for Valentine’s Day…”

Said Perth florist Rebecca Grace because the weekend hasn’t left her much time to get ready for today’s onslaught. Add COVID-induced supply chain issues to the mix, and it’s clear that floristry, like love, relies on good timing…

Ukraine invasion fears grow

Australia has joined the US, UK and several Western nations in telling its citizens to leave Ukraine now because of fears that a Russian invasion could be launched this week. Our officials are in the process of being evacuated from the Aussie embassy in Kyiv and moved to the Ukraine city of Lviv, which is further from the Russian border. Russia is also reducing its diplomatic presence in Kyiv, saying it fears “certain provocations” from Ukraine and “third nations”. All in all, the situation in the eastern European nation is “reaching a very dangerous stage,” PM Scott Morrison said yesterday.

On Thursday, Russia started 10 days of joint military exercises with its neighbour/ally Belarus, and Western officials say that could become a cover for Moscow to invade. And on Friday, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that there is a “distinct possibility” Russia will invade Ukraine in a “very swift time frame.” He wouldn’t get into the details, but said “I do want to be clear: it could begin during the Olympics, despite a lot of speculation that it would only happen after the Olympics.” Reports say the US has pegged 16 February as the date things will kick-off. For Russia’s part, it says the US is building up “hysteria”. The escalation in tensions saw US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin get on the blower for an hour-long chat yesterday – officials say no progress was made. European leaders are continuing to engage with Putin in the hope of preventing the crisis from deepening.

Dunno, but as this map shows Russia is positioned to go… And while the US can’t be sure about Putin’s plan, it is doing something unusual by telegraphing what it thinks he is going to do. Biden says America will not send troops to Ukraine if it is invaded, but officials say they are trying to prevent a war by going public with the intelligence. That way, they are making it “more difficult for Putin to justify an invasion with lies, undercutting his standing on the global stage and building support for a tougher response,” reports the New York Times. The US isn’t the first to play that game… Last month, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss disclosed intel that Team Putin was planning on overthrowing the Ukrainian Government to install a Russia-friendly regime.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Perrottet has a ‘bad day at the office’

The NSW Coalition Government saw a swing against it in 3 of the 4 by-elections on Saturday and has lost the long-held regional seat of Bega to Labor. Transport Minister Andrew Constance vacated the South Coast seat to make a federal run, and pundits say inadequate bushfire recovery support was a hot-button topics. Former Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s seat of Willoughby stayed in Liberal hands – albeit with a double-digit swing against the Liberals. Premier Dominic Perrottet took responsibility for the result as PM Scott Morrison dismissed suggestions it reflected on his electoral fortunes. There will be plenty of focus on what it means federally as MPs head back to Canberra for one of the last sitting weeks before a poll is due on 21 May. Last night, Morrison revealed to Nine’s 60 Minutes that he’s praying for a miracle


Vaccine mandate protesters told to go home

Federal Police in Canberra want demonstrators to hit the road today, or they say they’ll take action against those choosing to stay. An estimated 10,000 people marched on Parliament House on Saturday as part of the ‘Convoy to Canberra’ protests against COVID rules, and many have been staying at the Exhibition Park campsite for more than a week. The problem is that the Canberra Show needs to bump in. There was also disappointment on the weekend that a Canberra institution – the Lifeline Bookfair at Exhibition Park – was cancelled due to their presence. As for the protest, PM Morrison said he understood their concerns and urged them to be “peaceful and respectful”. In Canada, the ‘Convoy for Freedom’ protests that inspired those in Oz and other nations have blocked streets in the capital Ottawa and frozen transport routes to the US. They continue to be difficult to disperse, but maybe authorities can take a leaf from Kiwiland’s book?

Australian News

Clive Palmer’s defamation trial begins in Sydney

Opening submissions in the rich-lister’s defamation trial against Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan will be heard in Sydney today. The Queensland mining magnate/wannabe pollie claims McGowan made “grossly defamatory” statements about him on 6 occasions between July and August 2020. For example, McGowan called him an “enemy of the state” for promoting hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment. Palmer – who says he expects to win big at the upcoming election – has launched the case to “permanently restrain” McGowan from making similar comments in the future. In response, the Premier has lodged a taxpayer-funded counter-claim arguing the billionaire defamed him in several interviews. Palmer, who is proudly unvaccinated for COVID, may not give evidence, but McGowan will fly to Sydney for his turn scheduled for 26-28 February.

Australian News

Our most successful Winter Games

Fancy hurtling face-first down a 2km ice tunnel at almost 130km/hour on a little trolley? Nope… But that’s what Brisvegas’s own Jackie Narracott did on Saturday to win a silver medal in the women’s skeleton – our first medal of any colour in the event. Aussie chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said the love story between Narracott and her husband/coach Dom Parsons, a bronze medallist in the same event for Britain in 2018, was behind her success. And since we last spoke, snowboarder Scotty James won silver in the halfpipe final – he won bronze in the same event 4 years ago. James was in the lead until Japan’s Ayumu Hirano outscored him on the last run of the day. Looking to today, aerial skier/flag-bearer Laura Peel will attempt to pull off the triple-twisting triple-backflip (aka a ‘full-full-full‘, as they say on the slopes). Keep an eye out for her and teammate Danielle Scott. Australia now has 4 medals making it our best-ever medal tally for a Winter Games.


Mexican cartels target a different kind of commodity…

But this time, it’s not drugs they’re wheeling and dealing – it’s limes. The zesty fruit that’s a feature of Mexican cuisine is expensive and in short supply across the country thanks to cold weather and export markets going gangbusters. Amid that, cartels are imposing increasing controls over producers to fund their criminal gang wars. “The lime trade is a billion-dollar industry and, for any criminal group, it’s very easy and extremely profitable for them to go to the farmers and tell them what they need to pay for protection,” says analyst Romain Le Cour. And it’s not just the citrus flavour-bombs that are being targeted – it’s avos as well. The Mexican Government has sent in 2,800 troops to one of the hardest-hit areas, but analysts say Mexican and American diners can expect the prices of their tacos and margaritas. Lucky here in Oz, our lime and avocado supply is mostly locally grown.

World News

Apropos of Nothing

Two hundred pairs of Nike sneakers for US$25.3 million? Sure, when they are some of the last creations of Louis Vuitton’s trailblazing menswear designer Virgil Abloh who died in November… Auction house Sotheby’s said it received more than 10,000 bids for the fancy footwear.

Speaking of pricey shoes, the next horizon is slippers. If you’re not spending $200+ on a pair of tootsie-warmers, who even are you?

And it’s the biggest day on the US sporting calendar with Super Bowl LVI beaming to the world this morning from Los Angeles. If you wanted to pick up a ticket yesterday, you’d be looking at $7,000+. The halftime entertainment features Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige and Kendrick Lamar, so you’d almost think about it…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.30am (AEDT) – Super Bowl – Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals – Los Angeles

12.30pm (AEDT) – Beijing Winter Olympics Women’s Freeski Slopestyle Final

10.00pm (AEDT) – Beijing Winter Olympic’s Women’s Aerials Final – watch out for Aussies Laura Peel and Danielle Scott

Valentine’s Day

Company Half-Year Results – Boral; JB Hi-Fi; Bendigo Bank

Clive Palmer defamation trial against WA Premier Mark McGowan begins in the Federal Court – Sydney

Jailed NRL footballer Jarryd Hayne is due to find out the outcome of an appeal against his sexual assault convictions

Start of End Youth Suicide Week (until 18 February)

International Epilepsy Day

Clean Out Your Computer Day

International Book Giving Day

Birthdays for Michael Bloomberg (1942), Simon Pegg (1970), Cadel Evans (1977), Freddie Highmore (1992)

Anniversary of:
• the death of Captain James Cook (1779)
• the release of the original Dracula film starring Bela Lugosi (1931)
• the patenting of the first microchip (called “micro on a chip”) by Texas Instruments (1978)
• the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which prompted protests against gun violence in the US (2018)

Squiz the Day

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