Squiz Today / 16 May 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 16 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

We’ve got news, you’ve got ears. It’s a perfect match. 

Today’s listen time: 9.00 minutes

SYD
11 / 21
MEL
7 / 18
BNE
12 / 24
ADL
9 / 20
PER
11 / 20
HBA
5 / 16
DRW
21 / 32
CBR
1 / 17

Squiz Sayings

“Abel Makkonen Tesfaye”

Is The Weeknd’s real name and what he says he now wants to go by. It makes his recent calls to “kill The Weeknd” a little more acceptable to working people…

Compensation for contamination

THE SQUIZ
The Commonwealth Government will pay 30,000 Aussie landowners a share of $132.7 million after their properties were contaminated with PFAS chemicals most commonly found in firefighting foam. The properties affected are near 7 Royal Australian Air Force bases that used the foam through to the early 2000s – Richmond and Wagga Wagga (NSW), Bullsbrook (WA), Darwin, Edinburgh (SA), Townsville (QLD) and Wodonga (VIC). It’s a win for the landowners after they lodged a class action – the biggest in Aussie history – back in 2019.

WHAT IS PFAS?
Good question… If you’re not familiar with PFAS (which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, they are widely known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they accumulate in soil, water and humans and don’t break down. And it’s not one chemical – it’s a group of about 4,700 chemicals used in many products but commonly linked to the fire/heat/oil retardants extensively used by firefighters and on military bases between the 1970s and 2000s. PFAS is a concern primarily because of the number of health concerns it’s thought to be linked to, including cancers, birth defects and diseases. The landholders involved in this legal action accused the Commonwealth of not adequately preventing toxic chemicals in the foam from escaping the military bases, contaminating their soil/water, and causing their property values to drop.

HOW DID IT GO DOWN, AND WHAT’S NEXT?
Yesterday’s settlement was reached at 12:10am, hours before things were set to kick off in the Federal Court… The government didn’t admit liability in the settlement, but Shine Lawyers’ Craig Allsopp, who represented the class action, said once the payout gets final approval from a Federal Court judge, the money will “go some way to compensate the 7 communities”. Speaking yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese said his biggest concern about PFAS “isn’t, of course, a financial one – it is the health outcomes of people who are affected by it”. “It’s another example of where we have to get occupational health and safety right,” he said. The settlement follows another paid to 3 regional communities in NSW, the NT and QLD in 2020. Another case involving the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council on NSW’s South Coast has been adjourned until 29 May.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Tally time for Turkey and Thailand

Big elections? They were huge… Let’s start with Thailand – its record-high voter turnout turned into massive wins for the opposition parties, with the youth-led Move Forward Party claiming at least 151 of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives and Pheu Thai claiming 141. The incumbent military-backed government, which came to power in a coup and has ruled Thailand for 9 years, won 36 seats… But they’re not entirely out of the game because of a military-era rewriting of the constitution – it has a large say over who becomes Thailand’s next leader when the parliament meets in July. Also kicking it down the road is Turkey, where neither 20-year leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan nor his democracy-focused challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu received 50% of the vote. A runoff election is scheduled for 28 May, and Erdoğan is the favourite to win – a prospect that has disappointed financial markets.

World News

Cyclone Mocha misses Cox’s Bazar

One of the most powerful storms in the region’s history has hit Myanmar and Bangladesh, although officials are relieved it didn’t directly hit the Rohingya refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar. Cyclone Mocha smashed the coast with winds of more than 200km/hr, causing at least 6 deaths, 700 injuries and knocking out communications systems. That’s made it difficult for officials to assess the extent of the damage. So far, all of the reported deaths have been in Myanmar, with Bangladesh’s emergency chief Kamrul Hasan saying that Mocha caused “no major damage” in his country. In the days before the cyclone made landfall, Myanmar’s local Red Cross was gearing up for a major emergency response in the region, and more than 750,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas.

World News

Scammers, be warned…

Just a reminder that we will never ask for your bank PIN or mum’s maiden name – and if anyone else tries to, you’ll soon be able to report them to the new National Anti-Scams Centre (NASC, perhaps?). We haven’t seen any superhero-esque masks or cape designs, but Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones says the Centre will have “fusion cells” made up of expert hackers, regulators, and law enforcement… “Think of them as a hit squad… bringing their expertise together for a short-term action,” Jones said yesterday. The Centre will cost $86.5 million to set up and aims to ensure Aussies hang onto their hard-earned after the record-breaking $3 billion we lost to scams in 2022. For our part, we hope the announcement is followed by a new drama series called NASCs featuring Rebecca Gibney and Gary Sweet fighting the bad guys online…

AusPol Crime

Chucking a royal tanty

Prince Andrew is having a royal moment after being told to vacate the 30-bedroom Royal Lodge for William and Kate and move into some embarrassing hovel. Hold on, he’s actually being asked to relocate to Frogmore Cottage, the 10-bedroom residence recently renovated by Prince Harry and Meghan… Nevertheless, Andrew is said to be “seeking face-to-face showdown talks with his brother” (aka the King), who ordered the residential reshuffle. Andrew’s friends rallied around their pal in the British press, with one quoted as saying: “He is so fragile. He’s refusing to see anybody. This has been his family home for the past 20 years. Is it really sensible to kick him out?” The friend added that “He’s concerned that now the Coronation is over, the knives are out. He’s worried that the Royals might even turn off the utilities to get him out of there.”

World News

Aussie winners are grinners

A pair of Aussies reached incredible sporting highs yesterday – go you good things… Sam Kerr’s precision strike won England’s FA Cup final championship for her club Chelsea in front of a record-breaking crowd for women’s soccer. Some commentators say it makes her the most successful soccer player Australia’s ever produced. And golfer Jason Day won America’s Byron Nelson golf tournament by one stroke. If you don’t know the story of Jason Day, get out your tissues: he was raised by his hardworking mother in Queensland after his alcoholic father died when Day was 12. Day’s last tournament win was in 2018 – his form slipped following his mother’s cancer diagnosis and her death last year, and injuries that were hard to shake. Yesterday’s win was a hard-fought return to the top – and it happened on Mother’s Day. “I knew she was out there with me today,” Day said, choking back tears.

Sport

Apropos of nothing

We talked about earlier this year, and we’re pleased to say that Bobi – the world’s oldest dog who lives in central Portugal – has turned 31yo. His owner said a party in his honour was attended by 100 people and featured a dance troupe, making it better than any human party we’ve ever thrown…

There’s a new baby in town, and his name is Noah. NSW has released its most popular baby names for 2022, and Oliver lost the top spot after 8 years at the top. For girls, Olivia has lost the crown to Charlotte.

‘Hambungler’ might be the most generous name for a Canberra man who threw a hamburger into the window of a police car before trying to run away. He was arrested and charged with being more than a handful.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Real Estate Institute of Australia CEO Anna Neelagama, Anglicare Executive Director Kasy Chambers and Independent MP Helen Haines address the National Press Club on the regional housing crisis – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, March

Company Results – James Hardie

International Day of Living Together in Peace

International Day of Light

Cannes Film Festival begins – France (until 27 May)

Anniversary of:
• the marriage of Marie Antoinette and future King Louis XVI of France (1770)
• the release of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (1966)
• the death of former PM Bob Hawke (2019)

Squiz the Day

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