Squiz Today / 17 April 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 17 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Take it along for the ride. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I was really nervous. The gun went, and I was good, and I just kept pushing.”

Says Ipswich teen Gout Gout, who broke the national under-18 record when he finished the 200-metre sprint in 20.87 seconds at Saturday’s Australian Junior Athletics Championships. He’s clearly healthier than his name suggests…

Khartoum chaos: fighting erupts in Sudan

There are 2 competing militaries in Sudan going at it, dashing hopes for a peaceful transition back to civilian rule. Gunfire in the streets of the capital city of Khartoum kicked off on Saturday with intense fighting that continued yesterday for control of the presidential palace and airport. While precise numbers are hard to come by, reports say 59 civilians had been killed by the end of the weekend, including 3 United Nations’ World Food Programme workers. Adding to their woes: Sudan, which is home to 45 million people, has also recently become a strategic proxy in the struggle between Russia and Western nations.

To understand the current conflict, let’s wind back a bit. Up until 2019, Sudan had been ruled by authoritarian dictator President Omar al-Bashir for 30 years. That year, a dramatic civilian uprising overthrew the President and installed a civilian government with a power-sharing agreement between civilians and the military. The idea was the nation was meant to transition to democratic rule… But in late 2021, Sudan’s 2 most prominent military leaders – General al-Burhan (from the nation’s formal military) and Lieutenant General Hamdan (who leads the Rapid Support Forces paramilitaries) – joined forces to seize power in a military coup, ousting the civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok. Now they are fighting, each blaming the other for escalating tensions. Civilians are said to be sheltering in their homes, and it’s unclear who has control of Sudan at this point in time.

The worry is that Sudan will be tipped into a full-on civil war, wiping away any hope that the 2019 popular uprising would result in democracy for Sudan. Other nations are also concerned about the fighting becoming entrenched. Russia’s Wagner group of mercenaries runs a gold processing plant in Sudan, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement calling for “immediate steps towards a ceasefire”. Western nations had been pushing the Sudanese military leaders to transition the country to civilian rule – a transition meant to happen this month. As for the US, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned” by the violence and called for negotiations to end the fighting.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Calls for greater Indigenous child protections

Prominent Indigenous politicians Marion Scrymgour (Labor’s MP for Lingiari) and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price (a Coalition Senator) say more needs to be done to protect children from abuse and neglect. Scrymgour wants the Territory Government to follow Queensland’s lead and establish a Family Responsibilities Commission (paywall) to help manage family incomes where children are being neglected. Meanwhile, Price has called for a federal takeover of child protection – she says there are cases where Indigenous children have been placed back into the care of abusers. Last week, Coalition leader Peter Dutton visited Alice Springs and spoke about ongoing crime issues. He and Price have also claimed there is “rampant” child abuse going on in the Territory. Scrymgour says Dutton’s comments are “irresponsible” and “publicity-seeking” – a comment backed by local Police Minister Kate Worden – but says it’s “now time” to do more to protect at-risk kids.

Australian News

A Fox News blockbuster begins

Get your popcorn ready: an enormous trial involving Fox News and the Murdoch family begins in America today, and it’s tipped to be the nation’s most significant defamation case in decades. Fox is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems in a case that has its origins in the 2020 presidential election. After Trump’s loss, his team said that Dominion voting machines somehow rigged the election in a grand, false conspiracy involving Venezuela and Hugo Chavez – claims that have been proven to be lies. Dominion is suing Fox because they say the TV network amplified the mistruths despite knowing they were false. It’s juicy, and the pre-trial process has already turned up some embarrassing texts from Fox hosts and producers – one host called the election-rigging claims “obviously untrue” and “unbelievably offensive”. Dominion is seeking US$1.6 billion in damages, and the 5-6 week trial could see Rupert Murdoch take the stand as soon as this week.

Business & Finance World News

Dodging cyclone destruction

The clean-up has begun after ex-Tropical Cyclone Ilsa tore through remote communities in Western Oz’s Pilbara region on Friday. Pardoo (about 100km northeast of Port Hedland) copped the worst of it – its damage bill is set to be around $4 million, with the local roadhouse and tavern devastated by wind gusts of up to 250km/h. Co-owner Varinder Batth says the building has been so severely damaged that it likely cannot be fixed. “Whatever is left standing, we have to demolish it,” he said. But the residents of Port Hedland and Broome were relieved when fears they would bear the brunt of the storm didn’t materialise – the Bureau of Meteorology says they “dodged a bullet”. At its peak, the category 5 cyclone caused wind gusts of up to 289 km/h on Bedout Island just off the coast, but by Saturday morning, it had weakened significantly as it moved east towards the Northern Territory. And breathe…

Australian News

Protestors arrested at the Grand National

More than 100 animal rights activists have been arrested in the UK after causing delays to the Grand National horse race in Liverpool on Saturday. About 300 people from the ‘Animal Rising’ group were outside the event before it started, with several climbing a chain link fence to get onto the race track to “protect the horses at Aintree”. For context, the Grand National race is one of the biggest events on the UK’s sporting calendar. It’s also considered one of the most dangerous in the world because it’s a jumps race, where horses and jockeys have to get over 16 big fences to finish. Despite track safety changes made back in 2012, 3 horses were euthanised after sustaining injuries in this year’s 3-day event. But British Horseracing Authority boss Julie Harrington says the organisation “works tirelessly to improve the sport’s safety record and reduce avoidable risk”. She says the sport has “shown great determination and commitment to improve welfare standards”.


Biden’s Irish luck

US President Joe Biden has wrapped up an emotional 4-day trip to Ireland, where he explored his Irish heritage and celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ireland’s Good Friday peace agreement. But it was a chance encounter with a priest that most affected the US leader. On visiting a Catholic shrine, Biden discovered that the priest residing there was the man who’d delivered the last rites to his son Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. “I gotta meet him, I gotta meet him,” Biden said before a 10-minute meeting that brought the President to tears. “He laughed, he cried, it just kind of hit the man,” another priest at the meeting said. Meanwhile, Ireland’s President Michael Higgins wasn’t too fussed about his meeting with Biden if the state of his desk is anything to go by…

World News

Apropos of nothing

New Mexico scientists have turned taxidermied birds into drones in a project that would have impressed Alfred Hitchcock… Researchers say they want to learn how birds manage their energy, so they can apply it to future aviation industry efficiencies.

Putting everyone else’s endurance levels to shame, 50yo Spanish athlete Beatriz Flamini has emerged from a cave after spending 500 days underground. Despite 2 solo birthdays and minimal contact with the outside world, she wasn’t ready to come out because she “hadn’t finished” her book…

And in an unrelated flex of stamina, Aussie man Lucas Helmke has broken a Guinness World Record for the most push-ups in one hour. Pumping out about 53 per minute, Helmke totalled 3,206 in an hour. You know what they say; no pain, no (record) gain…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Foreign Minister Penny Wong addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

WA Premier Mark McGowan arrives in China for a 5-day trade mission, marking his first visit in 4 years.

Term 2 starts for public schools in Queensland and the Northern Territory

Ultra marathon runner/former MP Pat Farmer sets off on a 14,400km run around Australia in support of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament – Hobart

Syria’s National Day

World Haemophilia Day

International Haiku Poetry Day

National Espresso Day – Italy

Birthdays for Barnaby Joyce (1967), Jennifer Garner (1972) and Victoria Beckham (1974)

Anniversary of:
• the invention of modern snooker by Sir Neville Chamberlain (aka not the former UK PM…) (1875)
• the premiere of Game of Thrones on HBO (2011)
• the deaths of Benjamin Franklin (1790), Linda McCartney (1998), Gabriel García Márquez (2014) and Barbara Bush (2018)

Squiz the Day

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