Squiz Today / 21 February 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 21 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Love tap”

It’s what the Princess of Wales gave her husband William as they walked the red carpet at yesterday’s BAFTA awards, much to the internet’s delight. And yes, it’s as familiar as it sounds…

Biden’s a surprise guest in Kyiv


Just days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has made a surprise visit to Kyiv in a major sign of American support for the wartorn country. He was scheduled to arrive in Poland later today to mark the anniversary, but the Kyiv visit was kept secret due to security concerns. It was Biden’s first visit to Ukraine since the start of the war, and as the pictures show, he was well received, with Zelensky calling the swing-through “a huge moment for Ukraine.”


White House officials described it as “unprecedented in modern times”. They say previous wartime presidential trips to places like Iraq and Afghanistan were made with a heavy US military presence on the ground. That’s not the case in Ukraine, but Biden said he went there to “reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.” Keep in mind, he’s not the first world leader to go there… The UK’s Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson have made visits, as has Canada’s Justin Trudeau and several European leaders. And our very own PM Anthony Albanese visited in July last year. But a US presidential visit is on a different level, and to make it happen, Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said they notified Russia about the visit “some hours before his departure for deconfliction purposes.” How Russia responded wasn’t revealed… 


He did – Biden announced an additional US$500 million for Ukraine. The main item is more ammunition for the effective HIMARS – the long-range mobile rocket launchers the US has provided. And when we say effective, we mean they are being used to fire rockets accurately to within a few metres at ranges of up to 80km… Biden added that later this week, the US will announce additional sanctions “against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.” Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss how to make sure Ukrainian forces have enough ammunition as hope for a peace agreement remains in tatters. In recent days Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he doesn’t think Russia will walk away from the war – and yesterday, he dismissed French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to engage with Russia, saying it’s a “waste of time”.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Another quake hits Turkey and Syria

This is breaking news this morning, there’s much more to be known about the impact of the 6.4 magnitude quake that hit the region this morning. Since the massive 7.8-magnitude quake struck the region on 6 February, authorities have recorded more than 6,000 aftershocks. Reporters there say this morning’s tremor felt much stronger than previous ones, and there is more damage that can be seen in parts of Turkey – including in Antakya, which was one of the places hit most severely hit by the initial earthquakes. Witnesses say this morning’s quake was also felt in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. The disaster has left more than a million people homeless and killed more than 46,000 people in Syria and Turkey countries.

World News

An Aussie kidnapped in PNG

Papua New Guinea’s PM James Marape yesterday confirmed that an unnamed Australian academic and 3 locals – a program coordinator and 2 university students – have been taken hostage in the nation’s remote Highlands region. According to the police report, the group was held up at gunpoint by 20 armed men, and a demand for $3.5 million kina ($1.4 million) has been made for their release. And there’s a lot that hasn’t been reported, like when it happened and the Aussie professor’s details. PM Marape says they “have been keeping this under close wraps because of the sensitivity” of the situation – he added yesterday that they are in contact with the criminals via missionaries who have lived in the area for a long time. Despite the secrecy, he says he’s “positive” and “optimistic” that the group will be released safely. The Department of Foreign Affairs has declined to issue an official comment, so tense times, it seems…

Australian News World News

An eye in the supermarket sky

It’s not a new concept for retailers to have surveillance in their stores – it’s required to ensure we’re not putting meat down our pants because not every store has the CEO on hard to chase down would-be thieves. And with one-in-5 of us said to be stealing or passing off more expensive items as a cheaper variety at the self-serve checkout, the supermarkets are upping their games. Woolworths is one that is rolling out technology that films customers scanning items – we used one recently, and when an item was flagged, the service attendant played it back on the checkout screen just like the video ref would at the footy – it was quite thrilling… As these developments are put in place, there are questions about handling the data collected – something Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says he’s looking into. He says the Privacy Act requires modernisation to keep up with the digital age.

Australian News Business & Finance Technology

Pickles for the win

Can you hear, can you hear the thunder? Australia’s unofficial anthem would have been apt at the iconic Pro Sunset Beach World Surf League comp that wrapped up in Oahu, Hawaii yesterday as Molly “Pickles” Picklum claimed her first tour victory. Her win also saw Picklum take the joint #1 spot in the women’s world rankings – and she joins fellow Australian Jack Robinson, who sits atop the men’s ladder. Picklum has been surfing big comps since she was 15yo – she’s now 21yo and those in the know say she’s been knocking on the door of success for a while. Last year, there was the setback of qualifying for the big-time comps but then being relegated back to the tour’s Challenger series – but she requalified and look at her now… Picklum counts retired Aussie tennis champ Ash Barty as a friend, and she sure sounds like her when she was asked about how she regrouped – “You just kept chipping away,” she said. 


All excitement on the BAFTAs front

German war drama All Quiet on the Western Front has dominated at the British Academy Film Awards – you might know them as the BAFTAs – taking home a record number of awards for a non-English movie. Its 7 wins included best picture and best director, among others… The WWI tale is an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s book from 1928 by the same name, and filmmaker Edward Berger said his daughter encouraged him to make it after reading the book in school. The Banshees of Inisherin also won big, taking out the best British film category (despite its Irish roots…), and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic also secured several wins, including Austin Butler taking out best actor. And Aussie Cate Blanchett came away with the best actress award for Tár – she said although the prize was “wonderful”, acting in the film had “changed her life”. Of course, here’s your high-class red carpet gallery


Apropos of nothing

Sal Piro, a man best known for being one of the world’s biggest Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, has died at 72yo. His family say he saw the film more than 1,300 times during his life. That’s a lot of doing the Time Warp again…  

It’s been an exciting time to shop in Adelaide with a red-bellied black snake spotted in the city’s largest mall 2 days before it was caught. Now sssafely removed from the Marion Shopping Centre, ssshoppers can return to ssspend… 

Bolton in the UK has a new soccer stadium and a new stadium sponsor, with a local recyclable building product manufacturer coming on board. Called the Toughsheet Community Stadium, the venue boss says locals are embracing “a bit of schoolboy humour”… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Company Results – Seek; BHP; Tabcorp; Coles Group; Stockland; Costa Group

International Mother Language Day

Birthdays for director Jordan Peele (1979), actor Elliot Page (1987), actor Sophie Turner (1996)

Anniversaries of:
• the publication of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto (1848) and the first issue of New Yorker magazine (1925)
• the birthdays of singer Nina Simone (1933) and actor Alan Rickman (1946)
• the assassination of civil rights activist Malcolm X (1965)
• Richard Nixon becoming the first US President to visit China, normalising relations between the countries in a meeting with Chinese leader Mao Zedong in Beijing (1972)
• Australia reopening its international borders for fully vaccinated tourists (2022)

Squiz the Day

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