Squiz Today / 20 November 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 20 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It sounds less like a duet than a systematic attempt to damage each other’s hearing.” 

Said a 2-star review of a Dolly Parton-Steven Tyler duet on her new rock album. Parton was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year – the country music star was embarrassed and promised to make an album in the genre. It landed on Friday with duets galore, and more generous critics say you can’t begrudge the living legend a bit of fun…

Signs of a deal in Gaza

The Squiz

Reports say that Israel, Hamas and the US are closing in on a deal for a 5-day pause in the fighting in exchange for the release of hostages. The details were first published in The Washington Post yesterday afternoon, and while there have been no details on when it would begin, the agreement is said to outline that a group of hostages would be released every 24 hours. But it’s not time to breathe a sigh of relief quite yet – US officials say nothing has been locked in, and late yesterday, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said: “As of now, there has been no deal.” Overnight, Qatari PM Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that only “very minor” obstacles remain for the deal to be done. 

What’s known about the hostages?

There are 239 hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza. They are mostly Israeli civilians, including 20 children. Also taken were soldiers and foreign nationals, including around 10 American citizens. Hamas has claimed that 50 hostages have been killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza – that number is unconfirmed, but Israeli soldiers in Gaza have recovered the bodies of 2 hostages so far during their military operations in the Palestinian territory. Securing the return of the hostages is a priority for Israelis – PM Netanyahu has said Israel will not discuss a ceasefire until they have been returned. And it’s a red-button issue for Israelis – on Saturday, thousands marched on Jerusalem to demand the Israeli Government secure their freedom. 

What about the rest of the fighting?

The conflict has been going on for more than 6 weeks after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis on 7 October. Hamas officials say over 12,300 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s counter-attack. The focus of the fighting last week was the Al-Shifa Hospital, and overnight, the Palestinian Red Crescent and United Nations agencies evacuated 31 premature babies and their families to Egypt. On Saturday, World Health Organization officials visited the hospital and described it as a “death zone” – one of their top concerns was for the babies. And in the fighting, Israeli forces have been bombing targets in central and south Gaza. The southern cities of Rafah and Khan Younis have been attacked, with residents warned that no part of Gaza is safe.

World News

Squiz the Rest

More immigration detainees to be released

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil says up to 340 immigration detainees could be released following a High Court decision saying they couldn’t be held indefinitely. So far, 93 people have been let out, including convicted murderers and sex offenders, with most coming from Afghanistan, Iran, and Sudan. In response, emergency laws were rushed through the federal parliament last week, and with the High Court expected to release the reasons for its decision early next year, more legislative tweaks could be coming. The Coalition’s Home Affairs spokesman James Paterson criticised the government yesterday for being unprepared. But yesterday, O’Neil said they’d been advised a win in the case was a likely outcome – “that is, allow us to do what we wanted to do, which is keep these people in detention.”

AusPol Australian News

A nightmare run for police in South Oz

It’s been a tough few days for South Oz’s police community… Brevet Sergeant Jason Doig was shot and killed on Thursday night near the Victorian border – he and 2 colleagues were making routine enquiries on a remote farm when he and Sergeant Michael Hutchinson were shot. Hutchinson is expected to recover, while the 26yo suspect Jaydn Stimson received life-threatening injuries. It’s the first time a police officer has been killed on duty in the state since 1985. And on Friday night, Charlie Stevens, son of Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, was the victim of an alleged hit-and-run at Goolwa Beach. He died on Saturday. An unnamed 18yo has been charged and will appear in court today. Premier Peter Malinauskas said “the South Australian Police family are hurting,” but “they have the love and support” of residents of the state. 

Australian News Crime

Another APEC summit done and dusted

The result? Something called the ‘San Francisco Principles on Integrating Inclusivity and Sustainability into Trade and Investment Policy’ (catchy, eh…) – its aim is to do what it says on the box. As for the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, there wasn’t a lot… APEC’s not the right forum to discuss geopolitical issues, members said. It also doesn’t seem to have been the right place for PM Anthony Albanese to discuss the ear injuries sustained by Aussie navy divers thanks to sonar pulses from a Chinese warship in international waters off Japan last week. Deputy PM Richard Marles says the government has raised the “unsafe and unprofessional interaction” with Chinese officials, but the Coalition wants to know if Albanese brought it up with China’s Xi Jinping while both men were at the summit. 

AusPol World News

A notable AI job loss…

That sound you could hear from Techland on Saturday morning was the industry collectively gasping after Sam Altman – the high-profile CEO behind ChatGPT – was suddenly fired by his board. A co-founder of OpenAI back in 2015, Altman became the face of artificial intelligence when the ultra-popular chatbot was launched last November – they also partnered with Microsoft’s search engine Bing, sending Google into a bit of a spin. But the wheels came off as he was called into a video meeting with OpenAI’s board of directors, who said that “he was not consistently candid in his communications”. Insert shrugging lady emoji… The move was a shock to Altman – and to OpenAI’s investors, including Microsoft, who got 1 minute of warning before the move was announced. But like any good saga, the drama might not be over… Reports say that OpenAI’s investors are pushing for Altman to be reinstated as CEO. Watch this space… 

Business & Finance Technology

On top of the cricket world…

Woohoo… Australia has won the 2023 Cricket World Cup final thanks to a match-changing 137 runs from 120 balls by opening batsman Travis Head. India set a solid target of 240 runs for our blokes to chase, and Australia had a stinker of a start – at one point, we were 3-47… But Head – who was picked for the squad despite a broken hand – became the third Aussie to make a century in a World Cup final – he joins legends Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist in that elite club. And we can’t give him all the glory – his batting partner Marnus Labuschagne stuck in there with him, scoring 58 runs. India were the hot favourites going in – they did not lose a match all tournament. In contrast, the Aussies had a bumpy road to victory, and at one point, there were questions about whether we’d make it out of the rounds. Aussie skipper Pat Cummins said “I think we saved our best for last.” They sure did… 


Apropos of nothing

SpaceX’s latest test launch ended with a spectacular explosion yesterday morning our time. It wasn’t any old test flight – the Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built, and while they were hoping for a 90-minute mission to space and back, 8 minutes of learning will have to do. Still, NASA was impressed… 

Aussie mangoes are commanding US$8.99 a piece in Los Angeles – that’s about $14… They’re the R2E2 variety, they’re large and round, and they’re being sent from Katherine in the Northern Territory, taking about 2 weeks to get from tree to teeth. 

Strewth… Aussie hatmaker Akubra has a new owner after 147 years of ownership by the Keir family. Tattarang, owned by Nicola and her ex Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, has snaffled it, making a nice pairing with boot label RM Williams, which they bought in 2020. All they need is Driza-Bone, and the iconic trio will be complete…

Australian News Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.20am (AEDT) – Immigration Minister Andrew Giles gives a keynote address to the 2023 CEDA Migration Forum 2023 – Sydney

Start of National Skin Cancer Awareness Week (until 26 Nov)

World Children’s Day

Africa Industrialization Day

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Round One of the 2023 AFL National Draft

US President Joe Biden turns 81yo (1942)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889) and Robert F Kennedy (1925)
• the start of the Nuremberg war trials (1945)
• the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip (1947)

ABS Data Release – Monthly Consumer Price Index indicator, October

Company shareholder meeting – Harvey Norman Holdings

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Birthdays for philanthropist Janet Holmes à Court (1946) and songwriter Don Walker (1951)

Anniversary of:

  • the birthdays of authors Louisa May Alcott (1832) and CS Lewis (1898)
  • physicist Erwin Schrödinger publishing his famous thought experiment ‘Schrödinger’s cat’ (1935)
  • the release of the first commercially successful video game, Pong (1972)
  • the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album (1982)
  • the deaths of actors Natalie Wood (1981) and Cary Grant (1986), and Beatle George Harrison (2001)
  • the release of Adele’s single Rolling in the Deep (2010)
Squiz the Day

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