Squiz Today / 24 January 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 24 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

Perfect for multitasking mornings.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“The Wiggles admitting that half of them only discovered what the Hottest 100 was last year and then winning it this year is so funny.”

Tweeted one wag, but the kids supergroup did indeed win the popular vote on Triple J’s iconic annual ranker. Goes to show you can teach an old Elephant new tricks…

UK blows up over Ukraine

Not literally… We’re talking about yesterday’s explosive claims made by the UK Government that Russia is scheming to install a pro-Moscow government in Ukraine with former MP Yevhen Murayev in line to become the country’s new leader. The UK also named 4 former associates of ousted pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who are in contact with Russian intelligence. They were senior officials turfed out in Ukraine’s popular uprising in 2014 that ushered in a Western-friendly government. The UK claims it’s all part of Russia’s push for power over Ukraine.

The thinking is Russia might try to overthrow Ukraine’s government via sneaky tactics – and this is the UK Government’s attempt to expose them. “Calling it out takes away the element of surprise and also reduces the chances of Russia succeeding if they actually attempt it,” an unnamed official said. “When the Russians attempt this and say, ‘This is an independent Ukrainian political movement,’ we can say, ‘No, that’s not true, this is the work of your intelligence apparatus which we’ve been warning about.’” Someone putting their name to it is UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss (who was in Oz for security talks). She says the plot “shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine”. Both Russia and Murayev say it’s a fantasy.

More talks… Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will meet in Paris this week. That’s on top of ongoing discussions between senior US and Russian officials. The ball is in America’s court – Russia says it will receive a written response to its demands this week, although the US has a different spin on that… Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they will share their “concerns and ideas”. One event that serves as a bit of a deadline is the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are besties, and the Russian is set to attend the opening ceremony on 4 February. It’s speculated that Xi has asked Putin to cool his jets until the Games are over.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Back to school with COVID

As school holidays come to an end, the COVID-case-heavy states of NSW and Victoria have announced plans for getting kids back into the classroom. Both states are relying on rapid antigen tests (RATs) to prevent widespread outbreaks, with primary/secondary students and staff to test themselves twice weekly. It’s voluntary, and the responsibility of reporting kids’ positive tests will fall on parents/carers. Where are the millions of RATs coming from? Those governments have secured enough supply to hand over to the schools. Also wondering about RAT supplies are Australia’s small pharmacies with the program to hand them out to concession card holders starting today. And over the ditch, Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern has upped the nation’s COVID restrictions to ‘red’, which means masks are back, and there are limits on gathering numbers. That’s seen her wedding plans put on hold as she goes all Ned Kelly


A long road for Tonga’s recovery

Three Australian flights carrying critical supplies to Tonga in the aftermath of last weekend’s massive volcano eruption and tsunami arrived on Saturday. More ships and aircraft are due in the coming days with New Zealand, Japan, France, the UK and other Pacific island nations also pitching in with aid, clean-up equipment and telco infrastructure. The extent of the destruction is still being assessed, but the Red Cross says widespread stagnant pools of saltwater are polluting the clean drinking water of tens of thousands of people. On Friday, authorities reported that water testing on the main island showed it is safe for drinking, so that’s something… The death toll also remains at 3. And incredible tales of survival are being told, including a man who was taken by a wave and clung to a log for more than a day. “I could hear my son calling from land, and I didn’t want to answer because I didn’t want him to swim out to find me,” he told the BBC.

World News

Crypto crash in a nervous market

Global markets, including Australia’s, are a bit jittery at the moment… A big driver is America’s central bank is expected to move on from its COVID-emergency stance by announcing plans to raise interest rates when it meets this week. The uncertainty saw the Nasdaq – a global stock exchange based in New York – fall 7.6% last week, which was its worst performance since March 2020… And Australia’s ASX200 index experienced its worst performance since October 2020. Also not faring well in recent times is cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, the largest of the digital currencies, has lost half of its value since November. Critics say it’s too speculative to get serious about in these uncertain times, and Russia is talking about banning it. But America’s Federal Reserve is talking about creating a digital version of the US dollar. At least it might save them from printing all those $1 bills… 


A quick sports news wrap

• Tennis – Ash Barty is through to the quarterfinals of the Aussie Open after beating American Amanda Anisimova in straight sets last night. Anisimova had knocked out Naomi Osaka in an exciting match on Friday night. Barty will face Jessica Pegula tomorrow. And on the men’s side of the draw, cross your fingers for Alex de Minaur this afternoon – he’s up against Italian Jannik Sinner and is hoping to become the first Aussie bloke to make quarterfinals since Nick Kyrgios in 2015. Also advancing is Dylan Alcott after a wobble yesterday, and high-energy pair Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are through to the men’s doubles quarterfinal.

• Women’s cricket – Australia’s ahead in the Ashes campaign against England despite 2 of the 3 T20 matches in Adelaide being washed out. The show moves on to Canberra for the only Test match of the series starting on Thursday. Also washed out – the team’s hope of an equal run when it comes to the broadcast of this year’s World Cups…

• And Sam Kerr, what a legend – The Matildas captain/Chelsea megastar can claim another title… She’s now Australian rep soccer’s greatest-ever goalscorer. Kerr kicked 5 of Australia’s 18 goals against Indonesia on Friday night. That took her to 51 goals, overtaking fellow footballing legend Tim Cahill on 50. He graciously tweeted his congrats.  


Vale Meat Loaf

The singer and actor died on Thursday at 74yo – the cause and other details have not been shared by his family. Born Marvin Lee Aday, he took his stage name from his first initials. Meat Loaf first found success on the Broadway stage in the musical Hair and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But it was his 1977 album Bat Out of Hell (including the single of the same name) that turned him into an icon. It brought operatic rock to audiences “at a time when, in the face of disco and punk, it couldn’t have been more unfashionable,” wrote the New York Times. It was one of the greatest-selling albums of all time, and its tracks remain a feature of any good karaoke session. And then came his 90s resurgence with I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). Meat Loaf had his ups and downs (including 2011’s disastrous AFL Grand Final appearance…), but he was remembered as a gentle guy who was a rock & roll powerhouse.


Apropos of Nothing

There’s nothing weird about a former dentist making art out of teeth and dentures. Nothing weird at all…

What is weird is 2 men taking a dead man to the post office to claim his pension. That happened in Ireland on Friday, and the locals are a bit freaked out. Understandably…

And after those heart-starters, this is unashamedly cute. Two Armadillos in the UK’s named Patsy and Eddie are on a diet after an indulgent Christmas. Bet they love that, sweetie darling…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

From 12.00pm (AEDT) – Australian Open Tennis – Melbourne. Keep an eye out for Alex de Minaur at 1.00pm

9.00pm (AEDT) – Football – Women’s Asian Cup Round 1 – Matildas v Philippines – Mumbai 

Cleo Smith’s alleged adbuctor, 36yo Terence Kelly, appears in court – Carnarvon

Italian presidential election

International Day of Education

Global Belly Laugh Day

Birthdays for musician Neil Diamond (1941) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (1953)

Anniversary of:
• Apple Computer Inc unveiling its revolutionary Macintosh personal computer (1984)
• the release of Adele’s second studio album 21 (2011)
• former US Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sentenced up to 175 years in prison after being found guilty of molesting over 150 girls (2018)

Squiz the Day

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