Squiz Today / 26 June 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 26 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting your week on track. 

Today’s listen time: 7.30 minutes

SYD
10 / 19
MEL
11 / 16
BNE
13 / 25
ADL
11 / 16
PER
3 / 15
HBA
6 / 13
DRW
24 / 32
CBR
3 / 11

Squiz Sayings

“It was embarrassing.”

Said West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson after his side went down by 171 points to the Sydney Swans on Saturday night. The fourth-biggest loss in AFL history also created contrasting records for the clubs – it was Sydney‘s equal-greatest win and West Coast’s worst-ever loss. Talk about ups and downs…

Putin’s weekend – and possibly his leadership – derailed

THE SQUIZ

If you woke up on Saturday morning, saw there was an armed uprising in Russia challenging President Vladimir Putin’s government, and thought, “huh?”, we hear you… Beginning on Russia’s Friday morning, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, openly defied Russia’s military establishment and claimed the invasion of Ukraine was conducted on false pretences. On Saturday, the private army under Prigozhin’s control overtook a military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, in Russia’s south. In an address to the nation, Putin vowed retribution over what he called “a stab in the back of our country and our people”. Prighozin’s forces were on their way to Moscow when Putin’s mate/the leader of neighbouring Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko, intervened and brokered a deal that called it off and allowed amnesty for Prigozhin and his fighters.

WAIT, WHO IS PRIGOZHIN?

Glad you asked because he’s got an interesting backstory… Prigozhin befriended Putin while selling hot dogs on the streets of Moscow in the 1990s, and as Putin climbed to power, he brought Prigozhin with him. In recent years, Prigozhin has essentially been doing the Kremlin’s dirty work, like running online troll farms and fighting in warzones in the Middle East and Africa. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought Prigozhin out of the shadows when Wagner became central to Russia’s war effort. Prigozhin recruited fighters from Russian prisons, and the group has been at the front of the bloodiest battles in Ukraine. While fighting for Bakhmut, Prigozhin openly took on Russia’s military leaders, who he accused of misleading Russians about the war. The weekend’s uprising began after Prigozhin accused Russia’s military of attacking and killing his fighters, and one of Prigozhin’s demands was that Russia’s Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu be fired.

IS THIS A BIG DEAL?

Experts reckon Prigozhin’s defiance was the most serious threat to Putin’s power in his 23 years at the top – and that the danger isn’t over yet. As the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said, the uprising has shown “real cracks” in Putin’s authority and raised “all sorts of new questions that Putin is going to have to address”. As some pro-Ukrainian commentators put it: before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia believed it had the second most powerful army in the world after the US – but with Wagner mercenaries so easily defying the military, it appears that Russia has the second most powerful army in Russia… As for what the uprising means for Russia’s war on Ukraine, it’s hard to say right now – but some experts have said that Russia’s effort will be weakened if Wagner’s fighters aren’t absorbed into the army.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Vale Simon Crean

The only Labor politician to serve as a minister in the Hawke, Keating, Rudd, and Gillard governments has died suddenly at 74yo while overseas. A true believer in the Labor cause, Simon Crean was born into it as the son of Frank Crean, a senior figure in Gough Whitlam’s government. A leading unionist before he entered parliament in 1990, Crean became opposition leader in late 2001 after Kim Beazley/Labor lost another election to John Howard’s Coalition. Crean lost that role to Mark Latham in 2003. And the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years were pretty turbulent for Crean too… In recent times, Crean served as a board member of the trucking company Linfox. Last night, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said Crean was “never afraid of fighting for what was right – like when he bravely opposed Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War.” PM Anthony Albanese said he was a “great servant of the labour movement and a wonderful human being.” 

AusPol Australian News

Exploring OceanGate’s credentials

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has started its investigation into the operator of the Titan submersible, with authorities boarding the Canadian-flagged launch ship the Polar Prince. The probe started the day after the US Coast Guard said the vessel had likely suffered a “catastrophic implosion”, killing 5 passengers, including OceanGate’s co-founder Stockton Rush. Since parts were found scattered on the seafloor near the wreck of the Titanic, reports have come to light that Seattle-based OceanGate rejected feedback when issues were raised over the Titan’s homemade-style construction. And more of the victims’ families have spoken, including Azmeh Dawood – the sister of British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and aunt of 19yo Suleman. She said her nephew felt “terrified” about the trip but was eager to please his dad.

World News

Slicing off a problem…

After being sizzled by criticism, consultancy firm PwC installed a new chief executive and confirmed yesterday that it will sell off its state and federal government advisory business – for $1. To refresh your memory… In January, it came to light that former PwC tax partner Peter Collins leaked confidential government briefings to his colleagues. Last month, a Senate committee found PwC charged at least $2.5 million in fees to advise clients how to dodge the tax laws that Collins was advising Treasury on… The scandal saw boss Tom Seymour and 9 other senior partners resign. Yesterday, the company’s board chair Justin Carroll said PwC global exec Kevin Burrowes would take the reins, and private equity mob Allegro Funds would buy the government advisory side of the business. “It is the right thing to do for our public sector clients and to protect the jobs of the [roughly] 1,750 talented people in our government business,” Carroll said.

Australian News Business & Finance

Journeying to Mecca for Hajj

Nearly 2 million Muslims are on their way to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca to participate in the first full-scale Hajj pilgrimage since the pandemic. This is a good explainer, but long story short, the ancient mass communal event that starts today is one of the holiest on the calendar – and it’s something every Muslim must take part in at least once in their lives. This year, Hajj runs until Saturday and will see pilgrims take part in 5 days of religious rituals at sites like the Kaaba – a sacred stone structure in Mecca’s Grand Mosque. This year, more women are expected to take part after a Saudi law was eased in 2022 to allow females to attend without a male relative to escort them. And for all Muslims, there’s Eid al-Adha – it starts on Wednesday and lasts for three days. The second and largest of the 2 big Muslim holidays, there’s an emphasis on food that we endorse 100%… 

World News

First-class flying for furry travellers

If you’re planning an international move and can’t stand the thought of your doggo flying in the luggage hold, you’re in luck. For $15,000-$40,000, pooches can fly on a dedicated pet charter flight in the cabin – and there’s an area for mid-flight toilet business set up (appropriately…) at the plane’s rear. Skye Pet Travel kicked off with its maiden voyages earlier this month, taking 23 dogs, one cat, and 19 humans between the UK and Australia. And it’s enthusiastically been taken up by owners of brachycephalic breeds (aka members of the squishy face crew), like bulldogs and pugs. They’re tricky to transport, and many airlines refuse to take them. And if you’re concerned these high-status pets might get past the rules Pistol-and-Boo style, don’t worry… Any animal arriving by private jet to Australia still has to serve their quarantine time.

Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

Speaking of lucky pups… A Chinese Crested Dog named Scooter has nabbed the coveted title of the World’s Ugliest Dog. With backwards-facing back legs, a “rat-like tail”, and a perpetually-lolling tongue, he’s got looks only a mother could love.

If you need birthday party ideas, you might like to take a page out of Alison Moore’s book… She put the call out to her community in San Jose for “as many pooches as possible” to come and meet her dog-loving father Robert for a pat. It’s what he wanted for his 100th birthday, and more than 200 turned up. 

Just when you thought you’d forgotten the incessant robotic voice and inexplicable sounds made by the iconic Furby, toy company Hasbro says it’s bringing the creatures back. And good/bad news: Furby 2.0s have more than 600 programmed responses. Lucky us…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.30pm (AEST) – Women’s Basketball – Asia Cup – Australia v Philippines – Sydney

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

World Mining Congress begins – Brisbane (until 29 June)

Birthdays for Nick Offerman (1970), Aubrey Plaza (1984) and Ariana Grande (1993)

Anniversary of:
• the invention of the toothbrush in China using boar bristles (1498)
• the signing of the UN Charter (1945)
• Elvis Presley’s last-ever performance (1977)
• the publication of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
• Kevin Rudd rolling Julia Gillard to become PM for the second time (2013)

Squiz the Day

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