Squiz Today / 28 March 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 28 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Let’s get this party started. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We call it ‘commuter wear’ or ‘transit wear’ – it’s a big growth area.”

Said Australian Wool Innovation boss John Roberts of the new opportunity the industry is pursuing with demand falling for suits. Wool’s great for activewear because of its odour and moisture management qualities, and it can help keep you cool/warm. Sounds baa-riffic… 

Biden verbally shirtfronts Putin

US President Joe Biden has ended a 3-day diplomatic trip to Europe with a big speech outside the centuries-old Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. He described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the “test of all time” in the battle between “liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.” And of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden said “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power”. And didn’t that set a hare running…

It’s unusual for a US president to call for another country’s leader to go, especially when it involves a nuclear-armed country the size of Russia. His team gave some clarification for the unscripted comment yesterday. “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia or regime change,” a White House official said. Moscow reacted, saying it’s “not for Biden to decide. The President of Russia is elected by Russians.” Some Russia-watchers say Biden’s line feeds into a narrative Putin is propagating with his people – that the West thinks it knows best and is trying to destroy their country. And experts are debating whether the comment will have implications for the war on Ukraine and beyond. One called it a “bad lapse in discipline” while another said “I think just what President Biden was saying is, how can such a terrible person be ruling Russia?” 

Russian military bigwig Sergei Rudskoy said that “the first stage” of the operation had been carried out, allowing them to “concentrate our main efforts on achieving the main goal: the liberation of Donbas“. On Saturday, Russian military bigwig Sergei Rudskoy said that “the first stage” of the operation had been carried out, allowing them to “concentrate our main efforts on achieving the main goal: the liberation of Donbas“. To explain why that’s a thing: one of the reasons Moscow gave for invading Ukraine was to stop the “systematic extermination of the Donbas population” in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine’s east. Reports say 93% of Luhansk is now under the control of the Russia-backed rebels, as is 54% of Donetsk. But yesterday, the city of Lviv come under heavy rocket fire – and it’s in western Ukraine… It means that Russia’s end game remains unclear. The next round of talks between Ukraine and Russian officials will start in Turkey later today.

World News

Squiz the Rest

One more sleep until the Federal Budget…

The Morrison Government is set to reduce the rate of fuel excise for a limited period. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has all but confirmed that the 44.2¢-a-litre excise will be cut to help motorists pay for fuel, which is more than $2.20 a litre across most of Oz. This morning, the Financial Review (paywall) says a cut will be in place for at least 6 months to avoid criticism that it’s an election ploy. Note: the ploy, sorry, the measure isn’t cheap – a 5c-a-litre reduction for half a year will see $1 billion in excise forgone. Labor’s Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers yesterday indicated that his side won’t oppose measures to address cost-of-living pressures. So maybe put off filling up until later this week… That and so much more will be unveiled at 7.30pm tomorrow night – that means there are just 2 days of the Treasurer and PM saying they can’t confirm their plan to save their political skins…

Australian News

Updates on some of last week’s big stories

NO SURVIVORS – All 132 people aboard the China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed into a mountain in southern China on Monday are dead, officials confirmed on Saturday. The cause of the crash, which has baffled authorities and experts, is being investigated.

SHAYLA’S SAFE AND WELL – Four-year-old Tasweigan Shayla Phillips was found in dense bush on Friday after 2 chilly nights away from her Stormlea home. She was discovered when she responded to her name being called by rescuers. Her mum Bianca Page said she was relieved to have her “precious baby girl” back.

A DIFFICULT ROYAL TOUR – The Cambridges have finished their week-long Caribbean trip – it was meant to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, but it stirred up significant anti-colonial sentiment… And William issued a rare statement to say if countries like Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas want to leave the Commonwealth, “that future is for the people to decide upon.” He said the trip (that some royal watchers say was a PR disaster…) was worthwhile because “you learn so much”.

Australian News

More from Antarctica

We talked last week about the heatwave that struck eastern Antarctica, bringing warm weather unlike any previously observed. To kick off this week, news that a massive ice shelf in that region has collapsed – the first to collapse in more than 4 decades of satellite observations. The Conger Ice Shelf spans about 1,200 square km (aka the size of New York), and officials say it shattered off the continent on 15 March. Why is this important? Well, ice shelves surrounding Antarctica protect ice sheets and glaciers on the continent. If the shelves give way, it creates a path for ice streams from surrounding glaciers to spill into the ocean and contribute to sea-level rises. And to give you a sense of the region’s importance, if all of eastern Antarctica’s ice were to melt, it would raise sea levels by more than 30m. That can’t ever be allowed to happen… But Conger “is just a little guy without too much punch,” said NASA scientist Catherine Colello Walker. “But the process is important to study so we know what to expect for the bigger ones.”

Environment & Science World News

Vale Taylor Hawkins

Rock music fans were stunned and saddened on the weekend to hear Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins had died in his hotel room in Bogota, Colombia on Friday. Yesterday, authorities released a preliminary report on his death that said he had 10 psychoactive substances and medicines in his system, “including THC (marijuana), tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines and opioids”. The cause of death was not confirmed. Hawkins was widely credited with giving the Foo Fighters its sense of fun. The drummer with a big personality went from Alanis Morissette’s touring band to the band founded by Dave Grohl after Nirvana disbanded when its lead singer Kurt Cobain died in 1994. “Hawkins and Grohl had such an easy, natural camaraderie that they gave the impression that they were lifelong friends,” said one critic, but they only connected in the late 1990s. Hawkins was 50yo, and his bandmates said his “musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.”


Need something to distract you from Monday?

The countdown to one of the year’s best red carpets has commenced… Hosted by not one but 3 women – Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Skyes. And look out for musical performances from Beyoncé, Billie Eilish and Van Morrison. As for the awards (and you can see all the nominations here…), there are 10 nominations for Best Picture… Kiwi director Jane Campion’s Western film The Power of the Dog leads the field with 12 nominations. It’s up against coming-of-age comedy-drama Coda, which is also highly fancied. Jessica Chastain’s Best Actress nomination for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye sees her up against Kristen Stewart for her performance as Princess Diana in Spencer. And for the blokes, Will Smith is tipped to claim the golden statue for his performance as Serena and Venus Williams’ father in King Richard. Get your popcorn ready and watch it on Seven and 7Plus from 11am AEDT. To tide you over, here’s a look at the worst films and performances of the year…


Apropos of Nothing

You don’t make friends with salad, but you could get a dose of the human hormone that keeps bones strong if you’re a future Mars explorer. Scientists are genetically modifying lettuce in new efforts to keep long-distance space travellers fit and healthy.

Check your attitude, Wordle whiz. Being good at the game doesn’t mean you’re a smart cookie, some researchers say. (Although if you got epoxy, we reckon you’re a genius…)

Have you ever wondered what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would look like if he was the star of an action movie? Us neither… But here you go.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.00am (AEDT) – Oscars ceremony – Los Angeles

Birthdays for talk show host Michael Parkinson (1935), actors Vince Vaughn (1970) and Julia Stiles (1981) and singer/songwriter Lady Gaga (1986)

Anniversary of:
• the Lourve being opened to the public (1794)
• the end of the Spanish Civil War (1939)
• the death of Virginia Woolf (1941)
• the world’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Western Australia (2017)
• North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. It was Kim’s first trip outside of North Korea since coming to power in 2011 (2018)
• Cyclone Debbie making landfall in northeast Queensland (2017)

Squiz the Day

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