Squiz Today / 06 March 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 6 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Gotta get up to get down. 

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“He’s a TimTam, he’s a shoey, he’s Vegemite … He’s Mr Daryl Braithwaite!”

Said popstar Harry Styles as he introduced the Aussie legend to the stage in Sydney on Saturday night for a Horses singalong. As we tipped last week, that’s the way it had to be, lil’ darlin’…

A pact to save our oceans

After more than 15 years of discussions, an international agreement has been struck between more than 100 United Nations member countries to protect the world’s oceans. The High Seas Treaty is designed to reverse marine biodiversity losses in international waters (those areas beyond the territorial sea boundaries of any country, making up about 60% of the world’s oceans) and ensure their sustainability into the future. Reports say it’s an essential step towards putting 30% of the world’s oceans under conservation protection by 2030 –  a goal agreed upon at the COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal last December. Greenpeace oceans campaigner Laura Meller described it as a “historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics”.

Along with establishing protected marine areas, signatories, including Australia, have agreed to commit more money for marine conservation efforts and tighter rules for commercial activities like deep-sea mining. That’s important because recent assessments of marine species place nearly 10% (particularly shark, whale, reef coral and abalone species) at risk of extinction because of overfishing and pollution. There were reservations about establishing the protected areas and sharing costs/benefits equitably, but the agreement was finally struck yesterday after a marathon session at the UN’s New York headquarters. Australia’s Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek spoke about the treaty in February, saying Oz had led the fight for the conservation and sustainable use of international waters.

It’s a major hurdle that’s been cleared, so officials will want to catch their breath… They can do that with the treaty requiring formal adoption at another UN session before participating countries formalise their part of the agreement and start work on implementing the marine sanctuaries. All that means that we’re likely to hear more about what it means for Australia soon – something Plibersek will need to fit in while traversing some tricky terrain with PM Anthony Albanese… An extract from her upcoming biography was published on the weekend – in it, she says she was “pretty confident” she would have been elected Labor leader had she run for it in 2019. For his part, Albanese says Plibersek is a “friend’, that he won the leadership unopposed, and also spearheaded Labor’s election win. Which is a way of saying “check the scoreboard”…

Environment & Science

Squiz the Rest

Growth and power on China’s plate

Delegates to China’s legislature and its top political advisory body are in Beijing for big annual meetings. And 2 issues are at the top of the agenda: the first will see President Xi Jinping’s control over business and society tighten, and the 2nd is reviving China’s struggling economy. So, just a couple of things… Yesterday, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang said the target for economic growth this year is 5%, up from 3% last year. China’s economy is struggling after delivering its second-weakest result since the 1970s, brought on by strict COVID restrictions, a wobbly property sector, a crackdown on the private sector, and weakening demand for Chinese exports. So, just a few things… During the next week and a bit, Xi’s choices to take up key government roles will be revealed after his epic power grab last year. One observer says he gets to pick the team he wants, but there’s “a danger of him being stuck in an echo chamber”. To be continued…

World News

Protests over schoolgirl poisonings

The protests in Iran have been ongoing since September last year, but this weekend, there was a new twist as parents took to the streets of Tehran and other cities over suspected poison attacks on schoolgirls. Reports say that more than 1,000 students in at least 10 of Iran’s 31 provinces have been affected since November suffering respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness and fatigue after smelling tangerine or rotten fish at their school before falling ill. And last week, there were reports of a suspected new wave of poisonings. There’s a lot of blame going around… Many Iranians suspect the government is trying to force girls’ schools to close and that the girls are being targeted as “payback” for their role in the mass protests that erupted last year. The government says it’s the work of its enemies. Other politicians say the girls could have been targeted by hardline Islamist groups opposed to girls’ education. The United Nations is calling for a transparent investigation.

World News

Ya busted…

Western Australian Police have strayed into humble-brag territory as they provided details of what’s thought to be Australia’s biggest-ever drug bust. The 2.4 tonnes of cocaine never reached Aussie shores – America’s Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted the shipment bound for Western Oz off the South American coast in November. Reports say the haul had a street value of around $1 billion, equivalent to about half of Australia’s estimated annual consumption. Authorities played it out by substituting the cargo with identically packed fake gear to flush out “the group of people that were capable of receiving it, landing it and then distributing it across Australia,” said Police Commissioner Col Blanch. Operation Beech has arrested 12 people from Western Oz, NSW, the Northern Territory and the US. “It’s a confidence booster,” said Deputy Commissioner Tony Longhorn in reference to the successful operation, not the drug… 

Australian News Crime

A bit of everything

If you’re in Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne or Canberra – basically anywhere south of Sydney in Australia’s east – you might want to consider layering your outfits this week because it’s predicted to get a bit chilly and possibly a bit windy, snowy and rainy… Everywhere else, the weather will make you sweat more than C+C Music Factory, with some sizzling conditions on the way. Our most populous city of Sydney is expected to reach its highest March maximum in a couple of years with temperatures in the mid-to-high 30Cs. Perth, which has had some relief after recent heatwave conditions, is set to see hot conditions return, particularly tomorrow. Meanwhile, raindrops keep falling on Northern Territorians’ heads, keeping flood risks high. Hundreds were evacuated from flood-hit remote communities last week, and locals are keeping a close eye on a tropical low expected to bring more rain this week. Adjust your plans accordingly…


Chris Rock hits back

Chris Rock, the superstar comedian who inked a deal with Netflix worth $40 million for 2 specials, has delivered the 2nd instalment in spectacular fashion, with the streamer broadcasting its first-ever live show yesterday. He’s the man 2022 Oscar-winner Will Smith belted on stage after delivering a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Since then, the comedian has kept his powder dry, telling his story to a global audience a week from the next Academy Awards. “I am not a victim. You will never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying,” he said. He added that Smith’s anger that night had nothing to do with him. “I didn’t have any ‘entanglements’… His wife was forking his son’s friend, OK? I normally would not talk about this stuff, but for some reason … [they] put that stuff on the internet,” he said. And, yes, we might have substituted a couple words there… So far, there’s been no response from the Pinkett Smiths.


Apropos of nothing

About 70 of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’ will be shipped to India and Mexico as local officials attempt to control their booming numbers. Escobar started with a male and 3 females in the 80s – these days, there are up to 160 of ’em spreading far beyond the family’s ranch.

Alice Springs’ sewage ponds have a special visitor – a lone bulky musk duck has been spotted, making it the first time the bird has been seen in Central Oz in more than 120 years. It’s probably lost, but local zoologist Mark Carter says it’s “like Beyonce and Prince and Elvis have all turned up at once.”

The Florida Keys has hosted its annual conch shell-blowing contest, with Canadian Carol Whiteley winning with the loudest blast. She says she plays the shell at her riverside home to celebrate sunsets, which must be a real treat for her neighbours…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Labour Day Public holiday (WA)

Independence Day – Ghana

Both Houses of Parliament sit – Canberra

The new Pfizer bivalent vaccine will be available from today

Future Women leadership summit – Sydney (until 7 March)

Day of the Dude

Birthdays for the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova (1937), Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour (1946) and rapper Tyler the Creator (1991)

Anniversary of:
• the first modern trampoline being patented (1945)
• the death of former First Lady Nancy Reagan (2016)

Squiz the Day

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