Squiz Today / 09 October 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 9 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It’s anyone’s game.” 

Said Wallaby Angus Bell of the situation our national rugby team finds themselves in this morning. Fiji is playing Portugal, and if the Flying Fijians choke, we’ll progress to the quarterfinals. Not that we want to wish that on our Pacific family members…

An ‘unprecedented’ attack on Israel

The Squiz

Israel is at war after Palestinian militants launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning, firing thousands of rockets and entering Israel by land, sea and air. PM Benjamin Netanyahu has responded with airstrikes and called for a mass mobilisation of army reserves to “clear out” the Hamas gunmen and secure the “significant number” of Israeli hostages. Netanyahu also told Gazans to “leave now”, vowing to “take revenge for this black day”. Reports say at least 600 people have been killed in Israel, and deaths in Gaza stand at 413. Analysts say the attack – which came a day after the 50th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur War – is the most serious cross-border attack Israel has faced in more than a generation. 

Back it up a bit… 

There has been crisis after crisis over decades, but this year has been particularly difficult with escalating tensions and violence in the region. That includes an Israeli police raid on the holy Al-Aqsa mosque in April which kicked off a round of fighting, followed by skirmishes in May when a hunger-striking Palestinian died in prison. Then, in July, the Israeli army attacked the city of Jenin in the West Bank – an occupied Palestinian territory. As for why Hamas (which is the militant group that controls the densely populated coastal Palestinian-inhabited Gaza Strip) attacked Israel now – some reckon Hamas was trying to scupper a deal between the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia to normalise relations, which critics say doesn’t align with Palestinian interests. One thing is for sure – no one expected Hamas to execute the huge and complex attack, and Israeli officials are being asked why they didn’t see it coming

Where to from here?

Netanyahu says his country is “embarking on a long and difficult war” and they will “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.” Already, rockets have hit targets in Palestinian territory, with video showing an apartment block in Gaza City being demolished. There are also reports that Israel has fired back at Lebanon after Hezbollah – an Islamist militant group that controls southern Lebanon – targeted 3 Israeli military positions. So there’s a lot going on… Leaders from around the world have urged restraint, while the US – an ally of Israel – has pledged support. Yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese called the Hamas attack “abhorrent” and said, “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

World News

Squiz the Rest

A terrible toll in Afghan quakes

Western Afghanistan was rocked by 7 earthquakes measuring up to 6.3 magnitude late Saturday morning local time, and the United Nations says that more than 320 people are dead. Local Taliban officials say the death toll is far worse, and they will need help with the rescue and recovery operations. The disaster hit the province of Herat near the Iran border, and while getting verified information from the region is hard, reports say more than 10 villages have been flattened. One resident said, “I can tell you only 50 people are alive in the village of my relatives. More than 400 people were living there until this morning.” It’s been 15 months since Afghanistan’s deadliest earthquake in 2 decades struck eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 1,000 people. The troubled nation is prone to earthquakes because it’s located on top of several fault lines. 

World News

The Voice enters the final straight…

… and as we kick off the final week, an analysis of the polls shows next weekend’s referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution is set to deliver a ‘No’ result. Professor Simon Jackman from Sydney Uni has crunched the numbers and found that 41.2% of Aussies are set to vote ‘Yes – well below what’s required to deliver the double majority needed. PM Anthony Albanese yesterday said if that’s the case, that’s it for the Voice. “I don’t believe it would be appropriate to then go and say ‘oh well, you’ve had your say, but we’re going to legislate anyway’,” he said. Liberal deputy leader Sussan Ley yesterday confirmed the Coalition would hold a referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Aussies and pursue legislation on regional and local Voices. Strap yourself in… 

Australian News

Mobile phone bans

NSW public high school students are the latest to cop a ban on mobile phones at school, with the new rule coming into play today. Premier Chris Minns called the step “necessary” to address the risk of declining results and up social interaction in the playground. NSW isn’t the first to make the move – there is already a ban in Victoria, and South Oz will join in when term 4 kicks off next week. Western Oz and Tassie have ‘off and away all day’ policies, and Queensland says it’s looking into it. But the experts say there are few educational benefits from a ban. Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg disagrees, saying it’s more about anxious adults… “As far as the helicopter parents are concerned – they will have to learn how to call the school office, and their children will benefit from having some independence,” he said.

Australian News Technology

A win from prison…

Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize for her role in the fight for women’s rights. In total, Mohammadi has been sentenced to 31 years in prison for efforts. And last year, she told the BBC about the abuse female prisoners are subject to, particularly those who support democratic reforms. “We will not back down,” she wrote. The United Nations said the award highlighted “the courage and determination of the women of Iran and how they are an inspiration to the world”. And the Nobel organisation has urged Iran to release Mohammadi from jail so she could attend the prize ceremony in December, but that’s unlikely… Iran says her win aligns with “the interventionist and anti-Iran policies of some European countries”. 

World News

…and some sporting winners

We’ll start with an Aussie first to get your engine revving… Melbourne’s Oscar Piastri has become the first Formula 1 rookie in 15 years to win a race – he did that in the Sprint in Qatar ahead of this morning’s Grand Prix. The shorter/more intense race is worth valuable Championship points, and Piastri was happy to take them. “F1 race winner has a nice ring to it,” he posted to Insta. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the main Grand Prix early this morning, sealing the deal on his third consecutive world drivers’ championship. And American gymnast Simone Biles has won a record-extending sixth all-around title at the World Championships in Belgium after 2 years away from the sport. She now has 34 world and Olympic medals – more than any gymnast in the history of the sport. “The fight, everything that I’ve put in to get back to this place, feel comfortable and confident enough to compete. It was a lot,” she said. 


Apropos of nothing

After 128 years hanging out at a funeral home in Pennsylvania, ‘Stoneman Willie’ has been laid to rest… The man – recently confirmed to be a bloke named James Murphy – died in the late 1800s and was accidentally mummified, and his rock-hard skin led to the nickname… 

Musical phenomenon Hamilton will not be turned into amateur productions anytime soon, according to one local theatre wrangler. The rights aren’t available, and, like Rocky Horror Picture Show, that might remain the case for some time to come. Too bad that budding thespians won’t get their shot… 

NASA astronauts are set to be dressed by Prada on the first crewed mission to the moon since 1972. The fashion house has been commissioned to design spacesuits for the 2025 Artemis III mission. Gotta look nice for the special occasion…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Independence Day in Uganda

Term 4 begins for public schools in NSW, Western Oz, the ACT, and the NT

Start of the AFR Energy and Climate Summit – Sydney (until 10 October)

Start of Foot Health Week (until 15 October)

Columbus Day in the US, marking the anniversary of the explorers’ first arrival to the Americas in 1492

World Post Day

Anniversary of:
• the founding of Hobart (1804)
• the premiere Phantom of the Opera in London (1986)
• John Lennon’s birthday (1940)
• then-PM Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech (2012)
• activist Malala Yousafzai being shot by a Taliban gunman as she tried to board her school bus in Pakistan (2012)

Squiz the Day

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