Squiz Today / 12 May 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 12 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

News that moves with you. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“The member of Parliament was literally using the washroom while participating in a sitting of the House of Commons, the cathedral of Canadian democracy.”

Said Canada’s House leader John Brassard of Shafqat Ali, an MP who video-conferenced into a parliamentary debate from the toilet. Ali apologised, but he might want to familiarise himself with the ‘camera off’ feature…

Bikie violence erupts in Western Sydney

An escalating gangland war in Western Sydney has prompted the NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb to declare that her “greatest fear” is that an innocent person will be killed in the crossfire. Tuesday night saw 39yo Omar Zahed killed and his 41yo brother Tarek left in a critical condition after being sprayed with a hail of bullets at a suburban gym. Tarek is a senior member of the Comancheros bikie gang and both men had been warned by authorities that their lives were in danger. “They decided not to avail themselves of the resources and recommendations of NSW Police and leave our state,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said yesterday.


Well, it seems to be all about Tarek Zahed… Police say it recently emerged that a multi-million-dollar bounty had been placed on his head by a mystery source. They are investigating whether it’s linked to a dispute within the Comancheros, which is Oz’s largest criminal network trading in drugs and weapons. Tarek is the national ‘sergeant-at-arms’ of the gang, referred to as the “Gucci gangster” for his flash clothes. In recent weeks, there’s been speculation he could take over as national president of the Comancheros after incumbent Mick Murray was arrested for murder – so there’s a target on Tarek’s back. It could also be linked to the assassination of underworld heavyweight Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad outside a Greenacre home a fortnight ago. “Obviously with all these shootings and people are being killed, there’s opportunity for people to try to take their place,” Superintendent Danny Doherty said.

WHAT COMES NEXT? Senior police are worried about a potential retaliation from the murder and the leadership gap at the top of the Comanchero gang – but Commissioner Webb says police haven’t lost control of the situation. “We are not targeting mum and dad, we are targeting criminals. They know who they are,” she said. She also committed an additional 35 officers to the special squad investigating organised crime in the state. Deputy Premier Paul Toole described the shooting as shocking and unacceptable. “If you are involved in the criminal world, then I say you better rethink your activities because we are going to come after you and lock you up,” he said. Police are waiting to interview Tarek Zahed from his hospital bed.

Australian News Crime

Squiz the Rest

Torrential rain in Queensland turns deadly

A 31yo woman has died in floodwaters as a severe weather system moves down the state’s coast. Police say the woman from Calen, north of Mackay, was driving when she was swept away by floodwaters. Two passengers escaped and called for help. The rain was worst around the tropical north coast yesterday morning, and the worst flooding occurred near Townsville after about 250mm of rain was in the last 36 hours. “It’s really becoming more of a sort of eastern and south-eastern focus for the next few days,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Harry Clark said, with 2-thirds of the state on flood watch. Brisbane will cop it, with up to 45mm expected today carrying through to the weekend and Gold Coast beaches have been closed. “Don’t travel unnecessarily on the roads during this weather” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said yesterday. Later today, the weather bureau will provide an update on the La Niña weather pattern that’s brought so much rain to the east coast this summer.

Australian News Weather

WHO chief criticises China’s zero-COVID approach

World Health Organization boss ​​Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been censored on China’s internet after he said the country’s ‘zero-COVID’ policy was “not sustainable”. Several Chinese cities including Shanghai and Beijing have been under some form of lockdown since the start of the year as Omicron cases spread. In a rare criticism of a government’s handling of the pandemic, Dr Tedros called for shift in China’s approach yesterday, citing Omicron’s increased transmissibility and the health/economic affects of China’s hard lockdowns. His comments come days after President Xi Jinping vowed to double down on the policy. New modelling by Chinese and American scientists found the country risks more than 1.5 million COVID deaths if it drops its current policy without any safeguards due to low vaccination rates among the elderly and Chinese vaccine Sinovac providing relatively lower protections against newer strains of the virus.

Health World News

Great Barrier Reef undergoes another mass bleaching

At least 91% of coral reefs aerially surveyed along the Great Barrier Reef were affected by bleaching last summer, a new report has found. It marks the UNESCO World Heritage site’s 6th mass bleaching event, and the 4th since 2016. It’s also the first to occur during a La Niña weather event. Coral cover across the reef had been improving last year, but the annual snapshot December-February by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority attributed the bleaching to a “marine heatwave” that lasted until March 2022. The report was released yesterday despite the independent government agency last week saying it was “not likely to go out now until after the election”. A spokesperson for Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the timing of the report’s release wasn’t something she was involved in. 

Environment & Science

The iPod is no more

The iPod – the device that revolutionised how millions of people listened to music – is being discontinued due to dropping sales, Apple confirmed yesterday. The first iPod went on sale 21 years ago when minds were blown at the prospect of putting 1,000 songs in your pocket, despite the chunky design. It exploded in popularity across the noughties with updates including the iPod touch, shuffle, mini and nano. Many would remember these iconic ads… Since the iPod’s release, tech research firm Loup Ventures estimates Apple has sold 450 million of them, but just 3 million were sold last year – a fraction of the estimated 250 million iPhones it sold during the same period. The tech giant said the portable music device has essentially been made redundant following the release of devices that can serve the same function, including phones and watches. Apple’s Greg Joswiak says more portable music also means “the spirit of iPod lives on”. 


Apropos of Nothing

Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has released its latest must-have item: a pair of “extra destroyed” sneakers. At US$1,850 a pop, those who have a dog with a predisposition for chewing on shoes will be very fashionable this season…

Hollywood star James Cromwell (think Babe and Succession) has superglued his hand to the counter of a Starbucks in Manhattan. He was protesting the “senseless upcharge” for non-dairy milk as a member of PETA, the animal rights group.

And Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra has sailed into Sunday’s Eurovision grand final after receiving a standing ovation for their performance of their song Stefania in yesterday’s semi-finals. The same can’t be said for Latvia’s NSFW healthy eating anthem

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Western Australia’s state Budget handed down

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, March; Building Approvals, March (additional information)

Company Results – Commonwealth Bank; Xero

Company AGM – Ampol

International Nurses Day

International Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological

Birthdays for actor Rami Malek (1981), former Labor leader Bill Shorten (1967), and Homer Simpson (1956)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Florence Nightingale (1820) (200th anniversary) and Katharine Hepburn (1907)
• the wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger (1971)
• Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction premiering at the Cannes Film Festival (1994)

5.00am (AEST) – Eurovision Song Contest – Semi-Finals 2nd Round – Turin, Italy – broadcast on SBS. This round features Aussie Sheldon Riley, and non-early birds can watch the primetime broadcast at 8.30pm on Saturday

Squiz the Day

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