Squiz Today / 12 October 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 12 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“She’s a gutsy bear and I think her story won out. And I think girl power won out.”

Said Fat Bear Week founder Mike Fitz of this year’s winner Grazer. The large and in charge mumma bear steamrolled her hunky competitor Chunk, receiving nearly double his votes despite being the smaller of the two. What a #girlboss…

A happy homecoming for an Aussie journalist

The Squiz

Cheng Lei is back on home soil in Melbourne after spending more than 3 years in a Chinese prison. PM Anthony Albanese made the surprise announcement at a press conference, saying the Chinese TV anchor had been met at the airport by Foreign Minister Penny Wong before being reunited with her partner Nick Coyle and 2 young children. In a Twitter post, Cheng thanked Aussies for their support and said “I can see the entirety of the sky now!”

Remind me about her…

Let’s start at the beginning… Cheng was working as a high-profile business news anchor for China’s state broadcaster CGTN when she was taken into custody in August 2020. After being kept in solitary confinement for months and refused access to a lawyer, Cheng was eventually charged with “illegally supplying state secrets overseas”. Last year, her trial went ahead – Australia’s Ambassador to China Graham Fletcher wasn’t allowed entry, the outcome was never made public, and Cheng was never sentenced. She always denied any wrongdoing, and in August this year, a ‘love letter’ she wrote to Aussies outlined how much she missed her family and shed some light on the tough conditions in prison. The Australian Government repeatedly asked Chinese officials to release her along the way.

It’s great she’s out – but why has she been released?

Albanese kept it brief – he says “her matter was concluded through the legal processes in China”. And while that doesn’t really clarify things, reports noted the government has been working to rebuild Australia’s fractured relationship with China. Wong’s also pushed for Cheng’s release with her Chinese counterpart, and Albanese’s raised it with President Xi Jinping – he’d hinted that some progress had been made behind the scenes. But Cheng’s not the only Aussie they were advocating for… Writer/democracy activist Yang Hengjun remains in China after he was detained in similar circumstances in 2019. Albanese says they continue to “advocate for Dr Yang’s interests, rights and wellbeing with Chinese authorities at all levels”.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Evacuating Aussies from Israel

Qantas will start evacuating Aussies stranded in Israel from tomorrow with 2 flights due to leave Tel Aviv for London. There are more than 10,000 Australian citizens and tourists in Israel, and those who want to leave the country have been advised to take commercial flights where possible. The problem is airlines are cancelling their scheduled flights, leaving many nations scrambling to get their citizens out. The Australian Government also confirmed Sydney-born grandmother Galit Carbone was killed by Hamas fighters on Saturday – reports say she was murdered in her home by Hamas terrorists. And as we start today, the only power station in Gaza has stopped working after running out of fuel – local authorities say the “catastrophic situation creates a humanitarian crisis for all residents”. The death toll has now climbed to 1,200 in Israel, and 1,100 have been killed in retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza.

Australian News World News

A new Voice

Indigenous leader Pat Dodson is back on the campaign trail for the ‘Yes’ vote after recovering from cancer treatment. Senator Dodson – also known as the “father of reconciliation” – gave a passionate speech to the National Press Club yesterday, telling voters that “‘No’ is not neutral. ‘No’ is a denial of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”. Those fronting the official ‘No’ case say if they prevail on Saturday, it won’t be a reason for celebrating. Jacinta Nampijinpa Price says she’ll feel “relief” when the referendum is over. PM Anthony Albanese says the campaign has been “an honour of my life” after greeting ultra-marathoner/former Liberal MP Pat Farmer on his 13,500km ‘Run for the Voice’ at Uluru. Only 2 more sleeps to go until voting day…

AusPol Australian News

Qantas chairman prepares to disembark

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder will make a slow exit from the airline’s board with a plan to depart in November next year. The announcement comes after an extremely turbulent few months, what with a High Court ruling that the airline illegally outsourced jobs, the competition watchdog claiming they’d sold tickets for cancelled flights, and a political stoush over market competition. Alan Joyce left the CEO role in September, and there were loud calls for Goyder to go too. Yesterday, Goyder said “mistakes were made” and that “accountability is required to restore trust”. Not happy about the timeline is the Transport Workers’ Union… Secretary Michael Kaine said it’s “an attempt to retire in dignity” and he should go ASAP.

Business & Finance

Vale Cal Wilson

That sound you could hear late yesterday morning were gasps of shock when the news broke that comedian and writer has died at 53yo after a short illness. The Kiwi-born star moved to Australia in 2003 and became a regular on shows like Rove Live, Spicks and Specks and Good News Week. Wilson alsoperformed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 14 times and was this year’s co-host of The Great Australian Bake Off. She became known for her elaborate headdresses, which she shared on social media during the pandemic and featured in a portrait that won the Packing Room Prize at this year’s Archibalds. Comedian Adam Hills led the tributes, saying Wilson “was one of life’s best people”.

Australian News Entertainment

Drinks, dinner, home by 7pm…

Early dinners are the best, so we’re surprised it’s taken the rest of the world so long to catch on… Data in the US has shown more Americans than ever are making 5pm dinner reservations – and those going for 8pm or 9pm slots are on the slide. Online booking system Resy shows the 5pm club now makes up 15% of all dinner bookings, more than the 8pm’ers (9%) but still tracking just under the most popular times of 6pm (19%) and 7pm (17%). Aussies are a world leader in this early dining trend – we tend to eat at home between 5-7pm, while the Brits do 6.30-8pm, Italians do 8-10pm, and Greeks do 10-11pm. The only country that tucks in earlier than us is Norway between 4-5pm – but they also get a light evening meal called ‘kveldsmat’ between 8-10pm. The more meals the merrier…


Apropos of nothing

Festivus has come early for Seinfeld fans after comedian Jerry Seinfeld hinted a possible reunion may be in the works 25 years after the hit sitcom’s divisive finale. As George would say, we’re speechless. We have no speech…

Dorothy Hoffner – the 104yo Chicago woman who recently went for a world record for the oldest person to skydive – has died. She’s set to receive a posthumous Guinness World Record once the paperwork is finalised.

And another adrenaline junkie Mike Heard has reclaimed the world record for the most bungee jumps in a single day after the Kiwi completed an incredible 941 jumps, overtaking the previous record of 765. He must have a stomach of steel…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.30am (AEDT) – Federal Minster for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt addresses the Rural Press Club – Melbourne

10.05pm (AEDT) – Women’s Cricket – Second ODI – Australia v West Indies – Melbourne

5.00pm (AEDT) – Final New Zealand Leaders Election Debate

7.30pm (AEDT) – Netball – Constellation Cup Game 1 – Australia v New Zealand – Melbourne

7.30pm (AEDT) – Cricket World Cup – Australia v South Africa – Lucknow, India

Spain’s National Day

Independence Day in Equatorial Guinea

World Arthritis Day

World Sight Day

Birthdays for Hugh Jackman (1968) and Josh Hutcherson (1992)

Anniversary of:
• the first Oktoberfest, when the Bavarian royalty invites the citizens of Munich to join the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1810)
• Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh begins selling raincoats (macs) after patenting them (1823)
• The Day of Six Billion: when the 6 billionth human in the world was born (1999)
• the Bali terrorist attacks that killed 202 people – including 88 Australians (2002)

Squiz the Day

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