Squiz Today / 14 April 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 14 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Easing you into an extra-long weekend.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
16 / 23
MEL
11 / 25
BNE
17 / 26
ADL
17 / 28
PER
14 / 26
HBA
9 / 20
DRW
25 / 34
CBR
7 / 21

Squiz Sayings

“2022 is shaping up to be a banner year for Elvis.” 

Said Marc Rosen from Authentic Brands Group, which represents Elvis Presley’s catalogue of hits. With Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis coming out in June, they can’t help falling in love with the idea The King is going to be huge again, despite being dead for 45 years…

Probing chemical weapons attacks in Ukraine

THE SQUIZ

The global chemical weapons watchdog is investigating whether Russia deployed chemical weapons in a recent attack in Ukraine’s southern port city of Mariupol in what would amount to a major escalation in war. They’re the bombs/devices that weaponise toxic chemicals to deliberately harm or kill people and they are banned from use by United Nations conventions. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it’s concerned about the reports out of Ukraine, and our Foreign Minister Marise Payne says if confirmed, it would be “a further wholesale breach of international law.”

IS IT HAPPENING IN UKRAINE?

Ukraine fighters say Russian forces had dropped a “poisonous substance” during a drone attack on Mariupol on Monday. Some suffered from shortness of breath, and others described a “sweet-tasting” white smoke that followed an explosion. Another said he collapsed with “cotton legs”. Ukrainian officials are investigating if phosphorus ammunition was been used. Phosphorus can be used as a component in relatively harmless things like flares or matches, and it can be packaged up with other chemicals as a weapon to penetrate the body and burn. The incident came hours after spokesman Eduard Basurin from the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic urged Moscow to bring in “chemical forces” to the city to “smoke out the moles”. The Russian assault on Mariupol continues and it’s thought that 21,000 civilians have been killed.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS AREN’T USED OFTEN, RIGHT?

Actually, it only happened a few years ago in Syria. In 2013, the US said it had “high confidence” that Syria’s government led by Bashar al-Assad allowed its troops to attack opposition forces with these banned weapons. One of the worst attacks in the opposition-controlled Damascus suburb of Ghouta resulted in scores of dead and gruesome injuries. Despite then-President Barack Obama declaring that the use of chemical weapons would breach his “red line” and result in a counterattack by America, the war-weary administration never followed through. But the Russians got involved in 2015 in support of Assad. This time around, Western nations have pledged to take firm action against Russia if chemical weapons are used, but none have outlined what that would look like. Cue plenty of concern, particularly as Russia regroups for a big new offensive in the country’s east.

World News

Squiz the Rest

NYC subway shooter arrested

New York City police have captured the gunman they believe set off smoke bombs before opening fire on a crowded subway train in Brooklyn yesterday morning, leaving at least 23 people injured. Police arrested 62yo Frank James this morning after a tipoff from the public. “My fellow New Yorkers: We got him,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a media conference. James had previously posted videos online sharing his bigoted views and criticising the mayor. It’s alleged James rented a van in Philadelphia before abandoning it near a subway station in Brooklyn. A key to the vehicle was found on the train, along with a handgun, ammunition, a hatchet, fireworks and fuel. James’ sister Catherine Robinson said he’d “been on his own his whole life” and the pair weren’t in regular contact, but she was surprised to see him named in connection with the subway attack. He will appear in court in Brooklyn on a terrorism-related charge with a maximum sentence of life in prison. It is the worst shooting incident in the history of the city’s subway.

Australian News World News

The nation goes for COVID-normal

But keep your mask on if you’re in Western Oz… But the state has relaxed several COVID restrictions overnight, and adopted the national definition for close contacts, which means only household/intimate contacts of a positive case need to isolate. Put down your smartphone when you’re out and about – QR check-ins have been ditched statewide, except at hospitals. Also changing today: the 500-person cap for hospitality venues, nightclubs, and conference centres will be lifted in time for the Easter long weekend. Masks stay on for now, and it remains under review. “But that will require the vaccination rate to continue to go up, our hospitalisations to remain stable or decline, and our case numbers to continue to go down.” South Oz will go pretty much mask-free tomorrow. And vaxxed Aussies can now go to Kiwiland quarantine-free. We’re getting there…

Health

Don’t sign on the line

That’s the request Australia’s Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja made of Solomons PM Manasseh Sogavare yesterday on his emergency dash to talk about the pending security deal with China. “We have asked Solomon Islands, respectfully, to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks,” Seselja said. And he channelled NSYNC in his pitch for a second chance, telling Sogavare that if he has security needs, our hand is up. Australia is currently playing host to Commandant of the US Marine Corp David Berger – yesterday he said the Solomons matter, but we (aka Australia, New Zealand, the US) haven’t figured out a way to stop China’s charm offensive in the Pacific.

World News

Saving koalas from extinction

Land clearing and catastrophic bushfires have shrunk koala populations, and experts say the endangered species could be extinct by 2050 unless urgent action is taken. Yikes… But there is hope with new research from Newcastle Uni finding that freezing koala sperm could help save the species from disappearing. The study published in the Animals journal found koala “biobanking” could be harnessed with IVF technology to impregnate female koalas in breed-for-release programs. Fresh and chilled sperm is already used in koala breeding programs, but until now there have been questions about using frozen sperm to boost species numbers. Researchers say such a strategy would be 5-12 times cheaper than current captive koala breeding methods. It comes as the NSW Government announced new funding for koala conservation efforts this week to back its commitment to double their numbers in the state by 2050.

Environment & Science

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Easter…

Once upon a time the only things you could buy for Easter were chocolate eggs and hot cross buns – and in the weeks before the day the Easter Bunny showed up, not from Boxing Day. Today, there’s a world of Easter-themed decorations, clothes and plush toys on the market – so much so that retail analyst Trent Rigby says its transformed into a commercialised “second Christmas”. According to Woolworths, demand for such items is on the rise – something Rigby partly attributes to consumers looking for sugar-free gift alternatives. But others say social media has driven the change as users look to curate the perfect Easter happy snap. However you’re marking the long weekend (hurrah…), the weather bureau says a cold front will sweep though most of the country, starting in Western Oz. Time to snuggle up…

Business & Finance

Thursday Lites – Three things we liked this week

This long read from Vanity Fair about Princess Diana, her complicated relationship with the media, and how it affects William and Harry to this day is a good one. There’s some eye-opening stuff about her bringing William to lunches with editors where she talked about intimate details.

As far as fashion controversies go, the ‘leggings aren’t pants’ debate is as divisive as they come. This article sets some rules – but, you know, no one’s the boss of you…

We can’t believe we haven’t told you about this recipe before… This fish pie rocks. Whether you’re into fish for Good Friday or not, it’s a good one to try over the coming days. We make it true to the recipe, but you can mix up the seafood – just go for 600-700 grams. Just don’t mess with the kipfler spuds.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, March

Birthdays for actor Julie Christie (1941), TV presenter Julia Zemiro (1967), and actors Adrien Brody (1973) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977)

Anniversary of:
• US President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth (1865)
• Dr Harry Plotz discovering the typhoid vaccine (1903)
• the RMS Titanic hitting an iceberg (1912)
• Justin Trudeau being elected leader of Canada’s Liberal Party (2013)

Squiz the Day

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