Squiz Today / 15 April 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 15 April


"The vessel is now officially impounded.”

Just in case you were wondering what became of the Ever Given super-mega cargo ship. The Suez Canal Authority wants it to pay for its inconvenient stay before it heads off - all $1.17 billion of it...


The former police officer who shot 20yo black man Duante Wright during a traffic stop in Minnesota’s Brooklyn Center on Sunday has been arrested and will be charged with second-degree manslaughter. Reports say if found guilty, Kim Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000. With the nearby city of Minneapolis on edge as the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin over last year’s killing of George Floyd heads into its final days, local mayor Mike Elliott said it “couldn’t have happened at a worse time. We are collectively devastated.”

A detailed account is here. But in short, former police chief Tim Gannon said officers pulled Wright over to check his expired registration tags. Officers then discovered there was a warrant for his arrest. His mother says she was on the phone with her son as he was pulled over, and he said he was stopped over an air freshener hanging from his mirror. Whatever it was, things went bad fast… Officers tried to detain Wright, but he got back into the car. Officer Kim Potter threatened to use a Taser before shooting him with her gun. Potter is then heard swearing, and said "I just shot him." Wright drove several blocks before crashing, and he died soon after. The police chief and Potter have both resigned.

Straight into more difficult days and nights, authorities fear… Protesters have now faced off with police for 3 nights running as larger peaceful demonstrations during the day turn into nasty confrontations with smaller crowds at night. Wright’s family gathered with George Floyd's family members to address the media yesterday, with notable civil right lawyer Ben Crump in tow (note: he now represents both families…) calling for answers and action. Reports say authorities hope that now charges will be laid against Potter, tensions will ease. But the city is braced for a difficult time with the Chauvin trial set to wrap up next week.



He stopped short of saying sorry, but PM Scott Morrison yesterday said he regretted “any distress” his “strong language” caused Australia Post’s former boss Christine Holgate. During a Senate inquiry earlier this week, Holgate accused Morrison of bullying her out of her job and said she was “suicidal” after he slammed her $20,000 purchase of Cartier watches for 4 senior employees as a reward in 2018. The PM also denied Holgate’s claim that her gender played a role in what went down. “This was about taxpayer organisations handing out Cartier watches to well-paid executives” - something he still thinks is wrong, he said. Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who also criticised Holgate at the time, said the government went about handling the matter all wrong.

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Sure, Australia’s vaccination program has got off to a bumpy start… But we could round off 2021 with a lightning round with PM Morrison flagging plans to set up mass vaccination sites across the country that could administer thousands of jabs a day. Sticking to his guns that a timetable can’t be nailed down due to ongoing supply issues, Morrison said the aim is to move as quickly as they can when supply improves - a job that has been significantly complicated by blood clotting concerns linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. How much all that could cost and who pays remains up in the air, but the PM and state/territory leaders will have many National Cabinet meetings to discuss the details...


The truck driver who killed 4 police officers on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway last year was sentenced to 22 years in jail yesterday by Victoria's Supreme Court. Mohinder Singh was sleep deprived and under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the crash and must serve 18.5 years before he is eligible for parole. On the deadliest day in Victoria Police’s history, officers Lynette Taylor, Kevin King, Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney were killed when the 48yo veered into an emergency lane and hit the officers and their vehicles. They were on the side of the freeway after pulling over mortgage broker Richard Pusey for speeding. While Pusey escaped unscathed, he’s awaiting sentencing for outraging public decency for filming the officers as they died. Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan said the “unnecessary loss” of the officers’ lives was “a matter of huge community sorrow and regret.”


Neighbours actor Sharon Johal yesterday became the 3rd former cast member to claim she had faced "direct, indirect and casual racism" during her time on the set of the long-long-running soap opera. Johal has Indian heritage and says her complaints were not addressed by the show's producers, Fremantle Media. Indigenous actors Shareena Clanton and Meyne Wyatt made similar allegations last week, and an "independent legal investigation" is underway, Fremantle said. Meanwhile, BBC diversity boss Miranda Wayland pointed to the crime drama Luther as a show that would depict minority groups in a more authentic way if made from scratch today. She said superstar Idris Elba's character "isn't black enough to be real" because "he doesn't have any black friends and doesn't eat any Caribbean food". The show's creator Neil Cross responded by saying Elba only took the role because race wasn't central to the character.


That tingling feeling in your toes isn’t a new fungal infection - it’s the Olympic spirit starting to take hold as yesterday marked 100 days until the start of the Tokyo Games. In keeping with the difficulties organisers have experienced in landing the sporting extravaganza, COVID chaos is still on their minds... It's feared that Tokyo is on the cusp of a spike in new infections. And Japan lags behind the other developed countries when it comes to its vaccine rollout. International spectators have already been banned from attending, and it's still unknown how many locals will be allowed in - if any. Meanwhile, the Aussie committee is gearing up - it announced viewing live sites in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth for fans to get amongst it when things kick off on 27 July.


If you’re in the market for a fixer-upper motel in an up-and-coming suburb of Melbourne, have we got a deal for you… At just $4.5 million, this ugly duckling with reviews like “Do not stay here. Ever” could be all yours.

Also looking to improve things are Scrabble's makers - they've removed 400 derogatory terms from the official list of playable words. “Woke” said one grandmaster for 11 points. But a Mattel spokesman said it was “long overdue.”

And big points should go to whoever’s doing PR for bats after all the bad press they received thanks to COVID. They’re the subject of the image that took out the Mammal Photographer of the Year award for Daniel Whitby. Well, their rehabilitation has got to start somewhere…


ABS Data Release - Labour Force, March

Start of World Creativity & Innovation Week (on until 21 April)

World Art Day

Birthdays for Jeffrey Archer (1940), Emma Thompson (1959), Seth Rogen (1982), Emma Watson (1990) and Maisie Williams (1997)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Leonardo da Vinci (1452), Henry James (1843) and North Korea founder Kim II-sung (1912)
• the deaths of Abraham Lincoln (1865)
• the sinking of the RMS Titanic (1912)
• Ray Kroc opening first McDonald's in Illinois (1955)
• Nicolás Maduro being elected President of Venezuela (2013)
• the Boston Marathon bombings (2013)
• the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, which destroyed its spire and roof (2019)

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