Squiz Today / 17 March 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 17 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

It’s your morning news pep talk. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We need some potential assurances that they’re not fans of Putin.”

Said UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston about what Russian and Belarusian tennis players might need to do in order to play at Wimbledon this year. That would include men’s champ Daniil Medvedev, who is already competing under a neutral flag. Tennis administrators are certainly earning their money this year…

Zelensky addresses US Congress


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has summoned the memories of Pearl Harbour and the 9/11 terror attacks to plead with American lawmakers for help in the war against Russia in an historic address to US Congress. Appearing in his trademark army green t-shirt, Zelensky sought military aid for the war which has killed thousands of Ukranians, inflicted damage on their cities and key infrastructure, and forced more than 2.5 million people to flee over the border. In his speech, Zelensky addressed Biden directly, saying “I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace.”


Biden told the media that he was very moved by Zelensky’s speech and announced a further US$800 million for more anti-aircraft weapons and drones, bringing the total amount of funding to US$1 billion in the last week alone. “We’re going to give Ukraine the arms to fight and defend themselves through the difficult days ahead,” he said. And next week, Biden will travel to NATO HQ in Brussels for talks. French President Emmanuel Macron is working the phones (and a Zelensky-inspired crisis wardrobe…), but has admitted the 12-plus calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past month haven’t made a pouce of difference. And in a remarkable show of solidarity, the leaders of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic travelled by train from Warsaw to Kyiv yesterday as the city came under further Russian attack. Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki said if Europe lost Ukraine, it would be a “defeated, humiliated and pathetic version of its former self.”


It’s standing right alongside its Western allies. Yesterday, Defence Minister Peter Dutton took things up a notch by labelling Putin a “paranoid and utterly ruthless” dictator who may be “destroyed” by the war. And PM Scott Morrison has had another kick against Russia’s ally, China. “China actually relieved trade measures on Russia on wheat, for example,” he said, adding “that sends a terrible message.” China’s Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian is doing the rounds. After meeting with Foreign Minister Marise Payne last week, he saw Labor’s Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong yesterday. She “urged China to support the people of Ukraine and its sovereignty, and not provide weapons to Russia,” her spokesperson said.

Want to know more about the leader of Ukraine? Today’s new Squiz Shortcut is for you – it’s all about Zelensky, his unlikely rise to power, and his unflinching stand against Russia.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Japan hit by powerful earthquake

The magnitude 7.3 quake struck the country’s northeast, the same region that was hit 11 years ago triggering the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It happened about 11.30pm local time, shaking buildings nearby and as far south as Tokyo. An advisory for tsunami waves of one metre has been issued for the northeast coast. There have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but local electricity providers said about 700,000 homes in Tokyo and 156,000 in the northeast had been left without power. Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida says the government is still trying to assess the extent of any damage. The quake was recorded 57km off the coast at Fukushima at a depth of 60km, not far from what went down in 2011, which was the most powerful in the country’s history and killed 18,000 people. Authorities are now bracing for aftershocks in Fukushima, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures.

World News

British aid worker freed from Iran jail

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been freed from jail in Iran after 6 years behind bars on spying charges. She has consistently denied the accusations against her. Another dual national, 68yo former engineer Elika Ashoori, was also freed and the pair are set to be brought home to England today. The UK Government has also settled its debt from a failed arms deal of almost £400 million owed to Iran from the 1970s, with the money ring-fenced for humanitarian purposes. It’s been a long 6 years for Nazanin-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in 2016 and accused of plotting to overthrow Iran’s Government. Foreign affairs types say she was used as a political pawn amidst the wrangling between the UK and Iran over its nuclear capabilities. Her husband Richard said “It’s going to be the beginning of a new, normal life,” and that their 7yo daughter Gabriella plans to show her mother her new toys when she arrives home. British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert was released in November 2020 after 2 years in detention in Iran over accusations of spying.

World News

Interest rates on the up in the US

The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by a quarter of one per cent overnight. That’s not a shock… Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell had all but promised the hike. The rate rise has one thing in mind: curbing inflation. We’re talking a lot about the increasing cost of living here in Oz, and our inflation rate is 3.5%. In America, it’s running at a 40-year high of 7.9%… So the Fed (which is what the cool kids call it…) has a serious juggling act on its hands – to apply the economic breaks a bit (which will reduce inflation) while not strangling the nation’s economic recovery post COVID (which would happen if interest rates are too high because people won’t borrow and spend/invest). It’s a challenge for central bankers across the world – including here in Oz. It’s just that when you’re at the centre of the biggest economy in the world and your actions have global implications, you want to get it right. No pressure, Jay…

World News

A dangerous duo

A “double whammy” of foxes and feral cats are proving fatal to Australia’s native wildlife, new research has found. According to the findings, the bad news Carnivora are responsible for killing more than 2.6 billion mammals, birds, and reptiles in Oz every year, putting some species at risk of extinction. After mapping it out, researchers found there are about 1.7 million foxes across 80% of the country, with a concentration of ‘em in southern Oz. And there are 2.8 million feral cats covering 99.9% of Australia – and they thrive in the desert as they require less water and can survive on the blood of their prey. Yikes… So it’s no giant leap to see why researchers are calling for stronger measures to reduce their numbers. Adelaide University ecologist John Read says there is no “silver bullet”, but baiting, better management of domestic cats, and managing the introduced species they like to eat (sorry, Bugs…) are important.

Australian News

Tesla chair adds basketball boss to the CV

Aussie businesswoman Robyn Denholm has one of the biggest jobs in the corporate world as chair of electric vehicle and clean energy company, Tesla. It’s only the 6th most valuable company in the world… Now, there’s an addition to her impressive bio after buying 30% of the Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames basketball teams, making her one of the first female owners of an Aussie sporting club. The idea came from her basketball-mad kids, who are Kings fans. When the family decided to push ahead with the investment, Denholm reached out to Paul Smith, a sports entrepreneur who’s well known for running commentary through his social media accounts, and the deal began to become a reality. Asked about Smith’s colourful tweets, Denholm said, “my view is you can’t have somebody with a bold vision and a contrarian nature and then ask them to turn it off at times.” Ahem, Elon Musk… Aussie basketball star Andrew Bogut is also a co-owner in a deal that values the club at $35 million. That’s nothing to dribble at…

Business & Finance Sport

Apropos of Nothing

The Eiffel Tower has grown another 6 metres after Parisian authorities installed a new digital radio antenna aimed at improving coverage in the city. Now standing at 330 metres tall, the iconic landmark used to be the tallest man-made structure in the world. These days, it hasn’t got a chance against Dubai’s 828-metre Burj Khalifa building

Labradors may still be America’s favourite dog breed, but for the first time since 1997, poodles have made it back onto the American Kennel Club’s top 5 list. And not to be smug about it, but French bulldogs took out the #2 spot… 

+-=÷ is not a typo… It’s the title of pop megastar Ed Sheeran’s latest international tour – and he’s officially bringing it to Oz in February next year. If that seems like too much of a mouthful, it’s actually pronounced ‘The Mathematics Tour’. As long as there’s no test at the end, we’re in. 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEDT) – A state funeral for cricket legend Rod Marsh is held at Adelaide Oval – Adelaide #SquizShortcuts

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, February

AIHW Release – Oral and dental health in Australia

National Close The Gap Day

To be sure, to be sure, it’s St Patrick’s Day

Birthdays for actor Kurt Russell (1951), and musicians Billy Corgan (1967) and Grimes (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (180) and Saint Patrick (461)
• Edward the Black Prince being made Duke of Cornwall, the first Duchy made in England (1337)
• the patenting of the rubber band and self-raising flour (1845)
• Albert Einstein finishing his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics (1905)
• the birthdays of motorcycle inventor Gottlieb Daimler (1834), musician/actor Nat King Cole (1919), and fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969)

Squiz the Day

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