Squiz Today / 02 December 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 2 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Good prep for some 5-star news chat. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“There’s not much doubt it could have got its talons into your brain.”

Said zoologist Steve Wroe of the University of New England of the giant Kiwi eagle that died out 500 years ago. Let’s just say it was a bit edgier than Kiwiland’s current troupe of weird, flightless birds

Author apologises for a devastating case of mistaken identity

Alice Sebold, one of the best-selling authors of the early 2000s, has apologised to a man who was jailed after she identified him as her rapist. The sexual assault and ensuing trial was the basis of her blockbuster memoir Lucky. Anthony Broadwater was convicted and served 16 years in prison despite his repeated denials and appeals – and a fortnight ago, his conviction was overturned. Yesterday, Sebold apologised for “unwittingly” playing a part in a system that sent an innocent man to jail.

Sebold was a student at Syracuse University in New York in 1981 when she was raped and beaten inside a tunnel near the campus. Months later, she spotted the man in the street who she believed was her attacker. It was Broadwater, and he was later convicted. Lucky kickstarted Sebold’s literary career, which paved the way for her novel The Lovely Bones, which sold millions of copies and was made into a Peter Jackson-directed/Oscar-nominated feature film. Fast forward to this year, and a planned Netflix adaptation of Lucky (which has now been ditched) prompted the film’s executive producer Timothy Mucciante to dig into the case. He hired a private investigator who became convinced that Broadwater’s conviction was wrong. Legal wheels turned, and Broadwater’s conviction was overturned on 22 November. He’s now 61yo, and he said he sobbed with tears of “joy and relief”.

The author issued a statement yesterday saying she was “deeply sorry”, and as a traumatised teenager, she put her faith in the authorities. Now, she says she’s sorry that he became “another young Black man brutalised by our flawed legal system.” Broadwater responded that Sebold’s apology “took courage” and that he understood that she was a victim, just like him. Sebold’s publisher Scribner will suspend sales of Lucky while she considers how it might be revised. As for Mucciante, he is now working on a documentary about the wrongful conviction. The title is Unlucky.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Blowing off the economic cobwebs

If you need reminding, Greater Sydney and Melbourne (with guest star appearances from other cities/regions) were in lockdown for all/a good part of July-September. What’s the damage? Our gross domestic product (aka all activity across the economy) fell 1.9% in the quarter – the 3rd biggest fall on record. Economists expected a 2.7% dip, so that’s something… Staying with the glass-half-full theme, the economy is forecast to recover the lost ground between October and December. And while we’re talking economic indicators, a new month brings new data on housing prices, and November saw a rise for the 14th-straight month. One change: the pace of growth was the slowest since January, leading analysts to think that the latest boom may be nearing a peak. Sea/treechangers continue to bump up regional home prices – they were up 2.2% compared to the capital cities’ 1.1% rise in November.

Business & Finance

Hunt and Porter on the way out

Today is the last day the Federal Parliament will sit in 2021, and 2 of the most high profile ministers in the Morrison Government – Health Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Christian Porter – are outlining plans to federal politics behind. Porter yesterday confirmed that he will not contest the next election in his Western Australian seat of Pearce. After a stint in state politics, he shifted to federal politics in 2013, where he served as the country’s chief law officer. And Porter was in the news a lot this year over historical rape accusations, which he strongly denies. “But even though I have experienced perhaps more of the harshness of modern politics than most, there are no regrets,” he said. As for Hunt, an announcement is expected today. As Federal Health Minister, he’s been a constant figure throughout the pandemic. The federal election is due to be held by 21 May next year.


The soggiest November on record

It may not surprise many rain-weary Aussies, but the weather bureau yesterday confirmed that last month was Australia’s wettest November since records began in 1900 – and its coldest since 1999. NSW received almost 3 times more rain than average, with some regions from Bathurst to Forbes beating previous rainfall records by 20%. Queensland, Victoria and Western Oz also recorded one of their soggiest Novembers on record. It’s all thanks to back-to-back visits from La Niña. Bearing the brunt at the moment is southeast Queensland. Hundreds of people were evacuated from Inglewood (which is flooded  and towns downstream, and a 73yo man died when his ute was swept into a flooded creek near Emerald​​. And if rain and floods weren’t enough for Christmas, farmers say the price of cherries is set to go up after the rain ruined precious cropsdammit…


Digital art a power player

‘Tis the season for reviews of the year – and so it is for the art world with influential industry publication ArtReview stumping up its annual Power 100 list. Compiled by an anonymous international committee of art world professionals – it’s a highly anticipated take on the movers and shakers in the contemporary art scene. And in the top spot for 2021, it’s NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – the first non-human entity to lead the scoreboard. NFTs have disrupted the art market significantly in recent times. For example, digital artist Beeple sold a digital collage for more than $90 million this year. And at the other end of the spectrum, the original digital photo behind the 2005 Disaster Girl meme sold for more than $650,000. Collins Dictionary even made NFT its word of the year… The future, eh?


Apropos of Nothing

It’s only been out for 2 weeks, but the new Dwayne Johnson/Ryan Reynolds/Gal Gadot action flick Red Notice is the most-watched movie in Netflix history. It may have been panned by critics, but not so the audience…

A copy of New Chronicles of Rebecca by Kate Douglas Wiggin has been returned to Boise Public Library in Idaho – 110 years after it was taken out in 1911. Luckily for the individual/their descendants, the library doesn’t charge late fees.

It wasn’t too long ago that wine glasses the size of your head were all the rage. But now, as we emerge from lockdowns (and maybe a few boozy nights in…) British researchers say the demand for smaller glasses is growing. That’s so you get to exercise with more trips to the fridge, right?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.30pm (AEDT) – Sport Australia Hall of Fame Awards – broadcast on Seven

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, October; Lending Indicators, October; Retail Trade, October (Additional Information)

National days for the United Arab Emirates and Lao People’s Democratic Republic

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

World Computer Literacy Day

Birthdays for author Ann Patchett (1963), actor Lucy Liu (1968), and pop star Britney Spears turns 40 (1981)

Anniversary of:
• Napoleon Bonaparte being crowned Emperor of France (1804)
• the Smith Family charity celebrates its centenary (1921)
• the release of Fred Astaire’s first film, Dancing Lady (1933)
• Fidel Castro becoming President of Cuba (1976)
• the death of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (1993)

Squiz the Day

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