Squiz Today / 02 February 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 2 February

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Today’s listen time: 9.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“The search crews have quite literally found the needle in the haystack.”

Said Western Oz’s Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson of the successful mission to find a small capsule of radioactive material that went missing a couple of weeks ago. The 1,400km search saga created global headlines, and social media got its glow on

Alice Springs report handed up

The NT’s Chief Minister Natasha Fyles will meet with PM Anthony Albanese in Canberra today to discuss the findings of a review into whether alcohol bans should be reinstated in remote communities following the sharp increase in crime in Alice Springs. The report was requested by Albanese during his visit to Central Oz last week, but there’s yet to be a word on when or if it will be made public. Regardless, Fyles says there won’t be any “knee-jerk” reactions to its findings but wants to “work through these issues and come up with long-term solutions”. Albanese says there won’t be any “easy, off-the-shelf solutions”, given the problems behind the rise in violence go beyond alcohol abuse, but he’s prepared to take immediate action on any recommendations in the report…

You might remember that last week, Albanese was pressured by the Coalition pressure to visit Alice Springs and speak with community leaders about the crime crisis. NT Police data shows increases in assaults (+43%), domestic violence (+53%), commercial break-ins (+55%) and property damage (+59%) in the year to November 2022. And yesterday, a report on emergency department presentations in Alice Springs showed a 50% increase in alcohol-related injuries since bans were lifted in many Aboriginal town camps last July. In response, a couple of decisions were made during Albanese’s visit, including 3 months of restrictions on alcohol sales and installing Indigenous woman/domestic violence prevention leader Dorrelle Anderson as the Central Australian Regional Controller. She is also the author of the report handed to Fyles and Albanese yesterday.

It’s very early days, but local police say yes, but the question of reinstating alcohol bans remains on the table. Some stakeholders want a firmer approach – sentiment was voiced at a heated ‘Save Alice Springs’ community meeting on Monday that also led to a call for $1.5 billion in compensation for authorities’ “negligence” in tackling crime. Others advocate for more investment in Indigenous economic development, youth services and preventative policing. As for what’s next, Albanese says once he and Fyles discuss Anderson’s report, he’ll take it to this week’s National Cabinet meeting for “constructive engagement”. Stand by…

Australian News Crime

Squiz the Rest

Compromise reached over Pell protest

The funeral for Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic, will take place in Sydney this morning at 11am – and at the same time, a protest against the Catholic Church’s handling of clerical child abuse will be held nearby. NSW Police agreed with protestors on an alternative route yesterday after initially making an urgent application to the NSW Supreme Court to block the demonstration. The protest march will now include walking up to, but not on, College Street in Sydney’s CBD, where the St Mary’s Cathedral is located. Police will still be on high alert as thousands of people are expected to attend the 81yo’s funeral or the rally. Reports say some high-profile former and current pollies will go to the service this morning, but not PM Anthony Albanese, Governor-General David Hurley or NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.

Australian News

Oz eases its Kiwi deportation policy

And we’re not talking about the delicious fruit… Kiwi PM Chris Hipkins welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to soften its stance on deporting New Zealanders on character grounds, saying it was a “first step” on the contentious matter. The decade-long policy has seen hundreds of Aussie visa-holding Kiwi citizens who had spent over a year in jail deported to New Zealand, most notably Shane Martin – the late father of AFL star Dustin Martin. And it’s been a big sticking point in our otherwise harmonious trans-Tasman relationship. Most of those deported were convicted of drug, child abuse and domestic violence offences, and some had spent most of their lives in Oz. Under the changes, how long a criminal has lived in Australia will become a key consideration for officials considering deportation, but those deemed a risk to the community will be sent over the ditch. Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has called on Team Albanese to clarify how it will work.

Australian News Crime

Baldwin charged over movie death

Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has been charged with involuntary manslaughter over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust. The 42yo died in October 2021 when Baldwin allegedly fired a prop gun – he says he didn’t know it was loaded. The film’s armourer (aka the person in charge of the guns and ammo) Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with the same offence. Prosecutors accuse Baldwin of “many instances of extremely reckless acts”, including being “distracted” while yapping on his phone during a weapons training session. Investigator Robert Shilling also says the 64yo ignored the “first rule of gun safety” to “never point a gun at someone you don’t intend on shooting”. The pair will fight the charges, but if found guilty by a jury, both face 18 months in jail and fines of $7,000. Baldwin has already filed a lawsuit against Gutierrez-Reed and others involved with the film over the tragedy.

Crime Entertainment

Women’s World Cup comes under a cloud

Ticket sales for the women’s soccer World Cup to be held in Oz and New Zealand later this year are through the roof, but controversy has emerged over one of the major sponsors. The host nations have written to soccer’s world governing body FIFA, demanding an urgent explanation on why Visit Saudi – a tourist organisation for Saudi Arabia – was accepted as a sponsor. Football Australia issued a statement saying it’s “very disappointed” the decision was made without their consultation. Former Socceroo and human rights activist Craig Foster labelled it “disgraceful in the extreme” due to the nation’s oppressive treatment of women and other human rights abuses. If World Cup organisers are looking for a new sponsor, maybe they can knock on the door of a newly cashed-up Socceroo Harry Souttar?


Undeading the dodo

Colossal Biosciences – the US-based company that has generated headlines with its plans to bring the likes of the woolly mammoth and the Tassie tiger back to life – has set its sights on resurrecting another extinct creature: the dodo. Colossal boss Ben Lamm said the flightless bird was a “symbol of man-made extinction”, with the last specimen killed in 1681 on the island of Mauritius. The dodo’s closest living relative is the Nicobar pigeon, and the company will study the genetic differences between the 2 birds before attempting to edit the pigeon cells to create dodo cells. From there, the tweaked cells could be placed into the developing egg of another bird – but the technology is still in the early stages. Not everyone’s on board with the idea of resurrecting extinct species – many believe the focus should be on preserving what we have. And some would say the world already has enough stupid birds…

Environment & Science Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

For millennia, humans have been looking up at the night sky, trying to make out images or patterns, but a new debate has gripped would-be astronomers over a photo of the Moon’s surface captured by NASA. The question: is it a bear or a bird? You decide…

Another nocturnal apparition up for debate is what looks like a whirlpool that has appeared amongst the stars over Hawaii. Researchers think it could be linked to a military GPS satellite, but it’s likely to remain a mystery…

One atmospheric oddity not in question is the rare “mother of pearl clouds” that appeared over the Scottish Highlands, with the beautiful pinkish-iridescent clouds forming from ice crystals in freezing air. It’s a sight not to be mist…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.00am (AEDT) – Requiem mass and private burial service held for the late Cardinal George Pell at St Mary’s Cathedral – Sydney

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, December

The Green Comet passes closest to Earth when it will be about 43 million km away – but the experts say the best night for Aussies to look for it will be on Saturday 11 February

World Read Aloud Day

World Wetlands Day

Crêpe Day

Groundhog Day in the US and Canada

The Whale premieres in Aussie cinemas

Anniversary of:
• New Amsterdam (later known as New York) becoming incorporated as a city (1653)
• the Australian Premiers’ Conference deciding to locate Australia’s capital (Canberra) to the coldest place they could find between Sydney and Melbourne (1899). Ok, we might have added the ‘cold’ bit…

Squiz the Day

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