Squiz Today / 20 January 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 20 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

Get the news, get on with your day. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
20 / 25
MEL
15 / 30
BNE
22 / 28
ADL
21 / 35
PER
23 / 39
HBA
10 / 23
DRW
25 / 33
CBR
12 / 21

Squiz Sayings

Siuuu”

Is the latest crowd chant that’s confusing Aussie Open tennis players and viewers this week. It’s the ​​famous victory cry of football star Ronaldo, but to the uninitiated, it sounds an awful lot like booing…

Murder charges laid over missing 9yo girl

THE SQUIZ

Police have charged 31yo Justin Stein with murder after the body of Charlise Mutten was found in NSW’s Blue Mountains. The 9yo was found inside a barrel near the Colo River on Tuesday night, about an hour’s drive from where she was last seen at a celebrity wedding estate in Mount Wilson. Stein was arrested at a unit in Surry Hills in Sydney and later refused bail in court. Police said the cause of the girl’s death and the motive for her murder is yet to be determined. “The search will remain ongoing to look for any clues to help us identify the cause of death,” Acting NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said.

WHAT DO WE KNOW SO FAR?

Court documents reveal the girl was killed between 7pm on Tuesday, 11 January and 10am the next day, but police weren’t told that she’d disappeared until Friday morning last week. Inconsistencies in Stein’s version of events in 2 separate police interviews caused them to be suspicious. They then tracked his movements through GPS and CCTV from Bunnings to the bush location where the girl’s body was found. At the hardware store, they allege he had several conversations with Charlise’s mother Kallista over the phone about buying 100kg of sandbags, as well as diesel to fuel a boat. Investigators say he failed to launch the boat on Sydney Harbour and then drove to a remote site in the Blue Mountains. There, they say he tried to dump the barrel in the water, but the weight of her body, the sand and the barrel meant he left it in the bush instead. Stein’s lawyer told the court he was suffering longstanding mental health issues and asked for a full health assessment, which was granted. He will return to court in March.

HAVE WE HEARD FROM CHARLISE’S MOTHER?

Not yet… Police have said she suffered a medical episode after her daughter’s disappearance which she’s still receiving treatment for in hospital. They want to interview her when doctors allow it but say they’re working on the assumption that the accused man acted alone. “However, it’s still early days in the investigation,” Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said. The girl’s biological father took to Facebook to share his grief. “Goodbye you beautiful little girl. This doesn’t happen! Kids need to be safe. What is wrong with you people????” Charlise lived on the Gold Coast with her grandmother, where the local community has been left devastated by the news.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

A socially distanced relief operation

Australia and New Zealand have been loading naval ships and aircraft with aid for Tonga, which is reeling from a massive undersea explosion and tsunami last weekend. It’s a tricky operation, thanks to COVID… Tonga has a hard border and is one of the few countries that’s free from the virus after reporting just one case for the entirety of the pandemic. You read that right… They do not want an outbreak now, and New Zealand authorities say they’re exploring how to hand over the medical supplies and clean water via contactless delivery. Prior to the weekend, the United Nations had more than 20 people based there, and there’s also personnel from international NGOs on the ground who can help with relief efforts. Tonga has a 60% vaccination rate which is nothing to sneeze at. But it has been cautious about opening borders because of a history of diseases like measles and influenza wiping out communities in the Pacific. “We won’t be doing anything to threaten the safety of the population,” said UN coordinator Jonathan Veitch.

Australian News

COVID booster shots brought forward again

If you’ve been wondering when’s the right time to get your booster, you could be eligible now. New rules in NSW, South Oz and Victoria announced yesterday mean residents can get a 3rd jab after 3 months on from their second dose, rather than 4. As Omicron continues to infect more Aussies, the new timeline means millions more will be able to get another shot ASAP. According to data from the Federal Government more than 1.7 million people in NSW have had their booster, which is about half those eligible. In other COVID news, the Federal Government wants international students and backpackers to come back to Australia to plug critical worker shortages. It says as many as 56,000 students and 24,000 backpackers are expected to take advantage of a visa rebate scheme. PM Scott Morrison yesterday pitched the scheme as a “thank you” – which is a very different message than that of 2020 when they were shown the door unless they could financially support themselves… State and territory leaders will meet at National Cabinet today – let’s reconvene same time same place tomoz, shall we?

Health

Palmer eyes a return to politics

There’s nothing like an unsolicited text message or bright yellow United Australia Party campaign billboard to remind you that there’s a federal election around the corner. And yesterday, mining billionaire Clive Palmer confirmed he’s eyeing a return to federal politics. The one-time Queensland MP/vaccine mandate opponent says he’s inspired to run again – this time for the Senate – due to “the state of the nation” and concerns about national debt. The UAP enters the race with one seat in federal parliament – that of NSW MP Craig Kelly who was elected as a Liberal but defected to Palmer’s party last year. And although his party infamously failed to win a single seat after spending a record $83 million on the 2019 federal election, Palmer said the party is planning on spending even more dosh this election. “I don’t have a budget,” he said. Must be nice…

AusPol

Microsoft’s massive takeover

In the biggest deal ever made in game industry history, tech giant Microsoft revealed plans to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for a cool US$68.7 billion (A$95 billion). If approved by regulators, the acquisition will help bolster Microsoft’s video game ambitions – making it the 3rd largest gaming company by revenue after Tencent and Sony. And it would give it ownership of a range of popular games, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush. Microsoft boss Satya Nadella says the deal would also “play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms”. The news was generally well-received by gamers – they say the acquisition could be a lifeboat for the troubled Activision after years of technical issues, as well as recent allegations of widespread sexual harassment at the company. Microsoft indicated it plans on cleaning up shop, and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick would step down once the deal closes, reports say (paywall).

Technology

Melbourne limbers up for the 2026 Commonwealth Games

Put Matilda on the truck and send her south… The city has emerged as the frontrunner (read: only prospect…) to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, after the Victorian Government said it had been approached by a red-faced Commonwealth Games Federation to take on the gig. The CGF said not one city out of the 54 Commonwealth nations had put up its hand to host the Games, with the ongoing pandemic resulting in reservations about committing to a major event. Commonwealth Games Australia boss Craig Phillip said a “number of states” had been approached for hosting duties, but Perth, Adelaide and Sydney have said “yeah, nah”… And although Brisbane’s hosting of the 2032 Olympic Games could make it a prime candidate, Commonwealth officials reckon Melbourne’s top-notch sporting facilities – and Victoria’s sports-mad regional centres – make it the ideal host. The Victorian Government hasn’t said “yeah, yeah” yet, and is kicking the tyres via some feasibility studies.

Sport

Apropos of Nothing

An “extremely rare” black diamond has been put up for auction by Sotheby’s Dubai. Expected to fetch up to US$6.8 million, the ​​555.55-carat stunner is believed to have formed billions of years ago after a meteor or asteroid collided with Earth. 

A pair of Cape Barren geese were local celebrities in the western coastal town of Esperance – until one was tragically killed in a suspected road accident last month. They mate for life and every day since then, the remaining bird has returned to the scene of its partner’s death, with many fearing it will meet the same fate. What a goose… 

And speaking of local legends, a massive barge that was washed up on the shores of Vancouver during heavy storms last year has turned into a popular sightseeing spot and meme. We’re surprised it hasn’t been dubbed Ever Given 2.0…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.30am (AEDT) – Netball – Quad Series Final – Australia v England – London

From 11.00am (AEDT) – Tennis – Australian Open 2nd round – Melbourne – broadcast on Nine. Keep an eye out for Sam Stosur at 1.00pm, Alex de Minaur at 2.30pm and Nick Kyrgios at 7.00pm

12.00pm (AEDT) – National Cabinet meets

7.10pm (AEDT) – Cricket – Women’s 1st T20 Ashes – Australia v England – Adelaide

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, December 2021

Company Quarterly Reports – Santos, Woodside Petroleum

Penguin Awareness Day

A birthday for astronaut Buzz Aldrin (1930), director David Lynch (1946) and muso Kevin Parker (1986)

Anniversary of:
• China ceding Hong Kong to the British during the 1st Opium War (1841)
• the premiere of High School Musical (2006) and Breaking Bad (2008)
• the car attack in Melbourne’s CBD, which killed 6 people and injured 27 (2017)

Squiz the Day

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