Squiz Today / 22 December 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 22 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“They said she wasn’t in Nashville… their best guess was she was in Saudi Arabia.”

Said Madison Miller after she informed British Airways that she’d been presented the wrong dog upon arrival in the US… No doubt 5yo Bluebell was as confused as her owners, but following a frantic global search, the pup embarked on another 3-day journey to finally make it to her new home. Talk about a ruff week…

Honouring the fallen

Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow – the Queensland Police officers who were killed in the Wieambilla siege last week – were remembered yesterday for being top coppers and great people at a state memorial service in Brisbane. It was a huge event – the venue’s 8,000-seat capacity was packed to the rafters with Matthew and Rachel’s colleagues, their families and friends, and dignitaries, including PM Anthony Albanese, Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk and Federal Coalition leader Peter Dutton. Commissioner Katarina Carroll posthumously awarded the pair with the Queensland Police Valour Medal – the highest bravery award on offer. And following the service, there was a guard of honour that stretched 1.5km as the coffins passed by – bagpipes played as police officers with their horses, dogs, cars, boats and motorbikes all came out in tribute to their fallen colleagues.

Rachel’s friend Senior Constable Melissa Gibson, told mourners she “was simply one of a kind” who could “literally light up any room on the darkest of days with her beautiful, infectious smile and those pearly white teeth. She was the kindest and most positive person I know. She had the purest of souls and the warmest of hearts.” And Matthew’s mate Senior Sargeant Laura Harriss, described him as “a hero” who found his calling as a police officer. “As a triplet, Matt was the older brother by just a few minutes. But this made him no less of a big brother to his siblings. He was always a protector, a leader, and a big brother to all those who knew him. He was a big man with an even bigger heart, so filled with love for everyone around him,” she said.

There’s one more funeral to come – Alan Dare, the neighbour who was also shot and killed last week, will be farewelled tomorrow. As for the investigation, it’s ongoing. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says investigators believe the alleged attackers – Gareth, Nathaniel and Stacey Train – planned the ambush. And there are questions about whether Gareth, who ran a now-deleted YouTube channel to share his extremist views, was on the radar of authorities. On Tuesday, Leavers said the union is in talks with the Queensland Government to buy the Wieambilla property to ensure it doesn’t fall into the hands of other “anti-vaxxer, pro-gun, conspiracy theorists”. And he says there’s a way to use the property to remember Matthew and Rachel. “It is a sacred site for police, and it’s a way we can ensure their memory also lives on forever,” he says.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Penny Wong breaks the ice in China

Foreign Minister Penny Wong says it’s “very good” to be in China during the first official trip by an Aussie minister in 3 years. Wong met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, during which she “advocated for a range of things”, including resolving “trade blockages”, which are currently impacting $20 billion worth of Aussie exports. Wong also raised human rights concerns for the Uyghur population, Tibet and Hong Kong, and “protested vigorously” about the ongoing detention of Aussie journalist Cheng Lei and writer Dr Yang Hengjun. While no concrete actions were determined, it shows a further easing of tensions with Beijing. In conjunction, PM Anthony Albanese tweeted a video yesterday marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the 2 nations saying, “Those links starting 50 years ago have delivered benefits to both our countries.”

And while we’re talking international relations… Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Washington DC today, where he’ll meet US President Joe Biden at the White House and address Congress. Zelensky’s first overseas trip since the Russian invasion began will also see Biden announce a new $3 billion arms package for Ukraine.


More doors close for women in Afghanistan

The Taliban has stripped more rights from the country’s girls and women, with higher education now closed off to them indefinitely. Most secondary schools shut to girls soon after the Taliban took control last year. At universities, classrooms were gender segregated, with female students taught by female professors or older men. Just three months ago, thousands of Afghan girls and women sat their university entrance exams despite restrictions on subjects like veterinary science, engineering, economics and agriculture. Footage shows women crying as they were led away from campuses by Taliban guards, and a protest was quickly shut down. In response, many aid agencies have withdrawn support, and Western nations have made women’s access to education a condition of formal recognition of the Taliban as the nation’s government. The United Nations is “deeply concerned”, with a spokesperson saying, “A door closed to women’s education is a door closed to the future of Afghanistan”. 

World News

An investigation into the Lehrmann trial

The ACT Government has set up an inquiry to look into complaints about the conduct of police and the territory’s top prosecutor during the trial of former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann. The charges against Lehrmann were dropped earlier this month after a retrial was abandoned over concerns for his accuser Brittany Higgins’ mental health. The territory’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, has claimed ACT Police pressured him to drop the case, and Lehrmann has also raised allegations of misconduct against Drumgold (paywall). An independent board of inquiry is the ACT’s version of a Royal Commission – it has specific powers, including holding public hearings, issuing search warrants, and compelling witnesses to give evidence. It will also consider how the territory handles juror misconduct in light of the original trial being scuttled in October. Who will lead the inquiry will be announced in January, and a report is due to be handed down by June.  

Australian News Crime

Elon Musk heeds Tweeters’ calls

He’s announced he will step down as Twitter CEO after 57.5% of poll respondents said ‘yes’ to his question of whether he should go. The tech billionaire says his official resignation will come when he finds someone “foolish enough” to replace him. But choosing a successor is proving difficult… Reports suggest various big names are in the mix, including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, former Facebook heavyweight Sheryl Sandberg, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law/former advisor Jared Kushner. It’s the latest in a series of radical changes at the company since his US$44 billion takeover in October, but it might not be the most challenging… After firing a whole bunch of workers, there have been mass resignations, 4 class actions, and dozens of other legal complaints by former staff. It follows claims that women, parents, and those with a disability were unfairly targeted by layoffs, and the company has tried to dodge making redundancy payments. Never a dull moment…

Business & Finance Technology

Messi beats the Insta egg

Back in 2019, a stock image of an egg was posted on Instagram in an attempt to dethrone Kylie Jenner’s baby announcement as the social media platform’s most-liked post of all time. It succeeded after gaining a whopping 35 million likes in just a day – but now the egg has been beaten… The egg currently has 55.7 million Instagram likes, but it’s been cracked with a series of victory shots posted by football GOAT Lionel Messi after Argentina’s World Cup Final win on Monday morning that gained 65 million likes. Turns out more Instagram users prefer football to eggs… It’s the latest of many records Messi claimed during his World Cup campaign, according to the Guinness World Records. Note: it’s also much more pleasant than some of the egg-related world records we’ve come across…

Sport Technology

Apropos of Nothing

It’s an Aussie classic, but Paul Kelly’s hit How To Make Gravy has been reimagined… First Nations prisoners in Western Oz’s Kalgoorlie prison have recorded a bilingual cover featuring the Pitjantjatjara language, and it’s getting some big compliments.

A real-life grinch has been charged after she was caught red-handed trying to steal presents from under Robert De Niro’s Christmas tree… She claims she didn’t know it was the Hollywood actor’s home, but she should have known that he always knows what’s going on

Speaking of Christmas trees, if you’re looking for a last-minute and fun alternative, why not decorate a giant cardboard cutout of Danny DeVito? Even he thinks it’s a swell idea – and given his enthusiasm for extreme Christmas decorating, we’re not surprised…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky due to visit Washington DC in his first overseas trip since Russia invaded Ukraine

Court hearing on FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s extradition to the US – Bahamas

Final report due for independent investigation into Hawks racism allegations

It’s the Summer Solstice aka the longest day of the year

Birthdays for actor Ralph Fiennes (1962) and model/property mogul Jennifer Hawkins (1983)

Anniversary of:
• Thomas Edison inventing the first string of Christmas tree lights (1882)
• the premiere of Doctor Zhivago (1965) and The Graduate (1967)
• the birthdays of the Bee Gees’ Maurice and Robin Gibb (1949)

And it’s 3 days until Christmas…

Squiz the Day

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