Squiz Today / 24 August 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 24 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

A news update that fits in with you.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Today is a special day. And I’m going to mark it by having a pizza – because I can! I can’t wait to see what might be next on the menu.” 

Said John Farnham in his first public statement since undergoing surgery for mouth cancer exactly a year ago yesterday. After being declared cancer-free last month, Jack is back. You can’t silence the man nicknamed ‘The Voice’…

Bracing for bushfires


Large parts of the country are in for higher-than-average bushfire risk when spring and summer hit this year. The Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) delivered its seasonal forecasts yesterday alongside the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The big concern is that much of Oz has had several years of above-average rainfall thanks to the La Niña that has resulted in excess vegetation (aka grass), and we’re set for the first dry spring/summer we’ve had since the 2019/20 Black Summer. We probably don’t have to tell you this, but lots of dry vegetation plus the forecast higher-than-average maximum temps equal some dicey conditions…


The key thing to know is where the areas considered most at-risk are. Big parts of Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory have been highlighted on authorities’ bushfire risk maps, while parts of South Oz and Victoria are on alert. But even if your area isn’t noted, most of the country is in for a dry spring, so AFAC boss Rob Webb says “wherever you live, work or travel, now is the time to plan and prepare” (and here’s a good explainer of how you can do that). As for the forecast, the BOM hasn’t officially declared an El Niño weather event, but an update’s due next Tuesday, along with the spring outlook. Yep, if you can believe it, it’s spring next week… Spoiler alert: the long-range outlook for September-November = warm/dry for most of the country.


We’ve talked before about the terrible summer for fires in the Northern Hemisphere, and in many places, it’s still a problem. In Greece, fires continue to burn with high winds and temperatures above 40C, making conditions difficult. Near its border with Turkey, 18 bodies were found yesterday after a fire ripped through the village of Avantas. In Hawaii, authorities are still trying to figure out how many people are missing following its deadly wildfires, and 115 deaths have been confirmed so far. And in Canada, new research points to the country’s record-breaking fire season being made worse by climate change. Melbourne Uni’s Dr Andrew King says the findings are consistent with scientists’ long-held expectations “that climate change will see worse and larger fires” here and abroad.

Environment & Science

Squiz the Rest

Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead

The Wagner mercenary boss is thought to have been a passenger on a jet that has crashed in the Tver region north of Moscow. Reports say it was shot down by air defences and hit the ground missing a wing, killing the 7 passengers and 3 crew onboard. Prigozhin – the 62yo former mate of Russian President Vladimir Putin who headed the mutiny against the strongman leader on 23-24 June – was listed as a passenger, according to Russia’s civil aviation authority. Earlier this week, he posted his first video since June, showing him talking up the militia in what looked to be Africa. In the wake of that aborted uprising, US officials said Prigozhin was not safe, given Putin’s record of silencing enemies. “If I were he, I’d be careful what I ate. I’d keep my eye on my menu,” US President Joe Biden said last month. It sounds like something from a le Carré novel – more to come…

World News

Republicans ready to rumble

That whirring you can hear is the American political machine winding up for the November 2024 presidential election. President Biden will be running again for the Democrats. As for the Republicans, we’ll see their candidates in action for their first live TV debate with Fox News at 11am AEST this morning with one glaring absence… Former White House occupant Donald Trump says he has better plans. US political analysts reckon Trump’s self-benching is part middle finger to Fox News/part strategic move from a candidate who is so far ahead that he doesn’t need to debate. As for the candidates still in the pit, all eyes will be on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose campaign to unseat Trump hasn’t gone to plan. DeSantis will be standing between entrepreneur/Eminem fan Vivek Ramaswamy and Trump’s former deputy Mike Pence. Popcorn = ready…

World News

India wins the race to the dark side of the moon

India has succeeded in its mission to become the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon, with PM Narendra Modi calling the feat “a victory cry of a new India”. Aside from joining the ranks of the US, China, and the Soviet Union (aka Russia), India has also become the first nation to stick the landing in the moon’s chilly southern region – no easy feat given scientists describe the area as “very uneven, full of craters and boulders”. A 6-wheeled rover will now explore the moon’s surface over 2 weeks, collecting data and images that will be sent back to Earth. The hope is to find traces of ice because that could be turned into water for future space missions.

Wondering why everyone’s in a rush to get to the moon lately? Check out our Squiz Shortcut on the modern-day space race.


No safety in numbers

The Bureau of Stats has released a new data set on violence and harassment in Australia, and the numbers make for hard reading. At a topline, about 7 million Australians have experienced physical violence in their lifetime. For men, violence happens while they’re out and about by a stranger. And for women, it’s in the home perpetrated by someone known to them. On top of that, about 13% of Australian women experienced some form of sexual harassment in the previous 12 months, overwhelmingly by a man. It’s a subject causing a huge blow-up in Spain right now… Yesterday, PM Pedro Sanchez blasted football boss Luis Rubiales for kissing star performer Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the Women’s World Cup’s medal ceremony on Sunday night, saying his apology was “insufficient”. Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero said a non-consensual kiss “is a kind of sexual violence women suffer daily”.  

Australian News Crime

Kick it like Kerr

Speaking of the Women’s World Cup, it’s been less than a week since the final whistle was blown, and Matildas captain Sam Kerr has already announced her next big venture… In a move that’s been 2 years in the making, the football superstar is launching her own academy for young Aussie players aged 3-14yo to help train the next generation of Matildas and Socceroos. As well as world-class training plans and sessions, the Sam Kerr Football Academy also focuses on health and wellbeing, including regulating emotions and the importance of a positive mindset. The program also includes media training to prepare players for the off-field attention… The academy is taking registrations for a 2024 kick-off. And speaking of media attention, fellow Matilda Mary Fowler is finding that she can’t even go out for ice cream without sparking romance rumours

There’s been a lot of chat about funding for women’s sports, and our latest Squiz Shortcut takes you through the facts and the gaps.


Apropos of nothing

Proving he is the ultimate accidental hero, Aussie Winter Olympic hero Steven Bradbury has received a bravery award for rescuing 3 teenagers from dangerous surf. The legend lives on… 

A spotless giraffe believed to be the only one of its kind has been born in a Tennessee zoo. A public contest has been announced to decide on the baby’s name – why ‘Spot’ isn’t an option, we’ll never know…

And speaking of zoos, the Edinburgh Fringe has named the best one-liner of the festival. “I started dating a zookeeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah.” And no, it wasn’t a dad joke competition…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.00am (AEST) – First Fox News televised debate for Republican presidential hopefuls – Wisconsin

Independence Day in Ukraine

Treasurer Jim Chalmers hands down the Intergenerational Report

Arts Minister Tony Burke launches Creative Australia

Company Results – Cleanaway Waste Management; Medibank Private; Nine Entertainment Co; Qantas; Ramsay Health Care; Stockland Corporation; Star Entertainment Group; Tabcorp Holdings; Whitehaven Coal

Birthdays for Stephen Fry (1957), Ava DuVernay (1972), Dave Chappelle (1973), John Green (1977), and Rupert Grint (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing 15,000 (79)
• the invention of the potato chip by chef George Crum in New York, according to popular legend (1853)
• Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly nonstop across the US (1932)
• Tim Cook becoming CEO of Apple after the resignation of Steve Jobs due to health reasons (2011)
• the ouster of PM Malcolm Turnbull/Scott Morrison becoming PM (2018)

Squiz the Day

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