Squiz Today / 24 September 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 24 September


“It was scary.”

Said 33yo Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira of the 22.4-metre wave she rode in Portugal earlier this year. It’s been certified the biggest ever surfed by a woman, and by anyone in the world this year. That’s almost 7 storeys, so ‘scary’ would just be the beginning…


Prosecutors in Louisville, Kentucky have announced they will charge one police officer with three counts of "wanton endangerment" over the killing of 26yo black woman Breonna Taylor in her home on 13 March. It follows months of protests and pressure from high profile Black Lives Matter campaigners.

It’s a complicated story of a young woman who was the first in her family to graduate high school and went on to become an emergency room technician. Along the way, she dated Jamarcus Glover, who police accused of dealing drugs. But she had no criminal record, they’d broken up, and she was doing well, her friends and family say. On that night in March, she was watching a movie in bed with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when they heard banging on the door. It was the police executing a 'no-knock' warrant to search her apartment over issues connected to her ex - which meant they didn't need to announce themselves (although the Attorney General this morning says they did reveal themselves). Walker says the couple thought it was her ex, and they were scared. And that's why Walker shot at the men who stormed the apartment, he says, hitting a police officer. Taylor was hit 6 times as police returned fire, and she died at the scene. Walker escaped injury. Earlier this week, Jonathan Mattingly, the sergeant who was shot by Walker, sent his colleagues an email saying “I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night.”

Along with George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Jacob Blake and others, Taylor's name has been a rallying cry to Black Lives Matter protesters. The pressure has built as celebrities and athletes called for the police officers responsible to be charged. Oprah has even put it on billboards… And now police officer Brett Hankison has been charged over the shooting and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. He had already been fired in June after investigators found he had "blindly fired 10 rounds" into the apartment. The other two officers who fired at Taylor and Walker have not been charged. Hoping for more serious charges to be brought against the three officers, a lawyer for Taylor’s family tweeted “While not fully what we wanted, this brings us closer to justice for Breonna Taylor.” Meanwhile, civil rights organisations say the system has failed Taylor again. The city is now bracing for protests to again take off. 



William Wall, a 14yo boy who went missing on Tuesday morning in bushland in Yarra Ranges, has been found dead, Victoria Police confirmed yesterday. A search was launched after William, who had high-functioning autism, didn’t return from his daily walk. Police said they weren’t treating his death as suspicious. In other sad news, police say the chances of finding South Australian boatie Tony Higgins alive are looking slim after his wallet washed ashore yesterday. A buoy and jerry cans were among other debris that was discovered. Higgins, who is now missing for the second time in two weeks, called police on Tuesday morning to say his boat was "taking on water" in rough conditions near Granite Island. Authorities' search efforts have been hampered by "very poor" weather conditions.


Can you believe it… A total of 450 pilot whales have now been found stranded off Tassie’s west coast, after an aerial survey located another 200 near Macquarie Heads yesterday. It's thought to be one of the world's largest-ever mass strandings. At least 380 whales have been confirmed dead, while volunteers were able to rescue about 50. Time is running out to save the remaining 30 whales. "If they are still alive and in water, there is certainly hope for them, but as time goes on they get more fatigued and their chances of survival reduces," Parks and Wildlife Tasmania regional manager Nic Deka said yesterday. It’s thought that the whales were stranded in the same event, as they are known to travel in pods of up to 1,000. Authorities are still working through what to do with the whale carcasses, and an announcement expected today.


Independence could be on the cards for Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, after it elected a new president this week. Ishmael Toroama, who led a rebel army during the province’s bloody decade-long separatist war in 1988 and went on to become a cocoa farmer, is a revered figure in the province. Bougainville has quite a history… It was a German colony until Australia took control during WWI, and then became a province of an independent PNG in 1975. But there has been civil unrest and calls for independence were put to a non-binding referendum last year. Nearly 98% of Bougainvilleans voted in favour of splitting with PNG. Toroama said he is aiming to achieve independence within five years. But first, he must enter negotiations with the PNG government, which gets the final say. "I think the vision and the dream is there," Toroama said.


Now living in the US with his American wife Meghan, Prince Harry has been accused of "crossing the line" by calling on Americans to vote in the upcoming presidential election. "As we approach this November, it's vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity," he says in the Time clip. That's ruffled some feathers with accusations he's broken a longstanding convention of the royals not weighing into politics. The Sussexes spokesperson said: "His message is not in reference to any specific political party or candidate, but is instead a call for decency in how we engage with each other, interact, and consume information - especially online." A Buckingham Palace spokesperson wouldn't comment but said he is "not a working member of the Royal Family and any comments he makes are made in a personal capacity."


No, it’s not a fantasy wildlife battle royale… Partners since MC Hammer had a hit with U Can’t Touch This (aka 1990…), Qantas has decided that it can. Its relationship with the Wallabies, that is… The $5 million-a-year sponsorship deal will finish at the end of this year leaving the national rugby side without a new major sponsor. Financial support for our national cricket and soccer teams will also end, but free-flights would continue. Some arts and community sponsorship agreements will also end. The culprit - COVID-19. "In an environment where thousands of our people have lost jobs and thousands more are stood down while they wait for flying to restart, we can't maintain these sponsorships in the way we have in the past," said Qantas’ Stephanie Tully. Rugby Australia, which has tested sponsors’ loyalty with the Israel Folau saga and management missteps, thanked Qantas and said it understood.


Sulphur-crested cockies - lazy and messy. But gee they’re clever… "They know all of their local streets and they know which night is bin night and they go to those streets and they target those bins,” said scientist John Martin.

Have you been wondering what a life-sized robot from the 70s anime series Mobile Suit Gundam would look like? Us neither, but it’s big

If you’ve ever offered an honest opinion about someone only to have them overhear it, we hope they’re as generous as pop icon Rick Astley


A verdict is due in the Claremont serial killings case - Perth

World Maritime Day

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of F Scott Fitzgerald (1896), Sir John Kerr (1914), Jim Henson (1936) and Linda McCartney (1941)
• Kentucky Fried Chicken opening its first franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah (1952)
• the release of Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock single (1957)
• the release of Nirvana’s album Nevermind (1991)
• the death of Dr Seuss (1991)
• the release of the BBC series Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (1995)
• the premiere of The Big Bang Theory (2007)
• the Mars Orbiter Mission making India the first Asian nation to reach Mars’ orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt (2014)

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