Squiz Today / 03 August 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 3 August

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Today’s listen time: 8.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“While we may begin as strangers, I hope we’ll find connections and commonalities over a delicious meal.”

Said actress/entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow as she announced her latest gig: Airbnb host. Two guests will get a sit-down dinner with the Oscar-winner and her producer hubby Brad Falchuk at their California home – which may or may not include bone broth

Third time unlucky for Trump

‘Unprecedented’ is a word that’s getting regular use in US politics at the moment as former President Donald Trump added new charges to the list – this time over moves to overturn his 2020 election defeat. Federal prosecutors have him in their sights on 4 counts, and the court paperwork details the extraordinary pressure prosecutors say he put on officials in 7 states to try to change election results.

In a nutshell, it’s about Trump’s claims the 2020 election was “stolen” and everything he did to try to stay in power and not hand over the presidency to the Democrats and Joe Biden. For months now, a grand jury has been hearing evidence from staff and officials, all the way up to former Vice President Mike Pence, about Trump’s actions between November 2020 (starting on election night) to early 2021 and those 6 January riots on Capitol Hill while Congress was formalising the election results. Trump is accused of conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, attempting to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiring against people’s civil right to have their vote counted. Trump called the charges “fake”, and US President Joe Biden didn’t comment – he went to see Oppenheimer instead…

So Trump is set to appear in court on Thursday (US time), and it’s expected to be a brief affair. But you can bet his lawyers will be gearing up because one of the charges – conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding – carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years. And remember, Trump’s already set to stand trial in New York over a case stemming from payments to cover up a possible scandal in 2016. And there’s another court date coming up in Florida over classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate. But none of this appears to be hurting his chances of having another shot at becoming president – the latest polls have him crushing his Republican rivals in the race for the party’s nomination. 

Crime World News

Squiz the Rest

Canberra’s prosecutor slammed

The ACT’s chief prosecutor was justified in bringing a prosecution against former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann over his alleged assault of Brittany Higgins – but that’s about the only positive finding for Shane Drumgold out of the inquiry into the case. The Australian has splashed this morning (paywall) with the leaked final report that says Drumgold was found to have knowingly lied during court proceedings (including about his interaction with TV personality Lisa Wilkinson). He also “did not act with fairness and detachment as was required by his role”. As for ACT Police, they “performed their duties in absolute good faith” and conducted “a thorough investigation” of Higgins’ claims. The ACT Government received the report earlier this week and wanted some time to digest the findings. It’s facing a multimillion-dollar claim from Lehrmann as a result of this gross misconduct finding against Drumgold, reports say.

AusPol Australian News

Get away from my fence…

Russian Wagner troops were spotted moving towards Poland last weekend, and now, Poland has rushed troops to its border after accusing Belarus of violating its airspace. Poland’s military said that choppers had flown over their territory “at a very low height, hard to intercept by radar.” Belarus, a staunch Russia ally, denied the incursion with its Defence Department, saying it “views it in the manner of an ‘old wives’ tale’”. Around 1,000 Polish troops had already been on their way east following the reports of Wagner troops, but the alleged Belarussian flyby got their skates on. As for why this border build-up matters: Poland is a NATO member, and any attack on a NATO member is considered an attack on all of them, including the US. Yikes…

World News

The Garma Festival mulls the Voice

Tomorrow marks the start of the Garma Festival – Australia’s largest annual Indigenous gathering, and there will be plenty of chat around one of the biggest questions the country’s faced in years. At Garma last year, PM Anthony Albanese announced there’d be a “simple and clear” referendum question asking Aussies if they wanted a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament. Since then, a series of polls over recent months have shown declining support. There’s still no date for the referendum, and Albanese says he won’t do that at Garma – he continues to point to his previous advice that it will be held between October-December. Coalition leader Peter Dutton won’t be there – he’s confirmed he turned down an invitation to attend the festival. Meanwhile, Indigenous leader Professor Megan Davis says while the ‘No’ case “got a head start on us“, the ‘Yes’ case will “turn this ship around” by voting day.

Australian News

An off-brand lawsuit

Lizzo is known for her empowering/body-positive pop hits, so word that 3 of her former tour dancers are suing the singer and her production company for sexual harassment, fat-shaming, and racial discrimination is a surprise to many. The dancers allege that Lizzo pressured one dancer to touch a nude performer at an Amsterdam club. Her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, has also been accused of treating black dancers “differently” than other team members. And one ex-dancer says Lizzo questioned her “commitment” to her job, which she felt was criticism of her weight. Two of the dancers were fired, and another resigned, and a dollar figure hasn’t been put on their damages claim. Lizzo’s real name is Melissa Jefferson, and she’s a Grammy winner who’s had some of the biggest hits of recent years. Her team hasn’t responded to the allegations.

Crime Entertainment

The best time to send an email is also the worst

If you’ve ever wondered what time of the week you’re most likely to get a response to your email, a new study from Axios HQ has revealed a surprising answer. After analysing 8.7 million internal company emails sent between January 2022 and March 2023, they found people are most likely to engage with an email sent between 3-6pm on a Sunday. Messages sent during this time had a massive 94% open rate, while emails sent between 6-9pm on Sunday came in second-best with an 86% open rate. That has a lot to do with those emails being at the top of the inbox on Monday morning, but experts say it could signal blurred lines between work and life. They also warn that Sunday emails could be ignored if the recipient is cranky about the timing… And whatever you do, don’t expect a response on a Friday evening…

Quirky News Technology

Apropos of nothing

Australia was the first country to introduce plain cigarette packaging, but Canada has become the pioneer in printing health warnings on individual cigarettes. Health officials say it makes the health risks “virtually impossible” to avoid.

Meta is considering launching a desktop version of its Twitter rival Threads after users on the platform dropped by more than half in the month after its debut. After an initial rush of sign-ups, analysts say it could fizzle out after a blaze of glory, not unlike Twitter/X’s new tagline

A portrait made of Lego bricks and a global poetry collection are among the 30,000 digitised creative works being added to the Lunar Codex – a time capsule to be left on the moon. All those future astronauts will need something to entertain themselves…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

5.00pm (AEST) – Netball World Cup – Australia v England – Cape Town

Independence Day in Niger

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, June

Melbourne International Film Festival begins (until 27 August)

Birthdays for Martin Sheen (1940), Martha Stewart (1941), Tom Brady (1977), and Sonny Bill Williams (1985)

Anniversary of:
• American-American sprinter Jesse Owens famously winning gold in the 100m (10.3 seconds) in front of Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics (1936)
• the US Senate ratifying the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union (1972)
• two mass shootings occurring in 24 hours in the US. A terrorist killed 22 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and a gunman killed 9 at a bar in Dayton, Ohio (2019)

Squiz the Day

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