Squiz Today / 07 April 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 7 April

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

You walk while we talk. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
17 / 22
MEL
14 / 24
BNE
19 / 28
ADL
13 / 24
PER
17 / 32
HBA
8 / 20
DRW
25 / 35
CBR
11 / 17

Squiz Sayings

“He’s chilling in the freezer, we don’t know what we’re going to do with him.” 

Said fisherman John Helmuth of the giant prawn he hauled in off Queensland’s Fraser Coast. There ain’t a cocktail glass large enough or quantities of iceberg lettuce and seafood sauce in all the land to accommodate him…

Russia’s atrocities trigger more sanctions

THE SQUIZ

International outrage over alleged war crimes in Ukraine continues to grow as more evidence emerges of Russia’s campaign of terror in the outskirts of the capital Kyiv. In response, the West has imposed harsh new sanctions against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian economy. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia should be punished for its “deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities.”

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

The US, in coordination with its allies, has turned up the economic pressure through a ban on all new investment in Russia. The US has already started blocking Russia from making debt payments using its dollars held in American banks, and that could see it default on its loans, which is bad. The new sanctions target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the President’s 2 daughters, who the Biden administration believes could be in control of some of their father’s hidden assets. The UK has also imposed further measures against 8 oligarchs and Russian banks. And Europe wants to ban Russian coal imports – but not oil or gas. That stops short of some of the demands from Ukraine. Earlier this week, its Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that in order “to avert ‘new Buchas’, impose the mother of all sanctions: stop buying oil, gas and coal from Russia.” Bucha is the city where many of the recently discovered alleged Russian atrocities have occurred.

WHY IS ENERGY SUCH A BIG ISSUE?

Because Europe relies on so much Russian energy. Statistics show that Europe imported less than 20% of its coal from Russia, but 35% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas. That’s a lot of businesses/homes/industries that rely on Russian fuel… But expanding the boycott is not off the table… Yesterday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that oil could be next but wouldn’t commit to a timeline. Reports say that Germany doesn’t want a gas embargo, and Austria’s Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said that sanctions “must not affect us more than Russia.” Cutting Russian coal is the first move by the EU to block its energy exports since the invasion, and analysts say the reason they’ve gone there is because it’s the easiest source to be replaced. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Russia is regrouping for its next attack in eastern and southern Ukraine for a “crucial phase of the war”.

World News

Squiz the Rest

China lashes the US over AUKUS

Yesterday we brought you the news that PM Scott Morrison had chatted to his AUKUS counterparts in London and Washington about getting our hands on some hypersonic missiles that can travel 2,000km. Overnight China responded by accusing the western countries of trying to build an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO” – the western military alliance between Europe and America. In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the cooperation would “undermine peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” and likened AUKUS to an “Anglo-Saxon clique” that other Asia-Pacific countries were opposed to. It’s also emerged that 2 of Oz’s top intelligence chiefs have quietly travelled to Solomon Islands to meet PM Manasseh Sogavare and raise the government’s deep concerns over a proposed security pact it’s poised to sign with China. That deal would allow China to deploy troops to the Solomons, and allow Chinese warships to stop over during naval exercises. Sogavare’s office issued a statement calling it a “positive” meeting.

Want to know more about the Solomon Islands and China? Today’s new Squiz Shortcut is for you, catching you up on Oz’s peacekeeping mission in the 2000s and where China fits into the mix now.

World News

Moriarty murder mystery inquest reopens

The coronial inquest into the presumed death of Patrick ‘Paddy’ Moriarty reopened yesterday, where one witness claimed it’s linked to the disappearance of British backpacker Peter Falconio (paywall). Let’s back that up a bit… In December 2017, 70yo Moriarty and his beloved dog Kellie disappeared from the tiny town of Larrimah, 500km south of Darwin/population 11. His friends say he was a “happy-go-lucky” kinda guy, but he didn’t like his neighbour Fran Hodgetts much. She ran the town’s cafe, and says Moriarty had sabotaged her by talking down her homemade pies and making a menace of himself. Both Hodgetts and her gardener Owen Laurie had said that they would “kill him”, but told police they didn’t mean it literally. They deny any involvement in Moriarty’s disappearance. There has been a book, a podcast and documentaries made about the mystery, and there are plenty of theories, including the Falconio link. The inquest, which started in 2018, will wrap up tomorrow.

Australian News Crime

Mungo Man and Mungo Lady to be laid to rest

After a 4-year saga, the 42,000yo remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man will be reburied in NSW’s Willandra Lakes region, Environment Minister Sussan Ley said yesterday. Between 1960 and 1980, their remains and those of 106 others were removed by Aussie researchers without the consent of the traditional owners. They’re the oldest human remains found in Oz and are one of the earliest examples of ceremonial burial in the world. After Mungo Lady and Mungo Man were returned home in 1991 and 2017 respectively, they have been kept in storage at Mungo National Park as a group of local Indigenous elders fought for them to be reburied. As the site is World Heritage-listed, any reburial requires Commonwealth approval, and earlier this year, Heritage NSW recommended it to go ahead. After Ley consulted with an advisory group of local elders last month, she agreed all 108 remains should be returned to the earth.

Australian News

UK set to launch 4-day work week trial

More than 3,000 employees at 60 businesses across the United Kingdom will participate in what’s said to be the world’s largest 4-day work week pilot. The trial – which is being run by Oxford and Cambridge unis and Boston College in partnership with campaign groups – is set to run from June to December. With the pandemic seeing a number of companies ditch the traditional 9-to-5, 5-day work week in favour of more flexible work arrangements, the trial will examine how a 4-day work week could be implemented in businesses ranging from a medical firm to a fish & chip shop. Full-time employees in the trial will receive the same pay for reduced hours, and researchers will track how that impacts productivity, worker wellbeing, the environment and gender equality. Similar pilot schemes are set to be launched later this year in Oz, New Zealand, Ireland, the US and Canada. We’re a bit worried about the fish & chip shop’s customers, but we won’t pre-judge…

Business & Finance

Tiger Woods tees off

All of the above is fine, but if you’re a golf fan there’s only one story in town today – and that’s Tiger Woods’ return to the US Masters. In Woods’ life, he’s taken a lot from column A, like his comeback from injury to win The Masters in 2019 after going 11 years without a major win. And in column B, there have been deep lows – particularly in his personal life. And then there was last year’s car accident that left him almost having his right leg amputated, just as he was recovering from major back surgery. To be back on the course swinging a club a year on from that is quite a story – but to be back competing for the sport’s most prestigious title at Augusta National in Georgia is amazing. How the 46yo holds up could be another thing… Woods’ swing is fine, he says, it’s all the walking that could be a problem. “This is not an easy walk to begin with. Now, given the condition that my leg is in, it gets a little more difficult.” Whatever happens, he’ll have plenty cheering him on.

Sport

Apropos of Nothing

There’s been a late frost in the Burgundy wine region in France, prompting winegrowers to take extraordinary measures to save this year’s vintage. The solution? Waking before dawn to place rows and rows of candles underneath the vines to gently melt the ice.

Virtual reality is proving to be a safe space for anxiety and agoraphobia sufferers. Researchers from the psychiatry department at Oxford Uni are using virtual scenarios to help people practice their social skills, or hang out in certain environments that cause fear and distress.

Mushrooms might give the impression of being silent and shy, but a new study suggests they may be champignon communicators… A mathematical analysis of the electrical signals fungi send to one another bear a striking similarity to human speech. Shhh, enoki now… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Mining magnate/political mover-and-shaker Clive Palmer addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, February; Building Approvals, Australia, February 2022 (Additional Information)

Golf – Masters Tournament begins – Augusta, Georgia (until 10 April)

World Health Day, marking the anniversary of the founding of WHO (1948)

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide

Birthdays for director Francis Ford Coppola (1939), and actors Jackie Chan (1954) and Russell Crowe (1964)

Anniversary of:
• Australian Teddy Flack winning gold in the 1,500 meters final at the first Olympic Games in Athens (1896)
• the release of the world’s first animated cartoon Humorous Phases of Funny Faces by J Stuart Blackton (1906)
• singer Billie Holliday’s birthday (1915)
• the High Court quashing Cardinal George Pell’s child sex abuse convictions (2020)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.