Squiz Today / 12 July 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 12 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Coffee queue appropriate.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

8 / 17
7 / 12
9 / 20
7 / 14
6 / 19
6 / 12
15 / 29
-2 / 11

Squiz Sayings

“When things like this happen, she has this team to look after her and repair her, so she’ll be back in the skies in no time.”

Said Elspeth Pitt from the National Gallery of Australia of the damage sustained by Canberra’s hot air balloon sculpture/spirit animal, Skywhale. She developed a tear “in one of her breasts” after an outing in Ballarat on the weekend. That’ll put any girl out of action for a few weeks… 

Our fractured Pacific family

Just as the Pacific Islands family leaders are to assemble in Fiji today for an important get-together, one member said it isn’t coming and has pulled its membership altogether. Kiribati President Taneti Maamau says it’s his nation’s “sovereign decision” to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum, adding that it “was never meant to offend or be against any of our Pacific Island brothers and sisters”. The dispute centres on concerns that the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation has not addressed the concerns of Micronesian countries, including Kiribati, about “equity, equality and inclusiveness”. PM Anthony Albanese called Kiribati’s decision “unfortunate”, while Kiwi leader Jacinda Ardern said keeping the family together was “critical” given the challenges we face as a region.

Good question because this is a bit more involved than when a family member decides not to come to Christmas because someone offended their latest girlfriend at Uncle Jay’s birthday BBQ… So, the region comprises nations from Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia. Last year, Micronesian leaders arched up because their candidates had not been selected for leadership of the Pacific Islands Forum for years – including the breaking of a “gentlemen’s agreement” for one of theirs to be made the new secretary-general at the start of 2021. That led the leaders of Nauru, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia to say they were done with the Forum. Since then, work has gone into smoothing the Pacific waters – including formulating the ‘Suva Agreement’ to address the issues raised. But Kiribati’s President says they weren’t consulted, so they’re out.

Because the region is under enormous pressure, and the Pacific Islands Forum is where nations come together. Kiribati might have a population of 120,000, but it has an international profile as one of the first nations that could disappear under rising sea levels due to climate inaction. There are also the questions of regional security and China’s interest in getting closer to Pacific Island nations that would benefit from a united front. Australia and New Zealand are members of the Forum, and we’d like to be their partner of choice on security or whatever they need – so it’s a big meeting. PM Albanese will attend from tomorrow – he’s tied up in Sydney today talking about energy with international ministers.

AusPol World News

Squiz the Rest

Victorian ”cop killer’ goes free

A Melbourne man jailed for 2 decades over the murders of 2 Victorian police officers in 1998 left prison after being acquitted by the state’s Supreme Court yesterday. To recap: Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller were on the hunt for 2 men believed to have committed a series of armed robberies across Melbourne’s southeast when they were shot dead after allegedly pulling over a 17yo Jason Roberts and his girlfriend’s father Bandali Debs. Roberts admitted to his part in the robberies but maintained his innocence over the murders, saying he wasn’t with Debs that night. Both men were jailed, and after several failed attempts to overturn his conviction, Roberts was awarded a retrial when new evidence emerged about improper police practices. The officers’ families released a joint statement saying they were “absolutely devastated” by the decision.

Australian News Crime

Ukraine aims to take back Russian gains

With Russia controlling a lot of Ukraine’s east, the focus has now turned to the country’s west and south. The cities of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were some of the first to fall to Russia in late February, and now Ukraine has warned its residents living there to evacuate as it launches a counter-offensive. Ukraine says it has ambitions for a “million-strong-army” to help it regain its southern territory from Russia, reports say. It is also attempting to prevent Russia from taking the entire eastern Donetsk region where there have been reports of heavy shelling and missile attacks. Yesterday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky again accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of deliberately targeting civilians after at least 19 people were killed in the town of Chasiv Yar when a Russian missile hit an apartment building. Claims of Russian attacks on residential areas in Kharkiv in the country’s northeast were also made overnight.

World News

It ain’t over ’til it’s over

That’s what the World Health Organization warned last month, and it’s playing out now as global COVID cases continue to rise. The removal of public health restrictions, the spread of Omicron variants, and low vaccine uptake in some parts have all contributed to the rise. Similar to what’s happening in parts of Oz, rising cases are causing hospital chaos in the UK, and there are fears the US is heading towards its 2nd-largest COVID wave. Elsewhere, the Chinese territory of Macau entered a 2-week lockdown yesterday – including the shutdown of its famous casinos. And poor Shanghai – it’s on high alert again. Here in Oz, health authorities are considering reducing the period a COVID-positive patient is considered immune from 12 weeks to 28 days due to Omicron variants’ rapid reinfection rates – just in time for yet another one


Bon voyage to cheap flights

If you’re at home while everyone you know is on the same beach in Capri and you don’t have an overseas trip planned for aeons, here’s one thing that will (read: won’t) cheer you up… The price of air travel will go up “without doubt” as fuel costs rise, an industry boss has warned. Willie Walsh from the International Air Transport Association says the war in Ukraine made the high demand for oil coming from the end of COVID lockdowns even worse. It’s a double whammy for jetsetters as airports and airlines struggle to deal with high numbers returning to travel. Layoffs during the pandemic and ongoing illness have created many blockages in the system and huge queues at airports. But if you’re well jell of your overseas travelling mates’ adventures, don’t flex your schadenfreude muscle too soon… Reports say domestic travellers are experiencing high rates of lost/late luggage, and delays/cancellations are at near-record levels (paywall). Another staycation, then?

World News

Diving deep into space

The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope – the James Webb Space Telescope – was launched into the cosmos last year, and without nerding out too hard, it’s the biggest and most powerful telescope to ever go into space. It’s currently 1.6 million kilometres from Earth, and this morning US President Joe Biden will give us a glimpse of its first full-colour images before more are released overnight. They’re expected to show parts of the universe we’ve never seen before, including some of the oldest galaxies and stars formed after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. It’s pretty incredible, but what makes it more impressive is how unlikely the project would ever take flight. The mission was nearly cancelled several times due to massive delays and the budget blowing out billions of dollars. But the man credited with saving the project is NASA engineer Greg Robinson. Onya, Greg… 


Apropos of Nothing

Soz hummus lovers, but the humble chickpea is the latest food to fall to the Ukraine war/poor growing conditions. At least baba ganoush has remained unscathed…

​​If you’re prone to saying “pass the salt” at dinner, your doctor could soon be insisting you say “pass on the salt”… A study of 500,000 middle-aged Britons has linked adding salt to meals to an earlier death. Next, they’ll say that having ‘700 drinks’ at Wimbledon is a problem…

Fans of Aldi vino will be excited to hear the German supermarket chain is opening a pop-up bar in Sydney this week. For $4.41 you could be treated to a selection of wine and cheese. There are not many tix left, so move fast…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Basketball – FIBA Asia Cup – Australia v Jordan – Indonesia

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting – Fiji (until 14 July)

ABS Data Release – Monthly Household Spending, May; Overseas Arrivals and Departures, May

A birthday for women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai (1997)

Anniversary of
• the marriage of King Henry VIII to his 6th and final wife, Catherine Parr (1543)
• Britain’s King Charles II ratifying the Habeas Corpus Act giving those under arrest the right to be brought before a judge or into court (1679)
• the death of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (1804)
• legislation being passed that gives women 21yo and older the right to vote in Aussie federal elections (1902)

12.30pm (AEST) – The remainder of the images from the James Webb Space Telescope are released

3.00am (AEST) – The US House committee investigating the 6 Jan attack holds its 7th public hearing – Washington, DC

Squiz the Day

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