Squiz Today / 15 August 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 15 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

The easy news hit. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“After the fall, I don’t remember anything after that.”

Said 13yo Wyatt Kauffman, who survived a steep fall from a ledge in the Grand Canyon, breaking 9 vertebrae and collapsing a lung, amongst other injuries. And no, it wasn’t a selfie-related injury… He was trying to get out of other people’s shots, for all the good it did him…

Fresh mushie case details

Erin Patterson – the woman who served a meal believed to include highly-toxic death cap mushrooms – has given a new sworn written statement to police outlining what happened at the fateful lunch. She says her beef wellington contained button mushrooms purchased from a major supermarket and dried mushrooms from an Asian grocer in Melbourne – although she didn’t specify which one. Patterson says she’s “devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed” to 3 deaths and the severe illness of another guest. “I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved,” she wrote.

Plenty, and you can read more here. But Patterson – who remains a suspect in the ongoing homicide investigation – says she ate the same meal as her parents-in-law, Don and Gail Patterson, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband Ian on 29 July. Don, Gail and Heather died following the lunch, and Ian remains in critical condition. Patterson says she was also hospitalised with stomach pains and diarrhoea but was later released. She also confirmed her estranged husband Simon was supposed to be at the lunch but had cancelled. And at odds with early police reports, Patterson says her children weren’t at home on the day, but they ate the leftovers minus the mushrooms, because you know kids and anything vegetable-related… As for the food dehydrator police seized from a local tip, Patterson admitted to initially lying to police about dumping it “a long time ago”.

The Wilkinson family released their own statement saying 70yo Ian is in a stable condition. They thanked the staff at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne’s northeast for their “expertise, dedication, and compassion”. And they said they’ve been “deeply moved by the outpouring of kindness, prayers, and support” for the pastor at the Korumburra Baptist Church, with many people sending get-well cards. And on the investigation… Victorian Police are waiting on toxicology reports to confirm the mushrooms were poisonous death caps. Yesterday, they said in a statement that they are “not commenting on specific details of the case or what actions police will undertake as part of the investigation”.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

A WA stash smoked out

Australia’s nangheads and vapelords will have a harder time getting their fix after a record bust in Perth’s northeastern suburbs. A warehouse raided by Western Australia’s Health Department officials was storing 15 tonnes of vapes – that’s 300,000 units – and 10 tonnes of nangs. And if you’re wondering what a nang is, they’re a pressurised bulb of nitrous oxide that can be used for pain relief, whipping cream, inflating bike tyres – or getting a quick high. The state’s health minister Amber-Jade Sanderson applauded the seizure, saying that vapes can contain “the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer, bug spray and paint stripper”. Tomorrow, state and territory Health ministers will receive advice on cracking down on vapes and closing loopholes in the black market after Federal Minister Mark Butler copped some criticism yesterday for his anti-vaping strategy’s slow start.

Australian News Crime

We are one, we are many

There’s a job going with the NSW’s One Nation party after former leader Mark Latham got the boot from federal leader Pauline Hanson. Hanson announced the firing yesterday, saying his removal was down to the party’s poor results at the state election – but Latham took to Facebook to criticise the “bizarre” decision in a long post. Latham’s side of the story is that the “Queensland takeover … is about money.” He is pointing the finger at Hanson, saying that he’d “stood in the way of attempts to misuse our funds”. Being kicked out of One Nation doesn’t mean that Latham is out of the state parliament – he says he’ll use that platform for “more to say on this money matter when the NSW Parliament sits next week”. One Nation now has 2 members in the NSW upper house.


Two years under the Taliban

If you can believe it, today is the 2nd anniversary of the Taliban’s retaking of Kabul, and the country is in a bad way… Drought conditions and dwindling water supplies mean 15.3 million people are facing acute food insecurity in the land of nearly 42 million people. The Taliban’s treatment of women and girls also continues to be a significant concern. And if you thought the big world leaders would never agree on anything, the situation in Afghanistan is the exception to the rule… Global powers, including Russia and China, are in lockstep with the US et al in their refusal to recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government. As for getting to the bottom of how the Taliban was able to walk back into power, a US State Department report released last month said decisions taken by President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump to withdraw US troops means the democratically elected government was doomed.

World News

Playing the profits game

Retailer JB Hi-Fi is considered by analysts as a bit of a barometer of consumer sentiment, and yesterday, its 3.7% decline in profit was warmly received. What the? The result was expected to be much worse… Boss Terry Smart said he was pleased with the result, which included total sales growth of 4.3%. Mobile phone sales and gaming consoles were the strongest, but white goods were not selling well. That reveals mixed tidings for the rest of the economy, with the results showing “heightened uncertainty in the retail environment,” according to Smart.

Want to know why company reports matter? Get the quick debrief with our Squiz Shortcuts episode

Australian News Business & Finance

Eyeing the competition…

Hey, football fan – because isn’t that what we all are this week? Tonight’s the night to get a fix on the team the Matildas will face on the weekend, no matter how we fare in tomorrow night’s semi-final. That’s because, win or lose, we’re lacing up the boots in either the final on Sunday (fingers crossed) or the run-off for third on Saturday. And coming in hot are Spain and Sweden – according to the bookies, Spain’s the pick to take it out tonight, but the Nordic nation has its expert supporters too… For ours, we’d like a Sweden v Australia final because surely our coach, Swede Tony Gustavsson (who turned 50yo yesterday – so grattis på födelsedagen to him…), would bring a lipreading advantage… Where we don’t have an advantage in tomorrow night’s game is time on the pitch after Saturday night’s epic adventure, so it’s no wonder the team is resting up. Also fresh from the World Cup bench is former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce – he ‘fessed up yesterday to accidentally watching a rerun of the Matilda’s July friendly against France rather than the live game. Oops…

Australian News Sport

Apropos of nothing

Stargazers zooming in on the latest James Webb telescope image noticed an object that looks exactly like a question mark. Appropriately, astronomers aren’t quite sure what it is…

Speaking of the stars, the annual Perseid meteor shower has made for some incredible photos from the Northern Hemisphere. No mysteries here: the meteors are debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet, which sheds ice and rock on its annual orbit around the sun.

You’ve just got some time back in your diary… Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg’s “biggest fight ever” cage match is unlikely to eventuate, with Zuckerberg saying that he thinks Musk “isn’t serious” and the fight won’t happen. “Time to move on,” Zuck wrote yesterday.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00pm (AEST) – Womens Football – World Cup Semi Final

Independence Day in India

National days for Liechtenstein and the Republic of the Congo

ABS Data Release – Wage Price Index, June

Company Results – Challenger; Cochlear; CSL; Seek; Treasury Wine Estates

Birthdays for Princess Anne (1950), Melinda Gates (1964), Ben Affleck (1972), and Jennifer Lawrence (1990)

Anniversary of:
• the first Rugby Test Match between New Zealand’s All Blacks and Australia’s Wallabies (1903)
• the end of WWII, after Japan’s surrender to the Allies (1945)
• 70 years since Sukarno proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia and became its first President (1950)
• the opening of Woodstock Music Festival (1969)
• the release of musical atrocity Macarena by Los del Rio (1995)
• the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan after the capture of capital Kabul (2021)

Squiz the Day

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