Squiz Today / 15 February 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 15 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Wherever you’re going, we’ll get you there. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It’s a bummer.”

Said Aussie women’s aerial skier Danielle Scott of being unable to land a jump in the gold medal event last night. Neither she nor fancied flag-bearer Laura Peel had a good night in the -27C conditions. Cold all round…

Crown accepts multi-billion dollar takeover offer


Crown Resorts has is set to be bought by US private equity firm Blackstone for $8.9 billion in a deal that would cut the cord between Australia’s biggest casino operator and billionaire James Packer. The Crown board said it will recommend the $13.10/share offer to shareholders and a vote will be held between April and June. Packer owns 37% of the company and is set to receive $3.26 billion for his share.


Let’s dust those issues off… Issues with Crown’s business practices surfaced in 2016 when 19 of its staff were arrested in China for illegally promoting gambling. And Nine’s exposé on claims there had been breaches of the money laundering laws by some notable/nasty crime figures got the regulators riled up… A NSW inquiry found Crown was unfit to hold a casino license in the state, just as it was set to open its swanky new Sydney operation. Similar findings were reached by a Royal Commission in Victoria, although Crown was given time to fix things. And there’s one more report to come – that’s from the Royal Commission in Western Oz, which is due next month.  


The deal needs clearance from gaming regulators in each state where Crown operates – they want to know the casinos are being operated by ‘fit and proper’ people. Blackstone has already jumped through some of those hoops because it is already Crown’s 2nd biggest shareholder. It’s not a done deal yet, but analysts say it’s more likely thanks to the recent leadership of chairman/respected businessman Ziggy Switkowski. And it means it’s almost the end of the casino road for James Packer, who shifted his family’s business interests away from media – moves that were big news back in the day. He recently told biographer/The Australian journo Damon Kitney “of course I’m sad about the separation, but it’s the right thing to do” (paywall). 

Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Western leaders ramp up Ukraine talks

In a last-ditch effort to stop a potential Russian invasion, Ukraine has called for a meeting with Russia and other nations in the region within the next 24 hours – a request Russia has declined. Ukraine says it wants “transparency” about Russia’s plans, but President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly ignored formal requests to explain the build-up of more than 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine. Instead, Russia continues to say it has no plans to invade. American officials say Russia is planning to launch an attack as soon as tomorrow, but Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky disagrees and slammed the approach for causing “panic”. High-level talks have so far failed to defuse tensions, but Western leaders are still hopeful for a breakthrough. The latest to tread the diplomatic path to Russia was German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and UK PM Boris Johnson is expected to head that way this week. #SquizShortcut

World News

The Aussie courts have been busy…

There are 3 things to note:

  • Emma Roberts, the ex-wife of former SAS soldier/Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith, gave evidence yesterday in his defamation trial. She said he told her to lie and tell the media they were separated at the time a woman turned up at their home to reveal his affair. His lawyers say she hates his guts and is trying to smear him.
  • Former NRL footballer Jarryd Hayne’s convictions for rape were quashed on appeal and he could face a retrial. Hayne denied the allegations but was jailed for almost 6 years. He will make an application for bail in a Sydney court today. 

  • And 3 women who accused former High Court judge Dyson Heydon of sexual harassment have reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the Commonwealth. Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said “we listened to them and apologised”.
Australian News Crime

Human remains from the High Country identified

The Victorian coroner yesterday said they are the remains of Russell Hill and Carol Clay. Human remains were found in the state’s remote High Country in November last year after the pair – who were both in their 70s – went missing in the Wonnangatta Valley in March last year. They had travelled from Melbourne, and Hill did not tell his wife he was going away with Clay. In November, Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn was charged with 2 counts of murder, and he has remained in custody until he faces court in May. Police said the investigation had used “unique investigative techniques”, and the positive identification of the remains will help the grieving families. “I was pretty confident that it was them … but it’s good to find out finally it’s been positively identified,” the dead man’s friend Rob Ashlin said.


Russian skating star clear to compete in Beijing

Teenage Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will continue to compete in the Games after being cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The 15yo athlete tested positive for trimetazidine – a chest pain drug that can be used to boost endurance – during the Russian Figure Skating Championships in December. Yesterday, the court ruled in Valieva’s favour because she’s under 16yo, and she didn’t have time to dig into the test result before the Games began because the result wasn’t disclosed until last week. She has already competed and helped Russia (aka the Russian Olympic Committee) win the team figure skating event in Beijing. Her positive result means awarding that gold medal is under review, and it could take time. “This appears to be another chapter in the systematic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia,” US Olympic boss Sarah Hirshland said after the decision. All eyes will be on Valieva – she’s the favourite to win in the women’s singles competition that starts today.


Super Bowl rams it home

It’s all the way with LA… The Los Angeles Rams claimed yesterday’s Super Bowl in a last-minute turnaround, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20. The Bengals – who have never won the prestigious title – were leading 20-16 when a touchdown a minute before the games’ end saw their dream slip away. Devo… But you’re really here for the halftime show, right? The big names (think Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J Blige) received solid reviews. And then there’s the Super Bowl’s celebrity-studded lineup of ads… There was nostalgia a’plenty as General Motors brought the Austin Powers cast back together and Chevrolet tapped into the next generation of the Sopranos to plug electric vehicles. Planet Fitness enlisted Lindsay Lohan, and Jim Carrey became the Cable Guy again. And Scarlett Johannson and hubby/Saturday Night Live star Colin Jost found out what would happen if Amazon’s Alexa could read minds. Spooky…


Apropos of Nothing

And if you like a side of dogs with your football, the 18th annual Puppy Bowl saw more than 100 puppies from animal shelters across America take part in a pint-sized version of the real deal. Go Team Fluff

Reckon you have the chops to be an astronaut? NASA has released its list of requirements to become one. You have to be clever and physically fit, and a US citizen. One out of 3 ain’t bad… 

A dinosaur fossil that was found with unusual protrusions in its neck shows that the giant reptiles coughed and sneezed just like us, American scientists say. No prehistoric tissues were found in the dig…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Winter Olympics Women’s Snowboard Big Air Final – Beijing. Watch out for Aussie Tess Coady

7.10pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket 3rd T20 Match – Australia v Sri Lanka – Canberra

Jailed football star Jarryd Hayne’s bail hearing – Sydney

The murder trial of police officer Zachary Rolfe over the death of Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker begins – Darwin

80th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, one of the worst defeats in British history (1942)

Company Half-Year Results – Seek; BHP; Seven West Media; Dexus; Ansell

Lunar New Year celebrations come to an end with the Lantern Festival

International Childhood Cancer Day

Single’s Awareness Day

A birthday for Simpsons creator Matt Groening (1954), rapper Megan Thee Stallion (1995), and YouTube (2005)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of the ‘father of science’ Galileo Galilei (1564), and woman’s suffrage leader Susan B Anthony (1820)
• the production of the wartime propaganda poster “We Can Do It!” featuring Rosie the Riveter (1943)
• the first draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature (2001)

Squiz the Day

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