Squiz Today / 17 May 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 17 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

We’ve got news, you’ve got ears. It’s a perfect match. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We want a grandson or a granddaughter within a year or compensation”.

Said Sanjeev Ranjan Prasad, a retiree from New Delhi who, along with his wife, would like his son and daughter-in-law to crack on with having a family. There’s nothing like an almost $1 million lawsuit to bring people close together…

Seismic changes afoot in Europe

Finland and Sweden have confirmed they want to become members of NATO in what amounts to a coup for Western Europe/North America and another blow for Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. There are some hurdles to clear: analysts say their bid to join the military alliance could take months with all 30 members required to sign off. And one NATO member isn’t happy… Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is opposed to their membership, but the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg believes Erdogan’s concerns over Finland and Sweden’s support for Kurdish militant groups he considers to be terrorists can be resolved.

It’s a historic shift for Europe, which is redrawing its alliances in the wake of the Ukraine war. Joining NATO would end more than 200 years of Swedish neutrality, and Finland has been unaligned since WWII. So yeah, it’s a significant shift for the 2 nations… Long story short, they’ve done it because they feel vulnerable with Russian President Vladimir Putin proving to be “unpredictable, unreliable and prepared to wage a cruel, bloody and brutal war,” as Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist put it. Finland – which shares a 1,300km border with Russia – said it was time to pick a side. Its President Sauli Niinisto said he phoned Putin on the weekend to “say it straight” to him. And Sweden’s PM Magdalena Andersson followed Finland’s lead, saying: “It is clear that the military non-alignment has served Sweden well, but our conclusion is that it won’t serve us well in the future.”

There is some work to do to get Turkey across the line… And Russia’s not thrilled about having NATO all up in its grill because Putin believes the alliance aims to erode Russia’s power. Overnight, a senior Russian official said Finland and Sweden’s decision was a “grave mistake”, and they should have “no illusions” that Moscow would simply accept their decision. Yesterday, NATO threw more fuel on the fire, saying that Russia’s attack on the Donbas region has stalled and Ukraine could win the war – an assessment backed up by the UK’s military. And in another sign of Russia’s diminishing support, McDonald’s has confirmed it will permanently close its 850 outlets across the country. Analysts say the company’s Russian operations account for 9% of its global sales.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Stick with me, Morrison pleads

Inner-city voters who put independent candidates ahead of the Coalition and its plan to deliver a strong economy will see those in regional and suburban Australia “pay the price”, PM Scott Morrison says. Speaking on ABC TV’s 7.30 last night, he said that if voters back Teal independent candidates in seats in Sydney and Melbourne where they have moderate Liberal candidates under pressure, it will put Labor in power. And Morrison says that’s a result the country can’t afford because Labor leader Anthony Albanese is “loose on the economy.” He also reiterated that he will change his style to be a more inclusive leader and said he’s not contemplating being anything but our national leader after the polls close on Saturday. Asked if he would quit politics if the Coalition is defeated or there is a hung parliament, he said “I’m not contemplating that being the scenario.” Albanese will get plenty of airtime this week with a media blitz and a National Press Club address tomorrow.

Australian News

Dawson trial hears defence case

Accused killer Chris Dawson’s defence lawyer laid out his case yesterday, saying there were problems in his marriage to Lyn Dawson, but “he did not kill her.” She disappeared from their Northern Beaches home in Sydney in January 1982 – it’s the cold case that became the subject of The Teacher’s Petpodcast. The former footy player/PE teacher was charged with her murder in 2018, and prosecutors allege that Dawson killed Lyn so he could have “unfettered access” to a teenager referred to as ‘JC’. Yesterday, the court heard Lyn told Chris she wasn’t coming home, and subsequent reported sightings were ignored by police. Former neighbour Julie Andrew was called as the trial’s first witness yesterday – she said she saw Chris Dawson assault Lyn during an argument about moving JC into the family home. She said she regrets not doing more to find out what happened to her friend when she went missing.

Australian News Crime

Kim slams North Korea’s slow COVID response

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the country’s military to respond to the surge in COVID cases as he criticised health officials for not acting quickly enough to distribute treatment reserves. According to state media, more than 1.2 million people have fallen ill since late April and at least 50 people have died. It’s unconfirmed how many of those are actually positive because it’s believed the nation cannot handle large-scale testing. North Korea says it’s the nation’s first major outbreak of COVID, and global health officials are worried because its 26 million population are vulnerable due to poor health services and low vaccination rates. After ally China announced it was ready to provide medical assistance last week, its least favourite neighbour South Korea says it’s willing to provide help if North Korea accepts it.

Health World News

Eat your space greens

Scientists have successfully grown edible plants in lunar soil samples collected from Apollo missions to the moon for the first time. In the NASA-funded study, researchers planted Arabidopsis thaliana seeds – a plant related to mustard greens – as well as broccoli and cauliflower in the “fine” and “powdery” lunar soil, as well as a man-made lunar soil. The seeds started to sprout in all samples within days of planting, but those planted in the genuine lunar soil did not grow as “robust” and had “stunted” roots and leaves. Harvesting the plants after 20 days, scientists said their gene patterns matched those of plants that had grown in harsh environments on Earth. The next steps are to find a way to stop those adverse reactions, which could have enormous implications for feeding future astronauts and growing food in sub-optimal conditions on Earth. And then they need to get Matt Damon’s green thumbs back into action…

Environment & Science Space

The Big Bird Bandits escape jail sentence

THE Adelaide trio who stole a valuable Big Bird costume has been spared jail time. The 20-somethings pleaded guilty to taking the $130,000 feathered outfit from the Sesame Street Circus Spectacular held in an Adelaide park as a prank in April 2021. The costume was returned a short time later with an apology found in the Big Bird’s beak. It said sorry for being “such a big birden”, adding, “we had no idea what we were doing or what our actions would cause.” The case has received attention for the unusual crime and the ‘bandits’ court outfits, and it ended with the trio being given good behaviour bonds. Magistrate Briony Kennewell was not amused – she described it as a “foolish and immature prank”, but as Big Bird sayings, everyone makes mistakes, so why can’t you?

Australian News Crime

Apropos of Nothing

Last week, we told you about Kami Rita Sherpa, the Nepalese man who has scaled Mount Everest a record 26th times. Now, British mountaineer Kenton Cool has become the first non-Sherpa to complete the 8,849-metre peak 16 times. So many questions, most of them are ‘why?’…

A fossilised 100 million-yo dinosaur called Hector has sold for more than US$12 million. With a large and deadly claw on each foot, he inspired the makers of Jurassic Park.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano explosion in January was the largest since 1883. Generating sounds that could be heard up to 10,000km away in Alaska and Lamb waves that went around the world for 6 days, it was up there with the Krakatoa explosion in Indonesia, scientists say.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Company Results – James Hardie

ABS Data Release – Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, April

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

World Hypertension Day

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

Cannes Film Festival begins – France (until 28 May)

Anniversary of:
• the first rules of Australian Rules Football being published (1859)
• the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum (1900)
• the World Health Organization removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses (1990)
• the release of Minecraft (2009)
• Michigan State University agreeing to pay $500 million to abuse victims of US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar – the largest case of its type in sports history (2018)
• Taiwan becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage (2019)

Squiz the Day

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