Squiz Today / 22 August 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 22 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

News for your ears.

Today’s listen time: 8.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I felt like I had 60 metres of a really good race.”

Said Aussie sprinter Rohan Browning about not qualifying for the final of the men’s 100 metres at the World Athletics Championships in Hungary – still, he became our first bloke to get a semi-final berth in 28 years. If only it was a 60-metre dash…

More BRICS in the geopolitical wall


Five significant world leaders are gathering in South Africa over the next 2 days in a meeting that will be closely watched by Western nations, particularly the US. The ‘BRICS’ summit brings together Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, India’s Narendra Modi, China’s Xi Jinping, and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa – as well as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who’ll be joining via video call due to the international arrest warrant out on him… The 5 nations are united by their distaste for a world order dominated by America, along with their combined economic might making up a quarter of the global economy. And on the agenda: growing the BRICS membership to include nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina. In one expert’s words, that would constitute “a challenge for the West”.


BRICS is more of an informal alliance that has been around since the mid-2000s, but there has been little to point to in terms of significant progress or coordination. But the diplomatic isolation of Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and China’s flaring tension with the US has created an environment where that could change, and some collective muscle could be flexed. One thing we’re likely to hear a bit about this week is the debate about opening the door to new members. China’s in favour of expanding the BRICS bloc, while Brazil, India, and South Africa are more wary, preferring to keep membership tightly held.


We’re no experts in diplomacy, but that seems to be the general idea – and it’s something that Ukraine is relying on. Yesterday, President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the “historic” announcement that the Netherlands and Denmark would supply Ukraine’s military with F-16 fighter jets. He’s been trying to get his nation’s hands on the US-made aircraft for months, and it was just last week that America agreed they could be sold. (Note: even though the planes are with other nations, they need US permission to pass them on). As for their effect – military experts say that Ukraine’s weakened air force has emboldened Russian pilots and meant Ukraine couldn’t defend its skies. That includes Saturday’s missile strike that saw 7 people killed and 144 injured in the northern city of Chernihiv. For its part, Ukraine has continued its drone strikes against Moscow, leading to flights in and out of Domodedovo airport being restricted due to the threat.

Intrigued about BRICS? Why wouldn’t you be… We help you build your wall of knowledge with today’s Squiz Shortcut. Take a listen/have a read here.

World News

Squiz the Rest

LA LA Land gets a drenching

Hold onto your hats – Tropical Storm Hilary has made landfall, first hitting the coast of Mexico before travelling north into southern California. Schools are closed in Los Angeles and San Diego as the state’s first tropical storm in more than 80 years saw several residents rescued from flash floods. Videos show the treacherous conditions with streets turning into rivers leading California’s Governor Gavin Newsom to warn locals to “take nothing for granted”. Hilary is heading towards Nevada, and if it maintains its strength, it’ll be the first tropical storm to hit the inland desert state since records started. And if that weren’t enough, California was hit with a 5.1 magnitude earthquake on Sunday – no injuries were reported. As for the fires in Canada, PM Justin Trudeau has sent in the military to help with evacuations in British Columbia. Officials say conditions have improved, helping to put “boots on the ground” and dump water on flames from the air.

Weather World News

A baby murderer is sentenced

UK nurse Lucy Letby has been sentenced to a life term with no chance of parole for what Justice James Goss described as a “cruel, calculated and cynical campaign of child murder”. After being found guilty of murdering 7 babies and the attempted murder of 6 more, Letby is the UK’s most prolific child serial killer in modern times. Her trial – which ran for 10 months – is believed to be its longest murder trial. Letby didn’t attend the sentencing hearing or follow proceedings via a videolink. That means she missed the families’ victim impact statements and Justice Goss’s sentencing remarks. He said Letby had “no remorse… there are no mitigating factors… the offences are of sufficient severity to require a whole life order”. Letby’s ability to opt out of attending the hearing has drawn new calls for laws to force convicted criminals to be present for sentencing – something UK PM Rishi Sunak says is being considered.

Crime World News

Getting ready for a 40-year view…

We’re in for the big-picture of Australia’s economy on Thursday when Treasurer Jim Chalmers releases Australia’s sixth Intergenerational Report. What the what? Initiated by Peter Costello back in 2002, these economic reports give a long view of trends that will affect Australia’s budget and our standard of living 40 years into the future. And while we’ll have to wait for Thursday to get the whole report, Chalmers yesterday dropped some hints that we need to deal with our ageing population and growing need for care (more on that in a sec…). At the same time, we’ll have new economic opportunities built around technological change and artificial intelligence. One of the splashiest numbers is the forecast that our population is expected to reach 40.5 million by 2062-63. That sounds big, but it would be our slowest growth since Federation…

AusPol Economy

Setting a new standard

Hot on the heels of the Women’s World Cup and its bright spotlight on women’s sports, the AFLW has pledged to raise the competition’s prize money. The top teams’ shared prize pot in the upcoming season will be raised to $1.1 million – equal to the men’s AFL prize pot and almost double the $634,000 AFLW teams have received in the past. But the players’ union boss Paul Marsh says it’s “only a small piece of a much larger puzzle” in achieving equity between the men’s and women’s competitions. Reports say the NRLW is still in negotiations for how much its prize pool will be going forward. And several Wallaroos players from our national rugby union team have made a stand against a lack of funding and support in their sport. “It’s your move,” they told their governing body.

And while we have you, how about this for a World Cup postscript… Spain’s captain/player of the match, Olga Carmona, received some sad news after leading her team to victory on Sunday night. The 23yo’s family held back on telling her that her father died on Friday – they’d delayed telling her so she could focus on the game. Geez…


Thank you for being a friend…

It’s no secret that buying a home costs most of us an arm and a leg, and that might be why a new approach – inspired by The Golden Girls’ iconic shared living situation – is taking off. A new survey by US loan comparison site LendingTree has found that 29% of Americans would consider buying a home without a spouse or partner – 63% said they’d consider buying with a family member who wasn’t their spouse, and 57% said they would with a friend or roommate. LendingTree economist Jacob Channel said the result “speaks to where we are in the housing market: it’s really expensive to buy a house right now, and a lot of people are looking into alternative ways to purchase,” Channel says. And you have to admit, it looks like it could be a good time

Culture Economy

Apropos of nothing

Young agricultural auctioneers had a chance to show off how handy they are with their fast-talkin’ at the Ganmain Show in NSW’s Riverina last weekend… Tom Reynolds took home the blue ribbon – the 15yo said: “You sort of have to be a showman – it’s not just selling”.

Visitors to Beijing’s World Robot Conference have been treated to displays from ‘animatronic heads’, ‘humanoid robots’ and ‘android dogs’. And if you’re not sure what any of those could possibly look like, we invite you to look at the photos here

Get yer underwater acoustic equipment out (or follow along online if you don’t have any) because the biggest search for the Loch Ness Monster in 50 years is set to take place this weekend. And with drones/infrared cameras, they’re not mucking around…

Quirky News World News

Squiz the Day

Company Results – BHP Group; Coles Group; Kogan.com; Woodside Energy Group

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

Birthdays for Ty Burrell (1967), Kristen Wiig (1973), James Corden (1978), and Dua Lipa (1995)

Anniversary of:
• James Cook’s expedition landing on the east coast of Australia and declaring it for the British Empire (1770)
• the adoption of the first Geneva Convention by 12 nations, which established the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war (1864)

Squiz the Day

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