Squiz Today / 25 May 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 25 May


“Oh, merde.”

Said French President Emmanuel Macron in an appearance with 2 of the country’s most popular YouTube stars. With an election coming up next year, pundits say the 43yo will need to get through a lot of crap… sorry... merde to win.


Belarus yesterday forced a Ryanair flight travelling from Athens to Lithuania to land and arrested passenger/outspoken journalist Roman Protasevich. Just minutes before the plane was to cross into Lithuanian airspace, its crew received an order from Belarus’ air traffic control to land because it said the plane was the target of a bomb threat from Palestinian militant group Hamas (which it denies). President Alexander Lukashenko also ordered a fighter jet to escort the plane to Minsk - even though it was closer to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Checks of the plane found “nothing untoward” onboard leading critics of the authoritarian president to conclude it was a ruse to detain the dissident journo.

Protasevich has been on Lukashenko’s merde list for a while… The 26yo is the former editor of the popular social media Telegram channel Nexta. It has close to 2 million subscribers and is popular with anti-government activists. Protasevich fled the country in 2019, but has continued to get on Lukashenko's goat while living in exile in Lithuania. He was charged in November with inciting public disorder, but there are concerns that could be upgraded to terrorism, which carries the death penalty. Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and has cracked down on dissents since his election win last August with more than 80% of the vote - a result widely seen as fraudulent.

You think? And that’s what many nations are saying, including Australia… Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen described Lukashenko’s actions as a “hijacking” and said European leaders would discuss what “actions to take” in a meeting this morning. Not that their condemnation has bothered Belarusian officials in the past… President Lukashenko and others are already under EU sanctions resulting from their oppression of opponents.



• Melbourne is bracing for bad coronavirus news with 4 new cases of community transmission reported in the city’s north yesterday. Thousands of people who visited potential exposure sites are isolating for 2 weeks as officials get to contact tracing.

• Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the cases should remind those eligible to get a COVID vaccination that they should crack on. That means many over 50yos would need to roll up their sleeves for AstraZeneca - a vaccine new advice from the official experts says is safe to be given to “almost anyone” with more than half a ton of years behind them.

• And as a result of the pandemic, 75% of Aussie working women say their workloads have increased. Deloitte’s survey found women are more stressed and discouraged, and the pressures could see many changing jobs or leaving the workforce altogether. Deloitte’s Clare Harding said the survey shows that business and government need to rethink the support and flexibility women need.


Federal Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon has warned his party risks going "the way of the Kodak brand" over its policies for blue-collar workers. As the member for Hunter in NSW, Fitzgibbon represents the area that saw a state by-election on Saturday that delivered a sharp swing against Labor. And yesterday, he said he will quit if the party doesn't "wake up to itself". "Federally, if Labor can't persuade not just mine workers but everyone in those regions whose jobs are dependent on mining that we stand with them, you can expect a similar result whenever Scott Morrison goes to the polls,” he said. Labor leader Anthony Albanese says some perspective is required on the by-election’s result as it has not been held by Labor for more than 90 years, and the party has seen good results at the polls in the mining-heavy states of Western Oz and Queensland. Meanwhile, NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay is fighting to hold onto her job...


Australian Of The Year Grace Tame has told The Betoota Advocate podcast that Amanda Stoker, the recently appointed Assistant Minister for Women, is not an “adequate person for the job”. That’s because the conservative politician had aligned herself with commentator Bettina Arndt, Tame says. And Arndt is in Tame’s sights because the men’s rights commentator had publicly sympathised with her abuser. It’s not the first time Tame has criticised Stoker’s ministerial appointment, and Stoker has previously said Tame’s comments were “utter nonsense”. But it is unusual for the Aussie of the Year to be directly critical of senior government members, including the PM. It comes as officials yesterday confirmed there have been no changes to security protocols at Parliament House since former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgin’s alleged rape. PM Scott Morrison says action is coming “very, very shortly”.


Samoa's powers-that-be have blocked PM-elect Fiame Naomi Mata'afa's transition to power, locking her out of the parliament building for what was to be her swearing-in ceremony yesterday. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Mata'afa's appointment, ending Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s 22-year reign as leader. But the head of state Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II postponed proceedings, and Malielegaoi says he intends on remaining in office. Mata’afa - who comes from royal lineage and is the daughter of the country’s first prime minister - is set to become Samoa’s first female PM following a complicated process to break an election deadlock. "This is an illegal takeover of government, essentially that's what coups are," Mata’afa said. Foreign Minister Marise Payne yesterday called for calm and said Oz has “faith in Samoa’s institutions including the judiciary.”


...if you haven’t already because the weather’s coming in cold and fast. The coldest temperatures in a year are sweeping through the south of Western Oz, already bringing hail and the first snowfall of the year to Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the temperature there is expected to stay in the low teens today, and a strong wind warning has been issued for the Albany coast. And when the cold front is done there, it's headed towards the country's south and east. Damaging winds have already hit Melbourne, and winds and showers are expected in Adelaide this morning. Eventually, it will reach NSW with temperatures falling to 11C later in the week. If only we could find our fingerless gloves to keep our early morning typing fingers warm…


The Sakura, a 15.81-carat purple-pink diamond, has sold for $37.8 million at auction in Hong Kong - the largest sum paid for its type. Named after the Japanese word for cherry blossom, it's another sparkler in the pandemic-proof fine jewellery market.

US golfer Phil Mickelson yesterday became the oldest man to win a major tournament at 50yo. But what we learned courtesy of his mum is he has an impressive set of calves.

And while we’re legging it, a golden retriever pup born without a front right paw has been adopted by a 7yo boy who had his right foot amputated when he was a baby. “It was love at first sight,” Minnesotan mum Blaine Williams said. Aww…


12.30pm (AEST) - Musician, author and actor Clare Bowditch addresses the National Press Club on the future of Australian music - Canberra

6.47pm (AEST) - A 'blood' supermoon and total lunar eclipse will light up the skies. It will be the second-shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting just 14 minutes and 30 seconds

National Sorry Day

Independence Day in Georgia and Guyana

National Wine Day (US, but needs must...)

ABS Data Release - Construction Work Done, March

Birthdays for Stevie Nicks (1948), Lenny Kravitz (1964), Helena Bonham Carter (1966) and Lauryn Hill (1975)

Anniversary of:
• Alse Young becoming the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies (1647)
• the release of The Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the UK (1967)
• Ireland voting to repeal their 8th amendment to allow legalised abortion (2018)

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