Squiz Today / 04 October 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 4 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Your news icebreaker. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

11 / 22
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25 / 32
4 / 21

Squiz Sayings

“We used Mount Everest as a bit of a thing last year. But this year was Top Gun which was pretty cool.”

Said Penrith Panthers star Jarome Luai of the season’s theme that led to the team’s NRL grand final win on Sunday night against the Paramatta Eels. They felt the need, the need for motivation…

Hope and fear over Aussies’ return from Syria

Reports say the Albanese Government is planning to bring Aussie women and children back to Australia from detention camps in Syria where they have been since the Islamic State was quashed in 2019. Officials visited the camps earlier this year and verified the identities of more than 20 women and 40 children who are the widows/sisters/children of IS fighters. The move would see Australia join the likes of the US, Germany and France to repatriate citizens caught up in the cluster disaster. And it marks a significant departure from the Morrison Government’s position… It brought back 8 orphans before determining that the risk to rescuers and Aussies at home was too high. At that time, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said he was worried that “some of them have the potential and capacity to come back here and cause a mass casualty event.”

Well, it depends on who you ask… For the parents of some of the women, it’s “an incredibly exciting prospect”. They say their daughters were tricked into travelling to Syria by husbands who have since died or been jailed. Save the Children Australia boss Mat Tinkler also welcomed the move and rejected claims that repatriation is too dangerous. But the Coalition’s apprehension hasn’t gone away. The Coalition’s Home Affairs spokeswoman Karen Andrews says the mission poses “an unnecessary risk and enormous cost”. And its Immigration spokesman Dan Tehan wants the government to reveal what risk assessments have been done and says the women should face charges for travelling to a place that was banned at the time.

Nothing’s been officially confirmed, but it looks like Team Albanese is committed. Senior minister Tanya Plibersek says those returning would be closely monitored by national security agencies, and reports say all have volunteered to submit to control orders. Many experts believe it is possible to successfully reintegrate the group even though most are sick, some are injured, and all have been subjected to trauma. Former intelligence analyst Shane Healey says it will be a “long, intensive and individualised process but, done holistically, will have excellent results.” Note: more than 10 Australian men are incarcerated in Syria, but there are no plans to repatriate them. They fought for IS and are considered a much bigger threat than the women.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Tragedy at the soccer

At least 125 people have died, including 32 children aged between 3-17yo, as a result of a stampede at a top league soccer game in Indonesia’s East Java on Saturday night. It is one of the worst stadium disasters in history. What happened was home side Arema FC played Persebaya Surabaya at Stadion Kanjuruhan and lost. That saw about 3,000 fans storm the pitch, where they clashed with police. Officers fired tear gas, triggering the stampede to the exit, and some suffocated in the crush while others were trampled to death. Attention has turned to the 38,000-capacity stadium with officials claiming 42,000 tickets were issued. President Joko Widodo has ordered a suspension until an investigation is wrapped up. And FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, said it was a “dark day for all involved”. No stranger to crowd management issues, FIFA specifies in its safety regulations that no firearms or crowd control gas should be carried or used by stewards or police.

Sport World News

A highly anticipated trial set to begin

The trial of former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann – the man accused of raping Brittany Higgins inside Parliament House in 2019 – is set to begin in the ACT Supreme Court today. The trial, which is expected to last up to 7 weeks, was supposed to start in June but was delayed after chief justice Lucy McCallum ruled – “regrettably and with gritted teeth” – that comments made publicly by Network 10’s The Project host Lisa Wilkinson and other media personalities about the case was “clearly a contempt of court”. Last month, McCallum also said she would “flush out any person who follows Ms Higgins on Twitter” and ask them to excuse themselves from the jury panel. Higgins says she intends to give evidence at the trial. Lehrmann denies any sexual activity took place and has pleaded not guilty.

Australian News Crime

Numbers on the Optus cyber attack

More details about the Optus data hack were revealed yesterday – 9.8 million current and past customers’ data was accessed. And yes, we already knew that… Now, Optus reckons 7.7 million of those don’t need to replace their ID because their data wasn’t collected/recorded properly/is out of date. But 2.1 million will likely need to replace their ID, including about 150,000 customers’ passports and 50,000 who shared Medicare details. Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin continues to apologise for the breach as confusion reigns over what it all means. She has hired consultants Deloitte to conduct an independent external review of the attack. The Albanese Government wants the company to “step up” its response to the breach with Government Services Minister Bill Shorten saying efforts to date are “not enough.”

Business & Finance

Property ups and downs

The start of a new month means 2 things: a check-in with the latest on property prices and a preview of the Reserve Bank’s monthly review of interest rates… Starting at the top, there’s little surprise that housing prices went backwards last month, just like they have since rates started their upward march in April. National prices were down 1.4% for the month, with Sydney (-1.8%) leading the charge. And looking back over the July-September quarter, national prices have fallen 4.3%, with Sydney homes losing 6.1% in value. Then it’s Hobart (-4.5%), Canberra (-4.4%), Brisbane (-4.3%), Melbourne (-3.7%), and Perth (-0.4%). Darwin (1.4%) and Adelaide (0.1%) made gains in the quarter. Regional Oz isn’t immune – it’s down 3.6% during that period. “It is absolutely a buyers’ market,” said CoreLogic analyst Tim Lawless. Financial markets are betting on a half percentage point increase in the official cash rate today to 2.85%. Race you to the check-in at 2.30pm today…

Australian News Business & Finance

Bruce Willis saves face

We’ve pushed past the pain that was the realisation that a viral Keanu Reeves-themed TikTok wasn’t him. And we’re getting comfortable with the idea that icon James Earl Jones’ Darth Vader voice will be AI-generated in the future. But the suggestion that Die Hard legend Bruce Willis had “sold his face” was a bit much – and both the actor and the tech company he’s been linked to say it isn’t so… Late last week, reports stretched far and wide that deepfake company Deepcake had bought the rights to Willis’s face following his retirement in March after he was diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that affects speech. The idea was that artificial intelligence and machine learning technology would create realistic videos that could see him at the top of the box office again. An ad using Willis’s face was made by Deepcake last year, but there’s no ongoing relationship, and the company says it can’t buy the rights to something that’s his by default. Yippee-ki-yay…


Apropos of Nothing

Speaking of weird science, a beagle has given birth to an Arctic wolf. Maya – the first-ever cloned wolf – was ‘created’ by scientists from Sinogene, a Chinese biotech company. They say their work could save endangered species worldwide, but many have ethical concerns.

A 64yo Dutch woman Ludwina Verhoeven is soon to receive a postcard from her holidaying sister – 42 years after it was sent… “The address on it is the right one,” she said. “In fact, I still live there. And how come it has suddenly resurfaced now?” Postal services, eh?

They say that dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy – but a pair of fishermen in Ohio went to great effort to stuff their catch with lead pellets in an attempt to win $30,000 in prize money. After getting caught, it’s the one that got away…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

2.30pm (AEDT) – Announcement on interest rates following today’s RBA board meeting

8.45pm (AEDT) – Nobel Prize for Physics announced

Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ceremonial leader of the Church of England, arrives in Perth to start a 2-week tour of Australia

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, August; Lending Indicators, August

The trial of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins accused rapist begins

World Animal Day

Start of World Space Week – this year’s theme is ‘sustainability’ (until 10 October)

Birthdays for actors Susan Sarandon (1946), Alicia Silverstone (1976), and Dakota Johnson (1989)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Dutch painter Rembrandt (1669), Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cancer cells provided one of the most important cell lines in medical research (1951), and musician Janis Joplin (1970)
• the Soviet Union launching Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite (1957)
• the launch of WikiLeaks by Julian Assange (2006)

Squiz the Day

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