Squiz Today / 06 June 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 6 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Your news icebreaker. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“A jaffle is a blank canvas; its potential is limited only by the human imagination.”

So says writer James Shackell, who says the disappearance of the old-school cast iron jaffle makers from our kitchens as their electric counterparts gained popularity is “a travesty”. However they’re made, it’s giving our tummy ideas…

Folbigg pardoned over childrens’ deaths

Kathleen Folbigg walked free from prison in Grafton, NSW, yesterday after spending 20 of a 25-year sentence behind bars following her conviction for the murders of 3 of her young children and the manslaughter of one. It follows a fresh inquiry into the 55yo’s case that heard the children could have died of natural causes. That’s at odds with the jury’s finding in 2003 that Folbigg smothered the children – something she’s repeatedly denied. Yesterday, retired Chief Justice Tom Bathurst said he’d come to the “firm view” that the new scientific evidence cast reasonable doubt over her guilt. The state’s Attorney-General Michael Daley said that he’d considered Bathurst’s findings over the weekend before recommending to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley to grant Folbigg an unconditional pardon. “It has been a 20-year-long ordeal for her. I wish her peace,” Daley said.

Yeah, it’s a lot… Folbigg’s children – Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura – were aged between 19 days and 19 months when each died suddenly between 1989-99. Police took an interest after Laura died in 1999, and Folbigg was charged in 2001. That was when police found her diaries, which became key pieces of evidence that prosecutors said showed Folbigg had a “tendency to become stressed and lose her temper and control with each of her children, and then to asphyxiate them”. For years, supporters and experts said there was no evidence that Folbigg killed her children – but it took a lot to secure her release. Following her conviction, she appealed the decision (which was rejected), there was the first judicial inquiry in 2018 (which found no reason to overturn her conviction), she appealed that finding (which was rejected) – and now the second judicial inquiry has gone her way. It’s been an epic journey for the woman once dubbed Australia’s worst female serial killer…

It’s down to new knowledge about genetics. In 2021, an international team published a report that Folbigg and her daughters shared a genetic mutation that can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. And her sons carried “a gene shown to cause early onset lethal epilepsy in mice when detected”. That meant there was enough reasonable doubt over her guilt, Bathurst said. He is expected to complete his final report within weeks. After that, the convictions could be quashed in the state’s court of criminal appeal, and Folbigg can decide whether to sue for compensation. For now, she’ll spend time with her friend Tracy Chapman. But one person not happy about the result is Folbigg’s former husband. Yesterday his lawyer said Craig Folbigg still believes she killed the children, and “if he was not feeling shattered, you would not be normal.”

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Interest rates again, already…

It’s the first Tuesday of the month, and you know what that means – it’s Philip Lowe and Co’s big day… The Reserve Bank Governor and his board will meet and then let us know at 2:30pm if interest rates are staying put, going up again – or, unlikely in this environment, going down… This time around, the pundits are split – of the big 4 banks, CommBank and Westpac think rates have peaked, while ANZ and NAB are tipping at least one more rise before the end of the year. Adding fuel to the speculation were last week’s inflation numbers, which showed that headline inflation was up between March and April, but underlying inflation (the rate when you take out the unusual price spikes) was down. The rates decision also comes as a new survey found that 40% of Aussies are struggling with mortgage repayments, up from 24% a year ago. The crunch is real…

Business & Finance Economy

Soaring prices (get it?)

Speaking of sky-high costs, a new report by the nation’s competition regulator, the ACCC, has blamed Virgin Australia’s and Qantas/Jetstar’s dominance for “underwhelming outcomes” and higher airfares. Nearly 30% of domestic flights were delayed in April, with 4% cancelled. The worst offender was Jetstar, which cancelled 8% of its flights during the month. ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said there is “ineffective competition resulting in higher prices and less customer service than Australian passengers deserve.” And she suggested that airlines be forced to compensate passengers for cancelled or delayed flights, which could help pay for the $7 coffee you had to buy ‘coz you’re still stuck at the terminal… Yesterday, outgoing Qantas boss Alan Joyce said fares are coming down as capacity returns following the horror COVID shutdown. International and domestic routes will return to at least 100% of pre-2020 levels by March next year, he said.

Australian News Business & Finance

A quest to change the media

Prince Harry is back in London after his lighting trip for the Coronation – this time, he’s set to appear in court for his lawsuit against a British publisher. Harry is among 100 people suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) – the company behind the Daily Mirror – over alleged phone hacking and other unlawful information gathering. The Duke of Sussex will become the most senior royal to appear in court since the 18th century, and he is expected to unload on a British tabloid industry he has called “the mothership of online trolling”. In reply, MGN will argue that some of the information they obtained came from royal insiders. Harry has previously said that it’s his “life’s work to change the British media landscape”, so emotions could be high. It’s a huge case and the part that Harry’s involved in will examine 33 stories in detail over 3 days this week.

World News

That’s Dame to you…

In a royal-adjacent development, former Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern has accepted her nation’s awarding of a new title: Dame Grand Companion Ardern. That’s Dame Ardern for short… The ex-PM was given the honour yesterday as part of Kiwiland’s King’s Birthday Honours in recognition of her service to the country, particularly her leadership during the response to the Christchurch mosque attacks and the pandemic. Ardern was torn over whether to accept the award, saying those events “were about all of us rather than one individual”. But, she says, she accepted the title as “a way to say thank you – to my family, to my colleagues”. Post-politics, Ardern has also taken on a role as a special envoy combatting online extremism and has also accepted 2 fellowships at Harvard.

World News

Saying cheese the Hollywood way…

The hot job in Japan right now: smile instructor. Industry founder Keiko Kwano reckons that demand for her smile tuition services has quadrupled since last year as masks in Japan finally begin to slip below the chin. Japan officially lifted its COVID-era mask recommendation in March this year, but masks were popular in Japan before the pandemic, and a recent public poll found that just 8% of locals no longer wear masks at all. But as the phiz reemerges, locals are paying 7,700 yen (around $83) for an hour-long ‘Hollywood Style Smiling Technique’ session. We immediately thought of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but the trademark smile turns out to be much gentler: you round your cheeks and show the 8 middle teeth of your top chompers. Back in a sec, now where’s that mirror…

Quirky News World News

Apropos of nothing

If you’ve been struggling to find pink paint, blame Barbie. The upcoming Barbie film cleaned out supplies while constructing the film’s garish dollhouse sets. It means the world “ran out of pink,” set designer Sarah Greenwood told Architectural Digest. The film is out on 20 July…

Alabama’s got barbecued meats, hospitality – and an official state cookie… Fourth-graders submitted their recipes to their state representative, who sponsored a bill to make the winning entry – the Yellowhammer – official. It contains pecans and oats with a peanut butter filling.

Upper lips, beware: the moustache is making a comeback. According to those in the mo know, a combination of playfulness, the pandemic, and Top Gun have contributed to the tragedy. “It looks like people that wear them are more confident in themselves,” one moustachioed man said. Well, he would say that…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – 2023 ASMR Medallist Professor Manu Platt addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

2.30pm (AEST) – The Reserve Bank makes an announcement on interest rates

Queensland Day, marking the day the Sunshine State was established as a separate colony from New South Wales (1859)

Sweden’s National Day

ABS Data Release – Monthly Household Spending Indicator, April

Russian Language Day

World Pest Day

Anniversary of:
• the patenting of the electric iron by New Yorker Henry Seely (1882)
• the beginning of D-Day as the Allies land in Normandy, France (1944)
• the release of David Bowie’s breakthrough album The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972) and video game Tetris by Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov (1984)
• the premiere of Sex and the City (1998)

Australian News

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