Squiz Today / 08 March 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 8 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

News to your ears. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“People, please stop confusing Putin and poutine. One is a dangerous and unwholesome mix of greasy, lumpy, and congealed ingredients, the other is a delicious food.”

Tweeted one fan of the French-Canadian delicacy of fries, cheese curds and gravy that has become the latest victim of the war on Ukraine. Poutine’s phonetic resemblance to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surname has seen one Quebec restaurant pull it from the menu. It’s a tough operating environment out there…

Beware the rise of the autocrats, says PM

PM Scott Morrison has delivered a grave assessment about the state of the world right now, warning that the economic and political implications of the war in Europe would “inevitably” stretch to the Indo-Pacific. In a major national security speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney yesterday, Morrison said we’re currently in “the most difficult and dangerous security environment in 80 years.”

Yep, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, including the 9/11 terror attacks and its aftermath. But Morrison yesterday accused Russia and China of aligning to create an “arc of autocracy” that will be difficult for Western countries like Australia to deal with. Think cyber-attacks, foreign interference, disinformation campaigns and economic coercion – so a couple of things… He says that Russia must pay the “ultimate price” for its invasion of Ukraine, and he took aim at China for its “bet each way” on the war. Morrison said it’s that sort of vibe that saw Oz sign the AUKUS partnership with the UK and US, and why we will build a submarine base on the east coast to support a nuclear-powered fleet. Note: decisions on who will build the subs and when they’ll be operational won’t be made until after the election, he said.

Get set for a lot more talk about national security as the election draws closer. Morrison hasn’t been afraid to push back on China – we’ve seen that play out over the last couple of years. But the recently ramped-up rhetoric from the Coalition comes as it seeks to highlight what the polls say is an advantage it could hold over Labor. Voters might be iffy on Morrison’s COVID response and climate change chops – but the theory goes that voters might give the PM the nod on managing national security over Labor’s Anthony Albanese. We’ll hear his side of the story when he addresses the same forum on Thursday.


Squiz the Rest

The high price of war in Ukraine

Ukraine officials say Russia continues to target civilians in besieged cities where there had been agreements to allow residents to flee. The residents of Kyiv, Mariupol, Irpin and Kharkiv are experiencing intense shelling from Russian forces in areas that had been designated as safe escape routes, as well as hospitals and schools. Overnight, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian military of murder. “There will be no quiet place on Earth for you. Except for the grave,” he said. Russia says locals can escape – but the routes Russia prefers lead Ukrainians over the Russian and Belarus borders. Things are so bad that Western nations are considering a ban on buying Russian energy – a measure that would significantly hurt Russia and the world economy. Russian oil makes up about 7% of the world’s supply, and an embargo would push prices beyond US$200 a barrel, some analysts believe. Overnight, the price hit US$139.13 a barrel – which is a 14 year high. Start saving for your petrol money…

World News

McGowan goes east

It doesn’t have the same ring as the disco classic, does it… He wasn’t keen to leave his state for the first time in 2 years, but Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has turned up in Sydney to give evidence in the defamation trial brought by Clive Palmer. The billionaire political mover-and-shaker says McGowan made 6 hurtful statements in 2020, including that he was an “enemy of the state” for promoting hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment. Yesterday, the Premier told the court that Palmer gave as good as he got, and that created “a band of angry people in our community who believe this sort of stuff and get themselves so wound up that they do crazy things in relation to me and my family.” He said he’s under constant police protection, and death threats have been made. McGowan’s evidence continues today.

Australian News

Warne died of natural causes

Thai officials say there were no suspicious circumstances involved in Shane Warne’s death. There are not a lot of specifics, but the official police spokesman said COVID, assault, and murder have been ruled out as factors, and it was likely to be a suspected heart attack. Reports say that Warne had complained to a friend of “some chest pains and shortness of breath”, and Thai authorities said his family confirmed Warne had asthma and some heart issues. The former cricketing star’s body is expected to return to Australia today. It’s been a tricky process getting him from the island of Koh Samui where he died last Friday, and that’s before a German woman got involved. Thai police say no law was broken – but it’s still bizarre… Warne’s family released a statement yesterday expressing their grief. A state funeral in Warne’s hometown of Melbourne will be held in the coming 2-3 weeks.

Australian News

The shrink you don’t need to see…

A new major study published in Nature says that having just one standard drink a day can reduce the volume of brain matter. Our brains naturally shrink as we age, affecting various cognitive functions like memory, decision-making skills and learning. But after analysing 36,678 brain scans of middle-aged adults stored by the UK Biobank, the study found that 50yos who drank a pint of beer or glass of wine every day over a year tended to have brains that appeared 2 years older than those who drank half a beer. And researchers said it’s worse for those who drank more – 4 daily servings aged brains by more than 10 years. It’s the clearest association between drinking and brain volume to date, but experts reckon that looking at the effect of alcohol consumption over one’s lifetime – rather than just over a year – would provide better data. No cheers to that…


It’s International Women’s Day…

And we were talking at Squiz HQ about Aussie women at the top of their field who don’t get much attention. There are many, and they might like it that way, but here are 3 you might like to know some more about:

Susan Kiefel, the Chief Justice of the High Court. She’s the first woman to be appointed to become the highest-ranking judicial officer in Australia. The Cairns-born legal eagle rose through the ranks of the ultimate boys club, which could be why she has a fondness for Rottweilers…

Pat Turner, the Indigenous policymaker. She started out as a switchboard operator, taught Australian studies at Georgetown University in the US, and established NITV, the Indigenous television channel. And in recent times, the straight-talker has been re­designing the Closing the Gap scheme to improve Indigenous Australians’ health, education, and employment outcomes. 

Professor Sharon Lewin, the infectious diseases physician (aka not an interior design expert…). You might know her as the Director of the Doherty Institute – she was on the telly a bit talking about the modelling behind Australia’s roadmap out of COVID restrictions. She’s also a global authority on HIV and the President-Elect of the International AIDS Society.

Impressive women, eh? Do your thing. 

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing

Some notable women are getting a Barbie doll in their image to recognise their achievements, including TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes (who we Friday Lite’d last week…). The Grey’s Anatomy, Bridgerton and Inventing Anna creator said it was a proud moment.

Confession time: we didn’t know actress Mila Kunis was born in Ukraine and lived there until her family fled the Soviet regime when she was 7yo. Seven years later, she was the ultimate American teen on That 70s Show with now-husband Ashton Kutcher. The point is the couple have launched a fundraiser to raise US$30 million for the people of Ukraine – and they’ve put $3 million in themselves.

COVID didn’t give cruising the easiest time, so it’s a huge move to launch the world’s largest cruise ship the world’s ever seen. With capacity for ​​6,988 passengers, the Wonder of the Seas features a 10-storey waterslide, 20 restaurants, an ice-skating rink and a casino. That’s a hard no from us…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEDT) – Women’s Cricket World Cup 6th ODI – Australia v Pakistan – New Zealand

The Squiz turns 5yo

International Women’s Day

Birthdays for actors Freddie Prinze Jr (1976) and James Van Der Beek (1977)

Anniversary of:
• Henry VIII being recognised as supreme head of Church in England (1531)
• the founding of the New York Stock Exchange (1817)
• the marriage of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis (1952)
• the disappearance of flight MH370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard (2014)

Squiz the Day

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