Squiz Today / 10 March 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 10 March


"You listen to beginner violin players, beginner guitar players, they all have their difficulties, and I think the recorder is often overlooked as a good way to get started in music."

Said muso Liam McGuinness who is helping the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra make what our parents used to call the ‘squawky tube’ cool again. Good luck with that…


The silence over Australian academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s detention in Iran on spying charges led to a 10-year sentence and poor treatment, she told Sky News last night. Released in a prisoner swap deal in November last year, the 33yo Islamic studies expert told former Sunrise host Mel Doyle (they share an agent...) that she told her family to talk to the media about her case. But stories didn't appear for more than a year because the government had asked for silence as they negotiated with Iranian officials. It’s a sensitive issue for our Foreign Affairs officials handling several cases involving detained Aussies, including another academic who is behind bars in Iran. There was no official response from DFAT last night except to say they were glad she was home.

That the 804 days in detention were brutal after she was arrested at Tehran airport in 2018 as she tried to leave following a conference. It included 7 months in solitary confinement and weeks in a room that was "a 2-by-2 metre box - there is no toilet, there is no television." She was subjected to interrogations, she was beaten by guards once but not physically tortured, and the Revolutionary Guard tried to recruit her as a spy in return for her freedom. She says she nearly escaped once by didn’t run because she had nowhere to go. Overall, she “felt “broken. And things haven’t been easy coming home, either. On arrival in Australia, she learned her husband had been having an affair with one of her colleagues - and she hasn’t spoken to either of them. She is now filing for a divorce.

Funny you ask… The Sydney economics professor/top adviser to de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government was detained because he was caught trying to flee the country with “secret state financial information”, military leader Min Aung Hlaing said yesterday. “Of course he had state financial information. How could he do his job without it?” former Australian ambassador to Myanmar, Nicholas Coppel responded. The Department of Foreign Affairs said they “continue to call on Myanmar to immediately release Professor Turnell and allow him to return to his family in Australia.”



The Sussexes' account of racism and a question from one of the members of the Royal family about "how dark" the skin of their first child are "concerning" and will be "taken very seriously", a statement out this morning from Buckingham Palace says. But don't expect any sort of public inquiry into that and other claims raised in the Oprah interview - they will address any issues as a family, privately. Reports say Queen Elizabeth, Charles and other family members have been in crisis meetings since the interview aired earlier this week. Also caught up in the fallout is the controversial former tabloid editor/talk show host Piers Morgan. He railed against Meghan on air yesterday and stormed off set when he was challenged by a colleague. This morning, ITV says he will not return to his hosting duties with Good Morning Britain.


What’s happening to our political figures in Melbourne? After a year of talking about the health system, Premier Daniel Andrews is experiencing it for himself thanks to some broken ribs and damage to his vertebrae after an early morning stack on wet stairs at home. And then Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was admitted to hospital with an infection (non-corona/vaccine-related…). Spooky… As for Andrews, he will spend the next few days in intensive care with Deputy Premier James Merlino taking the reins. Merlino’s first job: announcing Australia’s first truth-telling commission. With the powers of a Royal Commission, it will investigate past and current effects of colonisation on the state's Indigenous community and recommend ways forward. The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission (Yoo-rrook meaning truth in the Wemba Wemba language) is tasked with producing an interim report by the middle of next year.


This is for Derek Chauvin's trial - the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd - despite the possibility of an additional charge delaying the case. Chauvin was charged on 25 May last year with second-degree murder and manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes as the 46yo black man said more than 20 times that he could not breathe. The decision to start without the pending charge being resolved has drawn an appeal from prosecutors and questions from legal experts. It was already a tricky case with those up for jury duty asked a series of questions, including the daunting “tell us everything you have heard about the death of Mr Floyd.” Floyd’s family and Black Lives Matters activists are expected to maintain a strong presence throughout the trial.


A 13yo school girl has admitted to lying about her teacher Samuel Paty - a fateful fib that likely set off a tragic chain of events that led to his brutal murder by an Islamic extremist close to his school near Paris in October last year. In a tragic twist, a court heard that while a version of the girl’s account of the Muhammad cartoon incident did occur, she was not in class that day. The girl originally told her father that Paty had asked Muslim students to leave the classroom while he showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. She told dad she took issue with the request, and Paty suspended her. The girl's father then started an online hate campaign that prosecutors argue had a “direct causal link” to Paty’s murder. The girl’s father, who faces charges of complicity in the killing, said he “never thought my messages would be seen by terrorists”.


Mega food and personal products manufacturer Unilever has vowed to ban excessive photoshopping of models and strip the word 'normal' from the packaging of 200 beauty brands. The company has already moved to rebrand its skin-lightening creams sold in India from “Fair and Lovely" to "Glow and Lovely" - but copped criticism for not phasing them out completely. And when it comes to natural, biodegradable and regenerative ingredients, products across the portfolio, including Sunsilk, Domestos bleach and Marmite will also get a look in. The company's beauty and care division have a loud voice when it comes to setting standards as one of the world's largest advertisers, spending between US$4-5 billion each year. It's not the first time Unilever's had a go at unrealistic photo editing - this one’s from the archives…


Reports say US President Joe Biden’s German Shepherds have gone from the White House to Delaware's dog house. The young pup of the pair took a chomp at someone. For headcount, they've been replaced by former presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush…

Something to cheer you up - Australia is not the only country to eat its national emblem. Which has got to come up at a trivia night at some point in your future…

And if that didn’t do the trick, the raw emotional joy of 8yo Alan Kim winning a Critics’ Choice Award yesterday could thaw even the hardest heart.


8.30am (AEDT) - Labor leader Anthony Albanese's address to the Financial Review’s Business Forum - Sydney

9.00am (AEDT) - RBA Governor Philip Lowe’s address to the Financial Review’s Business Forum - Sydney

12.30pm (AEDT) - Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland Professor Deborah Terry addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, January (Additional Information)

The World's Greatest Shave begins (on until 14 March)

Birthdays for Chuck Norris (1940), Sharon Stone (1958), Prince Edward (1964), Jon Hamm (1971), Robin Thicke (1977), Carrie Underwood (1983) and Olivia Wilde (1984)

Anniversary of:
• the birthday of NZ suffragette Kate Sheppard (1847)
• Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash that led to the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX planes (2019)

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