Squiz Today / 15 March 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 15 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

News that helps you get it done.

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Never watched it.”

Responded media mogul Rupert Murdoch to a journo’s question about whether he will be tuning in to the upcoming season of Succession. The hit show is said to be inspired by him and his family – but the 92yo could probably do without seeing the unflattering impression…

A big big big investment in our security

It was a highly anticipated moment with an 18-month lead-in, and now we have some details about how the US and UK will support Australia to develop and deploy nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS agreement. Speaking in San Diego with UK PM Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden, PM Anthony Albanese said it will be the first time in 65 years and the 2nd time in history that America has shared its nuclear propulsion secrets. He added that our 3 nations have a “shared tradition of service in the cause of peace and sacrifice in the name of freedom” and hold an “unwavering conviction that whatever the challenges ahead, the cause of peace and freedom that we share will prevail.” But first: to successfully build, operate and maintain the most complex machines in human history…

You got it.

What – Australia will buy 3-5 Virginia class subs from the US, and we’ll eventually get 8 of a new version called the SNN-AUKUS – they will be built with British and American help. More than 10,000 direct jobs will be created, and that number again in indirect employment. The bill: between $268-368 billion over the next 30 years. That sound you can hear is Treasury officials crying in pain…

When – There’s a phased approach that begins this year with Aussie military and civilian personnel being embedded with the US/Royal Navies for training. We’ll get our hands on the US subs in the 2030s, and the first AUKUS sub will be handed over in the early 2040s, with more coming into the 2050-60s.

Where – No decision has been made on a future east coast base, but naval base HMAS Stirling has been picked to host subs in the Western Oz, and it will be upgraded to host US and UK submarine visits from 2027. And, of course, Adelaide has a starring role, with the first submarine Oz-made sub pencilled in to be completed in 2042.

We’re going high-tech… Australia needs to shoulder a science/nuclear/skills lift, and the leaders spoke about stepping up our collective “industrial capacity to produce and sustain interoperable nuclear-powered submarines for decades to come”. Critics say it’s a big risk to pull the project off. And then there’s what it means for security in our region. And while the leaders spoke of peace, many analysts focused on conflict. One report described yesterday’s announcement as the most aggressive step taken to counter China’s military expansion in the Indo-Pacific region. China-aligned analysts agreed, saying it puts Australia on the “frontline” of argy-bargy between the US and China and a “time bomb for peace and stability in the region”. Meanwhile, China is making plans to step up and spend big on its own military capabilities. What could possibly go wrong?

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

A drone dropped over the Black Sea

US officials have confirmed that Russian fighter jets have forced down a US Air Force drone in international waters that forms Ukraine’s southern border. The Russian jets dumped fuel in front of the uncrewed drone and damaged its propeller in an incident US Air Force General James B Hecker called “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional.” National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby said it was “not uncommon” for Russian aircraft to intercept US aircraft over the Black Sea, and President Biden has been briefed. The US has been operating these spy drones in the region since before the beginning of the war to monitor the area. Flying at high altitudes, they gather intelligence and track movements on the battlefield and in the Black Sea. Russia has given its side of the story yet…

World News

Wobbly accounts trouble world markets

Despite President Biden’s confidence measures, stocks in global banks dived yesterday as investors withdrew from a sector rocked by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Analysts say the stock market falls indicate fear about more potential bank failures, which could happen if too many customers try to withdraw their money simultaneously. Customers of SVB got access to their funds yesterday, as promised by the US Treasury. So what next? Besides waiting to see if the dominoes keep falling, analysts have begun speculating that the current financial wobbles might mean central banks will pause or slow their interest rate rises. And in the US, finger-pointing has started with an employee of SVB calling the actions of the bank’s CEO “absolutely idiotic”. In Washington, Democrats (aka Biden’s party) blame a Trump-era relaxation of banking scrutiny.

Business & Finance World News

AFL concussion class action begins

Sticking with the Victorian courts… More than 60 former Aussie Rules players have kicked off a high-profile class action in the Victorian Supreme Court against the AFL over brain injuries they say they received from becoming concussed during games. Backed by Margalit Injury Lawyers, the groundbreaking action is led by Geelong Cats premiership player Max Rooke, who says he suffers from permanent and life-altering injuries due to league negligence following the 30-odd concussions he received on the field. The group is fighting for a yet-to-be-decided amount of compensation for the “pain and suffering, economic loss and medical expenses” they’ve endured. For its part, the AFL yesterday announced $25 million for a 10-year study to research the long-term effects of player concussions. It also released new rules stating AFL and AFLW players can only return to play 12 days after sustaining a concussion and following a strict 11-step medical process.

Health Sport


Aussie soccer star Sam Kerr has another trophy to her name after being named the FA Women’s Super League Player of the Year for the 2nd time in a row. The award is open to players in Britain’s top soccer league, where Kerr plays for Chelsea – a team that is top of the ladder after beating Manchester United on the weekend, with the winning goal coming from… you guessed it, Sam Kerr. “I’ll have to watch it back,” Kerr said after the game, “but it felt pretty good.” Last year, the superstar said that despite all the plaudits, she has moments when she doubts that she deserves her place in international football. She said “you feel like, ‘I’m just a normal person from Perth’.” Just a normal person who’s really really good at scoring goals against the best in the world… And if you want to see Kerr live in action, don’t forget the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is being hosted in Australia and New Zealand, starting in July.


Rambo is finally outfoxed

According to conservationists, the wily red fox that evaded capture for more than 4 years in NSW’s Pilliga Scrub region is “no longer”. Named after Sylvester Stallone’s unkillable action hero, Rambo has been Pilliga’s most wanted since he was spotted in an area set aside for reintroducing endangered native species, including bilbies. Since then, authorities unsuccessfully attempted to track him down using about 10,400 traps, 3,500 baits, 73 stakeouts, 55 days of scent-tracking dogs and 97 infrared cameras. And after all that, it’s believed Mother Nature was the one to outfox the fox – Rambo hasn’t been seen since last October when there were 2 big floods in the region. It’s a relief to conservationists but a disappointment to the many hunters who failed to catch him. “Rambo will always be in my thoughts, but he’s finally left my dreams,” Pilliga operations manager Wayne Sparrow said. RIP, sly fox…

Australian News Environment & Science

Apropos of nothing

The French Fencing Federation officially recognised lightsaber duelling as an actual sport in 2019, and while it’s a male-dominated niche, one Perth club is seeing demand explode for their women’s-only classes. May the force be with her…

Headphones that clean out your ear wax in 35 seconds are proving divisive. It’s not just about the $2,753 price tag – one Twitter user said they initially thought the device brewed tea because of the colour of the ear wax water…

The UK’s food authority – the one that warned against bringing cakes into work – has updated its advice on what to keep in the fridge. Raw potatoes – tick. And those on Team Fridge Door for milk and Team Pantry for tomato sauce might want to avoid the other advice

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Former PM Paul Keating addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

7.30pm (AEDT) – Men’s Basketball – Grand Final Game 5 – Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers – Sydney

9.00pm (AEDT) – World Men’s Baseball Classic Quarter-Final – Australia v Cuba – Tokyo

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, January

NAPLAN testing begins at schools around Oz

World Consumer Rights Day

International Day Against Police Brutality

World Speech Day

The World’s Greatest Shave begins (until 19 March)

Season 3 of Ted Lasso released on Apple TV+

Birthdays for actor Eva Longoria (1975) and musician will.i.am (1975)

Anniversary of:
• the death of Julius Caesar (44BC)
• the birthday of Saint Nicholas (270) and Ruth Bader Gingburgs (1933)
• the return of Christopher Columbus to Spain after his first voyage to the New World (1493)
• the first Test cricket match – Australia v England at the MCG in Melbourne (1877)
• the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (1964)
• the release of The Godfather (1972)
• the Christchurch mosque shootings that saw 51 killed (2019)

Squiz the Day

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