Squiz Today / 19 July 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 19 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you started on the right foot – and ear.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Be on the forefront of a new way to work”

Reads a real estate listing for an office-to-residence conversion in California’s Bay Area that went viral on TikTok for looking like… an office. The approach has been touted as a solution to housing supply issues, but it’s a bit too ‘work from home’ for many…  

The Games are over

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has pulled out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, announcing yesterday that it was beyond the state’s means. The cost has blown out from an estimated $2.6 billion, Andrews says, and “frankly, $6 billion to $7 billion for a 12-day sporting event, we are not doing that.” He added that it was not a difficult call to make because he “will not take money out of hospitals and schools”. Commonwealth Games Australia boss Craig Phillips (who was informed of the decision 1.5 hours before it was announced) says the predicted blowout is “a gross exaggeration and not reflective of the operational costs.” Note: the 2018 Gold Coast Games cost $1.2 billion and last year’s Birmingham Games cost $1.8 billion.

It was April 2022 when we heard that Victoria would host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with a lot of the action happening in regional centres. Yesterday’s announcement means that Bendigo will no longer host world-class lawn bowls or squash; Ballarat’s athletics events have raced away; Gippsland will pack away its badminton gear; Shepparton has been told to get on yer bike; and Geelong says farewell to table tennis and beach volleyball. Victoria’s unconventional pitch to host the event came after the Commonwealth Games struggled to find another interested city from the 50+ Commonwealth nations… Last year, Andrews said he was “very, very confident that this will deliver jobs, it’ll deliver better facilities, better housing, and it’ll be a showcase to the world.” But yesterday, he said it “does not stack up.” Yesterday, Australia’s former Olympics impresario John Coates said the regional model was never going to work.

Australia’s other state leaders sprinted away from the suggestion that they might step up to play host faster than Rohan Browning… And rubbing salt in the wound, Western Oz’s new premier Roger Cook said that the Games “aren’t what they used to be”… Exactly how the 2026 Commonwealth Games will proceed is hard to answer at this stage, and criticism continues to rain down on Andrews. Victorian Coalition leader John Pesutto said pulling out is “hugely damaging to Victoria’s reputation” and “a betrayal of regional Victoria”. Others say it’s a good call that will allow for scarce public dollars to be spent on priority areas. Andrews has promised that the Games’ budget will be diverted to regional Victoria, including $1 billion for 1,300 new homes. He says he’ll have more to say about the decision this week.

Australian News Sport

Squiz the Rest

Giving a Voice to duelling campaigns

The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns’ talking points on the upcoming Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum are up on the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website, and there’s a bit to unpackThe ‘No’ campaign says the proposal is “legally risky, with unknown consequences”. And without more details being shared before the vote, they say that “we don’t know how it would make representations or be held accountable”. As for the ‘Yes’ campaign, it says “practical progress” for Indigenous Aussies starts with “constitutional recognition”. And while the Voice would give advice, they say “Parliament and Government will still be responsible” for decision-making. Note: the AEC has not edited or formatted to docs – and they’re also not independently fact-checked. The fun isn’t over – we’ll be able to peruse each side’s POV when the brochure version hits letterboxes in the coming months.

AusPol Australian News

Russia abandons an important grain deal

Russia is standing by its decision to terminate a deal with the United Nations, allowing Ukraine to send grain via the Black Sea. The UN and Turkey brokered the deal last year following global food shortages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, particularly for many poor nations that rely on Ukraine’s wheat. The deal lifted Russia’s trade blockade after it seized control of the Black Sea, but it’s no longer in place, and UN General Secretary António Guterres said that will “strike a blow to people in need everywhere”. Russia’s announcement came hours after a new attack on the strategic/symbolic bridge linking Russia’s mainland to occupied Crimea on Monday. It’s the 2nd attack in 9 months, and Ukraine hasn’t claimed responsibility. Russia has vowed to retaliate.

World News

A new Alzheimer’s drug raises hopes

Reports say a “groundbreaking” new drug used to treat Alzheimer’s is set to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration following a successful global trial. Drugmaker Eli Lilly said early-stage Alzheimer’s patients who took donanemab had a 40% lower risk of progressing from mild cognitive impairment to mild dementia, or from mild to moderate dementia. The drug also slowed patients’ cognitive decline by 35% compared with those who received a placebo. If approved, donanemab would become the third Alzheimer’s drug available in the US market in recent months – Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is currently looking at approving one of those for use here. Experts welcomed the update, but many noted that these drugs aren’t a miracle cure – they slow the progression of the disease.


Thumbs up for technology

If you’ve ever sent an emoji response to someone’s message without much thought, beware… A Canadian court says emoji use has become so ingrained in society that the legal system needs to recognise it as a legitimate way of communicating. That means it’s found the use of emojis can be legally binding… The court told farmer Chris Achter to pay more than $61,400 for an unfulfilled grain contract after he sent a thumbs up to a grain purchasing company’s text asking him to confirm a draft contract. Achter argued he indicated he would review the contract, but the court ruled that the emoji “was a valid way to convey the 2 purposes of a signature”. Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s IT crew probably aren’t in the mood to send many thumbs-ups ATM… The US Defence Department is scrambling after it found a typo had millions of sensitive military emails (.mil) being sent to Mali officials (.ml). Note: Mali is Russia’s close ally. Insert a thumbs-down emoji…


A crown emoji for Taylor Swift

TayTay’s, ahem, swiftly knocked over another music chart record with the release of her latest re-recorded album, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). It debuted in 2010 but was re-released with several new tracks on 7 July – and yesterday, it was confirmed that Swift is the first woman ever to have 4 albums in the US top 10 simultaneously. And she’s taken the title of the female artist with the most chart-topping albums (12 of ‘em…) after Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) shot to #1. She’s taken the crown from Barbra Streisand, and Swift is now tied with Canadian rapper Drake. They both have a way to go before they match The Beatles’ record of 19 number ones, but Swift loves to smash records. Baby, let the games begin…


Apropos of nothing

An unused first-generation Apple iPhone from 2007 has sold at auction for an eyewatering sum of $US190,000 ($A279,000) – more than 300 times its original price. The device is considered a ‘holy grail’ item among collectors because it’s rare to find one in good condition.

Some Italian YouTubers have created what they claim is the world’s lowest car after modifying an old Fiat Panda. It might be the real deal, but it’s not roadworthy…

A Nigerian man went partially blind for 45 minutes after crying for a week straight as part of a world record attempt. Guinness World Records says there has been a surge in record-breaking endeavours in Africa’s most populous nation in recent months after a chef’s 4-day cooking marathon went viral.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Education Minister Jason Clare addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

8.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Test Cricket – Ashes Match 4 – Australia v England – Stretford

Second Quarter Company Results – Woodside Energy; Rio Tinto

Season 2 of The Bear premieres on Disney+

Birthdays for Brian May (1947) and Benedict Cumberbatch (1976)

Anniversary of:
• the first US women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls NY, organised by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott (1848)
• the first appearance of Tom and Jerry under their own names in the cartoon The Midnight Snack (1941)
• the premiere of Mad Men (2007)
Depacito by Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee becoming the most streamed song ever, played 4.6 billion times (2017)
• an archaeological dig in Kakadu National Park extending Indigenous Australians’ time in Oz from 65,000 to 80,000 years ago (2017)
• the death of Matthew Flinders, the cat-loving leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia (1814)

Squiz the Day

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