Squiz Today / 02 August 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 2 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

Part of every good morning routine.

Today’s listen time: 8.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Some people think I stand like a person. It seems you don’t understand me very well.”

Read a statement from China’s Hangzhou Zoo channelling one of its sun bears following accusations the creatures are actually humans in disguise. The viral video that sparked the rumour looks a little strange, but the zoo insists its bears are beary real…

A truly positive result for Peter Bol


Sports Integrity Australia (SIA) has abandoned its investigation into Aussie middle-distance runner Peter Bol. As Oz’s anti-doping organisation, SIA suspended Bol in January pending an investigation after failing a test for the banned substance EPO. In February, when his B sample returned an “atypical finding” (meaning it was neither positive nor negative), he was free to return to training but remained under investigation. And yesterday, it was announced he’s in the clear. Bol didn’t try to hide his delight, posting to Instagram, “I have been exonerated! It was a false positive like I have said all along!” And he said world anti-doping officials have “agreed to review the EPO testing process to prevent future false positives. No one should ever experience what I’ve gone through this year.”


You’d remember Bol as the Perth boy originally from what’s now South Sudan. His family came to Oz on humanitarian visas when he was a kid. Fast forward to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and he became the first Australian in 53 years to make the men’s 800m final, where he finished 4th – the best result for an Aussie man in more than 3 decades. But last year, the positive test result was leaked to the media – which meant what should have been a confidential process has played out in public. And that’s hurt Bol… Supporters say he was on track to win Young Australian of the Year in January, but news of the positive test just days out from the announcement scuttled his chances. He also says he has suffered permanent damage to his reputation. While consistently denying any wrongdoing, he reckons the episode means “people are going to think you’re on the juice” no matter how he performs from here on in. 


Commentators say serious questions remain about “the uncertainty and unfair scrutiny” Bol has faced. For SIA’s part, it welcomed the World Anti-Doping Agency’s review of its EPO testing regime and pointed to the process getting to the right result. “Athletes in Australia should have confidence in the anti-doping system that has allowed Sports Integrity Australia to conduct a thorough investigation,” it said. As for Bol, he’s got 2 things on his mind: this month’s World Athletics Championships in Hungary and next year’s Paris Olympics. “If I can, I want to go win the damn thing. I’m trying to prove a lot of people wrong,” he said in March.

Australian News Sport

Squiz the Rest

Abuser charged with ‘chilling’ crimes

Federal police have charged a former childcare worker with 1,623 abuse offences against 91 children following a joint Queensland-NSW investigation. Federal Police said the offences occurred at centres in Brisbane, Sydney and overseas between 2007-22. The victims were all girls under 10yo at the time, and authorities are “highly confident” the 87 Australian children have been identified and their families informed of the investigation. The 45yo Gold Coast man has been in police custody since August last year – he was initially picked up on charges of making and distributing material too awful to detail. The man faces life in prison, and NSW Police will later seek to extradite him to face charges there once Queensland is done with him. *Need help? Helpline numbers here.

Australian News Crime

Another drone strikes Moscow

Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyani has accused Ukraine of a 2nd drone strike on one of the city’s skyscrapers in as many days. He says while the Russian military managed to shoot down several drones in the city overnight, the exterior of the Moskva city complex was damaged on the 21st floor – although no injuries were reported. Employees in the building are now working from home. While Ukraine hasn’t directly claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his address on Sunday that “the war is gradually returning to Russia’s territory”, and this was “inevitable, natural, and absolutely fair”. Before these latest incidents, the war had really only played out on Russian soil once, with a drone attack on the Kremlin back in May. Ukrainian Minister Mykhailo Fedorov says Moscow can expect more similar strikes as it ramps up its operation to push Russian troops out of the country.

World News

Know when to hold ’em

As predicted by the markets, the Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate target to 4.1% yesterday, making it the second month in a row that rates have remained on hold. In its notes following the board meeting, the central bank said it was closely watching Oz’s slowing inflation rate and softening growth in consumer spending. Outgoing Governor Philip Lowe also noted the rate pause would allow previous hikes to take full effect. Treasurer Jim Chalmers applauded the decision, calling the pause “a welcome reprieve for Australians doing it tough already”. But even before mortgage-holders could breathe out their sighs of relief, economists have begun speculating about next month’s decision… Some expect one more rise before Christmas; others say that – depending on inflation – the hikes might be done. Get your bets in early…

Australian News Economy

Some reef relief…

Sure, this resembles a recent episode of Utopia… But scientists from UNESCO (the United Nations body that oversees world heritage sites) have released their draft recommendations, and the Great Barrier Reef’s status has not been downgraded. Rather than being classified as ‘in danger’, as flagged in June 2021, the reef will remain on the ‘serious threat’ list. The Albanese Government said it shows Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target by 2030 and “clear commitments” to cut greenhouse gas emissions have hit the mark. Not looking so good is Venice – UNESCO says it’s ‘in danger’, citing Italy’s lack of progress on “mass tourism, development projects and climate change”. Next steps: a meeting in September to discuss the draft, and Australia has already been asked for a progress report on the reef by next February.

Australian News Environment & Science

Passports for dog poo offenders

It’s not fun spotting fresh doggie doo-doo – or worse, stepping in it – and one French town is cracking down on badly-behaved dog owners with an unusual initiative. Béziers is trialling a DNA dog passport that uses a saliva sample to track an abandoned poo back to its owner. As part of a 2-year trial, owners will be fined €38 (A$62) if they are caught without a passport while taking their pet out for a walk in the city centre, and will be fined €122 (A$200) if found to be a fecal felon. It’s the second time the idea has been proposed in Béziers after a 2016 attempt failed after concerns it hampered residents’ freedoms. Spain, Italy and the UK have all used a similar method with success. 

Quirky News World News

Apropos of nothing

A Japanese cosplayer who spent over US$14,000 on a hyper-realistic collie dog costume has gone for his first “walk”. The YouTube sensation can fetch and roll over – but hopefully he doesn’t need DNA testing for what we were just talking about…

Comfy shoe giant Birkenstock is mulling a US stock market debut following a boom in sales thanks to a feature in the new Barbie movie. Viewers are split between investing in a pair or having a go at the Barbie shoe challenge

A North English town wants to celebrate its 200th birthday with decorative salt and pepper shakers in the style of its landmark red and white water towers – but they can’t decide which is which. It’s led to a well-seasoned debate…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Australian Industry Group boss, Innes Willox, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Selected Living Cost Indexes, June

Birthdays for author Isabel Allende (1942), actor Sam Worthington (1976), and pop star Charli XCX (1992)

Anniversary of:
• the formal signing of the US Declaration of Independence (1776)
• The Beatles performing their first gig at Liverpool’s Cavern Club (1961)
• rubber bullets being used for the first time in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ (1970)
• Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour becoming the most attended and highest-grossing tour of all time, overtaking U2 (2019)

Squiz the Day

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