Squiz Today / 21 September 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 21 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you over the hump.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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11 / 20
9 / 20
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Squiz Sayings

“Well, you’re no longer the Big Potato heiress.”

Is how Melanie Tait’s mother broke the news that the family had finally sold the iconic landmark in the NSW town of Robertson. The supersized spud was sold for an undisclosed sum, but it probably wasn’t as cheap as chips…

‘Serial’ star freed after 23 years

Eight years after the early true-crime podcast Serial made his case famous, Adnan Syed, the man convicted of killing Hae Min Lee, has been released from jail and had his conviction overturned. That came at the request of prosecutors in the US city of Baltimore after a year spent re-examining his case. City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn concluded that prosecutors had failed to turn over crucial evidence and that 2 other suspects hadn’t been thoroughly investigated. A freed Syed was met with cheers from supporters, but Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says he’s not in the clear yet. “We’re not yet declaring Adnan Syed is innocent… But we are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice, he is entitled to a new trial,” she said yesterday.

Syed was 19yo when he was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for premeditated murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment over the death of his ex-girlfriend. That followed the discovery of the body of 18yo Lee in the city’s Leakin Park in 1999. Prosecutors argued Syed was a scorned lover who strangled her with the help of friend Jay Wilds (who was given probation instead of a prison sentence after he confessed to helping bury Lee’s body), but mobile phone location data used to show Syed’s guilt has since been proven unreliable. Syed always maintained his innocence, and in 2014, doubts about his guilt were explored in the 12 episodes of Serial. It quickly became an international hit with its episodes downloaded more than 340 million times. Serial‘s producers tweeted they will release a new episode covering the latest developments.

Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to drop the charges against Syed for good or order a new trial, which experts say is unlikely given Syed is now 41yo and has already spent 23 years in prison. Until then, he is under house arrest. His lawyer said they “now know” that “Adnan’s trial was profoundly and outrageously unfair.” The 2 new suspects haven’t been named, but both have records of violence towards women. And while Syed’s family have expressed relief, Lee’s family say they were blindsided, with her brother Young Lee telling the hearing, “This is not a podcast for me… This is real life – a never-ending nightmare for 20-plus years. Whenever I think it’s over and it’s ended, it always comes back.”

Crime World News

Squiz the Rest

Zelensky vows to fight on

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed there will be no “lull” in the effort to regain territory lost to Russia as it prepares for a fresh assault. After last week’s counteroffensive forced Russia to retreat in parts of Ukraine’s northeast, he’s told the nation that he’s keen to keep the ball rolling while the “occupiers are clearly in a panic”. Western leaders are also pointing to anxiety in the Russian-held Donbas region with 4 areas announcing plans for urgent referendums on joining Russia, which would give Russian President Vladimir Putin what he would consider a for annexation. That’s what Russia did in Crimea, anyway… Zelensky and Putin are set to give big speeches in the coming day – the former to the United Nations General Assembly and the latter to his nation. Reports say the Russian leader is set to deliver a televised address – his first since the start of the war in February.

World News

Holiday/celebrate is not tomorrow’s vibe

The weather might be a bit iffy but put 11am tomorrow in your diary – it’s when we’ve been asked to pause for a minute’s silence to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II. That will open the national memorial service at Parliament House in Canberra with our government leaders, governors, and most federal MPs and senators in attendance. But there are still many who are unhappy about the short-notice holiday. There will be protests calling for the abolishment of the monarchy. And the Australian Medical Association remains concerned, saying it expects 5,000 ­patients will have elective surgeries cancelled. Federal Health Minister Mark Butler says he gets there will be an impact, but “this is an incredibly important day”. And many employers aren’t just worried about Thursday – it’s workers taking a sickie on Friday to turn it into an extended long weekend that they have their eye on… One study says a Friday fizzer could amount to a $460 million hit on productivity.

Australian News

The slow Budget reveal…

Another thing to put in your diary is Wednesday next week when the Albanese Government releases the full budget outcome for the previous financial year. And before you get too delirious with excitement at the prospect of getting the final take on the books for 2021-22, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher came out with a teaser yesterday. The federal coffers have received a $50 billion boost since March, driven by lower spending by Team Morrison and high commodity prices. Having said that, the deficit is still expected to be upwards of $30 billion, and there’s a dip ahead with prices for iron ore/gas/coal and all that expected to soften. And when it comes to Aussies’ hip pockets, Chalmers says the return to the full rate of fuel excise next week shouldn’t bite immediately. Mid-October is when we’ll be able to notice the extra 22c/litre. Maybe plan for a trip to the petrol station to fill ‘er up before then too…

AusPol Business & Finance

A moving target for sitters

Today, too much potato news is barely enough… So when we hear the words ‘active couch potato’, our minds go to a new/exciting spud snack that can be enjoyed on the sofa. Turns out it’s a new term conjured by scientists from the University of Oulu in Finland who have probed people who are getting their recommended 30 minutes of exercise but spend the rest of the day sitting. After looking over 3,700 men and women, those who fit that profile had elevated blood sugar, cholesterol and body fat levels to the degree that their exercise efforts hardly registered, while those who moved a bit more were significantly healthier. They say that the prescription for active couch potatoes is completing 80-90 extra minutes of light activity a day. “Try putting the printer and recycling bins in another room so you have to get up and walk there,” one expert suggests. Or maybe put the potato stash in a room other than the kitchen…


Brad Pitt and Nick Cave’s surprise sculpture expo

Hollywood actor Brad Pitt and Aussie music icon Nick Cave are cool cats, so it’s completely natural that the pair would open a joint art exhibition in Finland this week… Located at the Sara Hilden Art Museum in the city of Tampere, the exhibit includes a series by Cave of ‘glazed ceramic figurines depicting the life of Satan in 17 stations, from innocence through experience into confrontation of our mortality’. Meanwhile, Pitt has provided 9 sculptures, including one called Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound to the House, made of trapped bullets crystalised in platinum silicon. The 58yo actor says his self-taught art is about “where I have gotten it wrong in my relationships, where have I misstepped, where am I complicit”. So it’s all pretty light and breezy, then…


Apropos of Nothing

Scientists from Hong Kong University have estimated how many ants there are on Earth, and they landed on an “unimaginable” sum: 20 quadrillion, or 20,000 billion. And if you think that’s a lot, their total mass would outweigh all the world’s wild birds and mammals…

Antarctic researchers say they have accurately estimated the number of Weddell seals on the icy continent for the first time. The tough terrain has been a barrier in the past, but satellite images and the keen eyes of 330,000 volunteers counted about 202,000 adorable sea puppies.

And we’re counting down to… the release of Mariah Carey’s indie rock album that she secretly made in the 90s. We told Squizers about its existence a couple of years ago, but the pop icon has confirmed it will be seeing the light of day. It’s all we want for Christmas…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Olympian Cate Campbell and Melanoma Institute Australia Co-Medical Directors Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer address the National Press Club – Canberra

National days for Armenia, Belize and Malta

International Day of Peace

World Alzheimer’s Day

Birthdays for author Stephen King (1947), actor Bill Murray (1950), former PM Kevin Rudd (1957), actor Billy Porter (1969), and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher (1972)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of sci-fi author HG Wells (1866), musician Leonard Cohen (1934), and former Japanese PM Shinzō Abe (1954)
• the passing of a proclamation announcing the formal abolition of the French monarchy during the French Revolution (1792)
• the publication of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937)
• the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China by the Chinese Communist Party (1949)
• the publication of a genomic study finding Indigenous Australians are the oldest known civilisation on earth in Nature (2016)

Squiz the Day

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