Squiz Today / 22 March 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 22 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

From us, straight to your ears. 

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Trent Crimm. Fake journalist.”

Said actor James Lance when he was called on by AFC Richmond coach Ted Lasso (aka actor Jason Sudeikis) to ask a question in the White House press briefing room yesterday. The team were there to talk about the importance of good mental health and supporting one another – something that comes naturally in the cutthroat world of journalism and politics…

A haze hangs over vapes

A new study has found that the sharp increase of vaping – aka the use of e-cigarettes – among young Aussies could lead to an uptick of cigarette smokers down the track. Australian National University researcher Professor Emily Banks says that’s because young people are especially vulnerable to developing a vaping addiction given “their brains are still developing”, and that makes them susceptible to a very well-known chemical that’s in many vapes. “Almost all e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, which is extremely addictive,” Professor Banks says. The study led to renewed calls for regulators to bolster existing laws around the sale of vaping products.

The study went into some concerning stats… It says there’s “strong evidence” that young people who use vapes are 3 times more likely to progress to smoking cigarettes compared to their peers who don’t vape. It also found that – at odds with some common theories – most people smoking vapes aren’t doing it to transition off smoking regular cigarettes. Instead, the research says people who vape also tend to also smoke cigarettes… All of that raises questions about health implications. Banks says vapes contain “a complex cocktail of chemicals”, and although they are aware of some of the vaping risks, “the review found that the effects of e-cigarettes on major health conditions like cancer and cardiovascular disease are unknown”. Despite that, vaping is on the rise in Oz – it doubled between 2016-19, with nearly a 3rd of 16-24yos in NSW admitting that they’d vaped by the end of 2021, up 15% on the previous 3 years.

Currently, Aussie law allows for the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes – but only with a prescription. The Nationals wants that rule relaxed to make e-cigarettes more widely available to adults, so they can use them to help stop smoking – but it also wants tougher restrictions to prevent young people from accessing vapes. That’s at odds with medical experts, who say the government should be stepping up the limits. The Australian Medical Association’s Professor Steve Robson says vaping isn’t safe and “is not a part of tobacco control”. He says it’s “become a scourge in our schools, with parents and educators reporting that it has got out of hand.” It’s all timely because the Therapeutic Goods Administration is set to give recommendations to the government this week on how vaping laws should be changed in Oz – so stay tuned.

Australian News Health

Squiz the Rest

A taxing trial comes to a close

An 11-month trial in the NSW Supreme Court over one of Australia’s largest tax fraud cases wrapped up yesterday with the 5th defendant Patrick Willmott found guilty. Willmott joins siblings Adam and Lauren Cranston – the children of former Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston (who has not been accused of wrongdoing), along with lawyer Dev Menon and Jason Onley in being found guilty of defrauding the ATO of $105 million. Between 2014 and 2017, the group used legitimate company Plutus Payroll to collect wages from employers and send tax payments that should have gone to the ATO to ‘2nd tier’ companies with dummy directors. They then spent the money on extravagant purchases until the scam was uncovered by the Federal Police. Justice Anthony Payne thanked the jurors for their long service, saying they would be exempt from jury duty for 20 years. You take what you can get…

Australian News Crime

A trio of nations feeling edgy…

IS IT TRUMP ARREST DAY? – New York police have tightened security around the city after former US President Donald Trump called for mass protests if he is arrested on charges linked to a criminal investigation into hush money payments allegedly made to 2 women ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Authorities haven’t yet confirmed their plans…

RUBBISH FIRES EVERYWHERE – Protestors in Paris have been lighting piles of uncollected trash on fire after French President Emmanuel Macron narrowly survived 2 no-confidence votes in the country’s parliament. It clears the way for his government to raise the retirement age from 62yo to 64yo, but critics and thousands of striking workers say the idea stinks…

SRI LANKA SECURES BAILOUT -It’s been nearly a year in the making, but the embattled country has secured a US$2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund in the face of a severe economic crisis that triggered mass protests last year. Sri Lanka’s financial meltdown was followed by a political crisis, and analysts say there’s still a long road ahead.

World News

UN issues dire climate warning

The “window is narrowing” to limit global warming to 1.5C, with a new United Nations report warning the Earth has already warmed by 1.1C above pre-industrial levels and is on track to cross the threshold within the next decade. Despite the grim prediction, the latest report released yesterday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says there’s still an opportunity to meet the target if there is “significant global effort”, particularly from wealthier nations, including Oz. The IPCC said that would require slashing 60% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2035. But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took things a step further, calling on richer nations to bring forward their net zero goals by a decade to 2040, quit using coal, oil and gas by 2030 and stop all new fossil fuel projects. Long story short, the pressure is on nations to bring more ambitious climate commitments to the COP28 climate summit in November.

Environment & Science

Fry Day is on the way

Aussie spud enthusiasts have been dealing with shortages of their favourite frozen potato products for months, but relief is finally in sight… Poor potato harvests in Oz and Kiwiland after extreme wet weather and fewer potato imports due to drought conditions in the Northern Hemisphere last year led to chip shortages in supermarkets and takeaway shops across Oz. But with potato harvests underway in Victoria, Tassie and South Oz, and chip factories working at full capacity to meet insatiable consumer demand, industry groups say supermarket freezers are set to be restocked with the potatoey good stuff in the coming weeks. But it’s not the end of the Great Potato Chip Shortage… Farmers warn another shortage could be on the horizon in 2024, with lower potato yields expected this year here and overseas. Potato lovers might want to make some room in the freezer…

Australian News

Mapping out suburban slang

One quirk of Aussie culture is the nicknames we give the places we live in. So it’s no wonder that maps of Sydney, Melbourne, Brissie, Adelaide and Perth labelled with cheeky local nicknames have gone viral on social media… Social linguist Topher Agar, the Kiwi behind the maps, got his intel by scouring Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Some less-sweary examples include Blond Dye for Bondi, Bogan City for Logan City, and Stink Kilda for St Kilda. While the less-than-complimentary place names have ruffled some feathers, the maps – which are available to buy – have divided locals on what slang names are the most accurate. Agar said out of all the Aussie cities, Melbourne residents have given the most positive feedback. “People’s attitudes to nicknames is something I feel would be worth studying in itself,” he said. That sounds like the makings of a PhD…

Australian News Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

A mum named Lucy attempted to make an “epic” Bluey cake for her child’s birthday using a TikTok hack, but the result was far from great… Ever the optimist, we reckon Bluey would want the family to have a great time and enjoy the cake together.

A mysterious local dubbed the ‘Banksy of the Bush’ is believed to be behind the appearance of 24 Minion sculptures around the Victorian town of Warrack since December last year. Many of the town’s 70-odd residents own an angle grinder, so the chances of identifying the culprit are one in a Minion…

And should one’s heart desire to possess the Hampshire abode wherein the renowned authoress Jane Austen was born, resided, and penned several literary masterpieces, the opportunity presents itself to acquire the said estate for the sum of $15.6 million. Who, pray tell, would not covet the possession of this fine estate?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

3.30pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket – 3rd ODI – Australia v India – Chennai, India

6.30pm (AEDT) – Women’s Basketball – WNBA Final Game 2 – Townsville Fire x Southside Flyers – Melbourne

7.30pm (AEDT) – Sky News hosts the final NSW Leaders’ Debate before the state election

World Water Day

International Day of the Seal

Ramadan begins (until 20 April)

Birthdays for William Shatner (1931), James Patterson (1947), Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948), Reese Witherspoon (1976) and Constance Wu (1982)

Anniversary of:
• the US confirming its troops used chemical warfare against the Vietcong (1965)
• the Brussels terror attack which killed 35 (2016)
• a terror attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament, which killed 4 people (2017)

1.00am (AEDT) – Former UK PM Boris Johnson to give evidence to the Committee of Privileges over the ‘Partygate’ scandal – London

Squiz the Day

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