Squiz Today / 23 November 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 23 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Sadly, when I was in Seoul all those years ago, I am not sure I developed much of what might be called the ‘Gangnam Style’”

Said King Charles as he welcomed South Korean dignitaries to Buckingham Palace for an official state dinner. The guest list included K-pop stars BTS and Blackpink, but the King’s reference to the 2012 hit song might have aged him just a little bit more…

Hostages coming home

The Squiz

After weeks of negotiations led by Qatari and American officials, a deal has been made between Israel and Hamas to free 50 Israeli women and children taken hostage during the terror group’s 7 October attack. In return, Israel has agreed to a 4-day pause in its war on Hamas, and it will release 150 Palestinian women and children being held in Israeli jails. Hamas says the pause will begin at 10am today local time (7pm AEDT…), but Israel has not confirmed that. Whenever it does start, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu says it doesn’t mean an indefinite stop to the fighting – he says Israel “will continue the war until we achieve all our goals. To destroy Hamas, return all our hostages and ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel”.

What’s the fine print?

The agreement is that the 50 hostages will be released over the 4 days – Israeli reports say they’ll start to be released in smaller groups from today. And the deal also has the potential to be extended… If Hamas releases 10 extra people, the truce will be extended for an extra day. Analysts say it’s in both sides’ interests to take that up – Hamas is believed to be holding 240 hostages in total, and the pause will allow for much-needed relief on the ground in Gaza. Yesterday, the Palestinian Authority said more than 13,300 people have been killed in the fighting there, including 5,000 children, although the United Nations says it can’t verify that number. Reports also say more than two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million population have been left homeless.

So what now?

Although the deal has been signed, there’s a 24-hour window for appeals to be lodged with Israel’s Supreme Court – that’s to give citizens the chance to object to the release of the Palestinian prisoners. Qatari officials say once that period has passed, they’ll lock in when the first batch of prisoners will be released. Meanwhile, humanitarian groups are preparing hundreds of trucks to enter Gaza during the pause in fighting – they’ll be carrying food, water, fuel and medical supplies. That medical assistance can’t come soon enough with the World Health Organization planning to evacuate another 3 hospitals in Gaza’s north. UNICEF has also warned the child death toll could rise significantly as the risk of a “mass disease outbreak” increases.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Perth sizzles as fires burn

A heatwave that is expected to send temperatures towards the 40Cs today is behind several fires that are threatening lives throughout the Perth metro area and surrounding regions. Emergency warnings were issued overnight for the fire in the City of Wanneroo north of Perth – reports this morning say homes have been lost there. The biggest threat there is a fast-moving fire that broke out at a pine plantation in Mariginiup. And earlier yesterday, an emergency warning was issued for residents in Perth’s southern suburbs of Aubin Grove and Hammond Park – a fire there closed the Kwinana Freeway for 2 hours and required children to be evacuated from schools. Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson Hannah Tagore said it’s been tough. “Right now, the firefighters are facing hot and windy conditions, which are creating really dangerous and unpredictable fire behaviour,” she said.

Australian News

The ABC of defamation

It was an action-packed first day in the Bruce Lehrmann defamation case, with the former Liberal staffer settling with the ABC before proceedings began. The national broadcaster aired a speech by Brittany Higgins (aka the woman who accused him of assaulting her) in 2022 that Lehrmann says defamed him – yesterday, the ABC said the deal is “mutually acceptable… without admission of liability”. Lehrmann’s claim against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson continues – he says an interview with Higgins aired on The Project in 2021 painted him as a “revolting predator”, and it “utterly destroyed him”. Network Ten is planning to call 28 witnesses, including Higgins, in the coming days. A defamation claim against journalist Samantha Maiden and her employer News Corp was settled in May.

Australian News Crime

Cuzzie bro’s election shambles

You can get a lot done in 40 days… except form a government in New Zealand. Incoming PM Christopher Luxon is still trying to cobble together a coalition with the ACT Party and New Zealand First, even though his National Party was in the box seat on election night. That was wayyy back on 14 October. Luxon’s copping a lot of heat from his own party for the dragged-out affair – and it hasn’t been lost on the Kiwi media that it’s been 27 years since negotiations went on for so long. One of the last issues to be sorted is who gets to be deputy PM, with ACT leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters both keen on the gig. “We need to close out these issues,” Luxon said yesterday – and for good reason. If he can’t get a formal coalition agreement, Kiwis could be heading back to the polls…

World News

Deal of the decade

“Jackie and I have resigned” – that’s how Kyle Sandilands made the announcement yesterday morning before his co-host Jackie O corrected the pronunciation to “re-signed”… Like them or not, the top-rating radio pair will stay with broadcaster ARN (the company behind KIIS FM) for the next 10 years and will air in Melbourne as well as Sydney from next year. The kicker – reports say it’s worth more than $200 million… Also included in yesterday’s announcement was a 5-year deal for another ARN star, Christian O’Connell. The Gold FM host has helmed the #1 FM breakfast show in Melbourne for years. And speaking on locking in top talent, Sam Altman is heading back to OpenAI… He and co-founder Greg Brockman have struck an in-principle deal to return, and there will be significant changes to the board. “Thank you so much for your patience through this,” the company said on X.

Australian News Business & Finance Entertainment

Put a ring on it

If you want to shine bright Rihanna-style, now might be the time to buy yourself a whole lotta diamonds… Prices for a one-carat sparkler have dropped 32% in less than 2 years – and in even better news, the less-pricey ½ carat is down by nearly 40%. The catch? You’ll need to wrangle the rough diamond market because retailers aren’t so keen to pass on the savings… One of the big things going on with the price is the rise of cheaper, lab-grown alternatives. Synthetic diamonds can be made in just days, and as diamond expert John Chapman says, “it’s compelling for a consumer to be able to have something on their finger … which you can’t tell the difference.” But don’t count natural diamonds out just yet – insiders reckon their rarity – we’re looking at you pink bling- will eventually lead to a price increase. Shine on…

Business & Finance

Apropos of nothing

The BBC has axed Top Gear indefinitely after host Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff was seriously injured during filming last year. In 2007, former host Richard Hammond was in a coma for 2 weeks after a crash while filming, and the broadcaster is reconsidering on safety grounds.

NCIS: Sydney has been an early winner for US network CBS and its streaming platform Paramount+ – the show’s premiere raked in 10 million viewers – a record for the streamer. Audiences are really on board with shark attacks, snake murders, and pub brawls

And one New South Welshman’s drunken plan to hitch a ride from Nambucca Heads to Coffs Harbour in a truck’s undercarriage didn’t quite go to plan… He planned on hopping off at a red light, but it was green all the way to the Gold Coast. You couldn’t make it up…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia, Andrew Hall, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

5.00pm (AEDT) – Walkley Awards Gala Dinner

ABS Data Release – Population Projections, Australia 2021-2071

AIHW Release – Family, domestic and sexual violence

Company shareholder meeting – Regis Resources; Hansen Technologies; Pilbara Minerals

Thanksgiving in the US and Brazil

A birthday for Shane Gould (1956), Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro (1962) and Miley Cyrus (1992)

Anniversary of the death of author Roald Dahl (1990)

Squiz the Day

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