Squiz Today / 26 April 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 26 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Supercharging your short week. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Everything I own smells like champagne, beer and grass.”

Tweeted Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds after the Welsh football team he owns with Rob McElhenny won promotion to a better league on Sunday. For that and other less alcohol-soaked developments since we signed off on Friday, we’ve got you here.

Sudan’s anxious pause

It’s now 10 days into the conflict in Sudan, and international observers have brokered a 72-hour ceasefire. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the breakthrough after 2 days of intense negotiations between the US, the generals and other states. Note: there have been 2 previous ceasefire attempts that have failed to hold. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is keen for hostilities to cool off – he says that if the fighting continues to escalate in Sudan, it could spread to “engulf the whole region and beyond.”

Aid agencies hope the pause in hostilities will allow civilians to get out of the conflict zones around Khartoum (Sudan’s capital city) and for supplies to reach those in need. The ceasefire will also allow for further evacuations of foreigners after a weekend in which the US, France, Belgium, the UK, Canada, India, Russia, and many others started to airlift their people from the country. Australia doesn’t have an embassy in Sudan, but there are at least 158 Aussie citizens there, according to our Department of Foreign Affairs. They’ve been told to consider the risks of trying to leave and to stay indoors while our government works with partner nations to secure their evacuation. In the last couple of weeks, the death toll in Sudan has climbed to at least 427 people, with thousands more injured or trapped in their homes. Food, water, medicine and internet access across the country has become severely limited.

The US certainly hopes this ceasefire will hold and even lead to a longer pause in the fighting that’s broken out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). To explain what kicked this off: the 2 military groups helped a popular civilian uprising to oust the former dictator back in 2019 before seizing power for themselves in 2021. Recently, the leaders have fallen out, and now they have taken up arms against each other. US Secretary Blinken says the US will use the ceasefire period to help set up a committee of Sudanese civilian leaders to negotiate “a permanent cessation of hostilities” with the generals and regional/international partners. Ultimately, he says the US wants “a return to civilian government in Sudan.”

World News

Squiz the Rest

Biden confirms he’s having another go

US President Joe Biden wants to be the Democrats’ candidate in 2024, officially announcing his reelection bid. “When I ran for president 4 years ago, I said we’re in a battle for the soul of America, and we still are … Let’s finish this job. I know we can”, Biden said in a video released last night. It means there could be a rematch against Donald Trump, who is leading in the polls for the Republican nomination. As for the Democrats’ race, Biden’s not the only one with his hand up… Environmental lawyer/anti-vaccine activist Robert F Kennedy Jr (aka the son of Bobby) and self-help author Marianne Williamson say they want a go. It would be unusual for a sitting president to lose their party’s endorsement, but Biden’s already the oldest leader in America’s history, and some have concerns about his capacity to serve another 4 years in the White House.

World News

Bubbling along in the Budget

The Albanese Government has confirmed patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes will be able to buy 60 days’ worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription from September under a measure that will save Aussies more than $1.6 billion over the next 4 years. It’s the latest pre-Budget news drop – also percolating but not confirmed is a change to single parents’ welfare payment. The Gillard Government moved single parents with kids over the age of 8yo onto JobSeeker (aka the unemployment payment), which pays less. The Albanese Government’s Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce chair Sam Mostyn is one who reckons restoring the payment to those with kids up to 16yo would move the dial towards – you guessed it – women’s economic equality. There’s also increasing noise from the Labor backbench for an increase to the rate of JobSeeker… It’s less than 2 weeks until Budget day, so keep those issues on your radar.


Remembering and looking ahead on defence

Tens of thousands of people gathered at services around the country and the world yesterday to commemorate the 108th anniversary of the landing of ANZAC troops at Gallipoli during WWI. It was the biggest turnout in years, and there were rowdy pub scenes as crowds lined up for a few rounds of two-up… And it was a special day of commemoration for those who lost loved ones on the Montevideo Maru – the sunken Japanese ship that was transporting Allied prisoners of war when it was torpedoed off the coast of the Philippines in 1942. We learned on the weekend that it had been found after 80 years, solving the mystery of Australia’s worst maritime disaster. And looking ahead, PM Anthony Albanese released the landmark strategic review of Australia’s defence capacities on Monday, promising our biggest military shakeup since WWII. He rejected claims they deliberately timed the review to be released on ANZAC Day eve, saying the didn’t have much time to get it out ahead of the Budget.

AusPol Australian News

Crying over fries

French fry fiends beware – a new study has found that too much fried food could be linked to mental health issues. The study found that of more than 140,000 participants, those who frequently ate fried food were more likely to have anxiety and depression – and it’s more apparent among younger people and young men in particular. Fried potato is the #1 culprit, with researchers suggesting acrylamide, a chemical formed during frying, could be to blame. Expert Dr David Katz says the results are preliminary, and it’s unclear whether fried food is to blame or whether people living with depression/anxiety turn to fried “comfort food” more often. The takeaway? Katz says “overall diet quality, and the selection of wholesome foods, matters profoundly to every aspect of health – mental and physical alike”. Nothing makes us happier than hot chips, so therein lies a quandary…


Green light for more K-content

Fans of Squid Game will be delighted to hear that Netflix is pumping US$2.5 billion into South Korean movies and TV over the next 4 years, following the enormous success of Korean content. The Glory and Physical:100 have also been hits for the streamer, but Squid Game is the standout. It is the most-watched Netflix show of all time, with 1.65 billion hours of viewing in its first 28 days on the platform. It’s not just TV, either – with the success of South Korean K-pop groups like BTS, Blackpink, and Stray Kids, South Korea’s cultural exports were worth US$12.4 billion in 2021. The Netflix funding announcement came after the streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. He’s in the US for a slightly awkward 6-day state visit.


Apropos of nothing

Superstar Ed Sheeran is in court again – this time over claims his 2014 hit Thinking Out Loud ripped off Marvin Gaye’s 1973 track Let’s Get It On. A Manhattan jury has been tasked with considering the melody, harmony, and rhythm of the 2 songs, and Sheeran is expected to testify. 

Dog-friendly pubs are all the rage – but one-upping them is a Gippsland establishment looking to become a pub that includes horses. In the old days, they used to call them saloons…

Every year, the UK Government’s Companies House (which is responsible for registering nation’s companies) reveals the names it has vetoed for being too rude/offensive. This year’s 350-strong list includes some crackers – our fave would have to be Poop Ltd…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Australian Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

Former school principal Malka Leifer back in court to fix a date for pre-sentence hearing – Melbourne

ABS Data Release – Taxation Revenue, 2021-22 financial year; Monthly Consumer Price Index indicator, March; Consumer Price Index, March Quarter

Term 2 starts for public schools in Tassie

International Guide Dog Day

World Intellectual Property Day

Denim Day

Birthdays for Melania Trump (1970) and Channing Tatum (1980)

Anniversary of:
• the Chornobyl nuclear disaster (1986)
• the wedding of Prince Albert Duke of York (King George VI) and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1923)

Australian News

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