Squiz Today / 03 August 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 3 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

Let’s get this party started.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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10 / 17
7 / 16
20 / 31
2 / 17

Squiz Sayings

“The greatest scandal since Greg Inglis playing for Queensland”

Said PM Anthony Albanese about ACT Senator David Pocock pulling on a Queensland jumper for our federal pollies’ annual State of Origin touch footy clash. Even with the former Wallabies captain, the Maroons lost to NSW 3-1 – and Albanese’s winning streak remains unbroken…


Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in an American drone attack on Sunday. Yesterday, US President Joe Biden confirmed that the man considered the world’s most wanted terrorist was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Officials said the 71yo was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired 2 missiles – family members were present, but they were unharmed.

He was an Egyptian eye surgeon who had a comfortable upbringing in Cairo. He was also a devout Muslim and was radicalised young. Zawahiri went to Afghanistan in 1980 – like Osama bin Laden, he relished the opportunity to help Islamic fighters battling Soviet forces. The pair met there, and Zawahri – who had founded his own militant group in Egypt after Islamists like him were put in prison and tortured after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat – was present when bin Laden founded al-Qaeda in 1988. Experts say Zawahiri was instrumental to the terror organisation’s deadly operations – his organisational skills and experience helped to keep the outfit in business after they went on the run after the 9/11 terror attacks on the US and after bin Laden’s death in 2011. Yesterday, Biden said Zawahiri had “carved a trail of murder and violence” during his life, and “justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more.”

Yep, we know what you’re going to ask… Did the Taliban know he was there, and were they helping him? The US says the answer is yes. The house where he was killed is owned by a top adviser to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the first deputy leader of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. And yes, under the 2020 peace deal with the US, the Taliban said they wouldn’t allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in areas under their control. The fact is that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are long-time allies – so Zawahiri’s killing also confirms the West’s worst fears about the Taliban’s return to power. For the Taliban’s part, they say the drone attack is “a repetition of the failed experiences of the past 20 years and are against the interests of the United States of America, Afghanistan and the region,” the spokesman added. The families of the thousands of people who died because of Zawahiri might disagree…

World News

Squiz the Rest

We’ve come a long way, baby…

And we’re not there yet… At the start of May, official interest rates were 0.1% – and 4 consecutive hikes later, they’re at 1.85% following yesterday’s 0.5% rise. It’s the fastest that rates have gone up since 1994, and it will add about $472 a month to repayments on a $500,000 loan. That’s a lot of money for many Aussies to find with electricity, gas, fuel, and food prices also going up thanks to the supply chain crash/bang out of the pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine. And that’s the main game, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe says. “The board places a high priority on the return of inflation to the 2-3% range over time while keeping the economy on an even keel,” he said. Inflation is set to hit 7.75% in the December quarter… What happens next is not “pre-set”, Lowe says. “The size and timing of future interest rate increases will be guided by the incoming data and the board’s assessment of the outlook for inflation and the labour market.”

Australian News Business & Finance

No winners in Palmer-Mcgowan face-off

The Federal Court yesterday handed down its judgment on the lengthy defamation case between billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer and Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan. And the winner is… no one, really. McGowan was awarded $20,000 in damages and Palmer $5,000 after Justice Michael Lee found both men had defamed each other. The claims come from a war of words in 2020 over the state’s hard border, and the blocking of Palmer’s $30 billion damages claim over a delayed iron ore project. Justice Lee was unsatisfied with both party’s cases, saying it was unlikely they had suffered reputational damage because, well, politics ain’t pretty… And he delivered a dressing down, saying the case “involved considerable expenditure” by Palmer and Western Oz’s taxpayers and diverted resources away from “real” cases. A hearing to determine legal costs is scheduled for 11 August.

Australian News

Pubs are hot property

One of Sydney’s best-known pubs – the Oaks Hotel on the harbour city’s lower north shore Neutral Bay – has been put up for sale for the first time in almost 50 years with a record-busting price tag of [insert drumroll…] $175 million. If it finds a buyer at that price or slightly below, it would be the biggest sale in the sector’s history. Owner David ‘Taffy’ Thomas said after receiving many unsolicited offers, the family was ready to sell the beloved pub and its 80yo oak tree in the centre of the beer garden. The current titleholder of Australia’s most valuable pub is southwest Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel, which was bought for $160 million in April. That pub has put its COVID infamy behind it to go on to bigger and better things… Next on the list is the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay – it was sold for $104 million in February 2020.

Australian News Business & Finance

Woods turned down the big bucks

Two months ago, Aussie golf legend/boss of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series Greg Norman revealed that Tiger Woods had turned down a deal to join the tour that was “mind-blowingly enormous”. And yesterday, Norman confirmed Woods was offered a figure “in the neighbourhood” of US$700-$800 million (circa $1 billion) to lure him away from the PGA Tour. It would be the series’ biggest offer, with LIV drawcard Phil Mickelson said to be $250 million richer, while $150 million went to Dustin Johnson. Woods has been one of the most vocal opponents of the controversial new series. Accusations that the kingdom is attempting to distract from its poor record on human rights have been a key criticism of the series, which completed its 3rd tournament last weekend at former US President Donald Trump’s private golf club in New Jersey.


Science debunks the smartphone memory myth

If you think your smartphones could be destroying your memory skills, pause it there –  a new study suggests the opposite is true. With the ease of access to features like the internet, calendars, and calculators, some people think they are losing their ability to retain information. To test the theory, researchers from University College in London gave a group of 158 volunteers aged between 18yo and 71yo a set of memory tests – in some, they used their own brain power, and in others, they could set an electronic reminder. They found that participants who set a reminder improved their accuracy by 18% and posted better scores for recollecting information they had not plugged into their smartphone. Researchers reckon it’s because the device gave participants more brain space to remember other details. If only we could have a bit more say in what files in our head were retained and what was shredded…

Environment & Science Technology

Apropos of Nothing

There’s been some chat about celebs and their private jet escapades, and now one firm has rounded up the most carbon-emitting A-listers. At the top is pop megastar Taylor Swift – she plane racked up 170 flights in the first 200 days of the year. That’s a lot of airtime…

A huge collection of long-lost jewellery gifted by Elvis Presley to his manager Colonel Tom Parker over their decades-long relationship has been found and is set to go up for auction. You can check out the glitzy pieces here.

And cat food brand Fancy Feast is set to open a pop-up restaurant in New York that will serve up human cuisine inspired by its new ‘Medleys’ range, including beef ragú and pork Milanese. Meow-nah…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Greens Leader Adam Bandt addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

6.00pm (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Women’s Hockey – Australia v Scotland

8:00pm (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Women’s T20 Cricket – Australia v Pakistan

8:30pm (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Mountain Biking – Men’s & Women’s Cross Country

11:30pm (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Men’s Beach Volleyball – Australia v Rwanda

Independence Day in Niger

Company Results – News Corp; iHeartMedia; Novavax; Moderna; Revlon

Birthdays for actor Martin Sheen (1940), businesswoman Martha Stewart (1941), and boxer/ former Kiwi footballer Sonny Bill Williams (1985)

Anniversary of:
• American-American sprinter Jesse Owens famously winning gold in the 100m (10.3 seconds) in front of Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics (1936)
• the US Senate ratifying the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union (1972)
• two mass shootings occurring in 24 hours in the US. A terrorist killed 22 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and a gunman killed 9 at a bar in Dayton, Ohio (2019)

4:00am (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Athletics – Men’s High Jump Final

5:58am (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Swimming – Men’s & Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay Finals

6:00am (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Men’s Hockey – Australia v South Africa

6:30am (AEST) – Commonwealth Games Athletics – Men’s & Women’s 100m Final

Squiz the Day

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