Squiz Today / 04 October 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 4 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

20 / 29
10 / 14
19 / 26
8 / 16
9 / 22
8 / 16
25 / 33
12 / 20

Squiz Sayings

“Gold medals are fine. Having 5 gymnastics moves with your names on it is immortal.”

The internet had a field day after US gymnastics icon Simone Biles made history at the World Gymnastics Championship in Belgium. The Biles II has been added to the growing list of skills named after her as she makes her return to the sport after 2 years of R&R…

Trump on trial

The Squiz

Former US President Donald Trump is in court in New York facing a civil case brought by state prosecutors over claims that he defrauded his business partners. If this is ringing a bell, it might be because last week, Justice Arthur Engoron made a pre-trial decision that Trump had persistently committed fraud by drastically inflating the value of his properties and overstating his net worth by amounts between US$812 million and $2.2 billion so he could get bigger/better financing deals. The question at play now is: what’s the punishment going to be? Letitia James is the New York prosecutor bringing the case – she is gunning for a US$250 million fine. The ruling could also mean that Trump has to sell off or transfer ownership of his properties after the judge made it difficult to continue running his real estate business by stripping him, and his sons Eric and Don, of their business licences. 

So this is big?

As far as his business empire is concerned, it sure is – but before you run away too far, note that Trump’s lawyers have already said they’ll be appealing the ruling. Trump has called Justice Engoron “deranged” and “rogue” and says the case against him is “a continuation of the single greatest witch-hunt of all time”. For her part, James says it shows “no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law”. But what this isn’t is one of the criminal cases against Trump that we’ve been hearing so much about all year… You’d remember that there are 4 that have been brought over accusations of mishandling classified documents, election interference, hush-money payments and insurrection. Meanwhile, Trump continues his rails run for the Republican presidential nomination…

Anything else?

In his old stomping ground, there is turmoil unfolding this morning in the US Congress… This story goes back to the averted debt ceiling crisis in May of this year when the Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy teamed up with Democrats to allow the US to avoid defaulting on its debts. A group of hard-right/pro-Trump Republicans weren’t happy with McCarthy at the time, and a near-shutdown last week was their latest attempt to exert control over the Speaker – which McCarthy again avoided by passing legislation with Democratic help. Now, one of the right-wingers, Matt Gaetz, has called a no-confidence vote on McCarthy’s leadership. There are also reports that Gaetz himself could be expelled from the House. “Bring it on,” McCarthy posted yesterday, and so it was: the vote is happening as we send this newsletter, so hang onto your hats…

Crime World News

Squiz the Rest

NSW on alert as bushfires ease in Victoria

Hot and dry winds caused more headaches in Victoria and NSW yesterday… In NSW, there were 2 emergency alerts issued yesterday – one for a bushfire at Kearsley (southeast of Cessnock), where residents in the area were told to take shelter as the fire moved towards them. And South Coast residents of Bermagui, Cuttagee and Barragga Bay were also warned it was too late to leave as the Coolagolite blaze burned – with relief as that fire was downgraded overnight. In Victoria’s Gippsland region, the Briagolong fire – which burned through at least 17,500 hectares – was downgraded as the cool change began to move through yesterday afternoon. Residents in the coastal towns of Seacombe and Loch Sport were “incredibly relieved” when rain started to fall, helping firies bring a blaze there under control. Next up: eastern Victoria can expect flash flooding and potentially snow later this week…

Australian News Weather

Tasmania’s case of the wobbles

Australia’s last Liberal government is hanging by a thread after claims of bullying triggered a sacking and a whole lotta questions about an early election… Tasmania’s Premier Jeremy Rockliff forced his Attorney-General Elise Archer to quit last Friday after it came to light that she was facing bullying claims and had written offensive text messages. Without Archer, the Libs go deeper into minority government territory, control 9 out of 25 seats in Tassie’s lower house, and can’t rely on enough independents to get crucial money bills through. Rockliff is pushing Archer to leave parliament altogether (meaning another Lib would take her seat) or guarantee to vote with the government – so far, the former AG is keeping everyone guessing. The next Tassie election isn’t due until 2025, but Rockcliff’s conceded he’ll have to face voters as early as this year if he can’t sure up his numbers. 

AusPol Australian News

On a mission

The United Nations is sending a peacekeeping force to the Caribbean nation of Haiti to try to control gang violence that’s seen 3,000 people killed in the past year. The Security Council voted to contribute at least 1,000 security personnel, and they’ll be charged with guarding key infrastructure like ports, schools, and hospitals, as well as targeting the gangs’ operations. The fact the 15-member Council backed the mission is a pretty big deal, given Russia or China have vetoed most proposals in the last couple of years. They abstainedon this vote, but that was enough to see the mission go ahead. Kenya will lead the year-long operation, and a dozen countries, including Barbados and Jamaica, have also said they’ll stump up troops. Past UN missions to Haiti have been fraught with troops blamed for bringing disease and committing crimes against locals. 

World News

No more late nights

For non-night owls, January’s marathon Aussie Open match between Brit Andy Murray and Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis that wrapped up after 4a.m. was torture… So organisers have unveiled changes to avoid late finishes at next year’s tournament, which means a longer Open. Director Craig Tiley said the grand slam event will now take place over 15 days instead of 14, meaning a Sunday, 14 January start (usually, the 2-week affair kicks off on a Monday). Playing sessions will rise from 47 to 52, and the first round will run over 3 days instead of 2. The Oz Open becomes the second major tennis fest to adopt a 15-day schedule after the French Open. Former and current players welcomed the move, and Aussie tennis legend Todd Woodbridge said it was also good news for the tournament, which could sell up to 50,000 extra tickets. Elsewhere in tennis, Aussie Marc Polmans has been booted from the Shanghai Masters after he hit a ball in anger and it whacked the umpire in the face. The umpire is okay, but Polman’s tournament is over…

Australian News Sport

Battle of the big bears

It’s time to get your chonk on… It’s the best week of the year, with Fat Bear Week giving members of the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite ludicrously capacious brown bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. After avoiding a near-disaster of a US government shutdown, the competition kicks off today – and there are 12 portly mammals competing for the title after stuffing their faces with salmon ahead of their winter hibernation. Two-time champ and last year’s winner 747 is back for another shot at the crown, as is 4-time winner Otis, the blonde and beautiful Holly, and Chunk the Hunk. And Grazer is the aptly-named fan favourite this year, along with newcomers including Fat Bear Junior winner 806 Jr. The winner will be announced mid-next week – but until then, you can enjoy some salmon-bingeing action here. May the best bodacious bear win…

Environment & Science Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

Anyone who’s built or renovated would know that the delays can be killer – and it’s a good thing nobody was waiting to move into Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Familia Basilica… Five of its 6 towers are finally finished 140 years after construction began. 

Chicagoan Dorothy Hoffner isn’t taking the regular retirement route at 104yo… She’s hoping to score a Guinness World Record as the oldest person ever to skydive after completing a tandem jump on Sunday. She reckons she might try a hot air balloon next… 

If there’s one thing guaranteed to unite Aussies, it’s our unique lingo – and that might be why the US Embassy’s take on some not-quite-right slang had a few spitting the dummy. Some of the translations were “chubbers” (shoes), “freshie” (tourist) and “Sleeve Irwin” (sweatshirt). Yeah, nah…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEDT) – Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk delivers the State of the State address – Brisbane

12.30pm (AEDT) – Director of Jobs and Skills Australia, Professor Peter Dawkins, addresses the National Press Club – Australia

8.45pm (AEDT) – Nobel Prize for Chemistry announced

World Animal Day

Start of World Space Week (until 10 Oct)

Cinnamon Roll Day

Birthdays for Susan Sarandon (1946), Alicia Silverstone (1976), and Dakota Johnson (1989)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Dutch painter Rembrandt (1669), Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cancer cells provided one of the most important cell lines in medical research (1951), and musician Janis Joplin (1970)
• the Soviet Union launching Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite (1957)
• the launch of WikiLeaks by Julian Assange (2006)

Squiz the Day

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