Squiz Today / 17 May 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 17 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Woah, we’re halfway there…

Today’s listen time: 9.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“People started realising that they hadn’t used their cheek or mouth muscles very much, and you can’t just suddenly start using these muscles. You need to work on them.”

Said smile instructor Keiko Kawano, whose services are in high demand in Japan because many forgot how to smile during the country’s long-lasting mask mandate. They couldn’t just grin and bear it…

A fatal fire rocks Wellington


New Zealanders woke up yesterday to news of a horror fire engulfing a hostel in Wellington and images of flames leaping from the windows of the top storey. Loafers Lodge was full, with close to 94 people inside, when the fire broke out around 12.25am on Tuesday morning. Authorities have confirmed most residents escaped, but at least 6 people are dead and the toll may rise. Reports say that Loafers Lodge housed long and short-term residents, including older people. It was also home to shift workers and migrant nurses, as well as vulnerable and transient people, including some on community sentences.


The fire is currently being treated as suspicious, but investigators haven’t been able to access the Lodge due to structural concerns. Just on that, neighbours in the central Wellington area have been advised to shut their windows and wear masks due to the risk of asbestos in the air. There are stories of close escapes from those staying there and questions about the building’s safety standards, including the lack of sprinklers, which are recommended but not required for older buildings in New Zealand. Yesterday, the local council confirmed that the building passed an inspection earlier this year. “This is our worst nightmare. It doesn’t get worse than this,” said Nick Pyatt from Wellington’s Fire and Emergency Department.

WHAT’S NEXT?Kiwi officials say they’re focussing on dealing with the scene, but once investigators can enter the building later today they’ve promised a “slow and methodical” investigation. Yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese offered Australia’s assistance if we could be helpful. And if the Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel fire in Queensland in 2000 or the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London are anything to go by, there will be extensive inquiries and potentially criminal charges. Australia and the UK also introduced new fire safety regulations following those tragedies, and the adequacy of New Zealand’s laws has also been raised.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Kyiv showered with missiles

Senior Ukrainian military official Serhiy Popko described the attack in the capital – which was launched just after midnight on Tuesday local time – as “exceptional in its density”… Ukraine says most of the missiles launched by Russia were destroyed by its air defence systems, but at least 3 people were injured. “This time, the enemy launched a complex assault from multiple directions simultaneously,” Popko said. Reports say the attacks came just after Ukrainian officials said Russian forces are mainly on the defensive and don’t have enough resources “to repeat large-scale offensive actions” but can keep going at the current rate of their attacks. And Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, yesterday denied reports that he’d offered to share Russian intelligence with Ukraine… 

World News

Words of advice from Joe

Folks, get ready for the fanfare. US President Joe Biden is in Australia next week and plans a rare address to our federal parliament, making him only the fifth US president to do so. That is, if he actually does arrive… Biden has previously said that his trip could be cancelled if the debt ceiling talks in the US aren’t resolved by take-off time, and today his administration said they’re “reevaluating” the Australian leg of the trip. Speaking of the debt ceiling, Biden and his key Republican antagonist, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are meeting in Washington today to continue wrestling over the future of America’s finances. Supposing Biden does make it to Australia, he’ll speak to our politicians in Canberra next Tuesday, 23 May, before joining our Prime Minister Albanese, Japan’s leader Fumio Kishida, and India’s Narendra Modi at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday.

Economy World News

Wanted: a new Rugby League World Cup host

The 2025 Rugby League World Cup has taken a hit after host country France pulled out of the event on Monday. Like with many things, it comes down to money after funding cuts from the French Government were confirmed. International Rugby League (IRL) boss Troy Grant says it’s disappointing, but it was “always an ambitious project given the unprecedented short lead‑in time due to the pandemic”. Reports say the 2025 tournament was set to be the biggest on record, with 40 venues hosting men’s, women’s, wheelchair and youth games. IRL officials will gather for a scrum in July to work on their new game plan. Early reports suggest Oz could be called up from the bench to host with NZ, which seems like good manners given we’ve won 9 of the last 10 tournaments…. And given time’s a-tickin’, reports say it might be pushed back to 2026 to give everyone a bit more time to warm up…


A chance to buy Chloë Sevigny’s used Birkenstocks

That’s just one of the highlights from the actor/model/fashion designer’s Closet Sale held in New York over the weekend. Dubbed by organisers as the ‘Sale of the Century’, fashionistas (including military whistleblower Chelsea Manning) queued around several blocks to raid her wardrobe, including a pair of used Birks and a tube of Gucci toothpaste. Sevigny herself was in attendance to offer backstories to the pieces and haggle with some brave buyers. Sevigny rose to fame in the 90s after appearing in music videos for the likes of Sonic Youth and cult films like Kids and American Psycho, and her effortlessly cool style has seen her lauded as one of the true holders of the ‘It girl’ crown in a time when it seems just about anyone can lay claim to the coveted status. Or, if you’re uncool like us, you might know her as one of Bill Paxton’s many wives in fab TV show Big Love… 


Apropos of nothing

A new study by the UK Civil Aviation Authority reckons 2-hour commercial flights between Sydney and London will be possible within the next decade. There’s just one quirk: the route would go via space.

A Nigerian chef has broken the world record for the longest time spent cooking nonstop after sweating over a hot stove for a whopping 100 hours. That’s a lot of Jollof rice…

And Martha Stewart has surpassed Elon Musk’s mum Maye to become Sports Illustrated’s oldest swimsuit cover model at 81yo. The TV personality/cook says her mate Snoop Dogg will think the news is “fantastic”…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor gives his Budget reply to the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Wage Price Index, March quarter

Wear Orange Wednesday in celebration of SES volunteers

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia https://may17.org/

World Hypertension Day

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

It’s 64 days until the Women’s World Cup kicks off, which is being hosted by Oz and New Zealand. It’s a milestone signifying the soccer tournament’s 64 matches, making it the first Women’s World Cup to have the same number of matches as the Men’s World Cup

Anniversary of:
• the first rules of Australian Rules Football being published (1859)
• the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum (1900)
• the World Health Organization removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses (1990)
• the release of Minecraft (2009)
• Michigan State University agreeing to pay $500 million to abuse victims of US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar – the largest case of its type in sports history (2018)
• Taiwan becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage (2019)

Squiz the Day

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