“It’s hard to imagine that anyone was craving more Gossip Girl.”
Starts one of the many reviews of the rebooted noughties trash-TV classic. Let’s just say there aren’t a lot of XOXOs going around…
HELPING YOU TO CHEER LIKE YOU MEAN IT...
There’s soccer (the European Championship and Copa America), and tennis (Wimbledon). As far as a weekend of sporting finals go, it’s a big one. The blockbuster line-up is in stark contrast to 2020, when all 3 tournaments were cancelled because of COVID. A year on, it’s time to settle in. Or if it’s not your thing, at least you’ll be armed with a line to drop into conversation…
WHAT’S WHAT WITH THE SOCCER?
For the Euros, it’s England v Italy at Wembley Stadium, London. It’s the first time England has made the final since the competition started in 1958, and their biggest international finals appearance since 1966’s World Cup. And long-suffering fans are relishing the opportunity… But it won’t be easy with Italy coming in unbeaten in their last 33 games. If England does come out on top at home, fans will need a new chant… And if that’s not enough for football fans, there’s Copa America to decide the best side in South America. Argentina will play against hosts Brazil at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Not only is it a showdown between arch-rivals, 2 of the best players in the game – former Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Neymar (Brazil) – will face off. Argentina is looking to equal Uruguay’s record of 15 Copa America titles, and Brazil wants its 10th, plus bragging rights…
AND AT WIMBLEDON?
Let’s start with the women. Our world #1 Ash Barty has made it into the finals after defeating 2018 champion Angelique Kerber in straight sets overnight. “Now we get a chance on Saturday to try and live out a childhood dream,” she said on court. She’s aiming to become the first Aussie woman to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. She’ll play #8 Karolina Pliskova in Saturday night’s decider (Oz time) at the All England Club. It puts Barty into her 2nd grand slam final, having previously won the French Open in 2019. As for the men, we’ll know tonight who goes through to Sunday night’s final. Novak Djokovic is in the hunt for a 6th Wimbledon title and a 20th Grand Slam crown to draw level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. No pressure… And Dylan Alcott has powered into the quad singles final, continuing his quest to win a ‘golden slam’ of all 4 major titles and the Paralympics. He has already won the Oz Open and French Open titles this year and is the favourite to defend his Wimbledon crown on Saturday against #3 Sam Schroder. All match times are just a scroll away in Squiz The Day…
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COVID STICKING AROUND IN NSW
Local COVID cases in NSW jumped by 38 yesterday – the largest daily increase the state has recorded in 14 months. In response to concerns about the spread of the virus in Sydney’s southwest, police have stepped up their enforcement of lockdown restrictions. PM Scott Morrison yesterday urged people to comply with the stay-at-home orders following reports of breaches. “You just can’t go from one house to the next. Birthday parties, family gatherings, these sorts of things are just not OK,” he said. The Feds are sending 300,000 extra vaccine doses to NSW and will also ease the rules to help more people whose jobs have been affected by the lockdown get access to disaster payments. It comes as reports in The Australian this morning say Oz has secured a deal to triple its access to Pfizer vaccines (paywall) to one million doses a week. Looking further afield, global COVID deaths hit a grim milestone of 4 million yesterday. And, the Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators after Japan declared a state of emergency to combat the virus.
A TRIO OF UPDATES ON FORMER PRESIDENTS
• Four people believed to be involved in Wednesday morning’s assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse have been killed by government forces. Two others have been detained, authorities say, and officers are still attempting to capture several remaining suspects. Interim PM Claude Joseph called for calm and said the security situation is “under control”. The United Nations Security Council has called on Haiti’s political leaders to “refrain from any acts of violence or incitement”.
• Former South African President Jacob Zuma has handed himself in to police. The 79yo was handed a 15-month jail sentence last week after failing to attend an inquiry into corruption during his 9-year term. He’ll be eligible for parole after 4 months of his sentence. Supporters of the controversial figure had gathered at his home to prevent authorities from detaining him.
• And former US President Donald Trump is suing tech giants Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because he says they violated his right to free speech by blocking his accounts. Legal experts say it’s as likely to succeed as his social media app Gettr – which is to say, not very…
DETAILS ON THE LATEST ROYAL COMMISSION
It was April when PM Morrison said a Royal Commission into the high rates of suicide among veterans and serving military personnel after a long-running campaign from the defence community, affected families, and pressure from MPs and senators. And yesterday, he confirmed it will be led by NSW’s former Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas. The inquiry’s terms of reference were also outlined, and it’s a lot – 9 pages worth… Long story short, it will be a “systemic analysis” across serving and former personnel’s engagement with our defence forces and what happens when they leave. The Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence will also get a look over as to how they treat their people. The Commission will provide a final report in June 2023. More than 400 suicide deaths have been reported among serving, reserve and ex-serving personnel since 2001, and reports say numbers have soared in recent times.
WORKING WITH YOUR EX...
…is a big ask for ordinary, everyday people. But things get a bit more complicated when you’re the Gates, and your great big foundation has your name on it. Two months after the pair said their 27-year marriage was over, a way forward for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was outlined to staff this week. The philanthropic venture will get an additional US$15 billion, bringing its total endowment to US$65 billion. The number of trustees who oversee it will be increased – until now, it has been the Gates and billionaire Warren Buffett, who resigned last month. And the kicker: Melinda will resign in 2 years if she and Bill can’t work together. The direction of the foundation was thrown into question when news of the impending divorce broke, and stakeholders say they’re grateful for the clarity.
TOO COOL FOR CATS...
If you think your cat liked having you around during lockdown, you’re probably wrong… A new study has found about half of cat owners felt their cats have been “put out” by COVID lockdowns and more working from home. The study surveyed nearly 400 people living alone. When it came to pooches, owners reported feeling less lonely and said their doggos liked the company. But cats, not so much… “A dog was an excuse to go outside and exercise and provided that routine,” and it “afforded an opportunity to socialise with other people doing the same thing,” said psychologist and study lead Dr Jessica Oliva. “We don’t see it in cat owners.” Oh, cats – so on brand…
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
If you’ve ever wondered what Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody sounds and looks like when an American wedding band covers it in 1976, here you go.
NAIDOC week wraps up this weekend – the perfect reason to watch/re-watch In My Blood It Runs. Shot in Alice Springs, the doco follows 10yo Arrenrnte/Garrwa boy Dujuan and his struggle to balance traditional upbringing and state education. It sounds heavy, but it’s the perfect balance between informative and inspiring. Catch it on Netflix or ABC iview.
We’ve been craving some familiar family favourites like yemista – aka tomatoes filled with rice and herbs. It’s got nothing on yiayia’s (grandma), but it’s pretty close, and it’s a cinch to make…
SQUIZ THE DAY
National Cabinet meets
Constitution Day – commemorating when the Constitution of Australia was approved in 1900
Independence Day in Argentina and South Sudan
A birthday for Tom Hanks (1956)
• the first Wimbledon tennis championship (1877)
• the engagement of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (1947)
• the premiere of the original UK version of The Office (2001)
9.30am (AEST) – Cricket – T20 Series Game 1 – Australia v West Indies – Saint Lucia
10.00am (AEST) – Soccer – Copa America playoff for 3rd – Peru v Colombia – Brazil
11.00pm (AEST) – Tennis – Wimbledon Women’s Singles Final
Time TBC – Tennis – Wimbledon Quad Wheelchair Singles Final
Independence Day in the Bahamas
Start of National Diabetes Week (until 17 July)
• Lady Godiva riding naked on horseback through Coventry to force her husband, the Earl of Mercia, to lower taxes. According to the legend, anyway… (1040)
• the beginning of the Battle of Britain during WWII (1940)
• the Rolling Stones scoring their 1st US #1 single with (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)
• the swearing-in of Boris Yeltsin as the first elected President of the Russian Federation (1991)
• the release of Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes (2000)
• British tabloid News of the World publishing its last edition after 168 years in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal (2011)
9.30am (AEST) – Cricket – T20 Series Game 2 – Australia v West Indies – Saint Lucia
10.00am (AEST) – Soccer – Copa America Final – Argentina v Brazil – Brazil
11.00pm (AEST) – Tennis – Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final
Virgin Galactic launches a test flight with founder Richard Branson onboard
A birthday for Giorgio Armani (1934)
• the birthdays of Charlotte’s Web author EB White (1899) and former PM Gough Whitlam (1916)
• the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
• the death of actor Laurence Olivier (1989)
• the escape of Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán from a maximum-security prison near Mexico City (2015)
5.00am (AEST) – Soccer – Euros Final – England v Italy – London
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