Squiz Today / 17 May 2021

Squiz Today – Monday, 17 May


“Winter is coming.”

And you know when it’s the official word from the Bureau of Meteorology, it’s a chilling warning to take seriously…


Cross-border airstrikes between Israel and the Hamas Islamist militant group that controls Gaza are heading into a second week with no sign of easing up. Ahead of this morning’s United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the crisis, its Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet said “rather than seeking to calm tensions, inflammatory rhetoric from leaders on all sides appears to be seeking to excite tensions rather than to calm them.” Since last Monday, reports say at least 188 people have been killed in Gaza, including 55 children, and Israel has reported 10 dead, including 2 children. Tensions have escalated since the start of the month after Palestinians protested attempts to forcibly evict several families from their homes in East Jerusalem and Israeli police measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, amongst other factors.

Israel has struck more than 90 targets in Gaza, including the home of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. Another was a multi-story building that housed US media outlet Associated Press (whose journalists were given 10 minutes to evacuate), Al Jazeera and others because Israel’s military said it was also used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And on Friday, the UN refugee agency said an Israeli airstrike on the al-Shati camp killed 10 members of the same family, 8 of them children. In Israel, hundreds of rockets from Gaza continue to bombard their cities with the latest barrage coming late yesterday. There are also disturbing reports of violence across the occupied West Bank, and there have been dangerous clashes and vigilante attacks between Jewish and Arab citizens. The UN says that both sides have taken actions that “may constitute war crimes.”

It’s hoped the UN Security Council meeting that’s underway will help broker a ceasefire as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the violence as "utterly appalling". US President Joe Biden has also spoken with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in separate phone calls. But Netanyahu says "the campaign will continue as long as it is required", and top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh pledged "the resistance will increase”. Peace envoys from the US, United Nations and Egypt are also in the region working to restore calm but have yet to show any signs of progress.



The first repatriation flight from India to Darwin landed on Saturday (yay). Unfortunately, it was half full (boo). Expected to bring 150 Aussie home, the Qantas flight landed with 80 people on board after 70 people were barred from boarding. That's because 46 people returned a positive test to the coronavirus in their pre-flight assessment, and a further 24 were ruled out as close contacts. Why didn't they just fill the flight with other needy Aussies? That wasn't possible because of the time required for pre-flight testing, officials said. Fast-forward to yesterday, and a cloud is hanging over the lab that processed the tests after delivering a subsequent negative COVID test. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said it was better "to be cautious" as Labor's Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said those impacted "deserve an explanation from the Morrison Government for this bungled process." Not waiting is the stranded Aussie cricket contingent who will land in Sydney this morning.


The latest Newspoll is out, and despite the big-spending Budget being well received, it's failed to give the Morrison Government a boost in support. The Australian this morning says the Budget was rated as 'good for the economy' by 44% of those polled, and 15% pegged it as 'bad'. That's the largest margin since 2007, making it "the best received budget since John Howard and Peter Costello," the masthead says (paywall). But people are finding it hard to get a fix on what it means for them with a record 62% saying they didn't know. The poll says the Coalition remains behind Labor in the two-party preferred stakes 49:51. Also relatively unchanged are PM Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s appeal to voters with the incumbent rated as the preferred prime minister. The poll also shows 73% support for our international border remaining closed until at least the middle of next year.


The report into allegations that renowned BBC journalist Martin Bashir acted improperly when he secured Princess Diana's participation in his career-making 1995 interview has been finalised - but he has already resigned. Bashir has been on sick leave for several months, and the BBC says he will not return to work. There have long been questions about how Bashir - then a relatively unknown journo - secured the bombshell interview with Diana where she said that there were “3 of us in this marriage” - a reference to Camilla, the now Duchess of Cornwall. The accusations against Bashir centre on claims of fake documents he used to convince Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, that the media were paying associates of the Royal family for information against her. Meanwhile, Diana’s former hubby is said to be already looking into how he’ll run things when he’s king, which going by Queen Elizabeth's current form will be in 2121…


Weird dreams are best kept to yourself. And while we'd enjoy regaling you with tales of a recurring storyline centring on a lift, an iron, and a block of tasty cheese, we're zipping it for your benefit and ours. What's it all about? Well, clearly we like cheese and ironing. Oh, you mean weird dreams more generally? New research says it's a way for our brains to break the overfamiliarity with what it does say in and day out. "By injecting some random weirdness into our humdrum existence, dreams leave us better equipped to cope with the unexpected,” says one analysis of the study. Sweet dreams…


English soccer club Leicester City yesterday won its first FA Cup. To put that in perspective: the club was founded in the 1880s, the FA Cup is the world's oldest soccer tournament at 149yo, and Leicester had been beaten in their 4 previous final appearances, most recently in 1969. So it's been a long time coming... It's also a club that's been through a bit after its popular Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash at Leicester's stadium in 2018. Channelling Ted Lasso, club boss Brendan Rodgers said "I wasn't aware before I came to Leicester that they'd never won the FA Cup … so to be able to give that to the owners and the fans is so special." The deets: they beat Chelsea 1-0 in a controversial finish. Chelsea will be looking for a better result this morning as its women’s team (spearheaded by golden-booted Aussie Sam Kerr…) takes on Barcelona in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.


Speaking of Diana, her wedding gown is about to go back on display for the first time since William and Harry took possession of it in 2014. It's stirred up some memories for designer David Emanuel…

We told you about California gubernatorial candidate John Cox's interesting election ad featuring a live bear - and it turns out he’s taken his furry friend on the road for campaign stops. Let's just say San Franciscan authorities aren't thrilled

If you use film posters to gauge if you’ll like a film, you might get a surprise with the critically acclaimed Oscar winner The Father as the smiling promo shots don’t marry with the dark content, critics say…


Senate Inquiry report into former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate's departure to be tabled

NSW COVID restrictions ease

Start of National Volunteer Week (until May 23)

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

World Hypertension Day

Anniversary of:
• the first rules of Australian Rules Football 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)

Read the email every day this week and a $100 gift card to spend at Dan Murphy's could be yours. Cheers...

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