Squiz Today / 14 November 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 14 November


"When I met her I wasn't ready for quite how young and short she would be.”

Said South Aussie Riley Whitelum of his new boat guest, climate activist Greta Thunberg. Left scrambling to find her way from America to Europe after a big climate summit in Chile was moved to Madrid, Thunberg was a trans-Atlantic hitchhiker until the Aussies came to the rescue…


The pilot of a water-bombing chopper was lucky to walk away with minor injuries after landing heavily near Toowoomba in Queensland yesterday. He was responding to a fast-moving fire that was closing in on the small town of Pechey, and reports say he’s in a stable condition in Toowoomba Hospital. It was a dramatic episode in a dangerous day in the Sunshine State.

All eyes were on Queensland yesterday. About 80 fires are burning and towns were evacuated in the Bundaberg area, on the Sunshine Coast, and near Toowoomba and Gympie. Noosa North Shore was one of the worst affected areas with strong winds putting lives and property in danger. And a fire at Beenleigh, south of Brissie, saw a shopping centre evacuated and disruptions to commuters' trips down the Pacific Motorway. In NSW, the catastrophic conditions have passed, and there are no emergency-level fires after better conditions yesterday. Almost 70 fires continue to burn there. The tally of homes lost to fires in the state since Friday was raised to 300 with 50 homes lost in Tuesday’s terrible conditions.

You probably don’t want to hear about suspected thieves and arsonists then… After a few sad days, let’s pause with:

• This beautiful kooka amongst the devastation.

• These two people who are caring for 24 injured and orphaned koalas in their home in Taree, NSW.

• The best ‘sorry we missed you’ note. And these people who fed some hungry firefighters after their good work yesterday, just like so many have done in fire-affected communities since the emergency kicked off.



A police officer has been charged with the murder of 19yo Kumanjayi Walker in the remote NT town of Yuendumu, 300km from Alice Springs, on Saturday night. Constable Zachary Rolfe (28yo) has been suspended with pay and granted bail. Walker died after two officers went to a home to arrest him for breaches of his suspended sentence. One of the officers was injured with an “edged weapon”. With medical staff pulled from the community earlier that day due to safety concerns, Walker was pronounced dead at the police station where his family and community members had gathered demanding answers. Reports say Rolfe, a former soldier who has served in Afghanistan, had previously won the National Bravery Medal in 2016. There have been protests this week in Darwin and other capitals over Walker’s death and NT Police’s handling of it.


To get technical for a moment… The High Court didn’t grant Cardinal George Pell an appeal against his child abuse convictions yesterday - what it said is his appeal application would be sent to the full bench of the High Court. Legal expert Professor Jeremy Gans from Melbourne Uni said it’s “basically the same’’ as granting the appeal. “But, for what it’s worth, it means that the court has not yet decided that the case is actually worth deciding, just that it’s worth hearing. Go figure,’’ he said. With that not playing out until March 2020, reports say Pell’s legal team are likely considering applying for bail. And church-watchers said Pope Francis would probably delay taking any action against Pell, who retains his church title.


Paralympic gold medallist Kieran Modra was killed in a cycling accident near Gawler, north of Adelaide, yesterday. The 47yo was known not just for his cycling prowess, but also for his achievements in swimming, and track and field. A vision-impaired athlete, Modra won five gold and five bronze medals at eight Paralympic Games between 1988 and 2016, and two silver medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He leaves behind a wife and three children. Police say it’s too early to say if the driver of the car that struck him will be charged.


The ABC was apologetic, and journalist Tracey Spicer said she was "utterly gutted" when a documentary, which disclosed the identities and stories of rape and domestic violence victims, was distributed without their consent. A preview of the three-part documentary about the #MeToo movement in Oz was distributed by the ABC to media outlets in early October. But the victims didn’t know about the documentary, or that Spicer had shared their confidential disclosures, they said. Some of the women say they now fear for their safety. The ABC blamed “human error” for uploading the wrong version of the documentary, Silent No More, which is scheduled to air later this month.


After a fractious few weeks, US President Donald Trump and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are meeting at the White House. Trump’s decision in early October to withdraw American troops from north-eastern Syria, and Erdogan's military incursion to push the Syrian Kurds from its border caused chaos on the ground and crankiness between the two leaders. But a trade deal and some backslapping could be a step towards restoring America's alliance with the man Trump says is a “tough guy who deserves respect.” Speaking of tough guys, BRICS is back together. That’s not a motorcycle gang - it's the regular gathering of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The Brazilian-hosted summit is expected to be low-key, but experts say it's the one-on-one discussions between the 'strongmen' leaders that will be watched closely.

With some of those characters in the news a lot, we’ve put together a Squiz Shortcut on Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and India’s Narendra Modi. For three blokes from three very different countries, they have a lot in common…


But only if you're a baby… It's been a question baffling scientists and parents for ages, and after studying 13 bubs, researchers think the muscular contraction helps us learn how to regulate our breathing and control it voluntarily. As for adults, there were no insights into why we hiccup after a few too many beverages just when you’re talking to someone you’re trying to impress. But we have a cure: close your eyes, think of a shape, think of its colour, focus on it for a bit. Hiccups gone. You’re welcome.


ABS Data Release - Labour Force, October; Livestock Products, September

Annual General Meetings - Medibank Private; Ramsay Health Care; Wesfarmers

World Diabetes Day

A birthday for Prince Charles (1948)

And read the email every day this week and you'll go into the draw for a $100 gift card form Woolies. Nice.

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