Squiz Today / 23 June 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 23 June

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


Is the name given to grownups who buy children’s toys for themselves. A number of toy companies including Lego to Mattel have started offering new ranges for adults after sales surged during the pandemic, but there’s nothing kid-sized about the prices…

Shaky and sodden – some big natural disasters

La Niña – the weather pattern that brought the costliest floods we’ve ever seen and record levels of rainfall to parts of eastern Australia this year – might be showing herself out after overstaying her welcome… But other parts of the world are suffering through some notable natural disasters.

Afghanistan’s remote eastern Paktika province, where a major earthquake has killed at least 1,000 people. The magnitude 6.1 quake hit 4 districts during the early hours as people slept, and tremors were felt by people in Kabul (about 230km away) and in Pakistan and India (more than 500km away). The number of those injured is 1,500, and there is extensive damage to homes and buildings. Afghanistan is no stranger to earthquakes – its territory covers several fault lines, and regular seismic activity sees hundreds of deaths a year. Much of that is down to the rural areas where dwellings aren’t stable/well-built. Yesterday, a government spokesman said they “urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”

Northeastern Bangladesh and India, where the worst floods in decades have killed more than 100 people. In Bangladesh, about 4 million people have been cut off and urgently need help. And across the border in India’s Assam state, 5 million people are caught up with the Brahmaputra river breaking its banks, leading to the submerging of villages, destroyed crops, and wrecking of homes. And in China, several southern and eastern provinces have seen floodwater levels break 50-year highs. More than 500,000 people have been evacuated in Guangdong, Guangxi and Jiangxi, with the city of Shaoguan – home to almost 3 million – one of the worst affected. A lot of rainfall in these areas during the monsoon/summer season (which typically begins in June) isn’t unusual. But this year, heavy downpours started across much of those regions in March, so the sodden ground means that flooding has been swift and severe.

Environment & Science World News

Squiz the Rest

The energy regulator steps back

After its dramatic/unprecedented seizing of control of the National Electricity Market last week to keep the lights on in east and southeast Oz, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has started pulling back from this morning. AEMO stepped in over concerns that Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, NSW and the ACT were at risk of blackouts. That was down to skyrocketing global coal/gas prices and 30% of the grid’s output disappearing due to power plants going offline for maintenance and greater demand for electricity thanks to a cold snap. Now, regulators say things are heading in the right direction – enough to move towards letting the market rip – as long as supply is guaranteed. AEMO warns there could still be problems going forward but said it was “working very closely with generators” to ensure there’s enough power to keep the heater on and all your devices fully charged…

And would you look at that, our Squiz Shortcut out today is all about the energy crisis. We even explain that electricity isn’t created by magic, but some in Squiz HQ are still sceptical… 

Australian News

Crown can roll the dice – with conditions….

NSW’s gaming regulator has given the green light for Crown Resorts to operate its Sydney casino on a conditional licence – days before the company is taken over by US private equity firm Blackstone. Last year, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) deemed the company unsuitable stewards of a license to operate its newly-built Barangaroo casino after a damning public inquiry heard evidence about money laundering and criminal links at its Melbourne casino. But Crown has since implemented “deep structural change” – including the departure of billionaire James Packer – and it has been granted a conditional licence that will see the regulator  “keep a very close eye” on things. That’s how it will be until the end of 2023. While it hasn’t been able to run its casino in the Barangaroo development, Crown opened the hotel and restaurants to the public last year. Crown boss Steve McCann said the casino’s opening plans will be “announced shortly”. #SquizShortcut

Australian News Business & Finance

US Senate advances gun violence bill

A longstanding stalemate on gun control in the US appears to be shifting with the US Senate taking an initial step towards passing the country’s first reforms in decades. In the wake of a series of horrific mass shootings in the country, enough senators agreed to advance a bill that would toughen federal gun laws on background checks and trafficking and provide billions of dollars to the states for school security and mental health initiatives. It doesn’t include stronger reforms backed by the Democrats and President Joe Biden – including a ban on assault weapons and raising the minimum age to buy a gun – but the bill was settled after negotiators ironed out key disagreements. The bill will need at least 10 Republican votes to get it through, but 10 have already backed a policy framework, so lawmakers are confident the bill could pass by the week’s end. 

World News

Cosby loses civil lawsuit

Bill Cosby sexually abused a 16yo girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 – that’s according to the jury of a civil trial who yesterday found in favour of Judy Huth, who is now 64yo. She was awarded US$500,000 and said the fact that jurors believed her story meant more than the cash. “To be ripped apart, you know, thrown under the bus and backed over. This, to me, is such a big victory,” she said. Cosby didn’t give evidence in the trial, but he previously agreed that he met Huth and her friends and took them to Hugh Hefner’s place – but he denied assaulting her. Legal eagles say it’s a significant defeat for the 84yo comedian/actor who was known as ‘America’s dad’. It’s been nearly a year since Cosby’s criminal conviction for sexual assault was thrown out and he was freed from prison – and Huth’s lawsuit was one of the last remaining legal claims against him. Reports say his insurer settled many others against his will.


Beyoncé endorses the Great Resignation

The world waits for her cultural cue, and now Queen Bey says it’s fine to quit your job. The ‘work sucks’ vibe in her new song Break My Soul will echo worldwide, experts say, with one in 5 workers likely to seek new jobs in the next year. And it’s a message that will resonate with women who are “especially prone to burn out after shouldering child care responsibilities in addition to work during the pandemic shutdowns.” Mrs Carter isn’t the first muso to tap into the zeitgeist during times of change in the labour market – her track has been compared to the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive and Michael Jackson’s Workin’ Day and Night when it comes to expressing frustration with the work situation. The song, which debuted Monday, has landed with fans… It’s on her new album Renaissance: Act 1 – it’s due to be released at the end of July.


Apropos of Nothing

Sporting superstars Naomi Osaka and LeBron James have launched a joint production company and sports talent agency. Called Hana Kuma – or ’flower bear’ – its first projects will be a New York Times documentary – and Nick Kyrgios.

And if you’ve wondered why sunrises and sunsets have been so stunning of late, you can thank the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai undersea volcano. Its record-breaking eruption in January released particles that are still lingering in the atmosphere, causing light to scatter into an array of dazzling colours. So pretty…

Australians are already some of the world’s biggest avocado consumers, but an oversupply of the fruit has led to calls on shoppers to chow down on as they can. As long as they’re Hass, we’ll take ‘em…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth stats for the March 2022 quarter

AIHW Release – Australia’s hospitals at a glance

World Whistleblowers Day

International Widows’ Day

UN Public Service Day

Olympic Day, commemorating the formal establishment of the International Olympic Committee in 1894

Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist announced

Birthdays for actors Frances McDormand (1957) and Joel Edgerton (1974)

Anniversary of:
• the first contraceptive pill is made available for purchase in the US (1960)
• the Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel fire that killed 15 tourists visiting the Queensland town (2000)
• the UK’s Brexit referendum (2016)
• Ash Barty winning the Birmingham title, becoming women’s world #1 (2019)

Squiz the Day

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