Squiz Today / 26 May 2021
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 26 May
“A messy and long afternoon.”
Said Australian Traffic Network reporter Adam Smith of a power outage that took out many of Brisbane's traffic lights. Affecting 400,000 homes and businesses in Queensland and into the Tweed region of NSW, some people took the opportunity to see if hooking their wifi router to power via their car battery would work. Spoiler alert - it did...
POLICE PROBE NEW REPORTS AS HIGGINS INVESTIGATION WINDS DOWN
Federal Police have received 40 reports about 19 incidents of misconduct involving MPs and staff since February. Not all of the alleged incidents are sexual in nature, but Commissioner Reece Kershaw yesterday said some relate to alleged sexual assaults. Before a Senate committee yesterday, the top cop says "sensitive investigations" involving an elected member, journalist, or someone of "significant interest” to the public are underway. On former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ allegations that she was raped by a colleague in a ministerial office at Parliament House, Kershaw said a “brief of evidence” is likely to be handed to prosecutors in the “coming weeks”. These were just 2 parts of a big day on this front...
So, an investigation into whether anyone in PM Scott Morrison’s office backgrounded against Higgins’ partner (aka briefing reporters without attribution) has been completed. The report said the PM’s chief of staff John Kunkel did not find that “negative briefing” had taken place. And a separate report investigating who inside the Morrison Government knew what and when about Higgins’ alleged assault (aka the Gaetjens review) will be completed within weeks, although it’s still unclear whether it will be made public. That prompted some strong words from Labor Senator Katy Gallagher who said both reports were "not independent". As for the review into handling staffers' complaints, an independent system and face-to-face training have been recommended by the PM’s departmental Deputy Secretary Stephanie Foster. When it’s ticked off by the government, there will be consultation with staffers and others.
Yup. The NSW Government yesterday announced changes to the state’s consent laws. When approved by parliament, it will mean doing or saying something to confirm consent before sex. And a person accused of sexual assault will no longer be able to rely on a defence that they believe they were given consent by their partner - they will have to prove they took reasonable steps to obtain it. The changes will also invalidate consent if one party lies or tricks the other into having sex. The hope is that it will give survivors of sexual assault a greater chance of receiving justice in the courts. The proposed changes have been hailed by advocates, including 29yo Saxon Mullins whose story kicked off the process.
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MEANWHILE, IN CORONAVIRUS NEWS...
• Melbourne recorded 5 new cases of locally acquired COVID yesterday, taking the cluster in the city’s north to 9. A man in his 60s is believed to be the source of the cluster - but it’s not known how he got the virus. One of the cases attended the Collingwood v Port Adelaide game on Sunday - officials are now contacting those who were seated nearby.
• As for the knock-on effects, restrictions for Greater Melbourne have been reintroduced, including mask-wearing and gathering limits. They will be in place until 4 June. The states and territories have myriad responses for people travelling from the city, as we’ve come to expect… And quarantine-free travel from Victoria to Kiwiland has been suspended until Friday at least.
• And because misery loves company, let’s turn to Japan… The US has warned its citizens not to travel to the Olympic host country due to the number of cases there - despite the rate of growth slowing and despite Japan banning most inbound travel. It's just 2 months before the Games are scheduled to begin...
EUROPE CRACKS DOWN ON ‘HIJACKED’ FLIGHT
The European Union has tightened sanctions on Belarus and will stop airlines from the member states flying over its airspace (which makes for quite a flight map…). The crackdown follows Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s forcing of a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk to arrest critic/journalist Roman Protasevich on Sunday. The dissident appeared in a video yesterday saying he was being treated “as correctly as possible” and that he would “continue to cooperate with the investigation”. Some believe Protasevich was coerced into making the statement. The new sanctions will cover individuals involved in the ‘hijacking’ and businesses that finance the Lukashenko regime.
SAMOA’S NEW PM TAKES HER OATH DESPITE DEADLOCK
Samoa’s first female PM Fiame Naomi Mata’afa yesterday held her own swearing-in ceremony in a makeshift tent after 2 months of uncertainty and political stalemate. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Mata’afa’s appointment, ending former PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s 22-year reign as leader. But proceedings were postponed, and Mata’afa was locked out of the parliament on Monday by her opponents. Malielegaoi says Mata’afa’s swearing-in is illegitimate, calling it a “joke”, but she accuses him of threatening Samoa’s democratic process by carrying out a coup. Mata'afa served as Malielegaoi's deputy until she resigned last year and set up an opposition party, accusing him of overstepping his authority after so long in power.
CHEWING OVER MISOPHONIA
Miso what now? Let's put it like this - do sounds of munching and slurping get under your skin? That's misophonia, and researchers from the UK's Newcastle University reckon they know why it’s so unpleasant. They found that people with misophonia have stronger connections between the part of the brain that processes sounds and handles mouth and throat muscle movements. "That makes them feel like the sounds are intruding into them," said neuroscientist Dr Sukhbinder Kumar. But don't panic, it could soon be possible to break the chewing-rage link. Who knows, it could even bring families back together…
A SUPERMOON TO RULE THEM ALL
If you missed April’s pink supermoon, don’t sweat it. There have been several supermoons this year, but the “most super” super blood moon will light up skies later today for the first total lunar eclipse. A blood moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon - and it could be several years before we see another one so clearly again. Luckily, Australia has premium seats for the big event, but times vary across the country so check in on the deets. The maximum eclipse will be around for about 15 minutes, and if that isn't enough, here are the dos and don’ts on how to take a picture to last a lifetime…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
One person's 36yo Holden Commodore is another's unique performance car that belonged to racing legend Peter Brock… Either way, it sold at auction for more than $1 million last night…
After a tragic weekend in China with the deaths of 21 ultramarathon runners, a hero has emerged. A shepherd saved 6 runners by getting them into a hillside cave where he has a stash of emergency supplies.
We all have regrets, but Californian student Jeremy Studivant takes the cake. Or should we say pizza...
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12.30pm (AEST) – Musician, author and actor Clare Bowditch addresses the National Press Club on the future of Australian music – Canberra
6.47pm (AEST) – A ‘blood’ supermoon and total lunar eclipse will light up the skies.
Independence Day in Georgia and Guyana
ABS Data Release – Construction Work Done, March
Birthdays for Stevie Nicks (1948), Lenny Kravitz (1964), Helena Bonham Carter (1966) and Lauryn Hill (1975)
• Alse Young becoming the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies (1647)
• the release of The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the UK (1967)
• Ireland voting to repeal their 8th amendment to allow legalised abortion (2018)
Read the email every day this week and you'll go into the draw to win a $100 gift card from Peter Alexander. Definitely not a snooze...
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