Monday, 8 July - Things can only get better

Good morning, it’s Monday, 8 July. In your Squiz Today…

  • A new era for Britain

  • A domestic violence tragedy in Sydney

  • And why it’s good to teach old dogs new tricks… 🐶

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Squiz Sayings

“I’m sorry for having damaged the image of the sport.”

Tweeted French cyclist Julien Bernard in a tongue-in-cheek apology after he was fined for stopping to kiss his wife during the Tour de France - he says he’d pay a fine every day to relive that moment. Ah the French, so romantique…

All change in the UK

The Squiz

As predicted, the UK’s Labour Party under new PM Keir Starmer romped home in Thursday’s election, securing 412 seats of the 650 on offer - ending 14 years of Conservative rule. But that was more down to declining support for the Conservatives - which saw Britain’s shortest-serving PM Liz Truss get the boot - than a surge in votes for Labour. The Tories have been left with 121 seats - a record low - while the Liberal Democrats secured 72, their most in over 100 years. Due to the UK’s electoral system, the right-wing Reform UK party secured a high share of the overall vote but finished with just 5 seats, including leader Nigel Farage who became an MP on his 8th attempt.

So what now?

Starmer has promised to “rebuild Britain with wealth created in every community," using "stability and moderation". He campaigned on a platform of improving public services, schools and affordable homes, saying he’s “restless for change” - but he’s also flagged it won’t be quick… After meeting with King Charles, the 61yo appointed his 25-person Cabinet, featuring a record 11 women - that includes the first female Chancellor (aka Treasurer) Rachel Reeves and Deputy PM Angela Rayner. And Starmer’s already making friends on the world stage - our PM Anthony Albanese was one of the first to congratulate him on an “emphatic victory” and the pair have had a call to discuss several issues including the AUKUS defence partnership.

What about elections elsewhere?

Let’s start with US President Joe Biden who is ignoring the cacophony of calls to step aside ahead of the November election, saying only the "Lord Almighty" could persuade him to drop out. The 81yo’s attempt to restore faith during a much-anticipated interview on Saturday morning didn't convince his critics... And in France, polls have closed in their second-round General Assembly election to decide who becomes PM. After a strong result in the first round for the far-right National Rally party (known as RN), frontwoman Marine Le Pen was hoping for a historic victory against President Emmanuel Macron’s centre alliance - but early signs show a joint effort by left and centrist parties may have blocked RN from winning a majority. Whatever happens, experts say it’s almost certain Macron will find governing harder in the remaining 3 years of his term. To be continued… 

Squiz the Rest

A DV tragedy in Sydney

A 28yo man is under police guard in hospital after allegedly killing 3 of his children - a 10mo, 2yo and 4yo - in a fire at a Western Sydney home that’s being treated as a domestic-related homicide. The 29yo mother of the children and 4 other kids aged 6-11yo were also hospitalised but are expected to recover from their injuries. As for what happened, emergency crews arrived at the Lalor Park house in the early hours of yesterday morning and found it “engulfed by flames”. NSW Police Acting Superintendent Jason Pietruszka said during attempts to get into the property the man had tried to block them but the “heroic” actions of officers and a neighbour helped to save “further life from being lost”. Pietruszka said “the emotional and mental issues” will last for a long time. “It’s devastating, there’s no other word for it,” he said. 

If you or someone you know needs support, you can find a list of services here.

The number of displaced Gazans rises

That’s according to the latest United Nations figures which show 1.9 million people have been displaced in Gaza since the 7 October Hamas attacks and the resulting war. That’s about 90% of Gaza’s population... The update comes after the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) ordered 80,000 people in Gaza City to pack up and leave ahead of its latest military strikes there. The ongoing fighting - which left at least 16 people dead over the weekend after airstrikes hit a school in the Nuseirat refugee camp - has raised more questions about when the conflict will end. One country intensely interested in Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza is Iran, which held its presidential election on the weekend following Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash. Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian won that vote, and there is hope he will usher in more cooperation with the West

There’s life on this Mars…

As we start a new week, spare a thought for 4 American scientists who are re-entering regular society after spending 378 days isolated from the outside world in a NASA simulation of life on Mars. The volunteers - Anca Selariu, Ross Brockwell, Nathan Jones and Kelly Haston - left the 3D-printed Mars Dune Alpha habitat that was set up inside the Johnson Space Center in Texas on Saturday to the applause of onlookers… As part of the experiment, the group was put through “stressors” to see how humans could potentially handle real-life Mars and moon missions in future. That included confinement and communication delays with officials and their families on ‘Earth’ - but they did have some enjoyable ways to pass the time, including growing veggies and taking “Mars walks”. Overall, they were positive about the experience. Brockwell said it shows “we can do these things together”. 

Demon skips ahead in London

Our top Wimbledon hopeful, Alex ‘Demon’ de Minaur, is through to the final 16, and although he’s been playing well, he advanced on Saturday without breaking a sweat… His opponent Lucas Pouille withdrew with an injury he'd been carrying since playing against another Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis on Thursday. Some might say there's a curse hanging around given Kokkinakis was forced to withdraw halfway through after slipping and injuring his knee… Meanwhile, Scot Andy Murray - who’s expected to retire this year - farewelled Wimbledon after his mixed-doubles partner Emma Raducanu pulled out. As for other big names, world #1 Iga Świątek had a shocker against Yulia Putintseva yesterday. Świątek - who won her 4th French Open title last month - said her tank "became suddenly empty" during the match, and she'll make sure she's well-rested in future. Sound advice… 

Teaching old dogs new tricks

It turns out dementia isn’t just a health problem for humans… Our 4-legged friends can also suffer from cognitive decline, and a new study says there are things we can do to prevent it. Researchers at the University of Adelaide have found that stimulating dogs' brains through training and activity as they age is one of the best ways to protect our pooches. Raising awareness is also important as the progressive condition - which affects up to 60% of dogs over 11yo - often goes undiagnosed or is mistaken for other issues like hearing loss. Researcher Tracey Taylor says there are 2 types of treatment, “one is around scent work and the other is balance, problem-solving, physical movement” and it’s just like “how older adults challenge their brain with crossword or sudoku." Those scientists deserve a round of a-paws…

Apropos of Nothing - Extraordinary individuals edition

Proud Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung woman Aunty Muriel Bamblett has been named NAIDOC Person of the Year for her work as CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), advocating for Aboriginal children and families. And yes, it’s NAIDOC Week - a guide to nationwide events is here

Horse enthusiast Sarah Wheeler is honouring her parents' legacy by riding 5,500km through outback Queensland and NSW on her 2 horses Shifty and Sally to raise awareness about a rare gastrointestinal cancer. The 26yo’s 9-month epic is set to end in January so there’s no time for horsing around…

And in the absence of reigning champ Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut, there’s a new hotdog-eater in town called Patrick Bertoletti, who gobbled down 58 hot dogs to take out the title in the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. He’s a real Oscar wiener

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (ACST) - NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro will deliver her first CEDA state of the territory address - Darwin

9.30pm (AEST) - NAB Business Confidence Survey to be released 

QLD schools start back for Term 3

NAIDOC Week (until 14 July)

Tennis: Wimbledon Round of 16, Alex de Minaur v Arthur Fils - London and watch on 9Now

Anniversary of:

  • the first publication of The Wall Street Journal (1889)

  • the deaths of actress Vivian Leigh (1967), North Korean founder Kim Il Sung (1994) and former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe (2022)

  • the release of the Spice Girls’ debut single Wannabe (1996)

  • the indictment of Jeffrey Epstein on further charges of sex trafficking of minors (2019)