Squiz Today / 23 May 2024

Squiz Today – 23 May 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I wanted to have my Barbie doll replicate when I feel my most confident self, and that for me is when I’m on the pitch playing football.”

Said Mary Fowler when presented with her very own ‘mini Mary’ Barbie doll. The Matilda’s star said she worked with Mattel in the design process so details of her look came to life – right down to her braid, boots and signature gloves…

Bird flu hits Victoria

The Squiz 

Agriculture Victoria confirmed yesterday that 2 cases of avian influenza – aka bird flu – have been detected in the state – one rare case in a child who has since recovered and another at a poultry farm. Authorities said the child entered Victoria from India in March and fell ill, testing positive to the severe H5N1 strain of the virus that’s currently decimating global bird populations. A Victorian Health spokesperson said contact tracing found no evidence the virus had been passed on to anyone and the child has made a full recovery. Meanwhile, an egg farm south of Ballarat has been placed in quarantine after analysed samples found traces of the H7N7 strain, which we’ve dealt with in Australia before.

Why is bird flu a thing? 

Bird flu is a highly contagious infection with the most serious forms being highly pathogenic viruses – aka extremely dangerous – that can cause severe symptoms and sudden death. Many wild birds carry the disease but don’t show symptoms and can spread it to domestic birds and other species including humans. That happened in 2009/10 when the H1N1 strain caused a pandemic that killed 200 Aussies and countless others overseas. Historically, there have been many bird flu outbreaks that have killed millions of birds – either directly or through preventative culling. In Oz, we’ve seen 8 outbreaks on commercial bird farms since 1976 – all were successfully eradicated. But that comes at a cost… Eliminating the last major outbreak saw farmers cop a significant financial and mental health toll as their birds were euthanised. 

What comes next? 

The Federal Government has fired up their emergency response plans to support Victorian authorities and the CSIRO Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness is also involved. Experts say even if we don’t have H5N1 in Oz, it’s only a matter of time, and bird farmers need to maintain strong biosecurity practices and look out for symptoms. The current outbreak has caused millions of bird deaths overseas, including in Antarctica. Goats and cattle are also among the infected animals – posing a serious risk to agricultural industries. One person in Texas has also been infected, prompting “great concern” among experts that the virus could evolve and infect humans – and given we’re all infectious diseases experts following our experience of COVID, we know how that song can go… But for now, Agriculture Victoria says the current threat to the public is low, and egg and poultry products “do not pose a risk and are safe to consume”.

Australian News Health

Squiz the Rest

Sanctions and a strong response

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he’s open to working with Congress to slap sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) officials. Why? It’s in response to the ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant over the Gaza war – a move Blinken reckons is “profoundly wrong-headed.” That’s notable because it points to the strength of the Biden Administration’s rejection of the move… Meanwhile, Ireland, Spain and Norway have announced they’ll formally recognise a Palestinian state from 28 May – a move Israel’s not thrilled about. They’re the first European Union members to make the move, saying it’s essential for lasting peace in the region. And in Gaza, the humanitarian crisis is deepening, with the UN stopping food distribution in Rafah due to a lack of supplies and a worsening security situation.

World News

Albanese to go all the way

The PM has tried to kill off speculation he’s headed for an early election – declaring “3 years is too short” as he marks his second anniversary in the top job. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Anthony Albanese says the Government’s priority is “cost of living relief” and he’ll only turn his attention to getting re-elected in 2025. Because the Government gets to decide when our federal elections are held (up to a max of 3 years), speculation usually ramps up after their second birthday when they often start to sweeten voters via tax cuts, power bill rebates, and cheaper medicines in the Budget. As for the Coalition, Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor yesterday muddied the waters around their migration policy but said they’d cap spending if elected… And while we’re on elections, over in the UK, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called a surprise early one for 4 July.


Crackdown on cowboy compounds

It’s going to be even tougher for some people to get their hands on weight loss drugs after the Government announced it was going to stop pharmacies from making their own versions. With a big global shortage of Ozempic and other approved replicas, some compounding chemists – aka those that can make up a prescription from scratch – had been mixing the drug for about 20,000 Aussies using it for weight loss. But doctors have reported some nasty side effects (bleeding gums, vomiting, nerve damage) from the off-brand products, and Health Minister Mark Butler says the decision “will protect Australians from harm and save lives”. Patients prescribed the drugs for diabetes aren’t expected to be affected – they’ll still get priority for the authorised product. The ban will start on 1 October – giving patients time to consult their GP about alternatives.  

If you’re keen to know more about Ozempic, check out this episode of News Club.

Australian News Health

Calling time on your career

For all our talk about giving up work and moving to Hawaii… It seems most Aussies are not *actually* planning to call it quits anytime soon. According to new data from the Bureau of Statistics, Australians are planning to retire between 65-66yo – a milestone that hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years. Workers who plan to hang on the longest are in agriculture (aka a lot of farmers) – they plan to keep going until at least 68yo, while miners want out a bit earlier at 63yo. Retirees are still mostly relying on government income like pensions (43%) while super (27%) is enough to keep some of us afloat. It’s worth noting that 31% of women say they need their partner’s income to survive in retirement. That’s an improvement from 2013 when 44% said their spouse was their main source of funds.

Australian News

Say cheese…

A recent review of 15 brands of sliced cheese available in Aussie supermarkets has dished up some surprising winners and losers. And after being put through a blind test with some experts based on taste, texture, aroma, and appearance, Bega Tasty took the top spot with a score of 7.5/10, while Westacre Dairy was crowned best value cheese (at $5.49) with a score of 7/10. But not all cheeses made the cut – Barambah Organics Tasty Cheddar, Dairylea Original Slices, Kraft Singles Original, and Norco’s Elbo Style Cheese Slices were at the bottom of the cheese pile. As for Kraft Singles Original, one judge had a laugh: “If you’ve never experienced a Kraft Single, it’s like eating a reconstituted swamp of plastic and milk that is somehow not terrible.” True dat… Now to pair them with their perfect chip mate

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing

Robbie Katter – the Queensland state MP/federal MP Bob Katter’s son – is launching a new bid to make North Queensland its own state. He’s long maintained his constituents don’t have much in common with those living in the south of the state – he says his people have 3 big issues: “crime, coal, crocs.”

Knock us over with a feather – a single piece of a huia bird’s plumage has sold at auction for nearly $43,000, making it the world’s most expensive. Hailing from Kiwiland, it’s not particularly fancy, but they were prestigious, and that saw the bird become extinct early last century.  

But if a glamorous animal is what you came for, behold the Pet Gala… And while they’re definitely “not mimicking the Met Gala”, the pretty pooches are sent down the dogwalk for the benefit of New York’s American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog. Must be ruff looking that good… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.30am (AEST) – Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll to launch Olympics and Paralympics Live – Sydney

9.00am (AEST) – Directions hearing in the case of Erin Patterson, accused of serving a fatal mushroom lunch – Supreme Court, Melbourne 

12.30pm (AEST) – Lieutenant General Stephen D Sklenka is addressing the National Press Club on forging a relationship together in the Indo-Pacific

2.15pm (AEST) – Conciliation between Bruce Lerhmann and his former landlord, Lady Gaenor Meakes, who is suing him over the apartment he was staying in, paid for by Channel 7 – Sydney 

ABS Data Release – Labour Force Detailed, April

Bake your colleagues a cake for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, raising funds for cancer 

Vesak Day (Buddha Day) – the day of the full moon

World Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Day 

World Turtle Day 

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 

Anniversary of:

US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin announcing his invention of bifocals (1785)

Mao Zedong starting the Great Leap Forward movement in China (1958)

the Good Friday Agreement being accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland (1998)

Indian PM Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning re-election in a landslide (2019)

Netflix announcing password sharing restrictions to restrict account sharing beyond the household (2023)

Ex footy player and Richmond’s 3-times AFL premiership winning coach Daniel Hardwick announcing his retirement from coaching (2023)

Squiz the Day

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