Squiz Today / 10 December 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 10 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Coffee queue appropriate. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

16 / 25
13 / 19
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11 / 17
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10 / 16

Squiz Sayings

“Veri Peri”

Is the colour of the year, according to Pantone. The “dynamic periwinkle-blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone” is the “happiest and warmest of all the blue hues” that “introduces an empowering mix of newness”. And who doesn’t need a bit of that right now?

Kiwiland goes smoke-free


New Zealand’s Government has laid out a plan to ban young people from ever being able to buy cigarettes in an attempt to make the country smoke-free. And by smoke-free, they mean just 5% of the population would be smoking by 2025. That would mean halving the current smoking rate and drastically reducing numbers in the Maori population. New laws would make it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to children aged 14yo or younger from 2023. The Kiwi Government will also mandate less nicotine in tobacco products, theoretically making them less addictive.


The age ban on tobacco sales would rise every year, meaning those aged 14yo and younger in 2023 will never be able to buy ciggies legally. And the number of retailers allowed to sell smokes will be slashed from 8,000 to 500. At this stage, the government has no plans to compensate local store owners for lost sales, but there’s a long way to go before the legislation is introduced in June next year. Smoking rates in NZ are dropping, but not amongst the Maori and Pasifika communities, who on average live about 8 years less than non-Maori people, with a quarter of that attributed to smoking. So a lot of effort will need to go into supporting those communities, experts say. The right-wing minor party ACT New Zealand slammed the move as “prohibition” which will promote a black market for tobacco. But public health experts are celebrating the world’s first move.


Australia has been a world leader in tobacco control via laws that ban smoking in public areas and introducing plain-packaging on cigarette packets with graphic health warnings. But public health experts are now lobbying the Federal Government to set a date for banning the sale of tobacco by supermarkets (like the Netherlands) and kicking its addiction to the revenue from tobacco-related taxes. Note: smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease in Oz, and about 24,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses each year. Queensland Uni’s Associate Professor Coral Gartner says New Zealand’s policies are innovative and “make Australia look like we’re lagging behind.” Thems fightin’ words…

World News

Squiz the Rest

From floods to fires

As heavy rains and storms continue to lash Australia’s east coast, bushfire season has well and truly started in Western Oz. Authorities yesterday expanded an emergency warning for an out-of-control blaze in the state’s Margaret River area that has burned through more than 5,000 hectares of national parkland so far. Strong winds are fanning the flames and while conditions have improved somewhat, authorities say there’s still a significant risk to the community. 300 firefighters, as well as aerial support, are working to contain the blaze before it threatens communities, including Boranup. Tourists are being asked to stay away from the popular wine and surf destination until conditions improve. A few weeks ago the region marked the 10th anniversary of the 2011 bushfires that destroyed 39 homes. A second fire in nearby Yallingup has now been downgraded.

Australian News

Three high-profile convictions in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s media mogul Jimmy Lai, opposition politician Gwyneth Ho and prominent human rights lawyer Chow Hang-tung have been convicted under the territory’s security law after taking part in a banned Tiananmen Square vigil last year. Thousands of Hongkongers defied the ban in June, and that led to many prominent pro-democracy politicians and activists being arrested. The vigil is an annual commemoration of the victims of the 1989 massacre, which Beijing has recently banned in Hong Kong and Macau. Most of those arrested are already behind bars, but Lai, Hang-tung and Ho were the only 3 to contest their charges in court. The trio will be sentenced on 13 December and face up to 5 years in jail. Critics say it’s a potent example of the law imposed by China being used as a tool to quash dissent. #SquizShortcut

World News

Pfizer jabs approved for kids

Australia’s immunisation advisory body has given final approval for the Pfizer Covid-19 jab to be given to children aged between 5 and 11. The Federal Government has accepted the recommendation from ATAGI with the rollout beginning on 10 January to about two million children across the country. The two doses will be administered 8 weeks apart by GPs, pharmacists, state-run clinics and Aboriginal health services. Bookings will open in weeks. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, says this announcement will be a great relief to parents. “They can have peace of mind knowing this has the tick from the best medical regulators in the world,” he said. The PM will chair a meeting of the national cabinet today for an update on the Omicron strain and the plan to reopen international borders to overseas students and skilled migrants next Wednesday. Meanwhile, prime ministerial deputy Barnaby Joyce was put into isolation in Washington DC after testing positive for COVID. His symptoms are mild, with the bigger concern being what he’ll do on his own for 10 days. “But if I can just work out which one of these channels shows the cricket, then I’ll be much better off,” he said.


Sam slams a pitch invader

After leading her UK club team Chelsea to a women’s FA Cup final win against Arsenal earlier this week, Aussie striker Sam Kerr has made headlines for a different reason… The Matildas captain was yellow-carded for shoulder charging a man who ran onto the field towards the end of her team’s Champions League group-stage match against Juventus yesterday. Video footage shows the crowd booing as an imposter walks around the pitch before Kerr knocks him on his… back… to the cheers of the crowd. It topped off a frustrating night for Chelsea, which was left with a 0-0 draw with the Italian champions leaving Kerr’s team with some ground to make up to make into the final rounds. Here at home, cricket fans are calling for some Sam Kerr energy at the Gabba…


Athlete’s blood and Alzheimer’s

It’s Friday, so here’s a sci-fi-worthy study for you… Scientists are looking into whether the blood of an athlete could help keep Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders at bay after early studies of mice have reaped some hopeful results. Lazy mice were injected with the blood of mice that love to run on exercise wheels. They found the sedentary mice performed better on memory and learning tests after being injected and that brain inflammation caused by Alzheimer’s and other disorders was reduced. It won’t necessarily work in humans, but scientists say the study supports a growing body of research supporting the link between exercise and brain health. Forget the hamster wheel, give us some of that athlete blood…

Environment & Science

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

True to 2021’s undermining form, we’re heading to Christmas with border restrictions still in play. So if you’re planning an interstate trip, this ready reckoner is super useful. 

Last week it was the best movies to watch as we get to the end of the year – this week it’s Vanity Fair’s pick of what to dive into on the telly. Some we’ve recommended here before, including our fave Hacks. Others we haven’t heard of. ‘Tis the season to watch a couple of good shows, we reckon. 

And for us this weekend, it’s something satisfying to eat. We made this bruschetta last weekend, and we’re going back for seconds. With herbed ricotta and roasted tomato, it’s simple/fancy/restorative. 

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which former PM’s seat ex-NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is being encouraged to run in next year’s federal election? Have a crack at the S’Quiz.

Squiz the Day

National Cabinet meets

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, October

AIHW Release – Safety of children in care 2020-21

Human Rights Day

International Animal Rights Day

Anniversary of:
• the publication of the first edition of Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1768)
• the birthdays of the world’s first computer programmer Ada Lovelace (1815) and poet Emily Dickinson (1830)
• the publication of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
• the deaths of critic AA Gill (2016)

Squiz the Day

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