Squiz Today / 15 January 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 15 January


"They’re concerned about bird diseases.”

Said Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird of a phone call he received from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service yesterday… Joe the homing pigeon, who’s flown 15,500km from the US, is not long for this world - that's if they can catch him…


Voting 232 to 197 in the US House of Representatives to charge President Donald Trump over his incitement of a mob of supporters to overrun the Capitol last week, he became the first national leader to be impeached twice. Adding insult to injury, 10 Republicans voted with the Democrats giving his impeachment the highest level of cross-party support in history. And it's not over - a Senate trial awaits after he leaves office. Still, Republican voters love him...

That’s what a new Axios-Ipsos poll out yesterday shows. Virtually no rusted on Trump supporters think he should be removed from office over last week’s riots, and 24% of ‘traditional Republicans’ agree. Half of 'independent' voters want him out, as do +90% of Democrat supporters and ‘progressive liberals’. That spread of opinion is also reflected on questions about whether Trump has acted appropriately since November’s election, and whether he should run in 2024. So after a week when Trump has been banned/suspended on social mediashunned by foreign leaders, impeached, dropped by senior members of his own party, and some in his inner circle - he still has his ardent fans. And that’s an issue going forward.

Far out who knows? Right now, Trump’s “isolated and wallowing in self-pity” in the White House, reports say. Yesterday, he released a video condemning further violence - something his aides had to scramble to do. As for getting through next week and Biden’s inauguration, Washington DC is locked down as authorities worry about protests kicking off over the weekend. After next week, there are big questions to answer about what life looks like with Trump out of the presidency. Already spending some time in the hall of mirrors is Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. "Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real," he tweeted yesterday. But Trump's ban from his favoured social media platform is "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation." One thing to keep an eye out for in the coming week - Trump pardoning himself and his family. Insiders are said to be expecting that before he departs office next Thursday our time.



A Perth man incurred serious leg injuries after he was attacked by a bull shark near Blackwall Reach in the Swan River yesterday morning. Cameron Wrathall, aged in his 50s, was pulled out of the water by a nearby swimmer and kayakers and rushed to hospital where he's had surgery and is in a critical but stable condition. While bull sharks have been spotted in the popular swimming spot before, attacks are rare. The last fatal attack in the area was in 1923. Premier Mark McGowan said he was expecting a report from the Department of Fisheries about preventing such attacks within the next few days. But shark attacks are “very difficult to predict or prevent,” he said.



Australia’s international finance regulator admitted yesterday that its previous estimate that $2.3 billion had been wired to Oz from the Vatican in Rome between 2014 and 2020 had been overstated - by $2.2 billion. Pinning the blame on a coding error, it conceded that the actual figure is closer to $9.5 million. So just a little discrepancy... AUSTRAC has been looking into allegations that bribes were involved in the child abuse claims made against Cardinal George Pell, who had his conviction overturned by the High Court last year. The Vatican was stumped by the vast amount, saying much smaller amounts had been transferred to cover ordinary payments to manage the church's affairs. In light of the mix-up, AUSTRAC has reviewed the data and "put immediate additional quality assurance processes in place," boss Nicole Rose said.


The team of scientists representing the World Health Organisation arrived in Wuhan, China yesterday to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Gathering in Singapore before flying onto China, not all of the travelling party made the final leg… Two had to stay behind after testing positive to coronavirus antibodies. Beijing has been resistant to calls for a probe into the outbreak, and earlier this month blocked the team from entering - a misunderstanding its officials say. After completing 2 weeks in quarantine, the group will interview researchers, medical staff and seafood market vendors. But critics say the investigation won't get the real story given by China’s heavy involvement in the mission. It comes as China reported more cases of the virus than it has in the previous 10 months with new outbreaks in the northern provinces of Heilongjiang and Hebei.


A new Canadian study, which observed macaques at Bali’s ancient Uluwatu temple for more than 273 days, has concluded that they are a pretty shady lot. When robbing visitors, they know to go for the good stuff… Over the last 30 years, monkey elders have passed on their experience to younger generations of what items are most valuable to humans - ie phones, wallets and glasses. Quite strategically, they steal those from unsuspecting tourists to exchange them for food. And - get this - more valuable items require higher quality food treats to get them to hand the item back. While this behaviour has often been observed in monkeys in captivity, it's one of the few such studies observing them in the wild.


2021 - Year of the Sea Shanty. Believe it.

Jessica Campbell was the actress best known for playing high-school student Tammy Metzler who sabotages Tracy Flick’s (aka Reece Witherspoon) run for student body president in ElectionShe died recently aged 38yo, and it reminded us what a fab film it is. It’s a worthy candidate for a watch (or rewatch) this weekend. You can find it on Binge.

We're making an effort carbs-wise this month. Usually, that means toast for brekkie, noodles for lunch, and a jacket potato for dinner. This month, we’re off ‘em… So tonight we’ll be crying our way through some salmon with some macadamia and rocket pesto. Can’t wait. (Seriously, the pesto+salmon trick is a goodie…)


11.00am (AEDT) - Men’s Test Cricket – Australia v India - Brisbane

7.30pm (AEDT) - NBL season opener - Adelaide 36ers vs Melbourne United - Adelaide

The US today reduces the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500

ABS Data Release - Lending Indicators, November

Wikipedia Day

Anniversary of Henry VIII declaring himself head of the Church in England (1535), and of Elizabeth I becoming Queen of England (1559)

A birthday for top model/muse Kate Moss (1974)

Anniversary of:
• the US announcing the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait (1991)
• the death of Australian photographer Frank Hurley (1962). Fascinating bloke

World Religion Day

Birthdays for Aussie netball legend Liz Ellis (1973), actor Jim Carrey (1962) and former First Lady Michelle Obama (1964)

Anniversary of the start of the 13-year-long prohibition on alcohol in the US (1920)

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