Squiz Today / 16 September 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 16 September

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Perfect prep to up your weekend chat game. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

13 / 24
10 / 17
16 / 26
11 / 15
10 / 20
8 / 17
25 / 33
7 / 17

Squiz Sayings

“Today’s progress is an incredibly good sign for our heartthrob Hugo!”

Said Jake Meney from the Australian Reptile Park after Hugo the 70yo giant Galapagos tortoise who weighed in at a whopping 183.4kg, a 2kg gain from his last health check in 2020. It’s good to know we’re not the only ones who added some kgs during lockdown….

Running towards the end of COVID

That sound you could hear around the globe yesterday was a collective “woohoo” as World Health Organisation boss Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the end of the COVID pandemic is in sight. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” he said. But he says “we are not there yet” and has urged nations to drive numbers down by vaccinating at-risk groups, and he’s asked officials to continue their testing and sequencing regimes. “If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption and more uncertainty, so let’s seize this opportunity,” he said.

Yeah, right? Experts say his remarks are the most optimistic since the United Nations agency declared the global pandemic in March 2020 – and hasn’t there been a lot of water under the bridge since then… There have been 10.1 million reported cases here in Oz and more than 610 million cases globally – and 14,422 deaths here and 6.5 million around the world. We’ve also seen the biggest vaccination campaign ever seen, with more than 12 billion COVID doses administered worldwide, including 63.2 million jabs here in Australia. What’s prompted the hopeful update from the WHO is the downward trend in COVID-related deaths. Last week was the lowest since March 2020, with a decrease of more than 20% compared to the week before. 

Well, before we get too carried away, we’re not there yet… Dr Tedros pulled out his best sporting metaphor to outline the situation he says we’re now in. “A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view. She runs harder with all the energy she has left. So must we,” he said. And in Australia, it’s not over yet with our government leaders to discuss lifting mandatory isolation periods at the end of the month. There’s also concern about the continuing impact on those living in aged care facilities, with more than 3,000 people dying with COVID in nursing homes this year – that’s almost triple the number of deaths in the first 2 years of the pandemic. But more broadly, an updated survey out yesterday showed more Aussies reckon their lives have improved this year, with big gains for 18-24yos. And that’s something that definitely deserves a woohoo…


Squiz the Rest

Russia fortifies its position

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged to lead Ukraine to victory as he visited recaptured towns in the country’s eastern Kharkiv region yesterday. That included the city of Izyum, which until this week was a key base for Russia before Ukraine launched a successful counteroffensive that analysts say has shown Ukraine could actually win the war. Russian officials claim they are back on track and now focused on recapturing the southeastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Following his visit, Zelensky narrowly avoided serious injury in a car accident – his people say “a car collided with the car of the President of Ukraine and escort vehicles”, but everyone survived. As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, he’s in Uzbekistan for a trade/security summit where he’s reunited with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time in a while. Putin has acknowledged Xi’s concerns over the Ukraine war as Xi described Putin as “an old friend”.

World News

‘Serial’ killer may not be guilty

The case at the heart of early true-crime podcast Serial is back in the spotlight, with prosecutors asking for Adnan Syed to be released from prison and granted a new trial. The now 41yo has been serving a life sentence since 2000 when he was found guilty of murdering ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee when they were teenagers. He’s always maintained his innocence, and the 2014 podcast raised doubts about his guilt. Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby says a new investigation has found fresh evidence, including that Lee’s car was found behind the home of one of 2 new suspects, and investigators discovered previously untested traces of male DNA on her body. “For all the reasons set forth below, the State no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction,” says the court filing. Syed’s lawyer, Erica Suter, said he “is grateful that this information has finally seen the light of day and looks forward to his day in court.”


More swings and roundabouts on employment

Australia’s unemployment rate increased for the first time in 10 months, up 0.1% to 3.5% in August. Neither policymakers nor analysts are concerned because unemployment remains very low, and the latest result comes down to an uptick in more people looking for work. The jobs boom ramped up again in August, with about 33,500 new roles added across the economy, and the participation rate – aka those willing/able to work – also picked up from July’s drop, returning to 66.6% last month. One factor flagged as being behind the rise in job seekers is the financial pressures of cost of living increases and interest rate rises. The Reserve Bank raised interest rates again this month, and while analysts say the latest job numbers could give the central bank pause for thought ahead of next month’s rate decision, high inflation and recent market shocks in the US could see more hikes to come.

Australian News Business & Finance

Patagonia founder sheds his billions

Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire owner of US outdoor retail giant Patagonia, has given away the company to try and save the planet. The Subaru-driving eccentric entrepreneur – who took his passion for rock climbing and turned it into a huge brand – has often said he never wanted to be a businessman. Patagonia has grown massively since its humble beginnings in 1973 and is now worth an estimated $4.4 billion. So instead of selling the company or launching it on the stock market, the 83yo and his family have transferred their ownership to a charitable trust to funnel profits towards combating climate change. “It’s been nearly 50 years since we began our experiment in responsible business, and we are just getting started,” Chouinard said.

Business & Finance

Farewelling the Mr Nice Guy of tennis

And gee he could play too… Roger Federer has announced overnight that he’s calling time on his illustrious playing career after 24 years on the circuit. “I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits,” the 41yo said in his social media post. Federer was the world’s #1 male player for a record 237 consecutive weeks and was the first man to claim 20 grand slam titles. But it’s been hard going since 2011 as injuries set in, and his younger rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic enjoyed success. Still, he remains one of the most bankable stars in sport – this ad with pasta brand Barilla remains a favourite. Calling it a bittersweet decision, he said he played “at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.” There is one more opportunity to see him in action… Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray are playing together for the first time when they compete for Team Europe at the Laver Cup in London later this month.


Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

One of the nicest tributes to Queen Elizabeth we’ve seen was UK Vogue’s 96 years in 96 images. The one from 1942 with her father really got us for some reason…

Last week, we talked about our favourite new show, Welcome to Wrexham, about Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds’ purchase of a Welsh soccer club. This week, they’re all over the interwebs spruiking the importance of colorectal cancer screening. It’s a preventative health campaign done extremely well.

This is a quick and flavourful one – puy lentils with bacon and Brussels sprouts. We had ours with some grilled fish, and it was delish. Top tip: we use the ‘French style lentils’ from the supermarket – don’t turn yourself inside out trying to find a packet with ‘puy’ on it. And we used red wine vinegar. It did the trick for us…

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which Aussie actor won an Emmy this week? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz. 

Squiz the Day

7.50pm (AEST) – NRL Semi Final – Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders – Sydney

7.50pm (AEST) – NRL Preliminary Final – Geelong v Brisbane Lions – Melbourne

Independence Days for Mexico and Papua New Guinea

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Birthdays for comedian Amy Poehler (1971) and singer Nick Jonas (1992)

Anniversary of the birthdays of actress Lauren Bacall (1924) and musician B.B. King (1925)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.