Squiz Today / 17 December 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 17 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you over the Friday line. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

18 / 25
11 / 31
21 / 29
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17 / 23
10 / 22
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12 / 27

Squiz Sayings

“Areas that are really wet will be not conducive to ongoing mouse breeding.”

Said CSIRO researcher Steve Henry, who reckons a 2nd year of mouse plagues in Australia’s east has been headed off by La Niña sogginess. He’s taking a rain-gauge-half-full view…

Jumping castle tragedy rocks Devonport – and nation

Five Tasmanian children are dead, and another 3 are in hospital after wind lifted a jumping castle high into the air before it crashed, leaving the kids to fall to the ground. Authorities confirmed that 2 girls and 2 boys from Grade 5/6 lost their lives, and last night it was confirmed that a 5th child had succumbed to their injuries. They were celebrating their final day of school at the Hillcrest Public School in Devonport in the state’s north. “The poor parents, I don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Bob Smith, a resident who lives nearby and saw it all unfold.

The details have not been confirmed, but reports say a strong gust took the castle 10m into the air – that’s the height of a 3-storey home. Police and ambulance crews arrived at about 10am, and the most critical cases were transported to hospital by helicopter. Frantic parents hurried to the scene to find out if their children were injured, and police officers comforted each other in the aftermath of the chaos. Police Commissioner Darren Hine described it as a “confronting and distressing” scene. An investigation is underway – it will look into the number of children in the jumping castle at the time and if/how it had been secured.

Yes, but not with such tragic consequences here in Australia. In November last year, 2 kids aged 10yo underwent surgery for multiple fractures to their arms and legs after a “freak gust of wind” blew a jumping castle 7m into the air near Griffith in regional NSW. And in 2019, a similar incident occurred in Western Sydney when 4 kids aged 3-8yo fell from a height of 8m when their jumping castle became airborne, but no one was critically injured. Under the Aussie regulations for using jumping castles, they must withstand wind speeds of up to 40 km/h, but 30km/h is the maximum in which they can safely operate. The Bureau of Meteorology’s data points to wind speeds in the Devonport area of 7-22km/h yesterday.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Budget slightly less blown than was thought

Is there anything more exciting than the mid-year check-in on the nation’s finances? Yes, there is. But for federal fiscal fanatics, MYEFO (the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook) was highly anticipated because there were questions about just how much the Delta lockdowns and restrictions hurt our economy. But just like it did after the cluster-disaster that was 2020, our economy is surprising analysts on the upside. There’s no escaping the big losses. By 2024-25, gross debt is expected to reach $1.2 trillion, thank you COVID. For context, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says that’s “less than half the average across G20 advanced countries today”. But our high vaccination and employment rates will help us crack on economic growth, he says. Labor’s Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the Coalition can take no credit for jobs growth and all of it for cost-of-living pressures. He also reckons Team Morrison have carved off $16 billion for election announcements.

Business & Finance

Keeping up with the Kennedys

US President Joe Biden has nominated JFK and Jackie’s daughter Caroline Kennedy to be America’s ambassador to Oz. The high-profile pick suggests the US is looking to cement its ANZUS ties in the face of a rising China, commentators say. The 64yo is a lawyer and author, and she served as US Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017. And while we’re on the famous former first family, the US National Archives has released 1,500 previously-classified documents related to the 1963 assassination of Caroline’s father. That includes CIA documents on assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s previously disclosed but unexplained visits to Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico a month before the assassination. There are no bombshells right now, but it’s enough to keep the conspiracy theorists busy… A further 10,000 documents on the sad chapter are set to be released next year.

World News

COVID keeps Cummins cloistered as cricket clash commences

Australia’s freshly-minted men’s Test cricket captain Pat Cummins was ruled out of the 2nd Ashes test in Adelaide yesterday – but not because of injury. He was identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case. Cummins was at a restaurant on Wednesday night, and a diner at the next table unknowingly had COVID – that meant the Aussie skipper was deemed a close contact, so he’s isolating for 7 days. As for the cricket, vice-captain Steve Smith is at the helm for the first time since the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018. Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said the incident was “extremely unlucky”, and Cummins tweeted he was “gutted” to miss the Test but was “really excited” for Queenslander Michael Neser to take his place in his Test debut. Speaking of high profile people who have received health department text messages, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also been told to “test; isolate; check for symptoms”…


Metabolism the biggest loser of fast weight loss

American medico Kevin Hall had a pressing question after watching The Biggest Loser reality TV show: what happened to contestants’ bodies after losing all that weight in a short amount of time? So Hall and his colleagues at America’s National Institute of Diabetes used data provided by 14 former contestants over a decade to try and figure it out. The analysis suggests that contestants’ resting metabolic rate dropped after shedding the kilos quickly, and it didn’t pick up even if they gained weight or exercised. And although those who continued to exercise had more success in keeping the weight off, they saw the largest metabolic slowdown, which seems really unfair… It’s still a hypothesis, but Hall says it appears that gradual weight loss is the way to go.


Birdsong and Bruce Springsteen

Sick of Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey’s Christmas crooning yet? They are 2 stars who dominate the music charts at this time of year, but an unusual album has tipped them out of the ARIA album chart top 5. An album called Songs of Disappearance featuring the sounds of rare Aussie birds has proved a hit, selling more than 3,000 copies in its first week. Inspired by a landmark extinction report from BirdLife Australia, the album features the tweets and squawks of 53 near-extinct bird species recorded over 40 years. Also riding high is legendary American muso Bruce Springsteen – he’s sold his entire catalogue to Sony Music for a cool US$500 million. It’s believed to be the biggest sale of a single artist’s music to date, beating out Bob Dylan’s sale to Universal for nearly $400 million. #SquizShortcut

Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

The UK supermarket Christmas ads are well and truly in. If you’re up for some quality procrastination today, you’re welcome. Our pick – Tesco’s the winner and a bit of fun.

If you’re headed towards a reckoning with your skin/makeup products over the break, this website gives you a read on whether you can get the same or similar formulations at a better price. It’s a rabbit hole, so beware…

We’ve been waiting for the weekend for another go at this Adam Liaw recipe – fried chicken with vinegar dressing. It’s high on the reward-for-effort scale, and we’re all about that.

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know what job Russian President Vladimir Putin did to make ends meet after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Have a crack at the S’Quiz.

Squiz the Day

3.00pm (AEDT) – Cricket – 2nd Ashes Test – Australia v England – Adelaide

ABS Data Release – Overseas Migration, 2020-21

Company AGM – NAB, Nufarm

Bhutan’s National Day

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

National Maple Syrup Day in North America

Pope Francis’ birthday (1936)

10th anniversary of Kim Jong-un coming to power in North Korea after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il (2011)

Anniversary of:
• PM Harold Holt disappearing while swimming off a beach near Portsea, Victoria (1967)
• The Simpsons premiering on the telly (1989)

And it’s 8 days until Christmas…

Squiz the Day

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