Squiz Today / 18 June 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 18 June


“Am quite sure no staff from David Jones Bondi Junction will catch Covid because Covid would have to find them first and let me tell you, I’ve tried and failed.”

Tweeted columnist/author and keen Squizer Kerri Sackville. At least the sparse/hardworking DJs floor staff have the prospect of outrunning COVID going for them…


Health officials have increased the recommended age for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from 50yo to 60yo following new expert advice on the risk of dangerous but rare blood clots. The Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred jab for those under 60yo, and Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday said it will be “immediately” available for 40-59yos. But experts say the 815,000 Aussies in the affected age bracket who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca without side effects “should feel very confident” to get their 2nd.

Yeah. There had been calls for the official advice to be reviewed after a 52yo woman died last week when she became the 2nd to succumb to blood clots linked to the vaccine. Officials responded, saying AstraZeneca remained the vaccine of choice for those older than 50yo. But yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said new information showed 12 new cases of a "rare but sometimes very serious clotting condition" linked to AstraZeneca in the past week. In Oz, 60 people have developed the clotting disorder out of more than 3.8 million AstraZeneca doses administered. Minister Hunt yesterday said it was a "conservative position", but Australia is on track to offer every eligible person a vaccine this year.

The outbreak in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has grown to 4 cases, and police are investigating whether the first case, an unvaccinated 60yo limo driver who came into contact with international flight crew, has breached health orders. The man's infection was yesterday confirmed to be the Delta variant - the highly contagious strain first detected in India, and in this case, it's come via the US. His wife has since tested positive, and a 70yo woman who had attended a venue the couple had visited caught the virus. A man in Sydney's northwest has also tested positive, but officials are looking into whether that’s correct. The cases haven’t prompted the reintroduction of restrictions in Sydney, but some states have been quick to shut borders to anyone who has visited ‘high risk’ areas of Sydney.



Australia’s unemployment rate fell below pre-pandemic levels, dropping by 0.4% to 5.1% in May. The creation of more than 115,200 jobs (including 97,500 full-time roles) outstripped a significant rise in the participation rate (aka people who say they’re in work or ready to take a job), which is close to a historical high. Also heading in the right direction is underemployment (aka those in work but could do more hours) which fell to a 7-year low of 7.4%. Economist Kristina Clifton said the “fantastic result” shows the job market has “weathered the ending of the JobKeeper payment well”. The figures were released after Reserve Bank boss Philip Lowe said while the jobs market was recovering from the coronavirus recession, wage increases are nowhere to be seen. Some experts say that might come as the fight for workers heats up with international talent locked out thanks to the closed national border.


Hong Kong’s autonomy has been further undermined with the arrest of the editor-in-chief and 4 executives of the territory's biggest pro-democracy newspaper, with some 500 officers raiding Apple Daily's headquarters. Assets worth HK$18 million (A$3 million) owned by 3 companies linked to the publication were frozen, and police also declared the newspaper’s offices a crime sceneApple Daily is known for publishing anti-China views, and it's been targeted for allegedly breaching a national security law by publishing articles calling on countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China, authorities say. Dozens of people have been arrested and charged under the controversial law since it was implemented last year following massive pro-democracy protests in 2019. That includes media tycoon and Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai, who earlier this year was handed a 14-month prison sentence over tweets authorities say proved he endangered national security by colluding with foreign forces. He also faces additional charges that could see him face life imprisonment. #SquizShortcuts


The Earth is trapping more heat in its atmosphere, and that's a problem because it means more rapidly warming oceans, air and land, according to researchers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (try saying that 5 times fast...). Researchers measured the difference between how much energy the planet absorbs from the sun and how much it radiates back out into space. They found that the amount of heat the Earth trapped has doubled between 2005 and 2019. That's because of factors like a decrease in cloud coverage and sea ice (which reflects solar energy back into space) and the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And that extra heat - especially in the oceans - will mean more intense hurricanes and marine heatwaves in the future. Happy Friday…


As for more celestial matters, China yesterday launched 3 astronauts into orbit to begin work on its new space station. Overnight, the crew boarded the Tianhe (Heavenly Harmony) space station where they will live for 3 months, “set up our new home” and conduct a whole lotta tests. It marks China’s longest crewed space mission to date and its first in nearly 5 years. China’s move to build its own space station is partly due to its exclusion from the International Space Station, which is operated by the US, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. But China says visitors are welcome to drop by its new digs, with Russia putting its hand up for a visit. Beijing's latest achievement highlights its growing confidence and capability in the space race. Over the past 6 months, China has upped its space research, returning rock and soil samples to Earth from the Moon and landing a robot on Mars.


Musician-turned-elite-swimmer Cody Simpson didn't make the Australian Olympic team, but he surprised everyone by smashing his personal best time to book a place in the final of the 100-metre butterfly at the trials. He came in last, going a fraction slower than in the heats, but said he gave it “everything I had”. The 35-strong swimming team was made last night at the end of the Olympic trials in Adelaide. Kaylee McKeown won the 200-metre backstroke final to add to her victories, coming in with the 4th fastest time in history. The 19yo has qualified in 3 events for next month's Games and will also swim in at least 2 relays. Emily Seebohm and Cate Campbell will compete at their 4th Olympic Games, joining Leisel Jones as the only Aussie swimmers to reach the milestone. And Ariarne Titmus broke her own Aussie record in the 800-metre freestyle final to book herself a 3rd swim next month in Tokyo. Speaking of... Tokyo's state of emergency is set to be lifted, and a final call on whether to allow domestic spectators will be made later this month.


We spent waaay too much time combing through this YouTube series explaining how the interwebs talks about things like bears (furry nopes), hamsters (furry potatoes), and snakes (danger noodles). And the most fascinating bit - it’s an ad for a software product. So clever…

With winter well and truly upon us, we thought it was time to whip out this oldy but goody - the warmest how-to guide of them all. Who knew there were even 18 ways you could tie a scarf...

And if that doesn’t do the trick, this potato curry with snapper is bound to warm you up. For a bit more of a kick, add some fresh chilli to the paste. It’ll put some pep in your weekend step.


ABS Data Release - Australian National Accounts: Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth, 2019-20

UN Sustainable Gastronomy Day

International Sushi Day

Sir Paul McCartney’s birthday (1942)

Anniversary of:
• the Battle of Waterloo, which saw Napoleon defeated by Britain (1815)
• Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean (1928)
• the UN Commission on Human Rights adopting the International Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
• Sally Ride becoming the first US woman in space (1983)

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

World Sickle Cell Day

International Surfing Day

Birthdays for Aung San Suu Kyi (1945), Salman Rushdie (1947), Boris Johnson (1964) and Paul Dano (1984)

Anniversary of:
• the first celebration of Father’s Day in Washington state (1910)
• the British Royal Family renouncing its German names and titles and adopting the name of Windsor (1917)
• The Rocky Horror Picture Show musical debuting in London (1973)
• Garfield, created by Jim Davis, first appearing as a comic strip (1978)

World Refugee Day

Arbor Day

Birthdays for Brian Wilson (1942), Lionel Richie (1949) and Nicole Kidman (1967)

Anniversary of:
• Queen Victoria ascending the British throne at 18yo following the death of her uncle King William IV (1837)
• Samuel Morse patenting his telegraph (1840)
• the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975)

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