Squiz Today / 24 May 2021

Squiz Today – Monday, 24 May


“This could make the difference between them having cheaper student loans, nicer accommodation, not having to get a bar job.”

Said Howard Davies-Carr, father of Harry (17yo) and Charlie (15yo) of “Charlie bit my finger” fame. The family sold the viral video overnight for more than $980,000, depriving the pair of a crummy/character building uni job…


Hopes that all Australians who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could get their doses by Christmas were raised yesterday. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says it’s possible if 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrive each week from the start of October as scheduled.

There’s more wriggle room in that statement than your fat jeans… The goal is contingent on receiving that consistent supply of the European-made vaccine - something that has hindered the early stages of the program. The focus on the Pfizer vaccine stems from the official recommendation in April that it be given to the under 50yos over the AstraZeneca vaccine that's being made locally. Last week, the Morrison Government was again under significant pressure when a survey found almost a third of Aussies are hesitant about getting vaccinated due to safety concerns and because they aren't in a hurry while international borders remain closed. Better promotion of the benefits of being vaccinated has been recommended by experts and seemingly everyone on Twitter.

They are, according to a new study by Public Health England. Looking at countering the Indian strain between April and mid-May, the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective 2 weeks after a 2nd dose, and AsztraZenena was 60% effective, the study found. The difference between them could be the time taken between jabs with a longer wait between AstraZeneca shots. In another encouraging development, American officials say their vaccination program is working with new coronavirus cases falling to the lowest level since June last year. “As each week passes and as we continue to see progress, these data give me hope,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky. The biggest vaccination effort in history has seen more than 1.6 billion shots delivered across 176 countries so far.



The Nationals have claimed victory in Saturday’s NSW state by-election in the seat of Upper Hunter with David Layzell set to take a 56% lead after preferences. Labor was hopeful of taking the mining-heavy seat after the resignation of Nationals MP Michael Johnsen, who is accused of raping a sex worker in 2019 - but the party registered an 8% swing against it. We mention it because of the shock waves that have been set off. First, NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay is fighting to keep her job as a result of the party's poor showing. And second is what it means for a federal election on the issue of climate change - particularly in seats underpinned by mining where Labor has traditionally been voters’ party of choice. The Liberals also have to deal with the wounds of former PM Malcolm Turnbull backing an independent/anti-mining candidate. Who said politics is boring?


Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s request for Australian-Chinese academic Dr Yang Hengjun to have access to his lawyer and consular officials ahead of his court hearing on Thursday has been called “deplorable” by China’s embassy here. Facing charges of espionage after being detained for 2 years, Payne was told to “respect China's judicial sovereignty and refrain from interfering in any form in Chinese judicial authorities' lawful handling of the case." Payne says the request is the "bare minimum to conform with international norms of transparency" - a position backed by Labor’s Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally. The 56yo pro-democracy writer denies the charges and says he’s a victim of political persecution. Facing a similar predicament, Aussie news anchor Cheng Lei has been in detention in China for more than 9 months over accusations she leaked state secrets.


The United Nations Security Council has called for “full adherence to the ceasefire” between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The statement - the first since violence erupted 2 weeks ago - said they “mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence” and “stressed the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza". UN officials say there are increased health risks and widespread destruction of homes and vital infrastructure in Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel's Foreign Ministry said it wants to see the "international community condemn and disarm Hamas, and ensure Gaza’s rehabilitation while preventing the diversion of funds and weapons to terrorism." Both sides have claimed victory as Egyptian officials and others continue talks about a longer-term ceasefire.


A CABLE CAR CRASH IN ITALY - Fourteen people have died overnight in the accident in northern Italy. Reports say the cable broke 300m from the top of the line that connects Stresa on Lake Maggiore with the nearby Mottarone mountain in the Piedmont region. The only survivor is a 5yo child who is undergoing surgery for multiple fractures. "We are devastated, in pain," said Mayor of Stresa Marcella Severino.

A WEATHER CHANGE CLAIMS LIVES - Twenty-one people taking part in an ultramarathon in China’s northwestern Gansu province died on Saturday night after they encountered freezing conditions in the high-altitude section of the 100km race. Officials have apologised for the tragedy.

A VOLCANO ERUPTS - Mount Nyiragongo near the Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma erupted on Saturday night, causing thousands of its 2 million residents to flee. Officials say people are starting to return, but it has not been confirmed how many homes or lives have been lost to the slow-moving lava. The pictures are horrifying


Bob Fulton, rugby league icon and broadcaster, died yesterday at 74yo of cancer. One of the first 4 players to be granted ‘Immortal’ status in 1981, Fulton was a life-long Manly man. He also played for Australia in 35 Tests and led our national team to 2 World Cup victories in the 90s as coach. ARL chairman Peter V'landys said "The word legend is used a lot in tributes, but Bob was a genuine legend of rugby league."

And singer/actress Lorrae Desmond has died at 91yo after a short illness. She stole hearts as Shirley Gilmore in A Country Practice, but that wasn’t her only Aussie TV success… Desmond was the first woman to win the Gold Logie for The Lorrae Desmond Show in the 60s. Before that, she competed to be Britain's pick to represent them in 1957’s Eurovision. The good and great of Aussie TV yesterday said she was a much-loved industry figure.


If you need one reason to cross your fingers for the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead, it's the prospect of watching US gymnast Simone Biles. At the US Classic yesterday, she pulled off another move reserved for men. She’s unbelievable.

Also defying the odds is golfer Phil Mickelson - he’s hoping to become the oldest winner of a major championship if he holds it together during the final round of the PGA Championship in South Carolina this morning. He’s the ripe old age of 50yo…

And Italy might have taken out Eurovision, just as the bookies predicted. But the winner on the night was the UK's James Newman, who scored 0 points - and took the result with courage. Not that Europe holds a grudge over Brexit or anything…


House of Representatives resumes sitting - Canberra

Independence Day in Eritrea

World Schizophrenia Awareness Day

Bob Dylan turns 80yo (1941), and it's also a birthday for Priscilla Presley (1945)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686) and Queen Victoria (1819)
• Samuel Morse tapping out "What hath God wrought" in the world's first telegraph message (1844)
• Amy Johnson becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia (1930)
• American management consultant Marilyn Loden first coining the term "glass ceiling" to describe invisible career barriers for women (1978)
• the completion of the world's largest cat-proof fence (44km) at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, in central Australia (2018)

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