Squiz Today / 13 January 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 13 January

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

Squiz Today Podcast

Fresh and fast for a new year. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

21 / 27
19 / 32
21 / 29
17 / 27
19 / 28
13 / 22
27 / 31
14 / 25

Squiz Sayings

“It going viral doesn’t feel great to be honest.”

Said Josh Wardle, the creator of the online word puzzle ‘Wordle’. He’s now experiencing performance anxiety after 2 million people started playing the game he created for his partner…

Djokovic’s mea culpa

Men’s world #1 tennis player Novak Djokovic has admitted he attended an interview in December whilst he had COVID. The Serbian star posted on Instagram yesterday that he knew he’d tested positive for the virus 2 days before sitting down with French sports newspaper L’Equipe but says he felt obliged to keep the commitment. That was an error of judgement, he now says. Team Djokovic have also fronted up to immigration officials to clarify his declaration that he had not travelled in the fortnight before coming to Oz. His agent ticked the wrong box – a human error rather than a plot to evade authorities, Djokovic says. “We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur,” he wrote.

Not much yet… The Home Affairs Department warns that giving false or misleading information to the Government is a “serious offence” carrying a possible jail term. When it comes to cancelling Djokovic’s visa, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still having a think. Under his discretionary powers, Hawke could have Djokovic deported on public health grounds, and that would see him banned from entering Oz for 3 years. Hawke’s office says Djokovic’s lawyers have provided further “lengthy” submissions relevant to the final decision, and they needed some time to consider them. 

Speaking just before Djokovic fessed up, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said it would be a “clear breach of rules” if he was out in public after a positive COVID test. And when it comes to his fellow players, Andy Murray says Djokovic still has questions to answer “around the isolation and stuff” but is pleased he’s out of immigration detention. More broadly, former women’s champ Martina Navratilova said she admires Djokovic but “can’t defend” his choice not to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Seven newsreaders Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor were caught having an off-air crack at Djokovic – the vision was leaked on Twitter. TV industry types say that would usually be embarrassing, but the largely positive response won’t harm them. And it could be an indication of the reception Djokovic receives if he plays in the Australian Open, which starts next week.


Squiz the Rest

A quick world news wrap

A civil case over allegations Prince Andrew sexually assaulted a woman when she was 17yo will proceed, a New York judge has ruled this morning. Western Oz-based woman Virginia Giuffre claims he sexually assaulted her in 2001 – claims Andrew denies. His lawyers argued that the case should be thrown out, citing a 2009 deal she signed with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that she could not to sue anyone else connected to the financier.

UK PM Boris Johnson has faced the Parliament this morning and confessed to attending a team drinks garden party at his prime ministerial residence during lockdown in 2020 when public health orders dictated that just 2 people could gather outdoors. He’s apologised, but he’s under pressure from Labour and some on his own side to resign.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired a hypersonic missile that flew more than 700km and fell into the sea off its east coast. Some experts doubt the claim, but South Korea says the missile travelled ​at more than 10 times the speed of sound. It’s worried – as is Japan and the US – that the Hermit Kingdom is making serious gains in its long-range weapons program.

World News

A plan to get more workers out of iso

New year, new advice from the AHPPC – for the uninitiated, that’s the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Chaired by the Chief Medical Officer and made up of the state/territory chief health officers, its focus is on managing health emergencies. So yeah, it’s been convening a bit… It was asked by the Federal Government to provide advice on which workers could be exempt from isolating if they’re a close contact – and the list is long. Currently, close contacts who work in emergency services and food distribution can leave isolation to go to work, provided they don’t have symptoms and have a negative rapid test. Reports say the logistics sector has 30-50% of its workforce in isolation ATM… This is going to be discussed at National Cabinet today.


Jobs in search of workers in November

Geez the Aussie economy was gearing up in November… We learned on Tuesday that retail sales surged to a record $33 billion during the month, up an impressive 7.3% on October. And yesterday, the Bureau of Stats said 396,100 jobs were advertised across the country in November, which was a sharp improvement as 2021’s lockdowns ended. “The level of job vacancies in November 2021 was 74.2% higher than in February 2020, prior to the start of the pandemic,” the bureau said. And then Omicron… It will be a few weeks until we get an official look at how much the new COVID strain has impacted the economy’s recovery, but the World Bank yesterday issued a sobering global forecast for 2022. President David Malpass warns that growth will slow to 4.1% this year from 5.5% in 2021. That’s because there will be ongoing virus threats, government aid is winding up, and the initial rebound in demand will fade. Nothing’s easy…

Business & Finance

Gearing up for a republic

As Queen Elizabeth gets psyched to mark 70 years on the throne and the Duchess of Cambridge pops up every week to oohs and ahhs, the Australian Republican Movement has outlined its preferred model for appointing an Aussie head of state. Each state and territory will nominate someone, and the Federal Government will also chuck in 3 names. That list will then be put to the people, with the winner scoring a 5-year term and the current Governor-General’s workload. Chair Peter FitzSimons said the ‘Australian Choice’ model took 2 years to develop, but the chair of the Australian Monarchist League Philip Benwell dusted off some old lines saying the model “is just putting more power into the hands of politicians”. Other republic backers like former ABC TV Insiders host Barrie Cassidy highlighted what they saw as flaws in the plan. It was 1999 when Australia last got a say – 45% voted yes, 55% said no.


Science says sarcasm is smart

Parents would be familiar with the trials and tribulations of teenagers, and more specifically, when they start to discover sarcasm. But take heart – the default mode for many teens can actually be a sign of intelligence, according to science. That’s because understanding and using sarcasm requires more brainpower than literal statements. While children under 5yo tend to take statements literally, by 10yo, they start to understand the art of snark. Evidence also shows the lowest form of wit can help with creativity and venting negative emotions. Recent research by University of Calgary psycholinguist Penny Pexman suggests that a child’s home environment can strongly influence their understanding and use of sarcasm. She says the sarcastic apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

After 3 decades of cross-breeding, scientists have finally developed the world’s first ‘tearless’ onions. Don’t put away the goggles just yet – they’re only available to buy in the UK for now. 

A well-preserved Roman town and hundreds of artefacts dating back to around 400 BC have been uncovered in England’s East Midlands during excavations for a new rail development. More than 100 archaeological sites have been discovered since the project began in 2018.

And vale Cambodia’s heroic landmine-sniffing rat named Magawa – he’s died at 8yo from natural causes. The rodent was awarded a tiny gold medal last year for identifying more than 100 explosives during his illustrious 5-year career.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

National Cabinet meets

Human Rights Watch releases its 2022 Annual World Report

Birthdays for actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1961), Patrick Dempsey (1966), Orlando Bloom (1977), and Liam Hemsworth (1990)

Anniversary of:
• the death of Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon/Princess Margaret’s ex (2017)
• the false emergency alert warning of an impending missile strike on Hawaii (2018)

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.