Squiz Today / 30 September 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 30 September

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I am super happy because in the end, everything turned out fine.”

Said 75yo La Palma resident Gert Waegerle whose home was missed by advancing lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano. He was evacuated last week with his 5 turtles, leaving his cats behind. In fairness to Gert, cats can run faster…

Chickens come back to the quarantine hotel to roost…

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services has been charged by the state’s workplace safety watchdog over its handling of the hotel quarantine program between March and July last year. WorkSafe yesterday confirmed that 58 health and safety charges have been levelled against the department – the main issue is the lack of infection prevention and control expertise and training for security workers. Each charge is punishable with a fine of up to $1.64 million take the total to more than $95 million.

Because COVID infections among security guards in 2 quarantine hotels in Melbourne in May and June last year led to the state’s 2nd wave that brought on a 14-week lockdown, killed 801 people, and led to more than 18,000 infections. Premier Daniel Andrews launched an investigation into the program, which inquiry chair Jennifer Coate described as an “orphan”. No one could be identified as the person responsible for making the decision to contract out hotel quarantine enforcement to private security providers. But heads did roll: the Premier’s Department head Chris Eccles and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos resigned over the scandal. As for what happens next, it’s heading to court on 22 October.

Or was it last week? It’s hard to reconcile the time warp that has been 2020-21… While we’re not talking about hotel quarantine breaches much anymore, the spread of COVID remains the talk of the town. Yesterday, Victoria recorded 950 new infections (the highest number ever recorded in a single day in the state) and 7 deaths (the most of this outbreak). Meanwhile in NSW, the new daily case number was 863 yesterday, and there were 15 deaths – the most the state has recorded since the pandemic’s start.


Squiz the Rest

Tips and observations for a PM’s replacement…

“Blundering and deceitful” was former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s description of his successor’s decision to scrap the $90 billion submarine deal. Addressing the National Press Club yesterday, Turnbull, who brokered the subs deal in 2016, made clear again that he is no fan of PM Scott Morrison. And he revealed he’s been on the blower with French President Emmanuel Macron (who accidentally described Turnbull’s powerhouse wife Lucy as “delicious”). Note: Morrison has not been able to get to speak to Macron since the AUKUS pact was announced… Another issue Turnbull jumped into yesterday was climate change. After representing Australia at the landmark Paris talks in 2015, Turnbull said he will be at the COP26 talks in Glasgow this November, and he called on Morrison to do the same. They call that a dare… #SquizShortcut


A new PM for Japan

Japan’s former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will become the country’s 100th prime minister when the parliament holds an extraordinary session on Monday next week. The 64yo won the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership ballot yesterday after PM Yoshihide Suga recently quit after just one year in power. He called it quits because of anger about the decision to push ahead with the Tokyo Olympic Games despite surging case numbers, as well as the pandemic’s ongoing economic impact. Pundits say Kishida’s victory is a win for the party’s elite – he comes from a family of politicians and has long been seen as his party’s future leader. His critics say he’s super boring, but it could be an exciting time… A general election is due by the end of November.

World News

North Korea goes hypersonic

In the latest episode of the Itchy and Scratchy Show, North Korea has tested a newly-developed hypersonic missile, according to the country’s state media. It’s the next step in the nation’s weapons program after Kim Jong Un restarted missile tests earlier this month in violation of United Nations resolutions. We don’t mean to scare you, but experts say the new missiles have the potential to be one of the world’s fastest and most accurate weapons. They can be fitted with a nuclear warhead and are difficult to intercept. If North Korea could perfect this technology, commentators say it could change the balance of power in the region by making South Korean and Japanese defence systems “close to impotent”. They say that that’s still a long way off, but developing the “strategic” weapon was one of North Korea’s “top-priority tasks of the 5-year plan”, state media says. Yikes…

World News

Living until 130yo

It’s a scenario many of us probably haven’t envisioned, but a new French study reckons it’s a milestone that humans could achieve by the end of the century. All you have to do is crack the ton and play the numbers… Research into people aged 105yo and over has found evidence that they effectively cease to age, statistically speaking. While the risk of dying generally increases during one’s lifetime, researchers say that eventually plateaus into about a 50-50 chance of dying each year once you hit supercentenarian status – 110yo. No reconstructions from No Country For Old Men are required… A 110yo today has a 1 in a million chance of reaching 130yo, but the number of supercentenarians will grow as modern medicine improves, researchers say, and 130yo is just a creaky hop/skip/jump from there…


A fallen pup made good

“If I can encourage any children to love the apex predator for what they are, I’ll be so happy,“ said author Favel Parrett about her new kids’ book featuring Wandi, the alpine dingo. You might remember the fluffball who fell from the sky near Bright in Victoria 2 years ago… The native dog is all grown up with pups of his own, but his species faces many challenges. Purebred dingos were listed as ‘threatened’ in the state in 2008, but their numbers are still declining. That’s because they’re hard to tell apart from feral dogs, which are dangerous pests. And drops in dingo numbers have been linked to a jump in kangaroo populations, which also presents a big problem for conservationists. Fun fact: dingos mate for life and co-parent their offspring. Good boy, Wandi…

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing

Aussie journo Jonathan Swan yesterday won an Emmy for his epic Axios interview last year with then-President Donald Trump. And gee his dad was proud

Rapper, actor and producer Eminem has opened an Italian restaurant in his hometown of Detroit. Its name is Mom’s Spaghetti… Connoisseurs of his music will know that’s a reference to the vomit on his sweater as he was trying to lose himself in the music/the moment.

Speaking of confronting project names, Danish artist Jens Haaning has pocketed $115,000 from an art museum and left them with 2 blank canvases. The title of his “conceptual artwork”? Take the Money And Run

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Tonight (AEST) – A final high-level meeting before the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in November is held – Milan

ABS Data Releases – Job Vacancies, August; Building Approvals, August

Botswana’s National Day

International Translation Day

World Maritime Day

International Podcast Day

Birthdays for actor Fran Drescher (1957) and dancer Maddie Ziegler (2002)

Anniversary of:
• anaesthetic ether being used for the first time by American dentist Dr William Morton (1846)
• 22 Nazi leaders being found guilty of war crimes at the Nuremberg war trials (1946)
• the death of James Dean (1955)
• the premiere of the cartoon The Flintstones (1960)

Squiz the Day

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