Squiz Today / 09 December 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 9 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

We’ve got your back – and your ears. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
17 / 24
MEL
12 / 19
BNE
21 / 32
ADL
11 / 22
PER
23 / 34
HBA
8 / 18
DRW
26 / 33
CBR
11 / 20

Squiz Sayings

“A combination of blood, metabolic by-products and bacteria on the surface of the skin.”

That’s the magic formula for being a mozzie magnet, according to CSIRO scientist Brendan Trewin. Those people with a certain je ne stink quoi will be in for a hella summer with soggy La Niña creating great conditions for the flying terrors…

Australia and UK join diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

THE SQUIZ

Australian officials and politicians won’t attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February in the latest sign of our strained relationship with China. It follows America’s decision earlier this week to send athletes, but not officials to the Games, citing China’s human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims. The UK has also announced that it will join its AUKUS allies and only send its athletes to Beijing.  PM Scott Morrison said it should come as no surprise and “I’m doing this because it’s in Australia’s national interest, it’s the right thing to do, full stop.” China’s response might not come as a surprise, either… Its embassy in Canberra accused Oz of “political posturing” and suggested that diplomatic representatives weren’t necessarily invited, anyway.

THERE’S A BIT GOING ON HERE, RIGHT?

There sure is. First, it’s unclear how many Aussie officials were going to the Games in the first place – for example, New Zealand isn’t sending ministerial officials citing concerns about the pandemic. But by making the diplomatic boycott formal, we’re locking in with the US and publicly marking our disapproval of China. As we’ve talked about a lot in the last what feels like a million years, Oz and China have lost their relationship mojo, and critics of Morrison’s move say the boycott risks putting our biggest trading partner even more offside. But Morrison says Beijing’s own diplomatic freeze on Australia has led to this outcome because Australia has been unable to raise its concerns about human rights directly with Chinese leaders.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Our athletes are going to the Games where it’s hoped we maintain/improve on the 3 medals we’ve won at each of the last 3 Winter Olympics. The Australian Olympic Committee says it’s not affected by the boycott. “Getting athletes to Beijing safely, competing … and bringing them home safely remains our greatest challenge,” said CEO Matt Carroll. But there are 2 things to watch out for. First, Canada is said to be weighing up joining the diplomatic boycott. And second, commentators say it’s unclear if/how the Aussie Government’s move will affect 2 Australians in jail in China. Pro-democracy writer Yang Hengjun has denied charges of spying and says he’s been tortured. And journalist Cheng Lei has been held without charge since August 2020. It certainly won’t help their causes…

AusPol Sport

Squiz the Rest

Pfizer says booster protects against Omicron

In news that is sure to prompt a global sigh of relief, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer/BioNTech say a booster jab of their Covid-19 vaccine will neutralise the new Omicron strain of the virus. They say a third dose boosted antibodies by a factor of 25, making the level of protection comparable to that of two doses against other variants like Delta. Back in Australia, the medicines regulator provisionally approved Moderna for use as a booster shot with the final tick-off from the vaccines advisory group to come. New locally-acquired COVID cases in NSW were up 55% on Tuesday’s number to 403 yesterday. That includes 5 new Omicron cases, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 34. In Victoria, an international arrival has become the first person to test positive for Omicron there – and Queensland had a similar story. On top of that, a South African man has tested positive for an ‘Omicron-like’ strain making the Sunshine State one of the first in the world to identify a case of the sub-variant.

Health

Germany moves into post-Merkel period

Chancellor Angela Merkel was the nation’s leader for 16 years, and her successor Olaf Scholz was sworn in to replace her overnight. He’s not new to the front line of politics having been leader of one of the major coalition parties, and deputy Chancellor under Merkel. As for the woman they called ‘Mutti’ (aka mother), she is one of those rare politicians to leave office without being defeated, disgraced or having died. She has now retired. But her former party, the Christian Democrats, is struggling with the man who replaced her as leader, Armin Laschet, unable to get them over the line in September’s election or into government during the long cross-party negotiations that followed. The guy was even criticised for the way he folded his ballot paper on polling day… But onwards and upwards, and Scholz’s centre-left Social Democrats will govern with the Greens and the business-aligned Free Democrats. Their coalition deal was signed yesterday and the team has been sworn in. Giddy-up…

World News

Cases made, but Ukraine tensions run high

Since we spoke yesterday, more has come out on the video chat US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had that was prompted by fears Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine. Biden told Putin not to invade his neighbour because, well, it’s not on. Putin sought guarantees that NATO – Western Europe and North America’s security alliance – won’t recruit Ukraine as a member. “There was a lot of give and take, there was no finger-wagging, but the President was crystal clear where the United States stands on all of these issues,” US Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said after the meeting. That could include economic sanctions and a whole lot of military attention from NATO allies if Russia moves on Ukraine, the White House says. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that while a solution wasn’t worked out, he was grateful for America’s “unwavering support”.

World News

England fails to fire up the Ashes

It’s going to be a great summer of cricket if the opening day of the Ashes is anything to go by. Australia dismissed England for 147 runs in Brissie yesterday before rain delayed the Aussies’ turn with the bat. It was a you beaut day for Pat Cummins who took 5 wickets on his first day in the field as Aussie captain. And tweet of the day goes to the Queensland Police who said they were “launching an investigation into a group impersonating a Test batting order”. Meanwhile, the battle for who will host the 5th Test continues after organisers pulled the series’ final game from Perth due to ongoing border restrictions in the west – and yesterday, PM Scott Morrison put his support behind Hobart. Of course, that would have everything to do with it being a good thing to see “Tasmania share in this Ashes series”, and nothing to do with the Apple Isle hosting 2 of the Coalition’s 4 most marginal federal seats…

For cricket fans and those who want to know what the fuss is about, this week’s Squiz Shortcut is on the Ashes. Teaser: it’s a love story…

Sport

Controversial film wins big at the AACTA Awards

A new film about the Port Arthur massacre has swept the country’s main screen awards. Nitram won best film and director and all four acting prizes at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards at the Sydney Opera House last night. Nitram is actually ‘Martin’ spelled backwards, which is the name of the murderer whom the film is centred around. Some feared it would cause harm to survivors, while others argued that it should never have been made. The late indigenous actor David Gulpilil was honoured for his contribution to the film industry. In the TV categories, the ABC series The Newsreader picked up five awards including best drama series. The largely-masked audience was entertained by big-name presenters including Russell Crowe, Rebel Wilson and Succession star Sarah Snook who wowed the red carpet

Entertainment

Apropos of Nothing

Aussies really love their sport… They accounted for 7 out of the nation’s top 10 Google searches in 2021, with US basketball’s ‘NBA’ taking out the #1 spot. ‘COVID NSW’ was the first non-sports related search at #8. And Australia, we couldn’t be more proud of you – curried sausages was the #3 most-searched recipe this year.

From searching to mispronouncing: ‘Billie Eilish’, ‘Omicron’ and ‘cheugy’ are among the most-mispronounced words by American broadcasters this year. And when you’re a podcaster, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…

And to finish off, here’s the World’s Best Bars List for 2021. London’s Connaught Bar is #1, and Sydney establishments Maybe Sammy (22) and Cantina OK! (23), and Melbourne’s Above Board (44) scored top 50 spots. Cheers…

Australian News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEDT) – Cricket – 1st Ashes Test Day 2 – Australia v England – Brisbane

The federal parliamentary inquiry into media diversity in Australia is due to report

The Carbon Market Institute hosts the Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit – Sydney (on until 10 December)

Independence Day in Tanzania

International Anti-Corruption Day

International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime

The one and only Dame Judi Dench’s birthday (1934)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of actor Kirk Douglas (1916) and former PM Bob Hawke (1929)
• the premiere of Coronation Street (1960)
• the release of Brokeback Mountain (2005)
• 2nd anniversary of the eruption of New Zealand’s White Island/Whakaari volcano, killing 22 (2019)

Squiz the Day

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