Squiz Today / 01 February 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 1 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Kicking off your new month in fine fashion. 

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

21 / 31
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Squiz Sayings

“For me personally, if I am sad, I go Squish hunting.”

Said 21yo Californian and Squishmallow collector Melanie Schroeder, whose love of the popular soft toys has seen her become a huge TikTok star. There are worse coping strategies… 

Ringing in the Lunar New Year

Today marks the most important day on the Chinese calendar – the Lunar New Year. But it’s not just China marking the auspicious event – it’s celebrated across Vietnam, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia, and of course, here in Australia. More than a billion people will join in the festival that resembles Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations all rolled into one big event that’s marked by fireworks, a big family dinner and the exchange of little red envelopes filled with money. The celebrations kickstart a fortnight of revelry that’s characterised by lots of eating, drinking and prayers for good fortune in the year ahead. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger – an auspicious symbol in the Chinese zodiac offering a chance for people to renew their energy and strength.

Can’t we all… But in China, it’s particularly relevant because COVID means that many face their 3rd Lunar New Year away from family. Usually, this holiday is the biggest mass movement of people in the world as those who migrated to the big cities or overseas head home. But this year, the government has asked people to stay put. Despite this, reports say 260 million people travelled in the 10 days since the middle of January – up nearly 50% on last year. Officials remain worried about the spread of COVID, particularly in Beijing which is revving up for the Wintern Olympics. Fresh in their memories is what happened in 2020 when Lunar New Year turned into a superspreader event that contributed to the new virus turning into a pandemic.

So much fun. The New Year menu is carefully chosen for its lucky meanings, including fish (in Mandarin, it sounds like the word for ‘surplus’), puddings symbolising advancement, and foods that look like gold nuggets (like dumplings yum). There’s a great rundown of New Year feasts here. It’s also a time for sugary treats to ensure a sweet year. And there’s a lot of red because it’s considered lucky. According to superstition, a person born in a particular year takes on the traits of that year’s animal, so get ready to meet some fiery & impulsive tiger cubs who are passionate about their causes. Kung hei fat choi

World News

Squiz the Rest

Bad report card for Johnson

A version of the highly anticipated report into the gatherings and parties attended by those at the highest levels of the UK Government over the last couple of years has been released, and it’s not good news for PM Boris Johnson. Despite strict restrictions that saw residents prevented from getting together for any reason, including funerals, there was a growing list of claims that the rules weren’t followed by Johnson, his office and others they worked with. And so public servant Sue Gray investigated 16 incidents between May 2020 and April 2021 – not all were attended by Johnson. Much of the details are not included in her 12-page report because police are investigating 12 events. But that hasn’t stopped Gray from calling out “failures of leadership and judgement” and heavy alcohol consumption on the job as big problems. Johnson says he is sorry and will make changes, but the anger – including from some in his own party – is red hot.

World News

North Korea launches a big ‘un

In what is believed to be its biggest missile launch since 2017, North Korea confirmed that it tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the US territory of Guam on Sunday. Images released by North Korea’s state media back up the claim, showing both the launch and satellite images taken from a camera attached to the missile. According to South Korea and Japan, the missile flew about 800km at a maximum altitude of 2,000km before landing in the sea. It marks North Korea’s 7th missile test for January – a record launch month for the country – and officials and experts say it shows how heavy UN sanctions and the pandemic have had little effect on Pyongyang’s weapons program. And they say North Korea is showing little signs of toning it down, with leader Kim Jong-un rebuffing multiple offers from US President Joe Biden to restart talks. This one stays in the ‘to do’ tray…

World News

Domestic violence report shines a light on the pandemic

New research has found that women experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic are 3 times more likely to experience domestic violence. Surveying 10,000 women across the country, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) says one in 3 women have experienced some form of economic hardship thanks to COVID. It found “clear evidence” that financial stress was linked to the onset and escalation of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, with women in that situation “much more likely” to experience abuse for the first time. The research also found female breadwinners are 1.5 times more likely to experience abuse due to “attitudes that support traditional gender norms”. ANROWS boss Padma Raman said improving women’s economic security is the priority.

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Australian News

EV sales soar in Oz

New electric car sales in Oz have tripled off the back of incentives introduced by state governments. There were 24,000 EVs sold last year, which is quite a jump from the 6,900 sold in 2020. Still, electric cars make up a little more than 2% of our new car market. The Tesla Model 3, which starts at about $60,000, was the best-selling electric car in Oz, making up 62% of the sales. The Electric Vehicle Council said measures like stamp duty waivers and rebates have helped a lot. The ACT – which provides zero-interest loans for EVs – has outperformed other jurisdictions with EVs claiming a market share of 5.8%. We’re still behind Europe, where 11% of new cars sold are electric, but only slightly behind America’s 3%. China tops the list, accounting for 12% of new EV sales.

Business & Finance Technology

The ABCs on X and Y

A nifty government survey from the US has been capturing how people lived at a point in time between the ages of 23-38yo. The latest look is out, and it shows that within a relatively short time, an average day has changed quite a bit… Back in 2003 when it was Gen X in the zone, they would likely spend a good part of their day doing housework, caring for children, reading for pleasure and – wait for it – lawn work. But in the latest snapshot taken in 2019, Gen Y/Millennial women were more inclined to exercise, spend leisure time on computers, take care of their pets and sleep. Before you get too snippy about how good the Ys have it, Gen Xers were more likely to have their own homes. Gen Xers also spent more time shopping. “You can’t ignore the technological improvements from 2003 to 2019,” said Michelle Freeman, the Bureau of Labor Statistics economist who remembers what it was like to have to go to the shops to get anything…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

A new study on face pareidolia – a phenomenon where faces are recognised in everyday objects –  has found that faces are more likely to be identified as male. Researchers say it isn’t about gender bias – there usually aren’t enough visual clues to identify a face as female. See for yourself.

A pair of same-sex penguins have become foster parents after successfully hatching an egg – a first for New York’s ​​Rosamond Gifford Zoo. “Elmer and Lima were exemplary in every aspect of egg care,” zoo director Ted Foz said. That’s quite a compliment.

The White House has a new resident: a cat named Willow. The grey tabby caught First Lady Dr Jill Biden’s eye when the feline interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania in 2020. Let’s hope she’s as much of a media darling as the Clintons’ kitty

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – PM Scott Morrison addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

2.30pm (AEDT) – RBA Governor Philip Lowe makes an announcement on interest rates

ABS Release – Lending Indicators, December 2021; Retail Trade, Australia, December 2021

Lunar New Year

i4give Day – a day of forgiveness and celebration marking the anniversary of the deaths of siblings Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah and their cousin Veronique Sakr when they were struck by a drunk driver in Sydney (2020)

Start of Ovarian Cancer Month and African-American History Month in the US

A birthday for charismatic crooner Harry Styles (1994)

Anniversary of:
• the arrest of Martin Luther King Jr and 700 protestors in Selma, Alabama (1965)
• the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster killing all 7 astronauts aboard (2003)

3.00am (AEDT) – Soccer – World Cup Qualifier – Australia v Oman – Oman

Squiz the Day

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