Squiz Today / 13 December 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 13 December

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

Squiz Today Podcast

This news was made for walkin’. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

15 / 27
11 / 17
22 / 29
12 / 19
15 / 27
11 / 17
27 / 35
6 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“I have done some investigating, and I do know that they are still local.”

Says Leanne Byrne from the outback town of Yaraka who raised an infamous pair of emus called Kevin and Carol. The duo disappeared after being banned from the local pub in 2020, but it turns out they’ve been keeping busy raising a family of their own… You’ve gotta love a reunion story at Christmas…

COVID – the next chapter…

The way Aussies get tested for COVID is set to change from 1 January when we’ll need to get a referral for a Medicare-funded PCR test at a private clinic. Federal Health Minister Mark Butler yesterday outlined the $2.8 billion national COVID health management plan for 2023, and while he’s agreed to extend Commonwealth funding for state-run testing sites where free PCR tests are available, few are still operational. Butler says health services will move away from “COVID exceptionalism” but that we are “not yet at a ‘steady state’ where we can predict and manage it within normal systems.” So the plan is there to ensure our health system has the “capacity and capability” to respond to future outbreaks.

If you’re at low-risk of serious health consequences and feel sick, the advice is to stay at home. If you test positive with a rapid antigen test (RAT), the advice is the same. Remember, there’s no longer the requirement to stay at home, but officials (and those you could come into contact with) want you to keep your distance… As for high-risk individuals (aka older/Indigenous/disabled/immunocompromised Aussies), they will be prioritised for PCRs and remain eligible for antivirals drugs. COVID jabs will also continue to be free for those eligible across the spectrum. And while Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly warns that new variants and COVID waves are expected until at least 2025, but the “severity of future waves may be milder,” he says.

Long COVID hasn’t had much airtime in Oz, but in other countries like the UK where 2 million people are suspected of having it, it’s a hot topic. The plan released yesterday notes that Oz is likely to have a different experience to other countries due to “our high 2-dose vaccination rates and the fact that our widespread levels of infection only occurred after the Omicron variant emerged”. Nonetheless, officials will release a separate long-COVID strategy after more research has been conducted to ensure the health system can support people who suffer from prolonged effects of the virus. Some battling the condition welcomed the development as warmly as the lingering symptoms of the virus – journo Tracey Spicer was one who voiced her, ahem, disappointment, saying the government’s response is akin to “kicking the can down the road”.

Australian News Health

Squiz the Rest

Police officers killed in Queensland

Two police officers, a member of the public and 3 offenders have been shot dead the Western Downs region (west of Brisbane) last night. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers described it as a “targeted execution” of the law enforcement officers and Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll the 2 officers – a 29-year-old man and 26-year-old woman – were visiting a rural property on a missing persons case. Reports say neighbours called emergency services after hearing gunfire and saw cars on the property on fire, and one who went to investigate was also shot dead. It was Leavers who said the 3 alleged offenders were shot dead in a gunfight with police – there will likely be an official update this morning. Last night, PM Anthony Albanese said it was a “heartbreaking day” and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paid tribute “to the Queensland Police Service family as a whole”.

Australian News Crime

A high-powered showdown

The Albanese Government is facing a battle to get its energy plans green-lit… The plan agreed by National Cabinet on Friday to cap the price of gas is due to hit the Federal Parliament on Thursday (note: NSW and Queensland are looking after the coal price cap). But Adam Bandt says the Greens won’t support it if there’s “compensation” for the mining/extraction companies. Instead, he wants the companies to pay for household relief in the form of a profits tax. The numbers are tight in the Senate and there’s some wheeling and dealing, but Albanese says the government might make “payments” to ensure supply, given coal and gas underpin the production of most of our electricity. If it’s enough to make you doubt the future of the energy merry-go-round, here’s a positive development… Scientists have made a breakthrough in a decades-long project that’s cost billions to create zero-carbon power. Here’s a good explainer, and reports say the US Government will talk it up on Tuesday their time.

AusPol Business & Finance

Zelensky gets chatting

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been stepping up diplomatic talks as heavy fighting continued in the country’s south and east over the weekend. Following a flurry of chats with his US, French and Turkish counterparts yesterday, experts say the Ukrainian leader is keen to shore up support ahead of a harsh/long winter and no end in sight for the months-long war. A chat with US President Joe Biden on Sunday delivered a commitment to boost Ukraine’s air defences, and Zelensky spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about grain exports. Yesterday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also hosted a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and European Union reps to talk about further Russian sanctions and additional aid/weapons for Ukraine. Zelensky says he expects some “important results” from that activity next week. 

World News

Houston, we have no problems with Orion

NASA officials say its Orion lunar spacecraft’s landing off the coast of Mexico yesterday was “textbook”, declaring it a win. In case you’ve been under a moon rock for the past month, the Artemis I mission launched on 16 November – it was a 26-day uncrewed flight around the moon and back as a test for future crewed missions to the surface of the moon and beyond. It had a speedy return, with the capsule flying through the Earth’s atmosphere at 32 times the speed of sound and sustaining toasty reentry temperatures of 2,760C before diving into the ocean, presumably to cool off/freshen up… The price tag = US$4 billion, but with the spacecraft and its 3 test dummies safely recovered, it’s looking good for bigger missions in 2024. As Buzz Lightyear would say, “to infinity, and beyond”…


Surviving the silly season

It’s the festive season and you might have already reached the sobering realisation that having a few too many drinks can leave you feeling less than sparkling… So how do you avoid the worst of the morning-after effects while having your Champs and quaffing it too? According to this practical guide, there’s no magic bullet – not even the newfangled hangover pill… The obvious answer is to drink less – but if you want to indulge, the advice is to dilute your drinks with ice or mixers like soda or avoid dark-coloured drinks like red wine and whiskey because they contain more hangover-inducing molecules called congeners than clear alcoholic drinks. Another bit of advice is to eat eggs as they contain properties that slow the metabolism of alcohol. Egg-haters would argue it would probably help bring everything up…


Apropos of Nothing

What’s better than a visit from Santa on Christmas night? Watching 300 Santas skiing down a hill in pursuit of a Christmas tree and a Grinch to raise money for charity. We can’t say which one he was, but little Saint Nick is in there somewhere…

Last year it was Chanel, and now fellow French fashion house Dior has sparked the ire of beauty lovers who forked out $3,500 on an advent calendar that under-indexed on the wow factor. The real lowlight seems to be day 6 when cashed-up fashionistas were treated to the lid for a candle

And speaking of underwhelming responses King Charles has issued his first Christmas card as monarch. They say less is more, but critics say the greeting is just… less.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Republic Day in Malta

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to testify before US House Financial Services Committee – Washington DC

State Energy Summit NSW – Sydney

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, October; Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, October

Rural Bank Australian Agriculture Outlook 2023 report released

AIHW report – Australian Burden of Disease Study 2022

AFL – Hawthorn AGM – a new president to be announced

Nominees announced for the 2023 Golden Globes

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards winners announced

A birthday for singer Taylor Swift (1989)

Anniversary of:
• Dutch explorer Abel Tasman’s sighting the South Island of present-day New Zealand (initially he calls it Staten Landt but changes it a year later to Nieuw Zeeland) (1642)
• League of Nations establishing the International Court of Justice in The Hague (1920)
• the capture of Iraq President Saddam Hussein (2003)

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.