Squiz Today / 14 December 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 14 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It’s unpleasant to talk about, to be honest.”

Said Russian President Vladimir Putin of his post-Soviet hustle to make ends meet by taking on a few shifts as a taxi driver. Under the old regime, he was a KGB agent, so can you imagine he took to being asked to change the radio station/aircon well…

More borders to open after a long wait


It was March 2020 when Western Australia sealed itself off from the rest of the country and the Federal Government stopped non-Aussie residents coming from overseas. They were moves that were made to stop the spread of the coronavirus. And 20 months later, it was confirmed that those hard borders will come tumbling down. Health Minister Roger Cook urged unvaxxed locals to use the time between now and open day to get jabbed. “Make no mistake about it, COVID is coming into our state,” he said.


Premier Mark McGowan said the state will open its border to the rest of Australia and international visitors on 5 February. That’s when Western Oz is expected to hit a rate of 90%. The rules: arrivals will be required to be fully vaccinated, return a negative COVID test 72 hours prior to departure and undertake a test 48 hours after their arrival. If staying longer than 5 days, a test on day 6 is also required. Since the pandemic kicked off, Western Oz has recorded one death from community transmission, and just 115 local cases. And on the international border front, from tomorrow it’ll be open to those who are fully vaxxed with an eligible visa including international students, skilled migrants, refugees, working holiday makers and family members coming to stay temporarily. The border was meant to open to them on 1 December, but Omicron… From tomorrow, Japanese and South Korean tourists will be able to holiday here, joining the on-off travel bubbles in place with Singapore and New Zealand. 


Pharmaceutical giant Moderna will produce 25 million doses of mRNA respiratory vaccines from 2024 in a 2-billion dollar deal struck with the Federal and Victorian governments to build a local manufacturing facility in the state. The facility will make shots for illnesses like the common flu and could be making the Covid vaccine by the middle of the decade. This is a big deal for Victoria and the country more broadly because there are currently no mRNA manufacturing facilities here, so these vaccines have to be imported. The details of this deal remain confidential, but what we do know is that it includes priority access for Australians so we’re not competing with other countries should there be future pandemics. “This investment will continue to secure Australia’s future economic prosperity,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. 


Squiz the Rest

South Korea doin’ deals here and at home

In what’s been dubbed Australia’s biggest military deal with an Asian nation, we’ve inked a $1 billion agreement with South Korean defence giant Hanwha. What do we get with our big bucks? Artillery weapons, supply vehicles and radars to be built in Geelong. It’s the first of several agreements expected to come out of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s 4-day visit that kicked off yesterday – he’s here to talk security, trade and to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the countries. Moon and PM Scott Morrrison yesterday said ties between our “like-minded democracies” would be elevated to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” to help secure peace in the Indo-Pacific region (ahem China…). Another relationship Moon is warming up to is North Korea. The Koreas yesterday agreed in principle to end the Korean War, which split the peninsula in 2 and never officially ended after an armistice was declared in 1953. But for talks to go ahead, North Korea says the South’s “hostile policy” towards it needs to end, including US-led sanctions.

AusPol World News

Pro-democracy tycoon gets jailed in Hong Kong

Media mogul Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 13 months in jail for participating in a banned vigil marking the Tiananmen Square massacre. Thousands of Hongkongers defied the territory’s new security laws to attend the event which is an annual commemoration of the victims of the 1989 massacre. Lai argued in the trial that he had lit candles at the service in a personal capacity and had not “incited” others to join the unauthorised rally. However the judge dismissed the argument saying his attendance was an act of defiance. Lai’s lawyer’s produced a handwritten note to the sentencing hearing that read “if commemorating those who died because of injustice is a crime, then inflict on me that crime and let me suffer the punishment … so I may share the burden and glory of those young men and women who shed their blood on 4 June (1989).” Opposition politician Gwyneth Ho, prominent human rights lawyer Chow Hang-tung and other pro-democracy activists have also been sentenced for attending the vigil.

World News

A new lead in the murder of Haiti’s president

An investigation by the New York Times has revealed a possible motive in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise in July – he was about to hand over the names of local politicians and businessmen involved in the country’s drug trade. The report says he told officials to spare no one from the list, including powerful supporters. His wife Martine Moise has given her first interview about the night gunmen burst into the official residence and killed her husband, before hurriedly digging through his files. “That’s it,” she heard them saying before leaving. Senior Haitian officials told the publication that some of the captured hit men confessed that retrieving the list was a top priority. In the months before his death, Moïse took steps to clean up ports and customs processes known to be part of the drug trade. And American officials told the Times that they believe Moise’s efforts to disrupt drug gangs was behind his murder. The plot thickens…

World News

Smashing avocado myths

It’s fair to say the humble avocado has had its fair share of scrutiny when it comes to its health and financial impacts. But according to researchers at Wollongong Uni, you can have your smashed avo and eat it too… The study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat more avocados tend to have lower body weight and smaller waist measurements. They say that’s because the fruit’s high levels of unsaturated fats keep hunger at bay for longer, and those who eat more avos tend to eat more wholefoods overall. They are also packed with good vitamins/minerals, which are great for cardiovascular health. The study didn’t have much to say about the effects of avocado consumption on saving for a house deposit, but with avos super cheap this season, there’s all the more reason to put them in your trolley…


Australians on the list at the Golden Globes

During 2021, the Golden Globes – a mainstay of awards season run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – have been under a very dark cloud thanks to the organisation’s ethics, governance, and diversity policies (or lack thereof…). Many are surprised it’s going ahead, but overnight the nominations were announced, and they’re the first take on the must-watch movies and TV series from the last year. Nicole Kidman has been nominated for her depiction of Lucille Ball, who was one half of the couple that created America’s most popular TV program I Love Lucy. Aussie Sarah Snook got a nod for her role in Succession, while local director Jane Campion has been nominated for Best Director and Best Motion Picture (Drama) for her western The Power of the Dog. The winners will be announced on 9 January. British actor Kenneth Branagh has also received many nominations for his film Belfast which is loosely based around his own childhood in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.


Apropos of Nothing

COVID has delivered a spike in demand for superyachts from the super wealthy. Not bad if you’re WFH, if you can find somewhere to dock… 

Also in demand but in short supply: French champagne. Dan Murphy’s and BWS have introduced buying limits on some of its pricer imported drops to spread the bubbly cheer further. An Aussie drop for Chrissy it is…

And another spoiler alert for those who haven’t caught up on the Sex and the City follow-on And Just Like That. The people behind Peloton exercise bikes have responded to their PR disaster by recruiting some emergency support from big names.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

A judgment on Ben Roberts-Smith defamation case against The Age, Federal Capital Press, and Fairfax Media over reports linking him to alleged war crimes in Afghanistan is due to be handed down

AIHW Report – Emergency Department care 2020-21

Monkey Day

Birthdays for Sophie Monk (1979) and Vanessa Hudgens (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Vlad the Impaler (1476) and George Washington (1799)
• the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting where 20 children and 6 adults were killed (2012)

Squiz the Day

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