Squiz Today / 18 January 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 18 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

Maintaining your news game.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I would still be at Latitude 30 getting smashed.”

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce said he’d be drowning his sorrows at the Coffs Harbour restaurant if his partner Vikki Campion had turned down his proposal of marriage on Sunday. The strategic management of family members at the nuptials will be a must…

Assessing the damage from the Tonga volcano explosion


Australian and New Zealand military planes have conducted reconnaissance missions over Tonga in the wake of the massive undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday afternoon. A detailed report is being eagerly awaited by Tongans living here and around the world because they have been unable to contact loved ones after the explosion damaged the undersea cable connecting Tonga to the world. New Zealand says there had been “significant damage” along the western coast of Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island, but the Red Cross says its intel is that things might not be as bad as had been feared. 


It was a whopper. 

  • The underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai sits 65km north of the capital Nuku’alofa. It rose to 100m above the sea, and there was a “major vent-clearing explosion” on Saturday arvo sent ash and gas into the stratosphere 30km above the Earth. Early data suggests it was the biggest eruption since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, and it could be in the top 10 biggest eruptions ever recorded. 
  • Analysts say the blast could measure as high as 5 (out of 8) on the volcanic explosivity index. According to Nobel Laureate/ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt, that’s “1,000 Hiroshima bombs”. Experts say the scene would have appeared apocalyptic because the ash cloud would have blotted out the sun. 
  • New generation high-resolution weather satellites showed the rapidly expanding mushroom cloud. Experts say the shock wave covered the distance from the volcano to Nuku’alofa at twice the speed of sound and created the tsunami waves experienced thousands of kilometres away. As for confirmed fatalities, there is one in Tonga so far – a British woman who lived there. And officials in Peru (more than 10,000km away) said 2 people drowned due to the unusually high waves. 


That’s a question many in the Pasifika community here in Australia are sweating on. There are reports of minimal damage to the main island of Tongatapu, but as of yesterday, authorities hadn’t made contact with some smaller islands. A big concern is that volcanic ash has contaminated water supplies and food sources, which is problematic because 80% of Tongans grow crops to meet their daily needs, so aid agencies are on the job. The drama made for a pretty spectacular sunrise yesterday, though… 

World News

Squiz the Rest

Oz Open moves onwards and upwards

Novak Djokovic has arrived in Serbia to a hero’s welcome after he was deported on Sunday night. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said that Djokovic had no right to enter Australia sans COVID jabs, but he did leave the door open for his return without having to wait out a 3-year ban – if he got vaccinated. Looking ahead to the next grand slam, the French Open is looking tricky for Djokovic too… But onto the tennis as the Australian Open fired up yesterday, and Ash Barty cleared her first match in straight sets last night. John Millman also made it through, and Aussie wildcard Aleksandar Vukic looked just as surprised as he claimed his first big tournament win. Not clearing the first hurdle was Thanasi Kokkinakis, James Duckworth and Ajla Tomljanović. There are heaps of Aussies in action today, including Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur who take centre stage in separate matches at 7pm tonight. 


Predicting Omicron’s peak

Could the worst of Omicron be behind us? That’s the $64 million question right now… Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday said there are signs that cases of the pesky variant are peaking in NSW and the ACT. And Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says while daily cases may have peaked, the hospitalisation surge is still to come. As that unfolds, getting hold of a rapid test is still a thing. The consumer regulator has warned retailers selling tests for more than $20 that they must “urgently explain” the inflated price tag as part of the ACCC’s crackdown on those seeking to take advantage of the shortage. And if you can manage to catch an elusive RAT at a pharmacy or online, Australia’s most reliable tests have been revealed. The medicines regulator has labelled tests from “highly sensitive” (which means it’s 90% accurate, not that will take offence easily…) to “acceptable” (which is 80% accurate). If you’re keen for a squiz, here’s the list


The rich are way too rich, says Oxfam

The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled to $1.5 trillion since the start of the pandemic, according to a new Oxfam report. The likes of Tesla/SpaceX boss Elon Musk, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon/Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos saw their collective wealth grow by $1.3 billion a day between March 2020 and October 2021. During that time, 163 million people went into poverty, according to the World Bank. The pandemic has widened the wealth gap, Oxfam says, with the 10 richest men owning 6 times more wealth than the poorest 40% (3.1 billion people). The organisation is urging governments to impose a one-off 99% wealth tax on billionaires’ COVID windfall gains, which it says could be used to combat issues from vaccination inequality to climate change. The report was released to coincide with the start of the World Economic Forum’s Davos get-together – it’s a virtual event again this year. 

World News

Who gave up Anne Frank?

A team of historians and other experts has spent 6 years using modern investigative techniques, and they now believe they have found the man who gave family up to the Nazis – Arnold van den Bergh. He was a Jewish figure in Amsterdam who probably did it to save his own family, the team told 60 Minutes in the US. Van den Bergh was a member of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council, a body forced to implement Nazi policy in Jewish areas. It was disbanded in 1943, and its members were dispatched to concentration camps, but the Van den Bergh family continued to live in the city as normal. They also found evidence suggesting Otto Frank, Anne’s father, knew it was van den Bergh and kept it secret. The Anne Frank House museum said it was a fascinating hypothesis that “merits further research”. The Diary of Anne Frank, which gave a voice to millions of victims of the Nazi genocide, is one of the most widely-read books in the world.

World News

Australia’s best public loo

Anyone who skipped the airports and got on the road for a holiday this summer will know how vital a good toot is. Now, the Guardian Australia is on the hunt for Australia’s best public toilet. The Federal Health Department’s National Public Toilet Map has the deets of more than 19,000 facilities across the country – a lifeline for many a busting traveller. But what makes a good public loo? Travel blogger Marion Halliday – better known as Red Nomad – says some of the contenders include the loos at Kata Tjuta (a group of rock formations in the Top End); a wooden dunny in WA’s Point Quobba, and a bunker-like restroom at Rawson Pass near the peak of Mount Kosciuszko. But according to Halliday, there are just 2 things that make a public loo memorable. “It has got to be clean,” she says. “And there has got to be toilet paper.”

Australian News Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Looking for a sea change? Applications are open for a new “monarch” to run a 300yo pub and an island off the coast of Cumbria in northern England. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, the winner will be “crowned” by having alcohol poured over their head… 

Speaking of that celebration method, a moment on Sunday night following the Aussies’ Ashes victory saw Usman Khawaja, a Muslim, exclude himself. That was until captain Pat Cummins sorted it

And experts say that if you approach your shower like a functional part of the morning, you’re doing it wrong. So that’s another thing to worry about… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

From 11.00am (AEDT) – Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne – broadcast on Nine. Watch out for Sam Stosur at 11.00am, Alexei Popyrin at 3.30pm, and Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur from 7.00pm

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, November

National Winnie The Pooh Day – US, commemorating author A.A. Milne’s birthday (1882)

A birthday for former PM Paul Keating (1944)

Anniversary of:
• Captain James Cook coming across the Hawaiian Islands, which didn’t end well… (1778)
• the first group of ships from the First Fleet arriving in Botany Bay (1788)

Squiz the Day

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