Squiz Today / 21 December 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 21 December

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Maybe this part will get him nominated for another Logie.”

Said celebrity agent Max Markson of acclaimed actor Richard Roxburgh’s new gig – fronting a series of videos on how the courts operate commissioned by Victoria’s Office of Public Prosecutions. As the embodiment of the scandalous Cleaver Greene, he knows a thing or 2 on the subject…

National leaders to meet over Omicron


PM Scott Morrison will convene an emergency meeting of the National Cabinet tomorrow as Omicron gets its skates on. The next meeting was not due until February next year, and Morrison has called the meeting “informal”, but the topics are serious. Up for discussion: bringing booster shots forward to 4 months after a 2nd dose, and calls for an indoor mask mandate as new cases continue to be added to the tally, particularly in NSW.


Could be… Last night, it was confirmed that Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has written to all leaders with the advice that a mask mandate should be imposed in all indoor settings, including shopping, hospitality and entertainment venues. That won’t be music to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s ears – he’s continued to point to the state’s high vaccination rate and has ruled out reintroducing restrictions. “We are treating the people of our state like adults,” he said yesterday. But masks are hanging around in many jurisdictions, and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday urged Queenslanders to keep them on. Asked whether he wanted to see a nationwide mask mandate, PM Morrison yesterday said that “Australians have grown pretty tired” of being told what to do, but he’s said to be on board with Kelly’s advice.  


Some of the country’s most respected experts reckon masks make sense given Omicron. Epidemiologists at the Doherty Institute (which has advised the Federal Government on its COVID strategy) and Kirby Institute say masks should be made mandatory indoors because they provide good protection and cost virtually nothing. That’s a view shared by former deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth. Peter Collignon from ANU’s School of Clinical Medicine has taken a different tack. He wants people to be safe, but says it will be a long ride. “And we need people along with us for the next year or 2 or more because I think restrictions will be with us in some part in winter because that’s when we’ll get a big uptick in numbers and probably hospitalisations.” Agh…


Squiz the Rest

Peng Shuai says it wasn’t her

The Chinese tennis champ has told Singapore’s pro-Beijing ​​Lianhe Zaobao Chinese-language newspaper that she has never said or written claims that a former top Communist Party official sexually assaulted her. “I need to emphasise this point very clearly,” Peng told the newspaper’s reporter. She was not asked the obvious follow-up question – if it wasn’t her, how/why did a lengthy statement making the accusations appear on her Weibo account on 2 November? The Women’s Tennis Association – which is demanding proof that Peng is OK and has cancelled upcoming tournaments in China until that happens – was unmoved. “We remain steadfast in our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault,” the peak players body said in a statement.


Hong Kong election’s surprise result

Lol got you with a bit of gallows humour… There was little opportunity for anyone other than pro-China candidates to win the territory’s Legislative Council election held on Sunday – the first held since Hong Kong’s electoral system was changed, allowing Beijing to vet every candidate. The results are in, and China-friendly candidates claimed all but one of the seats in the 90-person legislature. The outlier is Tik Chi-yuen, and while he’s not like the others, he has criticised pro-democracy advocates for their “continuing confrontation and challenging [China’s] red lines”. The election was not well supported by Hongkongers, with 30.2% of eligible voters casting a ballot – the lowest turnout in the territory’s history. “People do not want to vote for a rubber-stamp chamber and pretend everything is all right,” tweeted Nathan Law, a former LegCo member who now lives in the UK. Last night, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her counterparts from the US, UK, Canada and Kiwiland issued a joint statement expressing their “grave concern” over the erosion of Hong Kong’s democracy.

World News

Biden’s big bill goes ka-boom

It was the start of November when Congress approved US President Joe Biden’s US$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill – but that wasn’t the President’s complete ask for cash. Since then, he’s been at the negotiating table to secure the next tranche – a US$1.75 trillion spending package (that’s almost A$2.5 trillion…) to pay for his ‘Build Back Better’ plan. The money is required to bring Biden’s signature policies to life, including climate change, health care, and education. But the fly in the ointment has been Senator Joe Manchin – a Democrat (aka a teammate of Biden’s). He’s not on board, and it blew up yesterday when he said that he wouldn’t change his mind because the plan aims to “dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face.” The question now is whether Biden will change the plan to get things happening. It’s one to watch…

World News

Australia wins the 2nd Ashes Test

Australia has taken a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series after winning the 2nd Test in Adelaide last night. England had a go with the bat to catch Australia, but our bowlers worked their way steadily through their tail last night to win by 275 runs with about 20 overs spare. The Aussie to call out is Jhye Richardson – he took 5 wickets in the 2nd innings. The victory puts Australia in the terrific position of needing just one more win in the coming matches in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart to retain the urn. We’ve named an unchanged 15-man squad for Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test, and we’ve got a couple of strings to add to our bow… Captain/bowler Pat Cummins will rejoin the team after he was deemed a close COVID contact in Adelaide. And pace bowler Josh Hazlewood is expected to return after recovering from an injury. C’mon Aussie…


Genetics play a role in the hunt for black gold

The Squiz loves a good/quirky scientific study almost as much as we love (read depend on…) a coffee. So it was like all our Christmases came at once with research that points to genetic markers that guide coffee drinkers’ preferences. Researchers from Northwestern University in the US say if you’ve got genes that point to you metabolising caffeine quickly, chances are you prefer your coffee black and chocolate dark. And those with a higher sensitivity to caffeine’s effects are your weak-cappuccino-with-extra-milk kinda people. It all comes down to perceived caffeine content, researchers say. We’ll stick with our latte/Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, thanks…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Campaigners in Scotland are close to securing pardons and apologies for the 3,837 people (mostly women) who were tried as witches in the 16th-18th centuries. Records show that about two-thirds were executed and burned. “To put that into perspective, in Salem… 19 people were executed. We absolutely excelled at finding women to burn in Scotland,” said lead campaigner Claire Mitchell QC. 

If you’re in the market for parenting tips, billionaire/Time person of the year Elon Musk has 50 of ‘em… 

To assist you in your wind down your week, an article to procrastinate with – the best memes of 2021. Our favourite was Aussie swim coach Dean Boxall who we’ll shamefully admit we’d almost forgotten about.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

The NSW Coroner is expected to release the inquiry findings on the 2018 Boxing Day car crash that killed Home and Away actress Jessica Falkholt, her parents, sister, and another driver – Sydney

The Senate Inquiry into the Coalition Government’s proposed religious discrimination legislation to hear from academics, religious groups, equality and human rights advocates – Canberra

Yule begins (on until 1 January) – and here are some tips on how to celebrate it

International Dalek Remembrance Day

Birthdays for actor Samuel L Jackson (1948) and French President Emmanuel Macron (1977)

Anniversary of:
• scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovering radium (1898)
• the premiere of the first full-length animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
• Psy’s pop hit Gangnam Style becoming the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube (2012). It’s now up to 4.28 billion… 

And it’s 4 days until Christmas…

Squiz the Day

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