Squiz Today / 24 August 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 24 August


“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Said the US Food and Drug Administration to people self-prescribing ivermectin to treat/prevent the coronavirus. Used to prevent parasites in animals, the US Government is looking into the medication for what it might do with COVID. But taking it in the same form as Daisy the dairy cow is not on, officials say. Moo…


If the Olympic Games got your engine running, get ready to rev it up for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The opening ceremony kicks off at 9.00pm tonight, and events will run from tomorrow until Sunday, 5 September. It's the 2nd time the Paralympics will be hosted in Japan’s capital, and there are 4,400 Paralympians from 176 countries competing in 540 events across 22 sports. Australia has sent our largest Paralympic team yet: 179 athletes are competing across 18 sports.

Let’s get COVID out of the way first… On Saturday, Japan recorded new 15,733 cases, and a state of emergency is still in place in Tokyo. It means all but a handful of events will be held without spectators, just like the Olympics. Now that’s out of the way, a rundown on how things work, yes? The thing to know: the classification system groups athletes whose impairments similarly affect them together. Paralympians go through rigorous testing to see if they are eligible to compete, and then they are allocated a class depending on how much their impairment impacts their performance. It's different across each sport and every event, but the classification is key.

Australia finished 5th on the gold medal tally with 22 gold, 30 silver and 29 bronze medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Five years on, our Aussie stars are set to shine in Tokyo… Tennis star Dylan Alcott is going for the Golden Slam title - that's sports talk for winning all 4 tennis majors and Paralympics gold. There are 32 swimmers going for glory in the pool, including 6-time gold medallist Ellie Cole, 7-time medallist Matthew Levy, and youngster Tiffany Thomas Kane - she won 4 medals in Rio when she was just 15yo. Australia's wheelchair rugby team, the Steelers, are going for their 3rd consecutive gold medal. And there are high hopes for Daniel Michel, who could break Australia’s 25-year medal drought in boccia - a sport unique to the Paralympics. Bring it on [insert flexed arm emoji]…

And if you’re as excited about the Paralympics as we are, the Sport Today podcast team have you covered with a Squiz Shortcut on how it works and who to watch. Check it out.



The debate about when Australia will open up as vaccination rates rise has heated up with PM Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews lining up behind National Cabinet’s plan that was agreed at the start of the month. Underpinned by modelling from the Doherty Institute, the idea is COVID could be managed and lockdowns used sparingly once vaccination rates reached 70% and 80%. Despite the agreement, leaders including Western Oz’s Mark McGowan and Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk argue that things have changed (ahem NSW’s 818 new cases yesterday…). And Labor’s Health spokesman Mark Butler yesterday said there would be “hundreds and hundreds more deaths” if lockdowns ended when tracing/testing capabilities were under stress. But PM Morrison said that lockdowns are "taking an extremely heavy toll” and Aussies are doing it because “that sacrifice will get them to the next step, because if not at 70% and 80% then when?”


Tonight there’ll be an emergency meeting of G7 leaders to discuss the ongoing crisis. UK PM Boris Johnson is expected to urge his counterparts from the US, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada to consider new sanctions on the Taliban if it commits human rights abuses. US President Joe Biden might have tried to dodge Johnson’s phone calls, but America’s looming 31 August deadline for withdrawing all its troops from the country is a hot topic. Biden has indicated he’s considering an extension, but the Taliban says it wants foreigners out by the end of the month.


Solar-generated electricity exceeded that generated by burning coal on Australia's main power grid for the first time. That happened on Sunday, and it was for a few minutes as low demand and sunny skies saw coal-fired power drop to a record low of 9,315 megawatts while solar provided 9,427 megawatts. Getting Australia’s power mix right is #complicated with coal-fired generators providing reliable/dispatchable power (ie it doesn’t need sun/wind to pump out electricity). But last year, 27.7% of Australia's total electricity generation came from renewable sources, and that is set to grow again this year, experts say. Meanwhile, electric vehicle sales have soared in 2021. In the first half of the year, 8,688 EVs were sold compared to 6,900 for the whole of 2020. State government incentives and more affordable models coming onto the market are behind the drive towards quiet cars.


A lot of thought can go into making a dating profile stand out, but it turns out there's one attribute that's particularly eye-catching: a COVID-19 vaccination. Dating apps like Bumble and Tinder have introduced tags on member bios where you can indicate whether or not you’re vaxxed. It’s been added after the companies reported an increase in users asking about the status of their prospective dates. Hinge says users who had ‘vaccinated’ on their profile had 30% more matches. And it’s not just about staying safe - members say it’s a good way to rule out anti-vaxxers and to find people with a “similar mindset”. We’ve said it before: what a time to be alive...


French cultural icon Josephine Baker will enter the Panthéon mausoleum in Paris, making her the 6th woman and the first black woman to receive the nation's highest honour. Baker was born in America but moved to Paris in 1925 to escape racism and segregation, and she rose to fame in the 1930s as crowds went bananas for her banana skirt dance. During WWII, she helped the French Resistance by collecting information from German officials at parties and carrying hidden messages to England and other countries. And in the 1960s, she returned to the US to bolster the civil rights movement. Baker died in Paris in 1975 and was buried in Monaco in a ceremony led by her longtime friend Princess Grace. Her body will remain there, but on 30 November, a memorial with a plaque will be added to the Panthéon. Eighty of France's national heroes are buried there, including scientist Marie Curie, philosopher Voltaire, and writer Victor Hugo.


Chinese couples are now allowed to have 3 children. The government hailed the one-child policy a success for its prevention of 400 million additional births, but as China’s population ages, policymakers want more younger workers in the making.

A group of curious Year 8 kids have inspired a Massachusetts state senator to clear the name of a woman who was wrongly convicted of witchcraft in 1693. Better late than never?

And aggressive/venomous sea snakes are striking divers on the Great Barrier Reef. They're not angry; they're probably looking for some company (nudge nudge wink wink).


9.00pm (AEST) - Paralympics opening ceremony - Tokyo, broadcast on Seven

NSW expected to hit the target of administering 6 million COVID vaccine doses

Virtual G7 summit hosted by UK PM Boris Johnson

Ukraine’s National Day

Birthdays for comedian Stephen Fry (1957), comedian Dave Chappelle (1973)

Anniversary of:
• the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing 15,000 (79)
• the invention of the potato chip by chef George Crum in New York, according to popular legend (1853)
• Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly nonstop across the US (1932)
• Tim Cook becoming CEO of Apple after the resignation of Steve Jobs due to health reasons (2011)
• the ouster of PM Malcolm Turnbull/Scott Morrison becoming PM (2018)

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