Squiz Today / 08 February 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 8 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Good days start here. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It makes you wonder what other matters of state might have been shared over the years.”

Tweeted eagle-eyed comedian Adam Kay on Queen Elizabeth’s latest social media post, featuring her famous red box full of top-secret documents. He showed how easy it was to read the documents in the image, and what they say might surprise you… 

International tourists can return in a fortnight


After being closed for almost 2 years, Australia will open its international border to travellers with at least 2 COVID jabs from Monday, 21 February. Vaccination rates hit 80% in November, which threw the door open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families, as well as some approved/vaccinated visa holders. Qantas boss Alan Joyce said the announcement meant “Australia is finally back open for business”.


You don’t have to tell Australia’s tourism and the broader business sector that… Last year, researchers from Griffith Uni said the policy cost about $36.5 million a day in lost expenditure from tourists and international students, and that’s before you get to worker shortages across the economy. Officials say the closed border has been crucial for keeping Australians safe since COVID reared its ugly head, particularly pre-vaccines. There is a bit to it, but those who are not on the list to enter: unvaccinated travellers. Morrison said “I think events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter.” Ahem, Novak Djokovic

Three things to note (aside from the Coalition’s internal woes…):

• Up to 1,700 Defence Force personnel will be deployed to help cover staff shortages in nursing homes from tomorrow. Omicron has smashed nursing homes, just as previous COVID waves have.

• The Religious Discrimination Bill will be introduced into the House today. Moderate Liberals are threatening to sink it because of fears that it goes too far in enshrining religious beliefs that may breach existing discrimination laws. And things are hotting up on the integrity commission front with the Coalition challenged to bring it on.

• And today, officials will deliver a statement of acknowledgement to staffers who’ve been assaulted, abused, bullied or harassed. That’s ahead of making legislative changes recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. It’s interesting timing because tomorrow, former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins (who claims she was raped by a colleague) and 2021’s Aussie of the Year Grace Tame will address the National Press Club.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Zachary Rolfe murder trial begins in the NT

After COVID delays, the highly-anticipated murder trial of police officer Zachary Rolfe over the death of Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker got underway in the Northern Territory’s Supreme Court yesterday. The policeman is accused of killing the 19yo during an attempted arrest in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019. Prosecutors say 2 of the 3 shots Rolfe fired at Walker were “excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary”, but Rolfe argues he acted in self-defence after Walker stabbed him with a pair of scissors. Yesterday, a jury was empanelled, and reports note that there are no Indigenous people on it. They got straight into things with a viewing of the body-cam footage of the shooting. The trial is expected to run for 3-4 weeks.

Australian News Crime

Macron to meet with Putin over Ukraine crisis

Ahead of talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron said a deal to avoid war in Ukraine is possible. And last month, he said the European Union should open its own dialogue with Moscow rather than relying on the US to sort it out. That’s the lead in to talks that started overnight – although who knows if he and Putin could hear each other down the long table… Macron says it’s legitimate for Russia to raise security concerns and called for a “new balance” to protect the “sovereignty and peace” of European states like Ukraine. Taking a more pessimistic view of the situation is the US. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says Russia has assembled about 70% of the necessary military capability needed for a full-scale pile-on.

World News

Peng Shuai meets Olympics boss in Beijing

The Chinese tennis player who disappeared from public life after making sexual assault allegations against a senior member of China’s Communist party met International Olympic boss Thomas Bach at the Winter Games over the weekend. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) statement said Peng “shared her intention to travel to Europe to visit the IOC when the COVID-19 pandemic is over”, and further details about the meeting would be left with Peng to disclose, they said. And in a new interview out yesterday, the Chinese doubles tennis champ told French media outlet L’Equipe that “I never said anyone sexually assaulted me.” As for her life since early November? “It as it should be – nothing special.” Note: Peng was accompanied by a senior Chinese Olympic official to the interview…


It really was that wet…

Parts of Oz have been battling floods, heatwaves and bushfires over the past 3 weeks – but the event that took the cake was the heavy rain that lashed South Australia and wreaked havoc on the main rail and road routes. It wasn’t any old rain – the Bureau of Meteorology says it was a one in 200-300 year event. Yikes… One place that needs a bit of the wet stuff is Western Oz. Bushfires have ripped through the state’s Wheatbelt, South West and Great Southern regions in the last few days. At least 6 homes have been destroyed along with 60,000 hectares of bushland. Temperatures of 40C-plus combined with gusty winds are fuelling flames that authorities say could still pose a threat.


A smelly/spiky discovery

A record number of echidnas have been spotted across Oz after Adelaide Uni researchers urged Aussies to report sightings of the notoriously elusive creature – and their poo. In 2017, the team launched the ​Echidna Conservation Science Initiative (EchidnaCSI) app, which teaches users how to identify echidna faeces. Low and behold, 11,000 echidna/poop aficionados have downloaded the app, and that’s resulted in a record 12,000 sightings. That’s 25% of all recorded sightings over the past century… And to researchers’ surprise, echidnas were spotted in every state and territory, including in and around all the major cities. The new findings have led to calls for cities to consider the animals when developing biodiversity policies. And we’ve learned to hold our judgement if we spot someone taking a random poo pic…

Australian News Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

If you’ve been scratching your head wondering how North Korea is managing to fund its missile tests, a new UN report has the answer: stolen cryptocurrency. It is estimated that Pyongyang netted US$2 billion through targeted cyberattacks in 2019.

In a recent study, scientists at the University of California looked into how humanity could avoid mass destruction if a giant asteroid hit Earth. They found that the only viable option would be a large-scale nuclear strike. The creators of Don’t Look Up had other ideas…

Yesterday, a local court heard that the trio accused of stealing a $160,000 Big Bird costume from an Adelaide circus last year is likely to plead guilty. Getting more attention are the Big Bird Bandits’ court fashion

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.05am (AEDT) – Women’s 3rd ODI Cricket Match – Australia v England – Melbourne

10.45pm (AEDT) – Winter Olympics Women’s and Men’s Cross-Country Skiing Individual Sprint Final – Beijing. There are a few Aussies to keep an eye on.

Federal Parliament sits for the first time in 2022

Safer Internet Day

Birthdays for screen composer John Williams (1932) and author John Grisham (1955)

Anniversary of:
• the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1587)
• the birthdays of author Jules Verne (1828), actor James Dean (1931)

Squiz the Day

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