Squiz Today / 08 November 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 8 November

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Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Please refrain from licking.”

Is the new warning issued to adventurous types by America’s National Park Service about the Sonoran desert toad, which can make people sick/hallucinate. You can move onto other species if it’s a prince you’re looking for …

Medibank says no to paying off its attacker

Four weeks after Australia’s largest health insurer first detected a cyberattack, the company provided 2 major updates yesterday. First, the number of current and former customers whose personal information was exposed is 9.7 million – more than double the 4 million previously reported. And 2nd, Medibank boss David Koczkar said the company won’t pay any ransom following advice from cybercrime experts and the federal government. Without disclosing the amount that’s been demanded, he says there’s a “limited chance” a ransom would see customers’ data returned or kept off the internet – and it could even have the “opposite effect” of encouraging the criminal to “directly extort” customers.

Yep – the names, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses of 5.1 million Medibank customers, 2.8 million ahm customers (Medibank’s low-cost brand), and 1.8 million international customers have been accessed. That includes the claims of nearly 500,000 people, including highly sensitive health information. Some patients’ emergency contacts were also breached. And the hacker got access to the Medicare numbers of ahm customers and passport numbers and visa details for international student customers. Koczkar says Medibank has not yet received any reports of the hack directly leading to customers being targeted, but that could be on the cards now the company has confirmed it won’t pay up. Medibank is working with federal agencies and police as an investigation continues.

Yep, there are a few of us… Medibank says the next step is advising customers how they’ve been affected – and that will be “as soon as possible”. Until then, there are a few options for support, including a 24/7 health and wellbeing line. And there’s advice from IDCARE – Australia’s national identity and cyber support community service – for those worried about the exposure of their personal information. Like the recent Optus hack, there is an elevated risk of customers being targeted by online scammers. Scamwatch explains what to look out for and how to report scams. Long story short, it’s wise to verify any communications and not open messages from unknown numbers. Changing passwords and activating multi-factor authentication for online accounts also minimises the risk. Take care out there…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

America goes back to the polls

Yep, voting for the midterm elections opens tonight, our time. A quick refresher: these elections happen at the halfway point of a president’s term in office, with all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate spots up for grabs. To make a day of it, there are a bunch of other state and local elections held too, but let’s not get bogged down in those… For Democratic President Joe Biden, 6 key states could determine if the last 2 years of his current term are more challenging by losing control of Congress. The margins are thin: the Republicans only need to win a net 5 seats in the House and one in the Senate to take control of those chambers. Another face you’ll see pop up today is former president Donald Trump, who has been active in the campaign and has endorsed about 200 Republican candidates. He is tipped to announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election soon.

World News

Ukrainians told to prepare for the worst

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia may be planning more attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure as rolling blackouts become part of everyday life for 4.5 million Ukrainians. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko also warned the city’s residents they may need to temporarily leave their homes if there is a total power outage or further disruptions to the local water supply. With winter fast approaching, freezing temperatures and the prospect of months without heating are serious concerns. Local authorities have been planning to roll out 1,000 heating points in case of a city-wide failure, which would rely on generators, and provide other vital resources, including water. But ongoing Russian drone and missile attacks are impeding those efforts, with about 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure damaged in recent weeks. Klitschko says people “need to be prepared” for the worst-case scenario and labelled Russia’s attacks “genocide”.

World News

Crown Melbourne’s compliance gamble doesn’t pay

Victoria’s gaming regulator has handed Crown’s Melbourne casino a record $120 million fine for breaching its responsible gambling obligations. That happened after the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) found Crown had failed to prevent harm by allowing some customers to gamble for more than 24 hours at a time and encouraged patrons to play the pokies to extreme limits. The VGCCC said the breaches were “not isolated” and “were a pattern of extensive, sustained and systemic failures” over 12 years. It’s the 2nd fine given to Crown Melbourne by the regulator this year after the company was punished over a scheme allowing the illegal transfer of funds from China. A Crown Resorts spokesperson said the company was “genuinely remorseful” over its actions and that it is fixing the problems.

Business & Finance Crime

Sneezing through spring

That sound you can hear is a chorus of Aussies sneezing/sniffling as pollen levels lift across much of the country. The sun is out again in parts of southeastern Oz after La Niña-related rain last week, and that’s created the best conditions for growing grass – and growing seasonal allergy woes. It saw hayfever and asthma sufferers warned to stay indoors as pollen levels lifted from high to extreme in Canberra and parts of Victoria yesterday, and that’s set to continue over the warm week. Note: tomorrow is expected to be the worst day for hayfever sufferers. Other places getting itchy/sniffly include Sydney, Brissie, Hobart and Adelaide. November grass pollen season usually ends by Christmas, but experts say this year’s late start could see it last into January. Which makes it a good time to remind you to add a box of tissues to your shopping list…

Australian News Health

Psst, look up at the sky tonight

Calling all astronomy lovers: we’re likely to see a ‘blood’ moon tonight – otherwise known as a lunar eclipse – when the sun, Earth and moon line up and the Earth’s shadow covers the moon, giving it a red hue. It’s a pretty special one because it’s the last Aussies will be able to see in our region until 2025, and all the stars have aligned to make it – weather permitting – easy to enjoy. Thanks to different timezones, you’ll have to look up when best to spot it in your neck of the woods, but the partial eclipse, or the first stage of the shadow moving over the moon, begins in all states before 9pm. The so-called ‘period of totality’, when the moon’s in full shadow, will run for about 85 minutes – so there’s plenty of time to check it out. And if you want a theme song while you moon-gaze, we have just the ticket

Australian News Space

Apropos of Nothing

A new university course is helping students remap Sydney’s suburbs according to the senses of smell, touch, sound, taste and sight. It’s aimed at helping city planners design spaces that people feel good in. They don’t recommend the CBD on a Sunday morning…

A Parisian undertaker is aiming to popularise a greener way of conducting funeral proceedings in the City of Lights with her bicycle hearse. No word on whether she charges extra for services in the famous hill-top Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre.

An already world record-busting US$1.6 billion US Powerball jackpot has risen to US$1.9 billion ($2.94 billion) after no one claimed to have last weekend’s winning numbers. The jackpot has failed to find a winner for the last 3 months, with the chance of winning being an unlikely one in 292.2 million. You’ve got more chance of getting a teenager to wash the dishes…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

From 8.09pm (AEDT) – Total lunar eclipse begins around Oz

10.00pm (AEDT) – Polls open in the US midterm elections

ABS Data Release – Monthly Household Spending Indicator, September; Jobs in Australia

Company AGM – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

International Day of Radiology

Click Frenzy retail sales begin (until 10 November)

Birthdays for author Kazuo Ishiguro (1954) and chef Gordon Ramsay (1966)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Dracula inspirer Vlad the Impaler (1431), astronomer Edmond Halley (1656), Dracula author Bram Stoker (1847), Chinese revolutionary Qiu Jin (1875) and Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell (1900)
• the first meeting of Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II and Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés in Tenochtitlan, Mexico (1519)
• the first distillation of Bourbon Whiskey from corn by Elijah Craig in Bourbon, Kentucky (1789)
• German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen producing and detecting X-rays for the first time (1895)
• the landmark Harvester Decision which became the basis of Australia’s national minimum wage system (1907)
• the premiere of soapie Days of Our Lives (1965)

Squiz the Day

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