Squiz Today / 01 December 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 1 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

We can’t believe it’s December either…

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

19 / 25
18 / 31
21 / 27
20 / 29
12 / 25
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27 / 36
15 / 26

Squiz Sayings

“An insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today.” 

Let’s just say that the surviving family members of the Gucci fashion dynasty are not raving about Ridley Scott’s cinematic take on their life and times. Starring Lady Gaga, we’d be ok if she played us in the movie of our life…

State and territory leaders hold the line on Omicron

National Cabinet has met and concluded to stay the course on its COVID reopening plan, despite the looming Omicron threat. That means no lockdowns and no closed borders – at this stage anyway… And it means anyone planning Christmas away from home can breathe through that anxiety, at least for a little while. “We’re not going back to lockdowns, none of us want that,” PM Scott Morrison said yesterday.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told state and territory leaders that it would be at least a fortnight until more is known about the threat from the newly declared “variant of concern”. He said that while early signs point to it being more transmissible than earlier variants, there’s no evidence that Omicron would be too strong for the current crop of vaccines, or that it will cause more serious illness than the Delta strain. And if that wasn’t enough, the meeting was shown confidential booking data from Qantas and Virgin Australia showing hundreds of thousands of bookings would be threatened if new restrictions were put in place. In the end, reports say leaders recommitted to the existing timetable for reopening borders, including in Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and WA. Meanwhile, the Omicron threat remains very real in NSW, which yesterday reported that a person who has now tested positive with the new variant visited shops and restaurants across Sydney and the Central Coast while unknowingly infectious.

Well, the US has come to the same conclusion as Oz. President Joe Biden says he sees no need for a new lockdown “for now… if people are vaccinated and wear their masks”. He will release the government’s plan to “fight COVID this winter” later this week. Note: America has not recorded any Omicron cases to date, but neighbour Canada has. Across the pond, the UK is said to be bracing for hundreds of cases to be confirmed in the coming weeks. Experts say things will move quickly, but as things stood late yesterday, fewer than 20 countries have reported more than 200 verified cases of the new COVID variant, and at least 70 nations have imposed travel restrictions. Meanwhile, drugmaker Moderna has predicted that existing vaccines will be less effective against Omicron than they were against Delta. But the vaccine geniuses are already working on tweaks. Phew…


Squiz the Rest

Remains found during search for missing campers

Victoria Police yesterday confirmed they have found human remains in remote bushland north of Dargo in the state’s High Country during their search for missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay. It comes just a day after dozens of police began scouring a campsite in the area. Authorities say the remains have not been formally identified, and results will take “some time” to come through. Hill and Clay – who were both in their 70s – went missing from their remote Wonnangatta Valley campsite in March last year. Last week, 55yo Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn was charged with 2 counts of murder about their disappearance, and he will remain in custody until he faces court in May next year. Details of the case have been kept under wraps due to the ongoing investigation.

Australian News Crime

PM vows to change ‘inappropriate, unhealthy, unprofessional’ culture

The Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces has been completed, and the report is out. Sparked by Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins claims that she was raped inside Parliament House in March 2019, several reviews were set in motion, including this one into how safe it is to work as a federal parliamentary staffer by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. And what she found is damning – and #itscomplicated… “A lack of clear standards of conduct, limited accountability and power imbalances, combine with the high-intensity, high stakes nature of the work, the pursuit of political power and advantage, the frequent blurring of personal and professional life and the intense loyalty to political parties to create specific risk factors unique to this workplace.” Yikes… PM Morrison welcomed Jenkins’ recommendations and said steps are being taken to ensure politicians’ staff have a better/safer workplace. Former Labor PM Julia Gillard said she hoped “all sides of politics not only commit to but implement these recommendations in full.”


Barbados becomes a republic

The Caribbean island nation officially became a republic yesterday on the 55th anniversary of its independence from the UK. In a midnight ceremony attended by several high-profile figures, including Prince Charles and pop/business genius Rihanna, a final salute was made to the British monarchy, and the Royal Standard flag was lowered for the last time. Dame Sandra Mason, the island’s Governor-General since 2018, is the nation’s new president and head of state after she was voted in by the parliament last month. Queen Elizabeth gave her “warmest good wishes” for “happiness, peace and prosperity in the future”. And Prince Charles acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery” enforced by the Brits in Barbados while emphasising the ongoing ties between the 2 nations. As for the next round of break-free bingo, Jamaica is the hot tip to be next to ditch the Commonwealth…

World News

Holmes hits out at partner

Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes took the stand yesterday in what was the most explosive day of her long-running fraud trial. The 37yo is facing 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of ​defrauding patients and investors after her company claimed it had invented a small machine that could run more than 200 complex diagnostic tests from a small drop of blood. And in an emotional testimony yesterday, she accused her ex-boyfriend/Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani of emotional and sexual abuse during their decade-long relationship. Prosecutors will now get the chance to question her. As for Balwani, he is fronting a separate trial next year on similar charges.

And while we’re talking Silicon Valley types, Twitter’s eccentric co-founder/CEO Jack Dorsey said he’s “ready to move on” from the tech behemoth and will be stepping down to focus on his other success story, Square – and maybe his extensive wellness routine


Tiger Woods goes part-time

Last week, we noted that golfing great Tiger Woods was “making progress”. And yesterday, he all but conceded his time at the pinnacle of the sport is over. Talking to Golf Digest in his first major interview since the car accident that left him with a shattered right leg, he said he hoped to play a few competitive events each year. “It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s my reality. And I understand it, and I accept it,” he said. That’s significant progress on where he was after the accident in late February when he thought he was “going to walk out of that hospital with one leg.” Woods has already staged the comeback of the century when he won the 2019 Masters after having serious surgery on his back. “I had to do it, and I did. This time around, I don’t think I’ll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that’s OK,” he said.


Apropos of Nothing

Driving on Broome’s Cable Beach in Western Oz is an enjoyable pastime for locals and visitors, but not so much for the baby turtles… From December 2022 and for 2 months each year, the coastal stretch will be car-free to give the tiny shells with flippers a chance – the main issue being they get stuck in the tyre tracks on the beach.

Speaking of little ones, human babies take at least a month to appreciate humour, and about half of 2-month-olds will have a developed funny bone. That’s according to a new study from Bristol Uni. Hot tip: save your best material; it’s a marathon, not a sprint…

And you know we’re heading towards Christmas when the White House reveals its seasonal decorations. This year, First Lady Dr Jill Biden has gone pretty traditional with the theme of “Gifts from the Heart”. The Trumps aren’t far from the action with the former first couple turned into an ornament (but sadly there’s no sight of Melania’s red trees…).

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Chief Executive Officer of Transparency International Australia Serena Lillywhite; barrister and Director of the Centre for Public Integrity Geoffrey Watson; & President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Pauline Wright make the case for a federal integrity commission – National Press Club, Canberra

3.00pm (AEDT) – WA Premier Mark McGowan gives his ‘State of the State’ address

ABS Data Release – Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, September

AIHW Release – Cancer in Australia, 2021

The Lowy Institute holds an online conference on issues in the Indo-Pacific region

World AIDS Day

National Water Safety Day

Birthdays for director Woody Allen (1935), actress/singer Bette Midler (1945), singer Janelle Monáe (1985) and actor Zoe Kravitz (1988)

Anniversary of:
• the Ford Motor Company establishing the world’s first moving assembly line (1913)
• the invention of modern-day Bingo by American toymaker Edwin S Lowe (1929)
• Hugh Hefner publishing the first edition of Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe as the centrefold (1953)
• the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama (1955)
• the signing of the Antarctic Treaty (1959)
• Papua New Guinea gaining self-governance from Australia (1973)
• the earliest traceable patient, a 55yo man, developing symptoms of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China (2019)

Squiz the Day

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