Squiz Today / 15 September 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 15 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

News for on-the-go people. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“True story actually.”

Said Aussie cricket Test captain Tim Paine of the (mis)diagnosis of his medical condition by ABC TV’s Tony Armstrong yesterday. At least he’s not Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend

Good prices and a cracking season for our farmers

We don’t want to jinx Australian agriculture, but government economists reckon the industry is in for a bloomin’ bonza year. The value of the food and fibre produced and sold is expected to hit $73 billion this financial year, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) predicts. An expected $54.7 billion of that should come from exports – also a record. If it comes to pass (weather and every other variable permitting…), it will be the first time the farm sector has broken the $70 billion mark. That should put “a spring in farmers’ step,” said National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson.

Grains. A bumper winter crop and strong prices should take the 2021-22 harvest’s value to $30 billion, a boost of 17% on last financial year. Near perfect growing conditions in Oz and poor conditions in the US, the Russian Federation and Canada have helped deliver that result. The red meat industry is also killing it (ahem…) – it’s expected to jump by 8% to hit $33.5 billion. The laws of supply and demand mean low stock numbers after the drought have driven prices to record highs – good for farmers with cattle and sheep to sell, not great for farmers looking to restock or consumers with a love of steak. Other commodities like cotton, fruit and veg, sugar, and wool all get a thumbs up for a promising year. 

Real good, but it’s not all smooth sailing. Not receiving a bump – barley, wine and other products that benefit from Australia having a good relationship with China. That’s something the good weather can’t fix… And the COVID crisis has hurt farm production by limiting the available workforce, and it’s also mucked up international freight. Then there’s the [shiver] mouse plague that’s ongoing in NSW and now in Western Oz… None of that takes the shine off the prediction or the Farmers Federation’s aim to hit $100 billion in farm production by 2030. With Aussie farmers providing food security for the nation, more than 10% of our exports, and direct jobs for more than 300,000 workers, there are plenty of people cheering them on.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

NSW looks to flatten the curve

After hitting a record high of new local COVID cases on Saturday with 1,603, the state has reported a fall each day since. In fact, yesterday’s 1,127 new COVID cases was the lowest daily report for 13 days. That prompted questions yesterday about whether the outbreak’s peak has been reached as NSW’s second wave passed 40,000 cases since late June. NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said it’s still “too early to know” if that’s the case, but epidemiologists say the signs are promising. Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 445 new cases and 2 deaths yesterday. Some experts say lockdown fatigue is behind rising case numbers, which are growing at about twice the rate of NSW at a similar stage of its Delta outbreak. And ACT – soz but you’re in lockdown for another 4 weeks after 22 new cases were reported yesterday.


Prince Andrew enlists the help of Hollywood

The royal has hired celebrity US lawyer Andrew Brettler to represent him in the civil case against him in New York following Virginia Giuffre’s claims that he sexually abused her when she was 17yo. And when we say celebrity lawyer, he’s represented Michael Jackson, Tom Hanks, Demi Moore, and many more. During a pre-trial conference yesterday, Brettler said the allegations against Andrew were “baseless, non-viable and potentially non-lawful” because a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Andrew’s friend Jeffrey Epstein released Andrew from “any and all liability”. That seems to have become the critical point in his bid to stop the lawsuit from going ahead after Judge Lewis Kaplan indicated he disagreed that the prince hadn’t been properly served legal documents from Giuffre’s lawyers. Brettler has requested a copy of the 2009 document, which isn’t available to the public. Things head back to court on 13 October.

World News

Quade Cooper to become an Aussie

Following a long battle, Wallabies star Quade Cooper will be granted Australian citizenship after the Federal Government said it would change the rules. Not confirmed: that his game-winning kick on Sunday to give our national rugby team their first win in forever worked in his favour… The policy change will see eligible visa holders considered among the “most talented prospective Australians”, like Cooper, given greater flexibility to meet the residency requirements. Under the old rules, applicants needed to live in Australia for the past 4 years and not be absent for more than 12 months during that time. Now, they must live in Oz for at least 480 days over 4 years. Cooper, a Kiwi who moved to Oz at 13yo, had been knocked back for Aussie citizenship 4 times due to the time he has spent playing rugby abroad. “The unique work and travel demands on some of our most highly distinguished prospective Australians should not preclude them from making the cut,” Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said yesterday.

AusPol Sport

Apple unveils the iPhone 13

Australians are big Apple iPhone users. About 55% of the smartphones in use here are iPhones, and last month Apple boss Tim Cook told an investor briefing that iPhones hold the top two spots for smartphone sales in Oz. So plenty of Aussies will be looking over the tech giant’s new offering launched overnight. For device lovers, there’s iPhone 13 with a better camera (that some experts say only a pro would notice) and significantly better battery life. A mini will set you back US$1,199 up to a Pro Max, starting at $1,849. Not to be forgotten: new iPads and Watches, but no new AirPods soz. Also not to be forgotten: a new security update… The detection of new spyware that lets hackers access devices through iMessage means get onto it ASAP. Chalk it up to one of the many cybersecurity issues Aussies experience every… 8 minutes. The Australian Cyber Security Centre says that more than 67,500 cybercrime reports were made last financial year – that’s 13% up on the previous 12 months.


A star-spangled Met Gala

The Met Gala was back with a bang. Called the Oscars of the fashion world, the 73yo event is a fundraiser for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – but it’s all about the celebs and their outfits… ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ was this year’s theme: cue the red, white and blue with a sprinkling of cowboy… And being the home of the brave, some used the occasion to make a political statement, like Democratic politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose gown was embellished with ‘Tax The Rich’. Which she wore to an event attended by some of the most wealthy people in the world… Taking on a more abstract interpretation [insert shrugging lady emoji] was Kim Kardashian, who wore a haunting head-to-toe Balenciaga piece… And pop star Billie Eilish in her Grace Kelly-inspired Oscar de la Renta gown was also the talk of the town. Roll up, get your red carpet action here.


Apropos of Nothing

Kiwi researchers have created what they’ve called the MooLoo, which is a toilet for cows. Obviously. It’s designed to capture and dispose of cow urine before it turns into nitrous oxide, which is not good.

A team of Harvard researchers are trying to resurrect the woolly mammoth. It sounds like science fiction, but they’re hoping to use genetic engineering to create a living elephant-mammoth hybrid that is visually indistinguishable from its extinct prototype.

The Nikon Small World contest has crowned the best microscopic images for 2021. Making the cut: a pregnant flea, a snail’s rainbow tongue, and the skeleton of a bat embryo. Check out the winning pics here.

Environment & Science Quirky News

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