Squiz Today / 19 May 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 19 May


“It’s all in the dexterity of how you tickle.”

Is the tip French artisan Damien Desrocher gave for extracting snail mucus to make soap bars. It’s all the rage for anti-ageing and skin-healing. And no, it’s snot a joke...


To limit the impacts of climate change, the world energy watchdog says new coal, oil and gas projects must immediately cease. There must be a rapid acceleration of renewable energy. And the sale of combustion-engine cars must end by 2035. These are just some of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) recommendations in its landmark report released yesterday that will be discussed at the next big climate summit - the United Nations’ COP26 meeting in Glasgow in November.

Well, the IEA says if the world is to hit net zero emissions by 2050 to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels (aka the goal laid out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement), that’s what needs to happen. Agency boss Fatih Birol says even then, it’s going to be tough but doable - and the work must start now in 3 key areas:

• Nations must put short-term actions next to their goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 - something many have not done.

• Every year the world will need to install 4 times the amount of wind and solar energy than it did in 2020. Which is a lot.

• And the world has to innovate because “in 2050, almost half the reductions come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase,” the report notes.

Good question. The Morrison Government has not committed to a target of net zero emissions by 2050, but a lot of the developed world has... And if the world is to really go there, the report says demand for coal could plunge from 90% to just 1% of total energy use in 2050, and natural gas would drop by 55%. That would be a significant hit to a couple of our big exports, leaving many thousands of Aussie jobs on the line and a lot of politics to play out... The report also comes as Australia faces an energy supply problem with the government planning to use gas as a source of power generation. And overnight, the Morrison Government confirmed it will spend up to $600 million on a new gas-fired power station in NSW’s Hunter Valley. None of it is easy with Birol acknowledging the issues are “the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced."



Sydney Morning Herald/Age poll out this morning says one-third of adult Aussies say they’re unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccination with doubts over the potential side effects cited as the top reason. Another reason: many people believe there is no rush to get vaccinated with the international border remaining closed. The report says concerns about the COVID vaccination have increased after rare blood clots were linked to AstraZeneca doses for people under 50yo in April. And issues with getting access to vaccines has also dented confidence, they say. The Australian Medical Association has added its voice to pressure the government to commit to a date to open our international border, saying it will help motivate people to get vaccinated.


Passengers booked on a repatriation flight from India last weekend were not “denied boarding in error” after Qantas said it re-ran all the tests at the same laboratory and returned the same result. To recap: almost half of the passengers were denied passage because they returned a positive coronavirus test or were a close contact. Several Aussies deemed positive via the Qantas test later tested negative - and that raised serious questions about the process. The airline will use a different laboratory for future COVID-19 tests after doubt was cast over the lab’s accreditation. As for those knocked-back passengers, they won’t be eligible to fly to Oz for 14 days. The next repatriation flight from India is due to arrive on the weekend.


After stopping short of joining international calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas over the weekend, US President Joe Biden changed his tune yesterday. Following his 2nd phone call in 3 days with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House released a statement expressing his “support” for a ceasefire. It’s far from clear whether a ceasefire will eventuate as both sides continue to ramp up attacks. Yesterday there were violent clashes in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as Palestinians took part in a day of protests and strikes as airstrikes from both Israel and Gaza continued. Since Monday last week, 213 Palestinians and 12 people have died in Israel. The UN Security Council is meeting this morning for a 4th emergency session.


Samoa is set to get its first female prime minister after the country’s top court validated Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s election following a month of political stalemate. Last month, the incumbent Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and the newly established opposition Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST party) won 25 seats each. Then things got complicated... Long story short, FAST now has majority support, ending 22 years at the top for PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and 4 decades of HRPP leadership. If all goes to plan, Mata’afa - who comes from royal lineage and is the daughter of the country’s first prime minister - will be sworn in, but not without a fight… The HRPP is preparing to appeal.


According to the weather bureau, those hoping for a respite from chilly temperatures won’t get any until the weekend. Parts of southern Oz (including NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tassie) have been shivering through frosty mornings and sub-zero ‘feels like’ temperatures in recent days as a blast of polar air makes its way up from Antarctica. And despite sunny skies during the day, the lack of cloud cover has meant any daytime heat has evaporated once night falls. “It’s been very cold for this time in May,” meteorologist Helen Kirkup said. Meanwhile, rain and storms are forecast in Western Oz over the coming days as a series of cold fronts make their way in from the Indian Ocean. Sounds like the winter woollies are here to stay...


“Suburban golf club“ is how some labelled Australia’s Tokyo Olympics look. Everyone's a critic... You can see how the uniform compares to those from past Games

Millionaires in the US are protesting against billionaires. And what better place than outside the home of the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos.

If you were born in the first half of the 80s and you’ve struggled to fit in with Gen X or Millennials, there’s now a special category for you, you geriatric...


12.30pm (AEST) - Labor's Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers delivers his post-Budget reply at the National Press Club - Canberra

Prince Harry and Meghan celebrate their 3rd wedding anniversary

Malcolm X Day - US

World IBD Day

ABS Data Release - Wage Price Index, March

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Dame Nellie Melba (1861), Ho Chi Minh (1890), Malcolm X (1925), Pol Pot (1925), Nora Ephron (1941)
• the deaths of Anne Boleyn (1536), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1994)
• the founding of Save the Children, the first global movement for children (1919)
• Sri Lanka announcing victory in its 25-year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (2009)

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