Squiz Today / 11 October 2021
Squiz Today – Monday, 11 October 2021
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Squiz Today Podcast
Your kickstart to the week.
Today’s listen time: 9 minutes
“I’m an idiot.”
Said Scottish tennis star Andy Murray after his playing shoes were stolen with his wedding ring tied into the laces. He got them back but for a while there he scored ‘love’ with his wife…
Feel the freedom
It’s the day locked down and restricted New South Welshpeople have been waiting more than 3 months for. After reaching the statewide vaccination rate of 70% for 16yos and over last week, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says residents have “earned” the freedoms that come with today’s easing. But things won’t be perfect (like his keg tapping skills…) as tens of thousands of workers get back to it and the cobwebs of the 15-week shutdown are blown off. And Perrottet asked for “respect and kindness” for workers who have to check for proof of vaccination. Yesterday, the state reported 477 new cases – the lowest number since 17 August. Since the start of the outbreak in late June, 62,865 people in NSW have been infected with COVID and 431 people have died.
HOW FAR AWAY ARE THE OTHERS?
It depends on your relationship with the concept of time… Too much for a Monday morning? Fair enough. The lockdown of the ACT is set to end this Friday. What the territory lacks in COVID-zero it makes up for with an extremely high vaccination rate. Chief Minister Andrew Barr yesterday said 97.1% of the eligible population aged over 12yo have had at least one vaccine dose. “We are on the path to becoming one of the most vaccinated cities in the world,” he said. And with Victoria expected to hit 70% fully vaccinated in a couple of weeks, Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said that 2 November’s Melbourne Cup will go ahead with crowds of up to 10,000 people. The state again broke the new daily case record on the weekend, but Andrews said “we’re going to normalise this virus, we’re going to move through this difficult gateway, we’re going to open up and we’re going to be back doing what we do best.”
HOW GOOD WILL IT BE TO SHAKE IT OFF?
So good, but we aren’t there yet. Officials aren’t sounding the victory trumpet quite yet. States that have largely avoided outbreaks of the Delta strain remain on high alert for new cases. South Australia, Queensland and Western Oz all had scares on the weekend. And there are still questions to be answered about protecting kids aged under 12yo. Pfizer has delivered its submission to regulators in the US for its vaccine to be clear for use by kids aged as young as 5yo. In Australia, reports say officials are hopeful jabs could be rolled out to young kids later this year/early 2022. Some believe Australia should take a “wait and see” approach, but Health Minister Greg Hunt says it will be up to the official experts to deliver their advice.
Squiz the Rest
Star not shining bright on money laundering
Continuing its scrutiny of Australia major casino operators, the Sydney Morning Herald/Age has this morning revealed that Star Casino has been “enabling suspected money laundering, organised crime, large-scale fraud and foreign interference within its Australian casinos for years”. With casinos in Sydney, Brissie and the Gold Coast, the report says that since 2014, Star encouraged high-roller gamblers with criminal links to frequent its venues. A spokesperson for Star said it was subject to “thorough and ongoing regulatory oversight” and it’s “committed to transparent engagement with regulators”. The investigation, which will continue to report this week, says the findings are in contrast to the ‘clean’ image Star has portrayed in the wake of inquiries into misconduct at Crown.Australian News Business & Finance
Taliban not so cooperative
In the first talks since they seized control of Afghanistan in August, Taliban representatives have gathered in Doha to meet with US officials. On the agenda: humanitarian aid and the implementation of the agreement the Taliban signed with the US last year, which kickstarted America’s withdrawal. And the US wants assurances that Americans and other foreign nationals will be able to leave Afghanistan along with Afghans who once worked for Western nations. And there is one pressing issue – attacks by fighters aligned to Islamic State. The Taliban has ruled out US help saying it would be destabilising. The talks are ongoing as aid issues become urgent – there’s a lack of food, clean water and medicine just as winter arrives.World News
Taiwan stands firm
Australia, the US and many others do not recognise Taiwan as an independent state, but yesterday it marked its national day with a stirring address by President Tsai Ing-wen. In the face of threats from China, she said Taiwan has the resolve to defend itself and its future, which “must be decided in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people”. The intro to that was provided by Chinese President Xi Jinping. “No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi said. But he vowed to seek a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan. That’s a change to his tune earlier this year when he said China would “smash” any attempts at formal independence. #SquizShortcutWorld News
Lights out in Lebanon
A fuel shortage has led to a power outage that has affected the whole country. The nation is in an economic crisis that has left half its population in poverty, crippled its currency and sparked major unrest. Extreme fuel shortages and blackouts are a grim feature of its current struggle to pay overseas energy suppliers. In recent months, many people received 2 hours of electricity a day before this shutdown followed the closure of Lebanon’s 2 largest power stations. Reports say there is little hope of the lights coming on anytime soon. Some have access to private diesel-powered generators, but the fuel shortage is catching up with them too. It’s a lot for the new government to handle – it was appointed last month. The previous mob quit more than a year before…World News
Recognition for peace-seeking newshounds
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen as she announced the prestigious peace prize in Oslo. This year, 2 committed truth-tellers share the honour: Maria Ressa (boss of Filipino news site Rappler) and Russian Dmitry Muratov (who leads independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta). Both have stood up to threats from governments and political leaders for shining lights on shady behaviour. Muratov said the award is shared with those who have lost their lives while trying to hold the Russian Government accountable. And Ressa said she was pleased the committee acknowledged that “a world without facts means a world without truth and trust.” The pair beat out more than 300 candidates for the prize and take home 10 million Swedish krona ($1.5 million).World News
Apropos of Nothing
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers – a fast-food chain in the US – is sending its corporate staff into stores to work the grills and counters to cover gaps as they plan to hire 10,000 workers. Once they have that sorted, someone ought to tell them chickens don’t have fingers…
One keen photographer has found herself in jail for getting too close to a mama bear and her cubs in Yellowstone national park. The chance of a grizzly attack in Yellowstone is said to be one in every 2.7m visits – and it got a record 921,844 visitors this August. Yikes…
And it seems Taliban fighters like a day at an amusement park as much as anyone. Just don’t ask them to put down their machine guns…Quirky News
Squiz the Day
‘Freedom Day’ for NSW as restrictions are lifted
The UN’s COP15 biodiversity summit kicks off – Kunming, China and virtually
Columbus Day in the US, marking the anniversary of the explorer’s arrival in 1492
Birthdays for comedian Dawn French (1957), actress Joan Cusack (1962) and rapper Cardi B (1992)
• the inauguration of the University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university (1852)
• the premiere of Saturday Night Live (1975)
• the death of singer Édith Piaf (1963)