Squiz Today / 08 September 2021
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 September
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Squiz Today Podcast
Getting you across the halfway mark.
Today’s listen time: 9 minutes
“The AFL, together with the Seven Network, remain cognisant of finishing the match at a suitable time for younger footy fans.”
Said organisers of starting the 25 September Western Oz-hosted premiership match at 7.15pm. It’s not the young fans we’re worried about – it’s the middle aged to older ones who might not make it to the final siren after 10pm…
THE FIGHT FOR PFIZER
The vaccination debate took a nasty new turn yesterday with the leaders from Victoria, Western Oz and Queensland claiming their states have lost out to NSW via the “secret” allocation of Pfizer vaccine doses. “I did not sign up, and no Victorians signed up, to a national plan to vaccinate Sydney,” Victoria’s Daniel Andrews said. The Federal Government is in charge of buying and distributing vaccines, and it rejects the claim. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said “I get the sense that some people are looking for a fight. We’re not.”
SO WHAT’S GOING ON?
So, back to basics… As the outbreak of the Delta strain proved difficult to shake off, our national leaders agreed NSW should get access to its Pfizer vaccine allocation brought forward. That’s happening, and state-run vaccination hubs and 260 GP practices have been administering the jabs focusing on the ‘areas of risk’ in south and western Sydney. Then on Monday night, ABC TV’s 7.30 pointed out the effect of bringing forward that supply – per head of capita, NSW has been getting more Pfizer doses than other states. None of that’s particularly earth-shattering… But yesterday, Andrews and others claimed NSW has received more supply than has been publicly disclosed – and they want the imbalance to be addressed quick smart. For PM Scott Morrison’s part, he says there’s no secret deal with NSW, and they’ve sourced more Pfizer vaccines from Poland, the UK and Singapore so all states can get their doses ASAP.
DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA…
And it didn’t stop there… Also feeling the heat was singer Guy Sebastian after he apologised to fans yesterday for social media posts backing the entertainment industry’s #VaxTheNation campaign. Sebastian said it was done without his knowledge, and he would “never, ever tell people what to do when it comes to their personal health choices”. Cue a savaging on talkback radio… Fellow singer and vaccination enthusiast Ben Lee tweeted that the episode was a “sad example of what happens when your career is dependent on trying to be all things to all people”. Ouch…
Squiz the Rest
Taliban’s leaders come into the light
Names that have been mentioned “only on the world’s terrorism watch lists” make up the new government of Afghanistan announced by the Taliban overnight. It’s an interim government resulting from a compromise between its leading figures and its allies in the Haqqani Network. Taking on the role of caretaker PM is Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, one of the Taliban’s founders – he is seen as influential on the religious side of things, not the military side. Sitting above it is Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never made a public appearance. He says the new government will foster “strong and healthy relations with our neighbours and all other countries based on mutual respect and interaction” and will respect international laws “that are not in conflict with Islamic law and the country’s national values”. Long story short: expect the new mob in Kabul to be hardline Islamist, analysts say.World News
Families of MH17 victims demand accountability
It’s been a long and heartbreaking road for the loved ones of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, and yesterday they started to give their accounts to the court. The trial, which kicked off in The Hague in March, will hear families’ testimonies for the next fortnight, including relatives of the 38 Aussies killed. Many have already criticised the lack of accountability for the tragedy. Three Russians and one Ukrainian man have been accused of murder, but the Kremlin has blocked moves to bring them to justice and continues to deny involvement in the attack. “The reality is we may never have a conclusion or complete closure over who killed mum and dad,” Melbourne man James Rizk told the court via video link yesterday. The trial is expected to reach a verdict by September next year.Australian News World News
The economic forecast: sunny with ongoing low rates
Given the ongoing lockdowns and border restrictions, the Reserve Bank yesterday kept interest rates at the historic low of 0.1% for the 9th month in a row. But Governor Philip Lowe said the RBA is confident the economic setback should only be “temporary” as vaccination rates increase and restrictions are eased. The most recent figures found Australia’s economy grew by an all-time high of 9.6% in the year to June – well above forecasters’ expectations. But spoiler alert: ongoing lockdowns could see the economy shrink by 4% in the July-September quarter. And then there’s plummeting iron ore prices as China clamps down on imports… All that uncertainty means interest rates are expected to stay put until 2024, Lowe reckons. Some analysts disagree, including those at the Commonwealth Bank, which expects rates to rise by November next year.Business & Finance
Who wants to live forever?
It seems the very wealthy do… Reports say Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is one of the investors in Altos Labs, a Silicon Valley start-up recruiting some of the world’s top genetic scientists to unlock the key to eternal life. Founded by Russian tech billionaire Yuri Milner earlier this year, Altos Labs has since raised US$270 million to attract and fund the work of the very best minds. Nobel Prize laureate Shinya Yamanaka and biologist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte are onboard. Their focus is biological reprogramming, which rejuvenates cells that could be the key to immortality. Simples… After stepping down as CEO of Amazon in July, 57yo Bezos is believed to have invested millions of dollars into the company through his investment arm Bezos Expeditions. And what more exciting journey is there than eternal life?Quirky News
A historic first at the US Open
American players have failed to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time in the grand slam’s 140-year history. Ash Barty slayer Shelby Rogers is out, and Jenson Brooksby went down fighting against World #1 Novak Djokovic yesterday. While we have you, there are a couple of other firsts to put on your radar. Emma Raducano became the youngest British player to reach the quarter-finals in New York when she beat Rogers yesterday. She’s one of 3 teenagers to make it through to the quarter-finals, and that sound you can hear is the changing of the guard… And Djokovic’s victory over Brooksby sees him on track to become the first man since Australia’s Rod Laver in 1969 to sweep all 4 major titles in a calendar year. He plays 6th seed Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-final tomorrow.Sport
Apropos of Nothing
The hairy-nosed wombat has officially stepped back from the brink of extinction with its population jumping to more than 300. Good on you, Fatso.
And to mark yesterday’s National Threatened Species Day, footage of Benjamin, the last-remaining Tasmanian tiger, was released in colour for the first time. And on yesterday’s typo in Squiz The Day, we’re happy to report Tassie devils are still alive and kicking [insert hand to head emoji…].Australian News Quirky News
Squiz the Day
12.30pm (AEST) – Author Abbas Nazari addresses the National Press Club – Canberra
The fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, begins – California
• the unveiling of Michelangelo’s David statue in Florence (1504)
• 3M selling its first roll of Scotch tape (1930)
• the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and Star Trek (1966)
• the first national broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show in the US (1986)
• the release of Kylie Minogue’s biggest hit Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (2001)