Squiz Today / 23 April 2021
Squiz Today – Friday, 23 April
“If people go to Bunnings and can get their sausage sandwich after their vaccine on the way out, that’s a good thing.”
Said epidemiologist and public health professor Hassan Vally after the hardware giant offered up its car parks as a mass vaccination hub site. Talk about killing two birds with one stone…
BIDEN PUSHES FOR GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION
US President Joe Biden kicked off the 2-day virtual Climate Summit last night with a bang, pledging to cut US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. He is hosting 40 world leaders - including all the big powers/emitters such as China, Russia, the UK, India and the European Union - for a virtual gathering to talk about all things climate change. And of course, it just happened to start on Earth Day.
SO BIDEN’S BIG ON CLIMATE?
You could say that... Biden’s victory over Donald Trump last year was widely seen as a climate change “game-changer”. The summit is a chance for the US to hit reset on its climate efforts after the Trump administration pulled the pin on the Paris climate accord (an agreement Biden rejoined on the 1st day of his presidency). With just over 6 months before countries meet in Glasgow for the UN’s annual climate summit, Biden will nudge his fellow summiteers to commit to more radical emissions targets. Overnight, Japan and Canada raised their targets to 46% and 40-45% by 2030, respectively, and the UK is also on board, having already announced it will cut carbon dioxide by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels. And let’s not forget the agreements made between China and the US - the world’s 2 biggest carbon polluters - early this week.
SO, DID SCOMO TUNE IN?
He did. After a technical “you’re on mute” glitch, PM Scott Morrison made no new pledges and said Australia was “on the pathway” to net-zero emissions through new technologies. Unlike other countries, Australia has not set a concrete deadline to achieve net-zero emissions, and that’s fuelled a long-standing view from abroad that the nation has been laggard on climate change action. Morrison has pushed the idea the goal will be achieved through improvements to technology and industry. That’s something he has pledged another $565.8m towards in the upcoming May budget. Earlier this week, Shadow Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen accused Morrison of making Australia an “outlier” on the world stage.
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INDIA’S COVID CRISIS ON CABINET AGENDA
In the 2nd meeting for the week, National Cabinet agreed to bring forward the vaccination start date for people older than 50. They can receive the AstraZeneca jab from state-run clinics from 3 May and at GPs from 17 May, while the Pfizer vaccine remains prioritised for people under 50, age and disability care workers, and frontline staff. Also on the agenda were concerns about travellers returning from India. The country set a bleak record yesterday, reporting more than 314,000 new cases - bringing its total to nearly 16 million - while deaths rose by 2,100. Morrison said flights coming into Australia from India will be reduced by 30%. Those changes are expected to come into effect "in the months ahead", and those travelling from high-risk areas will need to have a COVID-19 test 72 hours before flying to Oz. India has launched a vaccination drive, but only a small fraction of the population has had the shots.
OZ OFFERS HELP IN SEARCH FOR MISSING SUBMARINE
Concerns are growing for an Indonesian submarine with 53 people on board that went missing north of Bali on Wednesday. The vessel was conducting a training exercise when it disappeared. The Indonesian Navy is now concentrating its search around an oil slick that appeared in the waters near where the sub was last located. According to local media reports, the Navy said an electrical failure may have caused the vessel to lose control and fall to a depth of 600-700 metres. The ageing German-built sub was built to sustain pressure at a maximum depth of 250 metres. Foreign Minister Marise Payne yesterday said Australia “will help in any way we can" in the ongoing search.
PROTESTERS RALLY FOR NAVALNY
More than 1,700 protesters have been rounded up by Russian police after participating in nationwide protests against opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s treatment in prison. Navalny was moved to a prison hospital earlier this week after starting a hunger strike 3 weeks ago over his alleged mistreatment by prison authorities. His allies fear he could soon die and are calling for the release of the outspoken Putin critic, who was jailed on embezzlement charges he says are politically motivated. Officials have said Navalny has been treated like any other prisoner and denounced the demonstrations as illegal. Organisers had hoped the protests - which coincided with President Vladimir Putin's annual State of the Nation address - would be the largest in years. But reports say many stayed away following warnings from authorities.
ANZAC SERVICES GET THE GO-AHEAD
Aussies will return to Anzac Day ceremonies and marches around the country on Sunday after the pandemic cancelled plans last year. Services will almost return to normal, but there are still strict limits in place. Crowd numbers at the Australia War memorial's dawn service in Canberra will be limited to 4,200 people and 3,000 for the national ceremony, including the veterans' march. The National Dawn Service will run from 5:30-6am AEST. A complete guide to other services around Oz can be found here. In more good news, the Victorian Government has lifted spectator numbers at 3 Melbourne venues, opening the MCG gates to 85,000 people for two AFL games this weekend. And if you’re confused as to whether you get a public holiday on Monday, this may help. Day off or not, Anzac biscuits are a must. This recipe has no bells and whistles, but that’s why we love ’em.
PERSEVERANCE KEEPS MAKING HISTORY
In its latest entry in the history books, the Perseverance rover has created breathable oxygen on Mars. It marks the first time humans have converted carbon dioxide into oxygen on another planet. Percy, as the rover has been nicknamed, has been tasked with searching for signs of ancient life on the red planet. Still, since arriving in February, it's been undertaking some other scientific work. Its latest achievement means astronauts may one day be able to go to Mars, NASA said. And while we’re talking about all things space, Elon Musk’s SpaceX will today launch its 3rd crewed flight into orbit aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The 4 astronauts will be heading to the International Space Station for a 6-month stay. That home-away-from-home could be less crowded in the future, with Russia flagging it might build its own space station amid ongoing earthly tensions with the US.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
With the announcement last night of the Stella Prize winner, we’ve just added another tome to our teetering tower of bedside reading. Welcome to the pile The Bass Rock* by British-Australian author Evie Wild...
Clogs are supposedly back in vogue, and it's uprooted everything we thought we knew about fashion...
And there’s nothing like a hot bowl of laksa to get you through those cooler nights. This one has the perfect amount of chilli - enough to heat things up without burning off your tastebuds.
*Buy using this link The Squiz may earn a little commission
SQUIZ THE DAY
7.49pm (AEST) - NASA launches a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station - Kennedy Space Center, Florida
ABS Data Release - Migration, 2019-20
Birthdays for John Oliver (1977), Gigi Hadid (1995), Dev Patel (1990), Prince Louis of Cambridge (2019)
• the crowning of Queen Anne at Westminster Abbey (1702)
• the AIDS-virus being identified as HTLV-III (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) (1984)
• the world's first malaria vaccine beginning in Malawi by the WHO (2019)
• the deaths of Shakespeare (1616), William Wordsworth (1850), Boris Yeltsin (2007)
The 2021 Golden Raspberry Awards
Beginning of World Immunization Week (until 30 April)
Birthdays for Barbra Streisand (1942) and Ash Barty (1996)
• the knighting of Winston Churchill by Queen Elizabeth II (1953)
• the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh which killed 1,134 garment workers (2013)
Starting at 12.30pm (AEST) - AFL - Anzac Round - various states
Birthdays for Al Pacino (1940), Björn Ulvaeus (1945), Hank Azaria (1964), Renée Zellweger (1969)
• the publication of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719)
• Microsoft becoming the third US company to be listed with a market worth of 1 trillion, after Apple and Amazon (2019)
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