Squiz Today / 18 October 2021
Squiz Today – Monday, 18 October
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Squiz Today Podcast
Get into the news groove.
Today’s listen time: 9 minutes
“Other countries have instantly recognisable monuments, now we have ours.”
Said prominent Cypriot Euripides Evriviades of the nation’s big homage to the finest of all the vegetables – the potato. Better move over Roberston, NSW – their spud is considered by some to be pretty racy…
Victoria and NSW are moving on
Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria in lockdown will shake it off on Thursday night when the state is expected to hit the full vaccination target of 70% of those aged 16yo and over. Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday thanked the 5 million Victorians who have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. He says it means the state can “change the rules to open up, to normalise this, to get our friends back, to be focused on living our lives as close to normal as possible.” The hope is that widespread lockdowns will be a thing of the past – music to the ears of Melburnians, who have had more days in lockdown than anyone else in the world.
BUT ISN’T VICTORIA STILL SEEING HIGH CASE NUMBERS?
It is – there were 1,993 new cases on Saturday and 1,838 yesterday. Those numbers were a decrease on those recorded in the 2,000s late last week. So while there is an easing of restrictions that comes with hitting the 70% vaccination target, some measures to prevent the spread of the virus remain in place, like the mandatory wearing of masks indoors/outdoors and travel from Melbourne to regional areas. Andrews says easing up is the right thing to do even with high case numbers because “they are not converting into hospitalisations at quite the rate we thought they would.”
SO THERE’S A FAIR BIT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE VACCINE…
There sure is. NSW has hit the 80% fully vaxxed target and is no longer considered a COVID hotspot. That means from today, a whole heap of restrictions will be dropped. On Friday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet was hyped – and not just because he’s got a new bub on the way… Crack out your new international vaccine certificate – travellers coming from overseas will be able to enter NSW without quarantining from 1 November. Note: PM Scott Morrison had to mop up some of the newbie’s enthusiasm clarifying that it’s Aussie citizens/permanent residents/their families only – the border is not open to tourists just yet… But not everywhere has their freedom mojo: southern Tassie is in lockdown until at least tonight after a hotel quarantine breach, although no local cases have been detected.
Squiz the Rest
Nats consider their climate position
With Federal Parliament set to resume today, Nationals MPs and senators gathered yesterday to talk through their climate policy position. Four hours of discussion did not result in a decision on the plan put by Energy Minister Angus Taylor to adopt the target of net zero emissions by 2050 and a more ambitious climate target for 2030. Reports say it’s the short term target that’s the tricky part. World leaders are being urged to bring plans for deeper emissions cuts to Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference early next month – a summit PM Scott Morrison has confirmed he will attend. Deputy Nats leader/Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said his party needs more time, but “there is a pragmatism there that they want to continue to understand it and make sure there are safeguards for regional and rural Australia, so we don’t get screwed over again.”AusPol
ICAC hearings into Berejiklian’s conduct are go
Public Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearings into the conduct of former premier Gladys Berejiklian kick off today. Expected to go into next week, the investigation is focused on her time as treasurer and premier. Specifically, ICAC is looking into whether she did the wrong thing or turned a blind eye to the alleged corruption of her ex-boyfriend/former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire. Berejiklian is not scheduled to give evidence this week – it will be former premier Mike Baird and other political/bureaucratic figures from the time in question. A year ago, Berejiklian surprised the state, the nation, and civilisations beyond our solar system with revelations of a “close personal relationship” with the man ICAC continues to investigate. #SquizShortcutsAusPol
UK MP’s murder an act of terrorism
British authorities yesterday said they believe Friday’s killing of the MP Sir David Amess was an act of terrorism. Ali Harbi Ali – a 25yo British man of Somali heritage – is being held under the Terrorism Act, giving officials a week to question him. Reports say he was referred some years ago to a scheme for young people identified at risk of being radicalized, but he was not on the radar of intelligence agencies as a potential risk. Amess was a popular Conservative politician for Essex since 1983, and he was stabbed several times while conducting a regular meeting with constituents. He is the 2nd MP to be killed in recent years – Labour’s Jo Cox was killed in similar circumstances by a far-right extremist in mid-2016. PM/Conservative party leader Boris Johnson led the tributes saying “our hearts are full of shock and sadness”.World News
US missionaries kidnapped in Haiti
Seventeen US missionaries were kidnapped by a gang yesterday, reports say. The group includes children, and while the details are murky, it’s believed they were leaving an orphanage when they were ambushed. Haiti has been considered dangerous for years, but law and order in the troubled Caribbean nation have broken down as the recent political turmoil deepens. You’ll remember that President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July, and the nation was rocked by a devastating earthquake in August. That has led to a surge in violence with reports estimating that gangs control roughly half of the capital of Port-au-Prince. US officials have not commented on reports of the kidnapping.World News
Keep your friends close…
Tesla/SpaceX founder Elon Musk is known for being a bit unconventional. But Volkswagen? Its CEO Herbert Diess has thrown out the handbook for conservative corporate managers and invited the billionaire disruptor in. Addressing 200 VW executives on Friday, Diess said VW “did many right things in the past,” but looking ahead “there is no guarantee for the new world.” He wants VW to make “faster decisions, less bureaucracy, more responsibility”. Enter Musk, whose unique management style is credited with some of Tesla’s raging success (and, in fairness, many of its hiccups…). “I’m primarily an engineer and, besides the car, I’m fascinated by supply chains, logistics and production processes,” he said of his out of the box style. Musk once tried to recruit Diess to run Tesla, and the companies are said to consider the other their biggest competitor. #SquizShortcutTechnology
Apropos of Nothing
As Australia readies itself for snake season, you might want to think about checking under the house…
The legacy of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to trouble officials. His imported “cocaine hippos” are so prolific in the reproductive game that the government has begun sterilising the more than 80 animals that make up the biggest herd outside Africa.
Hear the name Carmen Mola, and you’d likely think of the hugely successful female Spanish crime writer (just nod…). Cue the shock when 3 men stepped up to claim the prestigious €1 million Planeta prize at a ceremony attended by King Felipe and revealed themselves to be her. Híjole…Quirky News
Squiz the Day
Federal Parliament resumes
Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 students in NSW return to face-to-face learning as further COVID restrictions eased in NSW
Independence Day in Azerbaijan
Alaska Day (marking the anniversary of the US taking possession of the territory after purchasing it from Russia)
Start of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count
A birthday for actor Zac Efron (1987)
• the founding of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), later called British Broadcasting Corporation (1922)
• the first all-female spacewalk by NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir outside the International Space Station (2019)