Squiz Today / 18 May 2021
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 18 May
"It's been so long, I completely forgot to put gloves on, so my hands nearly froze off."
Said Queenslander Marion Carrick who found her pet sheep covered in frost yesterday as parts of the state shivered through the coldest morning of the year so far. Brrr - or should we say baaa...
DISABLED AUSSIES LEFT BEHIND AS VACCINATION ROLLOUT ACCELERATES
Despite being in the highest priority group, the vast majority of residents of disability care facilities are yet to receive their COVID vaccinations. The Royal Commission into abuse and neglect of people with a disability yesterday heard that 834 out of 26,000 residents had received at least one vaccination dose as of 6 May. Fending off criticism, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday said the updated number is 999 residents and 1,527 disability care workers who have received a jab. And he says efforts will be ramped up now that 85% of people in aged care have had at least their first dose. “That next phase has already commenced,” he said. It’s just one of several issues relating to the COVID vaccination program’s slow start…
HOW IS THE ROLLOUT GOING?
It’s picking up some pace... More than 3 million vaccine doses have been given in total, including one million doses in the last 17 days. It’s an improvement given the first million took 47 days to administer... Hunt yesterday encouraged eligible people to book their appointments “to protect yourself and to protect each other and to protect the community,” he said. And NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she wants 5 million of the state's 6 million adults vaccinated by the end of the year to get the international border open again. "We need to be ambitious, we need to accept we can live with COVID ... if the majority of our population is vaccinated, we can start thinking about those things," she said.
DOES VACCINATION = TRAVEL?
Hold onto your passport… PM Scott Morrison yesterday said it’s “not safe” to open the international border anytime soon. He’s pushed back on growing calls from MPs and business leaders to reopen the country after assumptions in the Budget revealed the government does not expect to ease border restrictions until mid-2022. “There is a sliding sort of scale here, and we’re working on the next steps,” he said. Like allowing fully vaccinated Aussies to travel without being subject to domestic restrictions, travel to safe countries (like Singapore) and allowing international students to return. And speaking of international travel, Morrison is headed across the ditch at the end of this month to meet with NZ PM Jacinda Ardern to discuss “challenges” - so a few things... It will be his first overseas trip for the year.
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ISRAEL-GAZA CONFLICT BECOMING AN ‘UNCONTAINABLE’ CRISIS
That’s the view of United Nations chief António Guterres as the violence continues to escalate and talks fail to bring things closer to a ceasefire. Sunday was the deadliest day since fighting broke out on Monday last week. Since then, more than 200 Palestinians (including 59 children) and 10 Israelis (including 2 children) have been killed. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says military operations are expected to continue. And Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said peaceful coexistence with Israel was impossible “until Israel bears the cost of occupation instead of reaping its benefits.” The UN, US and UK have called for more protections for civilians caught in the danger zones.
HELP TO KEEP THE TANK FULL
Efforts to keep Australia’s last 2 oil refineries up and running until at least 2027 has received a taxpayer-funded $2.3 billion boost. Australia is signed up to an agreement that says nations should have 90-days of fuel reserves, but Oz currently has 30 days worth. It’s a situation that has worsened as onshore oil refineries closed their doors in recent years due to increased competition from new mega-refineries in Asia and ageing infrastructure. Storage is also in short supply. The last 2 standing refineries are in Geelong and Brisbane, but both posted multimillion-dollar losses last year. "Shoring up our fuel security means protecting 1,250 jobs, giving certainty to key industries, and bolstering our national security," PM Morrison said yesterday. The package also includes $302 million to improve Australia’s fuel quality, which ranks among the worst in the world.
REVELATIONS FIT THE BILL
And now things get murky… According to "people familiar with the matter”, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates was asked to step down from the company’s board last year following an allegation that he had a years-long affair with a female employee starting in 2000. That’s according to the Wall Street Journal yesterday (paywall). And the New York Times claims the tech whiz had "developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings" and had "on at least a few occasions" pursued women who worked for him. While the couple's spokesperson confirmed the 2000 affair, they said Bill's departure from the board "was in no way related" to the relationship. The Gateses filed for divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage, leaving questions about the division of their vast wealth and the future of their massive/influential philanthropic foundation.
LONG WORK HOURS A KILLER
In the first global study of its kind, researchers found 745,000 people died from a stroke and heart disease associated with working long hours in 2016 - an increase of nearly 30% from 2000. The landmark World Health Organization study drew on data from 194 countries to conclude that people working 55 hours or more a week have a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of ischemic heart disease than those with a 35-40 hour working week. Officials said the surge in remote working last year may have increased those risks - and people living in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific region - which includes Australia - were the most affected. The report's findings clearly apply to everyone except for the team at The Squiz where work is fun and the hours don't count…
FITTING HONOUR FOR AUSTRALIA’S GOAT
That's the 'greatest of all time'... That's what Albury's own basketball superstar Lauren Jackson is, and now her talent will be recognised when she becomes the first Aussie player to be inducted into the US Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The 4-time Olympic medallist who helped Oz claim the 2006 World Cup also clinched 2 WNBA titles for the Seattle Storm and was crowned the league’s MVP 3 times. While Jackson said she was “really, really honoured” to be elected, she said she was “thankful” for those “that did the hard yards before I came along" - including her parents, who also represented Australia on the court. Jackson will be inducted on 11 September. Legendary coach Lindsay Gaze is the only other Aussie to have received the honour.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
We're a little more than 2 months out from the Tokyo Olympics, and a new poll found more than 80% of Japanese don’t want it to go ahead. So there’s an Olympic-sized challenge for local organisers…
And if you think that’s a challenge, imagine living in Central Australia 25 million years ago and having to keep an eye out for an outback croc that specialised in taking down big animals. Yikes…
And America’s domestic goddess Martha Stewart is caught up in a new controversy… In an article on the challenges of peacock ownership, the New York Post claimed she owned 16 of the handsome birds. “Fake news,” she said - she has 21 of them. And they are as clean as her relationship with Snoop Dogg.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, April; Australian National Accounts: Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth, 2019-20
A birthday for Tina Fey (1970)
• Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed Emperor of France (1804)
• the publication of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ (1897)
• India becoming the sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb (1974)
• the debut of ‘Shrek’ (2001)
• the Morrison Government winning the 2019 election
5.00am (AEST) - Eurovision 2021 1st Round Semi-Finals - live on SBS
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