Thursday, 25 March, 2021

Biden’s bid for gun control; traffic jam in the Suez Canal; McLaren signs 13yo Formula One driver; and the letterbox loving swan.



Ship stuck in Suez Canal

13 year-old go-kart star

Letterbox loving swan


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Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.






US President Joe Biden yesterday called for high-powered guns to be outlawed in America, vowing to take on the problem that lots of Presidents before him have struggled to resolve.

The President’s pledge came after two recent mass shooting incidents in the US in which 18 people were killed.

When it comes to owning a gun – America has very different laws to Australia.

Lots of people own guns in the US, you can buy a gun in the American equivalent of KMart – and thousands of people in the US die every year as a result of gun violence. 

Here in Australia there are very strict rules around who can own a gun – and what sort of guns are allowed here. As a result, there are not nearly as many guns in the community – and the chances of being hurt by a gun here are slim compared to in America. 

Signalling his intention to reduce gun deaths in America, President Biden said it was wrong “to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future.”  




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in the Suez Canal – a super-important shipping lane in Egypt – where a massive, fully-laden container ship has run aground and is causing a traffic jam.

The Suez Canal connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a man-made, 193 kilometre channel that was dug out in 1869 so that ships could sail directly from Europe to Asia without having to go all the way around Africa.

The container ship that has run aground appears to have floated off course while passing through the canal, and is now sideways – blocking all other traffic.

So much of the stuff that we have – from cars to furniture to clothes to the oil that goes into our car – comes from overseas, and much of it is transported by ship. It’s estimated that on any given day, there are approximately 50,000 ships on the world’s oceans, transporting anywhere between 5 to 6 million container loads of stuff. 

There is now a backlog of ships waiting at either end of the Suez waiting for the canal blockage to be cleared. Looks like it’s going to take one very nifty three point turn …

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to photos and video of the stranded ship … 




And so to the fast-pace world of Formula One racing we go today – where one of the biggest names in the high-octane sport, McLaren Racing, has signed a 13 year old kid from the United States to become one of their race car drivers. 

Ugo Uguchukwu looks for all the world like your average 13 year old American kid – t-shirt, baseball cap, jeans – but put him in a go-kart and the kid is a seriously impressive driver. 

So impressive that he has won a swag of international races in his age group – and in so doing, caught the eye of McLaren’s talent scouts. 

Ugo won’t be hopping behind the wheel of a Formula One car any time soon, however. Even if he could reach the accelerator and brake, which is doubtful – he’s too young to compete in the adults-only competition. But as with AFL, netball, basketball or rugby league players who get scouted at a young age by a professional club who can see their potential – Ugo has shown enough flair on the go-kart track to make the good folk at McLaren sit up and take notice. There’s a link in today’s episode notes of Ugo in action on the go-kart track. 




Collecting your mail in the English town of Northampton has become something of a danger sport, since one of the town’s swans has started terrorising local letterboxes.

The townsfolk have been watching on bemused – and with perhaps a teensy bit of fear – as a swan has been waddling up and down the streets of Northampton and sticking its beak rather violently into the letterbox slots built into their front doors. 

Local wildlife experts aren’t sure why the swan has taken to attacking letterboxes. They’ve said it could either be the swan protecting its territory, or searching for food.

Either way: the advice has gone out to refrain from feeding it. Though frankly, if I had a swan violently attacking my letterbox every day, I reckon I’d probably give it whatever it wanted.  




This is it team. Your last day to get your favourite joke in for Treehouse author extraordinaire – Andy Griffiths. To celebrate the launch of his upcoming Treehouse Joke Book, Andy has agreed to do a special Funny Bone edition of Squiz Kids Q+A – in which you send in your favourite joke and he judges which one is funniest. 

There will be a prize for the funniest kids joke in Australia. Will it be you?     

If you think you’re funny get cracking and send your joke to [email protected]




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What’s the name of the famous shipping channel currently blocked by ship that’s run aground?
  2. What sport does 13 year-old driving sensation Ugo Ugochukwu currently excel at?
  3. What sort of animal has been attacking letterboxes in a town in England? 




It’s March 25   … birthday of singers Elton John and Aretha Franklin … which surely means if you were born today, you must be a world-beating singer?

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Jake from Albany Hills, Mason from Woodhill , Bonnie-Lee and Taylah from Lawnton, Keira from Lilyfield, Jayme Lee from Queensland, Isaac from Everton Hills, Leondre from Croydon Park, Zahra from Glendenning, Logan from Adelaide and Asher from Sydney.

And some belated birthday shoutouts to … Amalin from Taree, Kaitlin from Forestdale, and Kyle from Geraldton. 

Happy birthday one and all.

Today’s classroom shoutouts… class 6L at Orana Heights Public School in Dubbo, 1/2 Lillypilly and Ms Campbell at Oatlands Public School, class 6G with Mr Geoghegan at Fairfield Public School, class 4G at Mortlake Public School, and class 5K Hunter Valley Grammar School.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Suez Canal
  2. Go-karting
  3. Swan