Wednesday, 27 January, 2021

Girls rule in Oz Day honours; dogs move into White House; it’s spacewalk day; and a clingy panda goes viral.



Champ and Major’s Twitter account:

Fu Bao – the clingy panda:


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Girls rule and helping others pays off — those are the two main takeaways from this week’s Australian of The Year awards. , after all three main winners were female – and each one of them had won for going out of their way to help their fellow Aussies. 

The big winner, taking home the Australian of the Year trophy and title was 26 year-old Grace Tame – the first Tasmanian to ever win the prestigious award.

Grace was honoured for the work she has done and the bravery she has displayed over many years to help abuse survivors speak about what happened to them. 

Taking out the Senior Australian of the Year award, given to an exceptional Australian over the age of 65, was Dr Miriam Ungunmerr Baumann – an indigenous woman who was the first Aboriginal teacher in the Northern Territory.

The Young Australian of the Year – awarded to someone aged 16-30 years old – went to Isobel Marshall from Adelaide for her work helping women in developing countries. 

And the Local Hero was named as Rosemary Kariuki from NSW – who arrived in Australia from Africa with only a suitcase and a few hundred dollars, and now helps other migrant and refugee women.

It’s only the second time in the 60 year history of the awards that women have won the main categories. 

And on the subject of Australia Day … you might have noticed that while you were all off enjoying the summer holidays, the Australian anthem went and changed. From the beginning of this new year, the lyric “we are young and free’ has been changed to ‘we are one and free’ – to reflect the fact that while the modern nation of Australia might be relatively young, Indigenous Australians have lived here for many thousands of years.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today, we’ve landed in Washington DC – the capital of the United States of America – where a couple of new, fur-covered residents have moved into the White House.

The White House of course is where the American President lives. And with a new year, we have a new president in the shape of President Joe Biden – and he’s moved into America’s most famous house with his pet dogs, Champ and Major.

The pooches arrived at the weekend – and wasted no time setting up their own Instagram and Twitter accounts – posting photos of themselves getting to know their new surroundings. 

Major is the first rescue dog to live in the White House – after being adopted from a dog shelter two years ago.

According to First Lady, Dr Jill Biden, Champ spent his first hours asleep on his dog bed by the fireplace. He should make the most of the peace while it lasts … the new first family is planning to adopt a cat to add to the crew. And we all know how well cats and dogs get on …

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to the pups’ Twitter account. 




Remember last year how we talked about four astronauts flying to the International Space Station, in orbit around the Earth, where they were planning to live for six months? No? It’s been a while – so you’re forgiven. The important thing to know is that they are still there – they are all well – and later tonight, two of them will be clambering out of the space station and taking part in a six-hour ‘space walk’. A spacewalk is the technical term given to astronauts leaving whatever spacecraft they are in and floating about in space – which is a pretty wild concept, all things considered. It will be the first spacewalk for one of the astronauts, Victor Glover Jnr – who will join colleague Mike Hopkins outside the station to conduct maintenance and building work as it whizzes around the Earth far above our heads at a speed of approximately 30,000 kilometres per hour. Gosh – I wonder if they get dizzy?




Cute animal alert! The internet has gone into a meltdown over the antics of Fu Bao – a baby panda who seems very attached to his zookeeper.

A YouTube video of Fu Bao clinging to the leg of his keeper at South Korea’s Everland Zoo as the man tries to walk away has gone viral, attracting more than 4 million views. 

Six month old Fu Bao is the first giant panda to be born in captivity in South Korea. Her parents were gifts to the people of South Korea from the people of China – the native homeland of the world’s giant panda population. 

And because it’s the first day back at school for some of you: there’s a link in today’s episode notes to the video. Because we all need to ease ourselves gently into this new year. You’re welcome.




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

  1. What are the names of the two dogs who have just moved into the White House?
  2. What’s the name of the space station from which astronauts will today perform a spacewalk?
  3. In which country does the world’s clingiest panda, Fu Bao, live?




It’s January 27 …. It’s back to school today for kids in Queensland and South Australia … sorry kids … Victoria, don’t look so smug – it’s your turn tomorrow – followed by ACT, Northern Territory and WA next Monday – and finally NSW and Tassie next Wednesday! Lucky kids!

And because we’ve been on holidays for four weeks – there’s quite a backlog of belated birthday shout outs to get through … because: just ‘cos you happened to be born in January doesn’t mean you don’t get a shout out … cue the signature Squiz Kids birthday reggae tune …

Happy belated birthday to …  Giselle from Adelaide, Ishana from Banyo, Sam from Abbotsford, Palaash from Westmead, Ethan from Prestons, Sam from Manly Vale, Aivhsa from Donvale, Bailey from Sutherland, Karen, Alyssa and Raylan from Melbourne, Nathaniel and Ethan from Crookwell, Oscar from Mount Martha, Ariana from Beaconsfield, Huey from South Hurstville, Jamella from Goomalling, Anika from the Sunshine Coast, Juliette from Brisbane, Isla, Lexi, Tarni and Fadi from Sydney, Ada from Ultimo, James from St Ives, Charlotte from Beacon Hill, Millie from Hawthorn, Sam from Queen’s Park, Divit from Box Hill, Lola from Perth, Sarbella from Tighes Hill, Lachie from Collaroy Plateau, Chin from Shanghai in China, Laura from Doha, Qatar and Xavier and Jasper who are listening all the way from Switzerland.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Champ and Major
  2. International Space Station
  3. South Korea