Wednesday, 7 October, 2020

Big budget breakdown; Japan’s cutest mascot; Duck! It’s Djokovic!; and watch out for an elephant in your Zoom!



Japan mascot winners:

Squiz Kids Instagram:






The Federal government last night handed down the Budget for the year ahead, outlining a bunch of programs it hopes will help the country recover from the coronavirus.

Because, as well as taking a toll on our health, COVID has had a huge impact on our economy – with many people losing jobs, fewer people spending money and many businesses finding it hard to stay afloat. 

The government last night put a number on how much it’s going to cost to get us out of the financial black hole the country is in. And how many years it will take. And both numbers are big.

But, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg – the politician in charge of Australia’s wallet –  the recovery has already begun and next year, with a vaccine on track and borders re-opened, things will start to look rosier.

And in today’s Trump-date … the US President headed back to the White House yesterday morning after spending three days in hospital having tested positive for COVID-19. There are still questions about how severely he has been affected by the virus, whether it will get any worse, and the suitability of the treatment his doctors have prescribed – but the Prez seemed upbeat in a video he released on Twitter.

Meanwhile – the two candidates vying to become Vice President of the United States – Kamala Harris, who is running alongside Joe Biden, and Mike Pence, who is President Trump’s running mate – will debate one another tomorrow. Expect fireworks.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed in Japan – where a national competition to find the country’s best mascot has been won by a super-cute, extra-cuddly character representing a city that was devastated by a tsunami.

Tsunami is the Japanese word for tidal wave – the large bodies of water that can wash up onto land if there is an earthquake out at sea. 

The winning mascot – Takata no Yumechan – has ears that resemble the city’s famous pine trees, a star on its forehead to guide children and a shoulder bag filled with ‘dreams and happiness’. So that’s nice.

Takata beat 400 other mascots from other cities around Japan to take out this year’s title. It’s like the Olympics for over-sized, cuddly cartoon characters. 

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to this year’s finalists. And for the record, I think number 2 is my favourite … 




Being a lines-person at a Novak Djokovic tennis match is fast turning into a danger sport, after the Serbian champ accidentally fired a return of serve into a linesman’s head during the French Open yesterday. 

It follows the Joker’s now infamous hitting of a ball into a lineswoman at the US Open last month – a shot that was unintentional was nevertheless fired in frustration – earning him a disqualification from that tournament. Yesterday’s effort was an accident.

Accidental whacking of an official notwithstanding – Djokovic went on to beat his rival, Russia’s Karen Khachanov – to cruise into the French Open quarter finals. 




You’ve probably done a Zoom call or 500 in the past few months, right? Or at the very least, you’ve watched as an adult in your life has sat through fifty or so every day. The COVID lockdown has meant many more hours spent in front of the computer, speaking to colleagues, friends and classmates over zoom. And it can get a little dull. Which is why a charity that helps elephants in Thailand has come up with a clever way to raise money AND make Zoom calls more interesting.

It’s called Elephant In The Zoom , and for a fee, anyone can have an elephant live-streamed into a zoom call. 

It’s already proven popular with bosses who want to liven up their daily Zoom chat with employees – as with each Zoom call, elephant handlers take Zoom participants on a little tour of a northern Thailand elephant sanctuary, meeting some of the 23 elephants who live there. The money raised goes to help feed them. How clever is that?




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

  1. Which country has just held a nationwide competition for its mascots?
  2. Which tennis player accidentally hit a linesman in the head yesterday?
  3. What animal can you now invite into your next Zoom call?




It’s October 7 ….. World Cerebral Palsy Day .. Did you know that cerebral palsy, a condition that affects movement –  is the most common physical disability among children? Today’s a day to remember the millions around the world affected by CP – all of whom deserve the same opportunities as anyone else. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today …   Noah from Warners Bay, Elise from Erskineville, Lara from Buderim, Jessica from Craigburn, Adeline from Panania, Jeremiah from Springwood, Stevie Jean from Toorak and Stella from Cammeray. 

And as we work through the birthdays we missed last week while holidays, today’s belated birthday shoutouts go to… Abbey from  Hampton, Faye from Eastwood, Jack from Maryville, Taj from Meadow Springs, Conor from Ivanhoe, Hayden from Morningside, Evie from Brighton, Ruby from Bungendore, Catalina from Carlingford, Hamish from Launceston, Sienna from Lynbrook and Clementine from Wahroonga. 

Happy birthday one and all!

And finally: today’s classroom shout outs go to … Bentleigh West Primary School, St Ambrose’s School in Woodend, 5/6KH at Epping Primary School in Victoria and 5U from Mudgeeraba Creek State School.


  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Japan
  2. Novak Djokovic
  3. An elephant