Wednesday, 9 September, 2020

Aussie journos out of China; Kavaan the elephant’s big move; Ash Barty says ‘non merci’; and the escape artist bear.



Kavaan the elephant:

Squiz Kids Instagram:






You know how sometimes neighbours don’t always get on? That’s what’s happening right now between Australia and China – and yesterday, we saw things get super intense when two Australian journalists were hurriedly flown home from China, after local police visited them unexpectedly at their homes.

The two reporters are what’s called ‘foreign correspondents’. It’s their job to go to another country – in this case, China – and send home news about what is happening there. One of the reporters works for a newspaper – the Australian Financial Review. The other is a TV reporter for the ABC – you might even have seen him on the telly reporting from inside China.

Both men received a surprise night-time visit from Chinese security forces last week – warning that they were going to be taken in for questioning the following day – prompting them to seek help from the Australian Government. And after some negotiation, they were allowed to come home.

Things have been not-so-good between Australia and China for many months now. Last month, an Australian journalist working for a Chinese TV channel was detained without an official explanation as to why. 

Why is any of this a thing? Because in a democracy, the notion of journalists being able to do their job without interference by the government is really important. Some countries have different ideas.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops – and today, we’ve landed in Pakistan – where Kavaan the elephant is being prepared for his big international trip to the country of Cambodia – many thousands of miles away. 

A court in Pakistan ordered the closure of the zoo where Kavaan has lived for the past 35 years. The animals there were not being kept in very good conditions. And so, plans are afoot to move Kavaan to Cambodia where he will live with other elephants in an elephant sanctuary. 

Kavaan has become known as the world’s loneliest elephant, after his buddy died eight years ago, leaving him all alone in his enclosure.

But how do you move an elephant to another country? Very slowly, and very carefully is the answer. And with the help of some vets who have spent the past few days getting to know Kavaan. One of the vets said Kavaan was shy at first, but responded when he started singing songs to him. There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a lovely video of them together. 




Another animal who’s clearly not so keen on being in captivity? That would be the bear in Italy called Papillon — who you might remember we talked about a couple of weeks back when he climbed over not one, not two, but three electric fences to escape his enclosure and run to the freedom of nearby woods. He was found by park rangers this week and returned to the wildlife reserve he seems so very keen to not be in. 

This most recent escape is Papillon’s third bid for freedom – the last time he was recaptured, he had a GPS tracking collar fitted – which he promptly pulled off the minute he was free. Smarter than your average bear.  

Brown bears that live in the mountains north of Italy – a mountain range called the Alps – were close to extinction twenty years ago – but have slowly been coming back. 




Our number one female tennis player, Ash Barty, yesterday pulled out of the French Open tournament which is scheduled to start in just under two weeks’ time.

It’s especially significant  because Ash won the tournament last year – becoming the first Aussie woman in a long time to win a grand slam – which is the name given to the four biggest tennis tournaments on the professional players’ circuit.

She told reporters that she really wanted to travel to Paris to defend her title, but concerns about COVID plus the fact that border closures in Australia mean she hasn’t been able to train with her coach to the level she would have liked – meant she had decided not to compete. 




Every Wednesday we stick our head into the Squiz Kids kitchen to see what Squiz Kids ambassador Rosie has been cooking. This week’s recipe is Strawberry Oat Slice and  comes from Noah from Fitzgibbon in Queensland. He said he and his mum make this slice all the time to have for morning tea, especially at this time of year when strawberries are in season. My dad got sucked in by the supermarket specials and we have A LOT of strawberries in the fridge at the moment, so it was the perfect thing for us to make this week. Thanks Noah, it was delicious! 

The recipe and photos are all on the Squiz Kids website. 

And remember: if you have a favourite recipe that YOU like to cook that you’d like Rosie to try… AND to feature in this segment – be sure to send it to: [email protected].




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

  1. From which country have two Australian journalists just been evacuated?
  2. Name the country that Kavaan the elephant currently lives in?
  3. Name the Aussie tennis champ who’s just pulled out of the French Open.




It’s September 9 ….. Today’s a big day for Queen Elizabeth – marking the day she broke the record five years ago for being on the throne for longer than any other King or Queen in Britain, ever … as of today, she’s clocked up 68 years and seven months on the throne. Wow. That’s a long time to be sat on the same seat. You mob can barely make it from recess to lunch time….

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Hugo from Sydney, Seth from Crookwell, Freddie from Canberra, Siobhan and Georgia from Adelaide, Noa from Port Kennedy, Emilia from Altona, Marnie from Wallumbilla, Shen from Wahroonga, Indigo from Warrnambool, Jose from Sheoak Grove, Ryder from Lake Munmorah, Moses from Concord West and Dylan from Clayton.

And a belated birthday shoutout…Will from Murwillumbah

Happy birthday one and all!

And so to classroom shoutouts — remember – we want to dedicate the next couple of weeks’ worth of classroom shoutouts to Victorian school kids who are home learning … so if you’re a teacher of or a student in a class in Victoria and you want to give your students or classmates a shout out – drop us a line at [email protected]

Today’s Victorian classroom shout outs go to … all of the kids and teachers at Ardeer South Primary School, Mrs. Yuen’s Grade 1 class at Nunawading Christian College, St Pius X Primary School in Warrnambool, the grade 6 kids at Blackburn Primary School in Victoria, and their very dedicated teachers, Mrs Chetcuti, Miss Ellis, Miss Parsons and Mr Campbell, and Blake from Class 1/2B at Hawthorn West Primary School, who has been doing a great job teaching the kids during lockdown.

A great big Squiz Kids salute from all of us to all of you …     

  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. China
  2. Pakistan
  3. Ash Barty