Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Outback emu ban; Saudi Arabia’s scaled-back hajj; the footy festival begins; and the escape artist eel.






Another day – another promising step forward in the race to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. 

Researchers in the United States yesterday announced they were moving to the final stage of their testing of a vaccine which has already showed promising results.

]Some 30,000 Americans will be injected with a dose of the vaccine in the coming months – and then monitored by scientists to see if it is effective in combating COVID-19.

The drug company, Moderna, says if the trials go well, they could have a vaccine available for widespread use by the end of the year. Fingers crossed.

A pair of emus called Kevin and Carol have been banned from a pub in outback Queensland for stealing toast from tourists and leaving stinky poohs on the floor. 

Owners of the Yaraka Hotel, just south of Longreach, have had to place a ban on Kevin and Carol entering their pub after the birds got a little too close to visitors and started making themselves a little too much at home.

The pub’s owner, Geraldine Gimblett, said the emus had become a tourist attraction – and were very tame – but after they started stealing bread out of the toaster – that was the last straw.

Geraldine added that the emus were poohing on the floor of the pub – and that it was stinky and left great big stains. Now that’s what you call an impolite house guest. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops.. And today we’ve landed in Saudi Arabia – where today marks the start of the hajj – a really important date on the Islamic calendar. 

Each year, millions of Muslims flock to the city of Mecca – which is the holiest city in the Muslim religion – to take part in a religious ceremony. This year, however, because of the coronavirus, the hajj has been massively scaled back.

Last year, two million people went to Mecca for the five day event – but this year, it’s being limited to only 1,000 people because that way they can ensure social distancing. 

Performing the hajj – which is to say, travelling to Saudi Arabia and praying at the holy site in Mecca – is an important ritual for all people of the Muslim faith. Islam requires every Muslim who is able to make the journey to do it at least once in their lifetime.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which hosts the event, is hopeful things will be back to normal for next year’s hajj. Aren’t we all?




And today’s animal kingdom is dedicated to one very impressive animal escape artist. 

Introducing Eel McPherson, a short-finned eel from New Zealand – who took advantage of heavy rains and an overflowing pool enclosure recently to slither its way across a road an d into the ocean to make a daring dash to freedom. After 35 years in captivity, Eel McPherson – who was a favourite among the locals of Whangarei and is named after an Australian supermodel – is believed to have acted on instinct when the opportunity to flee arose. Short-finned eels about the age of Eel McPherson migrate from New Zealand to the Pacific Ocean – possibly off the coast of Tonga each year  – where they breed and then die, exhausted by the energy required to make the journey. Eel McPherson’s owner was sad his slithery friend had gone, but pleased at the same time that it had followed its instinct and answered the call of the wild.




Sport time indeed … AFL fans will be licking their lips in anticipation of tonight when the Western Bulldogs take on Richmond at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.

Not just because the game will be a tight one, but also because it will mark the beginning of 33 matches being played over only 20 consecutive days.

What does that mean? It means more AFL action crammed into a short space of time than the league has ever seen before.

And while that’s fantastic news for fans – because too much AFL is never enough – experts are divided on whether it’s good for the game or good for the players – who will have very little time to recover between matches. 

But, in these COVID crazy times in which we live, as AFL boss Gill McLachlan says, who knows what’s around the corner: better to get in as many games as possible while we can. 

Settle in on the couch, crack out the footy franks, heat up the popcorn, and … game on, we say! 




Every Wednesday we stick our head into the Squiz Kids kitchen to see what Rosie has been cooking this week .. and today, it’s a Fluffy Pancake Recipe

Sunday morning pancakes are a bit of a tradition here at Squiz Kids HQ – and when Rosie eventually drags herself out of bed – it’s pancakes and maple syrup all round. Try them with lemon and sugar – is Rosie’s tip. Though frankly, if they make it from the frypan to the plate without being eaten first, that’s an achievement in and of itself.

The recipe plus photos of the process and finished product are all on the Squiz Kids website.

Don’t forget: 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].




A huge thanks to all of you who sent questions in for our upcoming Squiz Kid Q+A with Turia Pitt.

We had a flood of questions. Practically a tidal wave. And they are all so good. Unfortunately – we won’t have time to answer every one – but please know if you sent a question: it is hugely appreciated. 

That special episode will be out next week – and it promises to be a cracker.  … 




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

  1. What Islamic pilgrimage starts today in Saudi Arabia? 
  2. Eel McPherson the escape artist eel lives in which country? 
  3. Name one of the AFL teams playing tonight as a wave of footy starts




It’s July 29 … International Tiger Day … a day to raise awareness about the plight of endangered tigers in the world and encourage us all to do everything we can to protect them. So if you know a tiger, give it some love today. 

It’s also the birthday of these Squiz Kids … Mila from Canberra, Ned and Annabel from Bermagui, Anneleise from East Geelong, Hayley from Morningside, Jarred from Lowanna, Elijah from Sydney, Myles and Elsie from Maryborough, Meredith from Hunters Hill, Hayley from Cannon Hill, Rishith from Epping, Sam from Applecross, Meg from Wahroonga and Charlie from Mona Vale.

And some belated birthday shoutouts to James from Chipping Norton , Gabriel from Brunswick East, Ayana from Melbourne and Yazmin, Adi, Natasha and Liam from St Helen’s Park. 

Happy birthday to you all. 

Classroom shoutouts….  Year 4 at St Brigid’s School in Coonamble, Stage Three students at Beresfield Public School, Year 4, 5 and 6 at Walpole Primary School, Double Bay Public School, with Mrs Priestman, whose birthday it is today, and Room 11 at Renmark Primary School, with their teacher Mrs Harrington who is also celebrating a birthday today.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The hajj 
  2. Italy 
  3. Richmond or Western Bulldogs