Squiz Today / 23 February 2024

Squiz Today – 23 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“If anybody wants peacocks out there, we can help.”

Said a councillor from the remote Northern Territory town of Elliott, which has become overrun with the fancy birds. If you’re looking for a fabulous addition to your menagerie, why not high-tail it there to peck one out…


The Squiz

Qantas shared its much-anticipated half-year results yesterday, revealing it made an $873 million post-tax profit in the July-December half. That sounds like a tidy amount, but the airline was quick to point out it’s a 13.2% fall on the $1 billion profit recorded in the same period 12 months ago. Qantas says the reason for that is threefold – flight prices have dropped 10% from their peak in late 2022, fuel costs have risen, and the airline has increased spending to improve customer/staff satisfaction. Newbie CEO Vanessa Hudson says it reflects months of responding to “loud and clear” feedback – but investors had input of their own… The company’s share price dropped 6.8% yesterday. 

So it’s up, up, and away?

Hold your horses… Despite the upbeat tone yesterday, Qantas still has some challenges to confront. The big one is the airline is back in the Federal Court next month to work out the compensation it will pay 1,700 ground staff who were let go during the pandemic. You might remember the High Court ruled in September that the airline breached the Fair Work Act when it illegally fired the (mostly) baggage handlers and cleaners and outsourced the work to contractors. Reports say that bill could run into the hundreds of millions… The airline is also dealing with legal action brought by the ACCC over allegations it sold tickets on cancelled flights in 2022. Qantas denies that, but if found guilty, that could also cost hundreds of millions

Anything else? 

Yep – the airlines say they are investing in better service, but flight delays and cancellations are still rife. The latest official data shows that in January, 73.4% of domestic flights landed on time – that’s at odds with the long-term average of 81% but better than the 63.6% recorded in December. Cancellations were also higher than the long-term average, with 3.1% of flights never taking off. On Wednesday, Federal Transport Minister Catherine King proposed penalties for airlines who cancel flights at Sydney Airport without valid reasons, and they could lose their coveted take-off and landing slots. But if on-time travel is your thing, you might consider diverting to Port Lincoln Airport in regional SA – it’s maintained the highest number of on-time arrivals and departures in all of Oz… 

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

War in Ukraine enters a third year

Saturday marks 2 years since Russia invaded Ukraine, and despite over 500,000 casualties from both sides, Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing no signs of ending his offensive. Experts say he has settled into a war of attrition – aka dragging it out to wear Ukraine down. In the early days, Ukraine was praised for its defence despite being significantly outgunned, but recent reports suggest Ukraine has made few gains and will have to rely more on drones than ground troops. That’s on the cards with waning support from the US. With the conflict on its doorstep, the European Union is still backing Ukraine, approving new sanctions on Russia this week. But with every passing day, the cost of rebuilding Ukraine goes up – experts say it has already surpassed US$486 billion.

World News

Missing people in the spotlight

New detectives are being brought in to help in the search for Samantha Murphy after no trace of the 51yo mum has been found after nearly 3 weeks. Crime Command and Counter-Terrorism officers will join the team because of their experience “in complex and protracted investigations”. The Ballarat local disappeared on 4 February after heading out for a morning run, and the community is set to launch a “mega search” tomorrow. And in Sydney, a new high-profile missing persons case is dominating headlines. Network Ten presenter Jesse Baird (26yo) and partner Luke Davies (29yo) haven’t been seen since Monday – concerns were raised when items were found in a bin some distance away and then blood was found at Baird’s home. A search has been mounted for the men, and reports this morning say police are looking into the men’s past relationships – including with one of their constables.

Australian News

Another wild weekend of weather

Looking at the weather map last night – basically, draw an arc from Perth across the top of the country and down the east coast past Sydney, and you’ll feel the heat coming off the map today. Many West Australians have already sweated through record temps of nearly 50C in some parts… And then there are the bushfires that took off yesterday… In Victoria, dozens of communities were under emergency warnings as fires took off in the state’s west near Ballarat. Beaufort has been evacuated, and while reports say conditions eased overnight, it continues to be tricky. And in Tasmania, Central Highlands communities were told to evacuate the small community of Dee. NSW and Queensland are bracing for a hot day with the mercury set to push 40C before thunderstorms roll in. The southern states have cooled off, and storms are expected in parts. Stay safe wherever you are, please…

Australian News

Rethinking the recorder

No matter where you grow up, it seems no one is spared the horror of experiencing the inaccurate screeching of a recorder – but there is a growing movement of people who want us to find a new love for the much-maligned instrument… Music educators say it “helps develop coordination, dexterity and fine motor skills” and familiarises students with “melody and pitch, and with breathing techniques”. Another plus is that recorders are super cheap, costing as little as $5. But therein lies another issue – experts reckon the inexpensive plastic ones can’t produce the beautiful notes of a wooden version… And it probably doesn’t help that most recorded music is either classical or old-school rock – which is not exactly what the kids listen to. That’s why one comedian has taken it upon himself to make the recorder cool. Good luck with that…


Get set for a weekend of Tayvis…

Hang in there – there’s one more weekend of madness with Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour hitting Sydney’s Accor Stadium, which is set to welcome around 320,000 Swifties from tonight. And much to the delight of fans of the Taylor/Travis Kelce romance, her boyfriend touched down in Sydney yesterday morning. Swift’s concerts have been a boon for Australia’s most populous cities – Melbourne’s Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece says last weekend’s shows “delivered the biggest shot in the arm that Melbourne has seen in a very long time” with $35 million poured into the city. Sydney is tipped to pip that – Destination NSW estimates visitor spending will hit more than $80 million this weekend. And although there’s a lot of Swift-related content doing the rounds, we couldn’t resist sharing this article highlighting how the pop superstar’s music has helped to bridge the generational divide.


Apropos of Nothing

If you’re keen on some quality viewing, look no further than the French-Canadian spy thriller Classified… We’ve binged both seasons – think of it as a more sophisticated Mr & Mrs Smith. Check it out for free on SBS on Demand…

There are a few in the Squiz team with little tin lids, and this article about how influencers take advantage of new parents brought relief, knowing they weren’t alone going through the ‘perfect baby life/sad beige parenting’ wormhole in the early days of motherhood…

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s hot… So while it’s scorchio, we are keen for something cool, and this spicy chicken and mango salad is a refreshing lunch/dinner option – especially while mango season is still upon us.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

5.00pm (AEDT) – Team Squiz is off to Taylor Swift’s concert in Sydney. Just thought you’d like to know…

11.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s Hockey FIH Pro League – Australia v Ireland – India 

2024 ISA World Surfing Games (until 3 March) – Puerto Rico 

Teal Ribbon Day for Ovarian Cancer 

National Hospitality Workers Appreciation Day

Play Tennis Day

Single Tasking Day

Birthdays for Aziz Ansari (1983), Emily Blunt (1983), and Dakota Fanning (1994)

Anniversary of:

  • Johannes Gutenberg printing the first-ever book using a printing press – the Bible (estimated date 1455)
  • the Times of London publishing the world’s first classified ad (1886)
  • the first mass inoculation against polio (1954)
Squiz the Day

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