Squiz Today / 14 May 2024

Squiz Today – 14 May 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
12 / 22
MEL
10 / 16
BNE
14 / 25
ADL
10 / 21
PER
15 / 28
HBA
10 / 16
DRW
24 / 34
CBR
3 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“Ifeoma.”

Was a local name one excited onlooker gave Meghan Markle during the Sussex’s second day of their trip to Nigeria. It means “a treasured thing”, and let’s face it, she’s been called a lot worse…

It all comes down to this…

The Squiz 

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will hand down the Federal Budget tonight with a $9.3 billion surplus for the 2023-24 financial year – his second surplus on the trot. But the next three years are expected to be deep in the red, due to “unavoidable spending”. Before that happens, Chalmers is facing calls to ‘please explain’ Treasury’s forecast that inflation will fall below 3% by Christmas. That contradicts the Reserve Bank which last week said it expects inflation to rise from the current rate of 3.6% to 3.8% by June, where it will remain for the rest of the year. After that, the central bank reckons inflation will fall within their target range of 2-3% by the end of 2025. 

Why the discrepancy?

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher says it’s due to budget measures that will be announced tonight that will take pressure off inflation, and money found or saved since coming to office. “Obviously, those decisions weren’t available to the RBA in their forecasts,” she said yesterday. But the Coalition’s spokesperson Senator Jane Hume says Chalmers’ “vastly different forecast” can be explained a few ways (and none of them are flattering…). That includes spending that will keep interest rates “higher for longer”, an expected rise in unemployment, or because Oz’s economic conditions will “worsen and that will dampen consumption”. Chalmers has acknowledged the tricky balance between growing the economy and providing cost of living relief without adding inflationary pressures to the mix. For his part, he reckons tonight will be about “restraint”, “relief” and “reform”.

So when does that show start?

The Budget is released at 7:30pm Eastern time when Chalmers will take to the dispatch box in the House of Reps. They do it that late for a couple of reasons… At that hour, the stock market is closed so any potentially market-sensitive information has time to percolate/be explained. And it’s a great way for the government to own the agenda before it gets picked apart by their political opponents, the media and stakeholders. As for how the day will go for Chalmers, he’s probably already had his early morning run… Then it’s off to Parliament House for a long day of briefings and selling the virtues of Team Albanese’s agenda. Journos from major outlets will be part of the ‘lock-up’ where they’re given the information ahead of time – and yes, they are literally locked up… This year for the first time, The Squiz will also be in Canberra for the big day, so wish us luck… 

AusPol Australian News Economy

Squiz the Rest

Getting their days in court

Justin Stein – the man accused of killing his partner’s 9yo daughter Charlise Mutten in January 2022 – fronted the NSW Supreme Court yesterday as his murder trial kicked off. The jury heard the 33yo Stein shot Charlise twice while she was visiting her mum Kallista Mutten at his family’s Blue Mountains property. Police allege he then dumped her body in a barrel. Stein has pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and interfering with a corpse, and his lawyer has previously said he will “vigorously defend” them. Meanwhile, 75yo Chris Dawson – the man convicted of murdering his wife Lynette Simms after being the subject of the popular Teacher’s Pet podcast – has launched an appeal. The former teacher/rugby league player has been behind bars since August 2022. He continues to maintain his innocence… And in the Federal Court, Elon Musk yesterday notched up a win for X against Oz’s internet watchdog.

Australian News Crime

Pass the popcorn…

Michael Cohen, the former lawyer and “fix-it” man for US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has taken the stand in Trump’s “hush-money” trial in New York. In another day of sensational evidence, Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, told the court Trump wanted adult film star Stormy Daniels silenced when he heard she was shopping around a story that they’d had sex, and he was worried more for his 2016 presidential campaign than the impact on his marriage. Cohen, now disbarred, said his former boss instructed him to open an account for Daniels and make a payment of US$130,000, ordering him to “just take care of it”. He claims Trump said of the scandal: “Guys, they think it’s cool, but this is going to be a disaster for the campaign”. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of trying to disguise the payment as legal fees.

World News

Spring cleaning the Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a surprise restructuring of his military command for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s longtime ally/Defence Minister of 12 years Sergei Shoigu has been removed – he will now lead Russia’s security council in a move commentators say is a significant demotion. Former Deputy PM/economist Andrei Belousov – a civilian – will now lead the country’s military. Shoigu has been criticised for Russia’s setbacks in the costly war (including the deaths of at least 50,000 Russian fighters), the response to former mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s attempted uprising last year, and a recent corruption scandal. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has also had a reshuffle – he’s fired the chief of the State Guard Service after 2 members plotted an assassination attempt.

World News

All’s well that ends well

An early contender for good news story of the week might be yesterday’s “textbook wheels-up” landing of a small plane at Newcastle Airport. The video’s absolutely worth a look, but if that’s an internet bandwidth too far, the explanation of what happened will suffice… Shortly after taking off, the 53yo pilot discovered an issue with the plane’s landing gear, forcing him to circle Newcastle for 2 hours to “burn off fuel”. Police say he “sounded very calm” over the radio – which came in handy when he landed the plane on its belly just before 12.20pm… Fire crews were at the ready, but the pilot and his 2 passengers were a-ok. Also having a rough time in Newcastle is Lisa Kournelis – she has a red-bellied black snake in her ute that she can’t remove. She’s nicknamed it Fluffy…

Australian News

Getting good jeans

How to find a good pair of jeans is one of the mysteries of the world. So some high-placed experts have offered a list of handy tips – too many to list here… Some of the top tips: opting for non-stretch denim (making it more environmentally friendly/”inherently cooler looking”, according to one expert). Figuring out the best rise and pocket placement for your body is another. And when you find a good pair, there are ideas for repairing worn-out jeans. As for what styles are in this season, skinny jeans have made an appearance on international runways, but experts reckon ‘the Horseshoe’ fit is trendier. If you need a visual image, our minds immediately went to the old-school military jodhpurs – tight on the lower leg and lots of volume for the thighs… We’re happy to try anything at this point TBH…

Culture

Apropos of Nothing

Astrologist Lisa Stardust reckons the cosmos can affect our pets’ lives just the same as their humans, so you can check out your fur-baby’s horoscope here. And let’s never speak of this again… 

Videos of ASMR – aka autonomous sensory meridian response – are experiencing a rise in popularity… We try never to speak too closely to the mic, but for many ASMR fans, that’s exactly what they want…

And if you’re more into the small screen than the silver screen, yesterday’s TV BAFTAs can point you towards some excellent content… Netflix’s winning drama series Top Boy was a big winner. And derr of course there’s a red carpet gallery

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.00am (AEST) – Sentencing for whistleblower David McBride, who leaked confidential documents to ABC journalists exposing allegations of war crimes – Canberra

7:30 pm (AEST) – Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers will deliver the 2024–25 Budget – Canberra

8.30pm (ACST) – NT Chief Minister and Treasurer Eva Lawler to deliver the NT Budget – Darwin

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, March 

Both houses of Federal Parliament sitting (until 16 May)

National Road Safety Week

Republican and Democratic primaries in Maryland, Nebraska, West Virginia

Cannes Film Festival begins – France (until 25 May) 

Start of Food Allergy Awareness Week (until 20 May) 

Birthdays for George Lucas (1944), Cate Blanchett (1969), Sofia Coppola (1971), and Mark Zuckerberg (1984)

Anniversary of:

  • British doctor Edward Jenner administering the first inoculation against smallpox, using cowpox pus (1796) – and would you believe it, we’ve done a Squiz Shortcut about it…
  • the publication of Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway (1925)
  • Queen Mary & King Frederik’s wedding anniversary (2004)
  • the deaths of actress Rita Hayworth (1987), musicians Frank Sinatra (1998) BB King (2015) and Grumpy Cat (2019)
Squiz the Day

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