Squiz Today / 15 February 2024

Squiz Today – 15 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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11 / 24
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12 / 23

Squiz Sayings

“CGI sludge”

Said one harsh critic of the new Wicked movie trailer that dropped during the Super Bowl… The film’s not out until 27 November, so you’ll have to wait a while to decide for yourself – let’s just hope Elphaba doesn’t release those flying monkeys in the meantime…

A shock to the system

The Squiz

After Victoria’s huge storms on Tuesday left up to 650,000 households and businesses without power, the Australian Energy Market Operator (otherwise known as AEMO – it’s responsible for operating Aussie power networks) says full restoration could take weeks. Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio says it’s one of the largest outages the state has seen… As of yesterday morning, about 220,000 homes/businesses were still without power – that number was down to 130,000 by yesterday evening. On top of that, many of those are without internet access, and 41 communities don’t have access to telco services, rendering them unable to make emergency calls. 

How did that happen?

Authorities in Victoria recorded 544,000 lightning strikes within a 600km radius of Melbourne between 9am-9pm on Tuesday, and the heavy rain and strong winds caused widespread damage, including to 6 major transmission towers. That prompted AGL power station Loy Yang – the state’s largest electricity generator – to go offline from about 2pm. AEMO boss Daniel Westerman said the tipping point for the power outage was 2 towers being destroyed between Melbourne and Geelong. Cue questions about how stable Victoria’s power grid is – but some experts say the damage from the wild weather “would have seriously disrupted any power system”. Minister D’Ambrosio agrees, saying if “a road collapses and you have a car full of petrol … it’s got no road to travel on”.

So those storms were big…

Sure were – so big that a dairy farmer in Mirboo North (about 150km east of Melbourne) was killed. The 50yo’s name hasn’t been released, but reports say he was likely hit by flying debris while driving a tractor. And the state’s also been troubled by bushfires… The 2 catastrophic-level blazes burning in the Grampians region on Tuesday have been downgraded, but not before at least 6,000 hectares of bushland were burnt, and at least 20 homes were lost in the small town of Pomonal. And NSW isn’t escaping the wild weather… Yesterday afternoon, a cold front moved across the state’s east, and officials are on alert to respond to damage there.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Top cop fears for missing mum

Victoria’s Police Commissioner Shane Patton says Samantha Murphy’s disappearance is now being treated as suspicious but says they have “no leads”. Eleven days have passed since she set off on a morning run, and Patton says it’s “unusual” they haven’t been able to locate any trace of the 51yo – which is why the case is now categorised as suspicious. Patton says “whether it means there’s foul play involved or not, I don’t know”. Detectives are sifting through hundreds of pieces of evidence – including CCTV – after scaling back their bushland search for the missing mum on the weekend after failing to turn up any clues. Murphy’s disappearance has been the subject of widespread online speculation – former missing persons detective Narelle Fraser says it’s unhelpful to have “super sleuths” who listen to true crime podcasts on the case. They should leave the cops to do their job, she says. 

Australian News

The results are in…

A week after Pakistan headed to the polls, a deal has been struck by Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto to form a government, despite independent candidates backed by former PM Imran Khan winning the most seats. It’s not the first time the 2 parties have come together – in 2022, they formed a coalition that saw Khan ousted from power. Khan says the vote was rigged, calling it “daylight robbery”, warning a government formed using “stolen votes” would send the country’s economy “further into a downward spiral.” And in Indonesia’s presidential election held yesterday, the official ‘quick count’ of some of the more than 205 million ballots cast has former military general Prabowo Subianto in front with +57% of the vote. His running mate is outgoing President Joko Widodo’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka. The final official result won’t be in for weeks… Keen to know more about the Pakistan and Indonesian elections? Check out our most recent Squiz Shortcuts, which will get you across all the details.

World News

Tasmanians tussle over early election

You know how we feel about elections – they’re great. And now Tasmanians get the gift of going to the polls much earlier than expected after Premier Jeremy Rockliff called an election yesterday to deliver “certainty and stability” for the state. Voters will head to the polls on 23 March – one year earlier than planned. And what brought it on is Rockliff – Oz’s only Liberal premier – failed to get support from 2 former colleagues-turned-independents. The issue has been building for a while… In May last year, Lara Alexander and John Tucker quit the Libs over plans to build a $715 million AFL stadium in Hobart, leaving Rockliff’s government in a minority position. Alexander and Tucker had pledged to continue to back Rockliff, but it’s been a rollercoaster. Tassie uses the whackadoo Hare Clark system of voting that makes it difficult for anyone to win a majority, so giddy-up…


Profits down but not out

The Commonwealth Bank has announced a $5 billion half-year cash profit, down 3% from the same period last year. Hot competition for mortgage lending is behind that, with the bank dropping $2 billion from its home loan business. Boss Matt Comyn says they’re now focused on investors over owner-occupiers because they generate “higher margins”. Comyn says that while he remains “optimistic” about the national economy, interest rates may not come down until 2025. The banks – along with supermarkets, energy providers, and others – are in the sights of the government and regulators over claims that Aussies aren’t getting a good deal. A report released last week by the unions and Professor Allan Fels pointed out that only Germany has a higher banking concentration than Australia among major economies.

Business & Finance

The recipe for love

We’re down for carb-based love languages, so the Japanese might be onto something here… Japan’s oldest bakery Kimuraya has teamed up with tech giant NEC Corp to bake up a storm with their ‘AI Romance Bread’. The artificial intelligence analysed lyrics from love songs to develop 5 key ‘feelings of romance’: the first encounter, the first date, jealousy, heartbreak and mutual love. Then it turned those stages into bread flavours… The first date ”zings with citrus, namely lime and orange peel” – while jealousy tastes like purple sweet potatoes, truffle oil and raisins. And while we are talking about the sweet stuff – specialist proposal planners (yep, it’s a thing…) in Paris have reported a 50% rise in people popping the question in the City of Love. Usher didn’t get that memo, though – after the Super Bowl, he high-tailed it to the chapel to marry his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Goicoechea. Aww…


Apropos of Nothing

Superstar Taylor Swift landed in Melbourne early this morning. That is all… 

The owners of an aquarium in North Carolina were left scratching their heads after discovering their lone stingray has performed an immaculate conception… Scientists say it’s not possible she’s mated with a shark in the tank, so it might be that Jeff Goldblum was right – life finds a way

Fashionistas have clawed into Tiger Woods’ new fashion line, saying it lacks style. The former golfer recently ended his 27-year partnership with Nike, and one critic said the new line should have the tagline “Just don’t do it”. Ouch…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.00am (AWST) – Women’s Cricket Australia v South Africa in a one-off test match (on until Feb 18) – Perth 

11.00pm (AEDT) – Women’s Hockey FIH Pro League – Australia v China – India  

Company results – Origin Energy; Wesfamers 

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, December 2023; Labour Force, January 2024

Adelaide Fringe Festival (on until March 17) 

Mona Foma – Tassie’s summer festival of art, music, and other stuff (on until 2 March) – Hobart and Launceston

International Childhood Cancer Day 

Single’s Awareness Day

Clean Out Your Computer Day

A birthday for Simpsons creator Matt Groening (1954), Megan Thee Stallion (1995), and YouTube (2005)

Anniversary of:

  • the production of the wartime propaganda poster “We Can Do It!” featuring Rosie the Riveter (1943)
  • the first draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature (2001)
Squiz the Day

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