Squiz Today / 16 February 2024

Squiz Today – 16 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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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…

Love is in the Lodge

The Squiz

PM Anthony Albanese is engaged, after proposing to partner Jodie Haydon on Valentine’s Day – and if they follow through sooner rather than later, it could make him our first national leader to get married while in office. The 60yo announced it to the world by posting a photo of himself with his beloved on X/Twitter with the caption “She said yes” followed by a heart emoji, which if you’re the nation’s leader is enough to spark a flurry of excitement… And it is a big deal because all but 3 of Australia’s PMs have been married while in the top job – Albanese, Julia Gillard, and John McEwan (the Country Party legend who was a widower when he spent less than a month in the top job after the disappearance of Liberal PM Harold Holt).

Who is our future first lady?

Born in Sydney and raised on the NSW Central Coast, 45yo Haydon spent 2 decades working in the superannuation industry before becoming a women’s officer in the NSW Public Service Association in 2022. She met Albanese in 2019 at a union conference where she caught his attention by shouting “up the Rabbitohs” before she “slid into his DMs” and they struck up a romance. Haydon says she realised she was in love after Albanese’s near-fatal car crash in January 2021. Despite not having an official role, she has already accompanied the PM on several high-profile overseas trips, including to the White House for a state dinner, and King Charles’s coronation. The nuptials will be a first for Haydon, while it’s set to be Albanese’s 2nd – his first marriage to Carmel Tebbutt (a former NSW Deputy Premier and mother of his son Nathan) ended in 2019 after 19 years.

Did he get down on one knee?

We don’t know about that, but we do know the couple dined on seafood, pasta and a couple of glasses of Chardy on Wednesday night at an Italian restaurant in Canberra. The restaurant owner said “there was something in the air” as the PM looked a little nervous… They returned to The Lodge where Albanese popped the question in private with a diamond ring he designed himself. The couple say they are “thrilled and excited” and are “lucky to have found each other”. The congrats flowed from well-wishers including Coalition leader Peter Dutton who wished them “every happiness”. There are no details yet on when/where they will tie the knot, but with a federal election due by May next year, it could be a nice opportunity to have up his sleeve as a pre-poll booster… 


Squiz the Rest

Putting Israel on notice

And just before PM Albanese got his future wife locked in, he rejoined Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Kiwi PM Christopher Luxon to call on the Israeli government to can its plans for a ground invasion in southern Gaza. They released a joint statement yesterday, saying if Israeli troops attack the city of Rafah, “there is simply nowhere else for civilians to go”. The statement is a more forceful version of the trio’s ceasefire calls in December as they urge Israel to “listen to the international community”. For his part, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has ignored the pleas – he says the “powerful” IDF operation in Rafah will go ahead… In nearby Khan Younis, Israel’s special forces have raided the main hospital overnight – they are looking for Hamas terrorists and say they have “credible intelligence from a number of sources” that hostages taken on 7 Octber may be there.

World News

Calling for Assange to return home

Put Tuesday next week in your diary for a big legal fight as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes his last-ditch appeal in the UK’s High Court to prevent his extradition to the US. This week, Aussie MPs voted on a motion calling on the UK and US to release him – it was passed late on Wednesday with 86 in favour and 42 against. The Coalition – minus Tassie MP Bridget Archer – voted against the motion, but Independent MP Andrew Wilkie still described the vote as “an unprecedented show of political support for Mr Assange”. Assange is wanted on long-running espionage charges in the US for publishing classified government documents in 2010 and 2011. If he’s found guilty, he could face 175 years in prison. PM Albanese is one who wants to get Assange home – last year, during his state visit to the US, he appealed directly to President Biden, to no avail.

World News

Unemployment reaches a 2-year high

Data released by the Bureau of Stats yesterday shows Australia’s unemployment rate in January hit 4.1%. That’s the highest it’s been since January 2022, but Treasurer Jim Chalmers pointed out that it’s still “very low by historical standards”. Reports say the number of people considered unemployed rose by 22,000 last month, while the rate of under-employed Aussies also rose by 0.1% to 6.6%. Economists say it’s a sign the job market is slowing down – and there were other signs of trouble yesterday… Mining giant BHP says its nickel operations in Western Oz have posted a loss of $308 million, putting about 3,000 jobs at risk. The company warned of the nickel division’s issues last year and blamed rising costs and a “very tough operating environment” globally. And over at Network Ten, staff are facing a round of redundancies after its US owner Paramount said 800 jobs will go across its international business.

AusPol Economy

Rice not so nice

Scientists are always working hard to find ways to future-proof the world’s food supplies – so welcome to “meaty” rice – an affordable and sustainable food option packed with protein and carbs. The South Korean researchers behind the development say it could provide “relief for famine” or be used by the military/astronauts. It’s also intended to be a solution to mitigate climate change as it produces one-eighth of the carbon dioxide emissions of regular beef, opening a “world of possibilities” for “grain-based hybrid food.” That’s very admirable, but they’re going to have to work on the pitch and presentation… The pink grains that have been grown in a lab and coated in fish gelatine before beef muscle and fat cells are attached and left to sit in a petri dish for 11 days need more than a garnish…

Australian News

It’s time to let it all out for Taylor

The time has come… Taylor Swift’s first Eras tour show kicks off in Melbourne tonight. And not even her middle-of-the-night-touchdown yesterday could stop Swifties from hanging out in airport parking lots to catch a glimpse of the megastar or her private jet. Over the next 11 days, she’ll entertain Aussie fans during her 7 sold-out, 3+ hour gigs in Melbourne and Sydney. And there are plenty of fans… Despite selling out stadiums internationally, Swift’s Aussie shows are tipped to be her biggest on record, with 260,000 people set to attend her 3 gigs at the MCG (about 86,000 a night) and 300,000 at Accor Stadium in Sydney next week (about 75,000 a night). With that many Swifties swarming the streets, there’s lots of info online about road closures and public transport. And if you’ve missed out on a ticket, might we suggest a Taylor Swift-inspired foodie weekend instead…


Apropos of Nothing

We are engrossed by Expats, a new mystery series featuring Nicole Kidman at the centre of an upmarket community of foreigners living their best lives until a tragic event shatters the glamorous facade of their secretly not-so-perfect lives. Think Big Little Lies in Hong Kong… Episode 5 of 6 drops on Amazon Prime today. 

There’s been a tonne of fashion news this week after the Super Bowl / NY Fashion Week, but one woman with a unique take is Madé Lapuerta – aka @databutmakeitfashion – who puts her Harvard degree to good use, giving us a smart and analytical insight into the latest trends. Break out your trendiest glasses and impress your friends…

After a Japanese friend cooked us a dinner we can’t forget, we’ve hunted down this spicy Asian zucchini recipe which comes very close to recreating the magic of that meal, and better yet, it’s super easy and doesn’t require a million fancy/hard-to-find ingredients… Itadakimasu.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

Company results – Insurance Australia; QBE Insurance; Telstra

The 46th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival begins (on until 3 March)  – Sydney

National Multicultural Fest (on until 18 Feb) – Canberra 

2024 Bathurst SuperFest (on until 25 Feb) – Bathurst 

Table Tennis World Championship (on until 25 Feb) – South Korea

Kyoto Protocol Day 

Innovation Day

Do a Grouch a Favour Day

Birthdays for Cathy Freeman (1973), The Weeknd (1990)

Anniversary of:

  • Pope Gregory the Great decreeing “God bless you” as the correct response to a sneeze (600)
  • the deaths of 21 Australian nurses in the Banka Island Massacre in WWII (1942, and today’s the 80th anniversary)
  • the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria (1983)
  • the Kyoto Protocol coming into force following its ratification by Russia (2005)
  • the death of two men who became trapped 125m underground in the Dugald River zinc mine (2023)
Squiz the Day

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