Squiz Today / 27 July 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 27 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

It’s your morning pep talk. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Sweet, tangy, and everything you’ve ever wanted in a candy”

Is the questionable tagline for a new range of mustard-flavoured Skittles that will be launched in the US next month. They’re unlikely to be available in Oz, but those with unusual tastes might be tempted by the new Donut King Twisties?

Numbers, but nice

Australia’s inflation rate has hit 6% in the year to the June quarter – that’s lower than the 6.2% expected by analysts and the 7% annual rate recorded in the March quarter update. The figures make it less likely the Reserve Bank will raise interest rates again next week, and some have even suggested that with inflation on the way down, the rate hikes might have peaked. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he was “pleased to see that inflation is moderating as a consequence of our collective efforts.”

Well, the experts are divided over how credit the Reserve Bank can claim. Yesterday, Stephen Smith from Deloitte Access Economics said that “inflation has fallen as a result of repairs to global supply chains and an easing of import prices”. On the other side of the argument, Marcel Thieliant from Capital Economics says interest rate hikes have been necessary, and more might be required. Chalmers says he knows Aussies will continue to feel cost of living pressures from prices increasing more than policymakers want, particularly when it comes to housing. Yesterday’s official figures show that the cost of renting has increased at the highest annual rate since 2009. Chalmers says an increase in rent assistance due to kick in from September will help many Aussies who receive government benefits.

Good question. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its latest forecast, saying Western economies are on track for a “soft landing”. That means that central banks worldwide might have walked the fine line of lowering inflation without slowing their economies too much, killing jobs and growth. And when we say the news is good, it’s all relative to the turbulent circumstances: the IMF’s projected 3% global economic growth this year is still “weak by historical standards”, which means interest rates will be high for a while yet. “Clearly, the battle against inflation is not yet won,” said IMF analyst Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas.

Australian News Economy

Squiz the Rest

Vale Sinead O’Connor

The Irish singer’s family has confirmed this morning that the 56yo has died, but a cause of death has not been given. She rose to international fame in 1990 with the Prince-penned hit Nothing Compares 2 U. She then went to work shocking the establishment with her political views and protests against the Catholic Church and the commercial forces behind the music industry. Her most famous blow-up came in 1992 when she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in a protest against the Church’s links to child abuse – an act that was widely condemned. For much of O’Connor’s career, she spoke candidly about the abuse she suffered as a child, which drove her anger. And in recent years, she talked about her decision to convert to Islam and her mental health struggles. Last year, her 17yo son Shane took his own life, and friends say it was a devastating blow. This morning, Ireland’s leader Leo Varadkar said “her talent was unmatched and beyond compare.”

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Entertainment World News

Fast-tracking trans-Tasman travel

Oz and New Zealand may be co-hosting the Women’s World Cup but PM Anthony Albanese is over the ditch on (mostly) non-football matters, meeting with Kiwi PM Chris Hipkins. This year marks 80 years of official relations between our nations, and the meeting had a sentimental vibe as both leaders declared our trans-Tasman entanglement to be in excellent shape. The “special bond” is behind a new commitment to make it faster and easier for Aussies and Kiwis to travel between the nations – though a long-rumoured ‘trans-Tasman passport’ wasn’t on the agenda. The economy, climate change and national security were also discussed – and no meeting is complete without a mention of China these days… Both leaders expressed concern about its growing influence in the Pacific. All that was missing was some vinyl records

AusPol Australian News

Racing against the clock to save a whale pod

A pod of 97 pilot whales stranded on Cheynes Beach on Western Australia’s southern coast has drawn global attention. Although the beaching itself is notable, the whales’ behaviour just before they got stuck on shore has intrigued marine experts. Videos show the whales huddling together – at one point forming the shape of a love heart – for most of Tuesday before becoming beached at around 4pm. Authorities say 52 of the whales have died, and about 120 volunteers and wildlife officers have tried to save the remaining 45, but it’s not looking good. The issue is while some have been put back into the water, they’ve turned around and become beached again. It’s unclear what caused the mass stranding – marine scientist Rebecca Wellard says pilot whales are typically “tightly bonded” and tend to follow each other.

Australian News Environment & Science

A call to go old-school

It’s a tale as old as the digital age… Education experts have flagged kids’ smartphone use in school as damaging for years. And now, a new report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has upped the ante by calling for their ban in classrooms. The report says there are plenty of links between phone use and classroom performance problems/mental health issues. That’s already prompted 1 in 6 countries around the world to ban phones at school. We’re a bit of a mixed bag here in Oz, with different states and territories opting for different rules, but many have restrictions in place. UNESCO boss Audrey Azoulay says as technology evolves, it’s essential for parents, educators and policymakers to note that its use in schools “must be for enhanced learning experiences and for the wellbeing of students and teachers”.

Health Technology World News

Bruised Matildas need some luck

If it wasn’t bad enough for the Matildas to have Sam Kerr watching from the sidelines with a calf injury, rising star Mary Fowler is also sitting out tonight’s match against Nigeria. Fowler has a mild concussion after an incident at training on Tuesday, leaving Caitlin Foord the only recognised striker (aka the players good at kicking goals) in the starting lineup. Luckily for the Aussie women, they banked that 1-0 win in their opening match against Ireland and are sitting on top of their group. If they can pull off a win tonight, it will guarantee us progression in the tournament. But don’t be fooled by Nigeria’s ranking of 40th in the world – they managed to hold 7th-ranked Canada to a 0-0 draw, so they are tougher competition than they look on paper. Put on your agenda today to pray to the football gods…

Australian News Sport

Apropos of nothing

Pop superstar Taylor Swift might add ‘television producer’ to her long list of accomplishments… She’s said to be talking with Succession screenwriter Alice Birch about a “meta-feminist” TV show. The lady probably has some stories to tell…

A UK survey found that a quarter of Brits sometimes watch shows at a higher playback speed because they would be bored otherwise. Everything sounds funnier with that chipmunk sound…

And Instagram account The Aussie Corporate has caused quite a stir after ranking the best tea brands for an office brew. T2 came out on top, leaving everyone desperate to know which workplaces were stocking the premium brand.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research CEO Andrew Campbell addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

8.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Cricket – 5th Ashes Test – Australia v England – London

8.00pm (AEST) – Women’s Soccer – FIFA World Cup – Matildas v Nigeria – Brisbane

Thailand’s parliament convenes to vote again on the country’s new prime minister

Victory Day in North Korea, marking the end of the Korean War (1953)

ABS Data Release – International Trade Price Indexes, June

Company Results – Fortescue Metals Group

Anniversary of :
• the first tobacco was brought to England from Virginia (1586)
• Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolating insulin at the University of Toronto (1921)
• Bugs Bunny’s cartoon debut in A Wild Hare (1940)

Squiz the Day

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