Squiz Today / 01 September 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 1 September

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Putting a spring in your step.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

SYD
10 / 18
MEL
10 / 15
BNE
14 / 28
ADL
8 / 17
PER
13 / 23
HBA
6 / 14
DRW
20 / 34
CBR
0 / 15

Squiz Sayings

“Court 17 definitely smells like Snoop Dogg’s living room”

Said German tennis star Alexander Zverev of the, ahem, pungent smell that’s been distracting players all week at the US Open. Tournament organisers haven’t been able to weed out the source, but suspicions are high that yoofs hanging out at a nearby park have something to do with it… 

Qantas hits some turbulence

THE SQUIZ

After revealing a record profit of $2.47 billion last week, the flack has come thick and fast for the national carrier. Qantas boss Alan Joyce and executives have spent most of this week copping heavy criticism over lingering issues from their pandemic-era financial decisions and policies. And yesterday, it turned into legal action with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) taking the airline on over advertising and selling tickets for more than 8,000 flights in mid-2022 that had already been cancelled. ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said Qantas’s conduct saw many customers “paying higher prices to fly at a particular time not knowing that flight had already been cancelled”. And that’s super annoying for the customer because Qantas held onto that money as a credit to be used for alternative/future flights.

WHAT OTHER STUFF’S BEEN GOING DOWN?

Well, a fortnight ago, Qantas was hit with a class action for holding “over $1 billion” in flight credits from flights cancelled in 2020, which lawyers have described as “interest-free loans”. Then, on Monday, outgoing CEO Alan Joyce fronted a Senate Committee hearing and was grilled on airfares and its profit after receiving support worth around $2.7 billion when pandemic restrictions kept the airline’s fleet grounded. On Tuesday, rival airline Virgin Australia and travel company Flight Centre said the Albanese Government’s decision last month not to allow Qatar Airways to bring more flights into Oz could lead to higher airfares for Aussies. Critics say the decision protects Qantas profits, but Joyce reckons “Australia should protect its own national interest”.

SO WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Change is in the air… Yesterday, Qantas made moves to smooth things over, with Joyce announcing that the company would scrap the expiry dates for all of its $570 million worth of customer credits for Qantas/Jetstar customers. “If you have a Qantas COVID credit, you can request a cash refund at any point in the future. And if you have a Jetstar COVID voucher, you can use it for travel indefinitely,” Joyce said. That means that issue – and many others – will be Vanessa Hudson’s problem when he passes the Qantas leadership baton in November. Joyce announced his departure earlier this year and will head off with a $24 million platinum handshake – and some commentators reckon Hudson’s got some work to do to restore trust. The pressure will be sky-high…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Dozens dead in South African fire

At least 74 people are dead – including 12 children – and more than 50 are injured after a fire tore through an abandoned block of flats in Johannesburg’s city centre. It’s not yet known what caused the blaze, but emergency services say the building had been used by many African migrants looking for shelter in the colder winter months – and there could have been as many as 200 people living there. The fire happened in the middle of Wednesday night (1.30am local time), and firefighters believe people were trapped inside by a locked security gate. To make matters worse, shack-like structures and tents that had been erected inside the building added fuel to the fire. Tearful friends and relatives gathered at the scene as daylight broke, and rescue crews are still searching the 5 floors for more victims. Officials reckon the death toll will rise.  

World News

North Korea practices for the end times

North Korean state media says it fired 2 short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off the country’s east coast on Wednesday night to simulate nuclear strikes on the South. Yikes… In an unusually detailed description of how it would approach Armageddon, the Hermit Kingdom said it would deploy nuclear weapons on military targets in the South if provoked and then seek to occupy “the whole territory of the southern half” of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has launched a record number of missile tests in recent times, and the latest ones come as the US and the South wrap up their annual joint military drills, which really get up dictator Kim Jong Un’s nose. The uptick in activity led neighbouring Japan to be on alert – it’s even disrupted the Boomers’ Basketball World Cup campaign… Japanese PM Fumio Kishida criticised the latest launches for threatening not only his country’s stability, but the entire world’s.

World News

A summer power play

We’ve already been warned it will be a scorcher this summer – and now there’s a fresh alert we might have to struggle through bits of it without the aircon. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) says there could be blackouts in Victoria and South Oz during peak periods as the anticipated warmer/drier El Nino weather pattern drives hot/bothered residents to seek relief from appliances inside. AEMO’s chief Daniel Westerman says the situation is “imminent and urgent” and has urged governments to take action to safeguard the network. Coal is still the dominant form of fuel to generate electricity in Australia – but with old power stations shutting down and renewable energy output ramping up, there are concerns about there being enough electricity if we all plug in to cool down. NSW and Queensland are not out of the woods either… AEMO says our most populous state could have similar problems next year and the Sunshine State by 2029.

Australian News

It’s game on

If you’re like us and missing the Matildas high, we’ve got a new way for you to get a football fix. The AFLW kicks off tonight with a Collingwood v Melbourne clash – and it’s a great time to get on board with no men’s games this week competing for attention. It’s the eighth season of the women’s comp, and it’s been a challenging road – uneven team performances and programming problems have been blamed for a lack of traction with large broadcast audiences. But AFLW General Manager Nicole Livingstone reckons with 600,000 women and girls playing Aussie rules, it’s time for the country to get behind them. Something to aim for, perhaps is how Nebraskans got behind their college volleyball side, the Cornhuskers, who set a world record for a women’s sporting match by getting 92,003 fans to turn up to a game. And our Aussie men’s basketballers also deserve all the support – the Boomers are through to the second round of the FIBA World Cup and have guaranteed a spot at the Paris Olympics next year.

Sport

Don’t blame the beer goggles

Soz to those who have blamed some poor decisions on alcohol because this will be hard to shoulder – scientists say ‘beer goggles’ aren’t really a thing. Coined by US college students in the 1980s, it’s a term referring to how a drink (or 5 million…) can make someone appear more attractive than they really are. Previous studies poured cold water on the idea after proving that men’s perception of women’s attractiveness didn’t change whether they were sober or drunk. But in the latest study, 18 pairs of young male friends were asked to rate women’s attractiveness while being led to believe that they would be able to meet some of the women they had rated. Those who were boozed up were more likely to interact with the woman they deemed most attractive than the sober men. Long story short, it suggests it’s ‘liquid courage’ that’s going on…

Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

If you enjoyed the tales of fake German heiress Anna Delvey taking New York by storm, this will be right down your alley… Vanity Fair uncovered the true background of ‘it’ guy Kyle de Rothschild Deschanel – Aryeh Malkiel Dodelson, a practising rabbi from New Jersey.

We inhaled Samantha Power’s book The Education of an Idealist*. She’s already bagged a Pulitzer Prize, and her book is one of the best political biographies we’ve sunk our teeth into going through her childhood in Dublin to war reporter to Obama’s cabinet. These days, she’s heading up the US aid program for the Biden administration. Fascinating…

We talked about Gen Z embracing pickles earlier in the week – but since we’re from the country, we’re picklers from way back. Stephanie Alexander’s zucchini pickles will change your life with a good slab of bread and cheese. Bonus points if you can grow the zucchinis in your own garden. 

*Buy using this link, and The Squiz may earn a little commission.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

7.20pm (AEST) – AFLW Season Opener – Melbourne v Collingwood – Carlton

10.10pm (AEST) – Men’s Basketball – FIBA World Cup – Australia v Slovenia – Japan

ABS Calendar – Lending Indicators July

National Walk to Work Day

Start of Asthma Week (until 7 September)

Start of World Alzheimer’s Month

National Wattle Day

Start of the Sydney Fringe Festival (until 30 September)

Start of Mulletfest (until 3 September) – Alice Springs

The Birdsville Races begin (until 2 September)

Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

Birthdays for Dr Phil (1950) and Zendaya (1996)

Anniversary of:
• the opening of the Sydney General Post Office (1874)
• the start of WWII after Germany invades Poland (1939)
• the US, Australia and New Zealand signing the ANZUS defence treaty (1951)
• the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic (1985)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.