Squiz Today / 15 July 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 15 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you ready for the weekend. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

7 / 16
5 / 15
9 / 21
6 / 15
13 / 20
5 / 13
16 / 28
-5 / 12

Squiz Sayings

“He asked permission to kiss me, and he kept on holding my hand, and we were told not to touch him.”

Said Rena Quint, a Holocaust survivor who encountered US President Joe Biden in Israel yesterday. His office told those meeting with him to “minimise contact as much as possible” due to the uptick in COVID cases, but the “famously full-contact politician” can’t help himself… 

Our economic/COVID roller coaster ride

Our unemployment rate hit the lowest level recorded since August 1974 – the last time they were this low, Oz had just changed its road signs from imperial to metric… The June figures were released yesterday by the Bureau of Stats, and unemployment’s at 3.5%, down from 3.9%. Digging in a bit more, the unemployment rate for women is 3.4% – the lowest since February 1974, and for blokes, it’s the lowest since May 1976 at 3.6%. “The large fall in the unemployment rate this month reflects more people than usual entering employment and also lower than usual numbers of employed people becoming unemployed,” said Bjorn Jarvis from the ABS. There were 88,000 more people in jobs in June than in May.

Having more people in work is fab. But finding workers is more challenging than getting a Big Mac in Fiji… To put some numbers around it, Jarvis says there’s “around one unemployed person per vacant job, compared with 3 times as many people before the start of the pandemic.” There are downsides to that. First, some businesses have been forced to restrict their operations, and that’s a drag on economic growth, which is what you need to create more jobs. And 2nd: beware the potential impact of ‘full employment’ on inflation and interest rate increases. Long story short, a tight jobs market leads to higher wages. That leads to greater spending/increased demand, which adds to the rise in prices. We’re not the only ones dealing with this, but get prepared for more interest rate increases…

Just that COVID continues to cause so many problems… Workplaces across the economy are not just struggling with finding workers – they’re struggling to keep the ones they have on the tools. And despite saying no thanks earlier this week, PM Anthony Albanese last night agreed to hold a National Cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss concerns over the trajectory of new cases. They also want to talk about changes to federal supports after his government backed the ending of the pandemic leave payment of up to $750 for workers who are forced to isolate but don’t have sick leave. Several of Albanese’s colleagues want him to reinstate it ASAP. They will also talk about the axing of free RAT tests for concessions card holders. Many are concerned that as cases are rising again, remaining supports are coming off – but the new government says it’s worried about the state of the Budget.

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

A changed climate in the Pacific

The Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting wrapped up in Fiji yesterday with leaders committing to resolving their issues in-house and confirming their respect for each nation’s sovereignty. They also agree that climate change is at the top of their security concerns. “While collective greenhouse gas emissions from the Blue Pacific Continent is just over 1% of global emissions, we are at the frontline of the adverse impacts of climate change,” the agreed document from the meeting says. On the concern occupying Aussie leaders’ minds, Solomon Islands’ PM Manasseh Sogavare has guaranteed there will never be a Chinese military base in his country. He also says Australia remains the nation’s “security partner of choice” and would only call on China if there was a “gap” that Australia could not meet. Meanwhile, China gave its best Detective Jake Peralta when asked about what’s gone down this week. Watch this space…

AusPol World News

Sri Lanka’s president resigns

The promised resignation letter from the country’s absentee President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has finally arrived. It was sent by email to the Speaker of Parliament, who said he would authenticate it and make an announcement today. Rajapaksa quit after he arrived in Singapore – it’s unclear if he will seek to stay there or move on. His resignation isn’t a nicety – it triggers some important things. The first is PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s position as acting president is legitimised. And an election in Parliament for a new president can be held, most likely within the fortnight. Pundits say Wickremesinghe and opposition leader Sajith Premadasa are the frontrunners, but given the incumbent has close links to Rajapaksa and also promised to resign, it’s unlikely that protesters will go for it. It also means Rajapaksa no longer has legal immunity, which will be on his mind as he tries to find somewhere to live while the nation’s economic collapse that he oversaw continues to unfold. #SquizShortcut

World News

Stranger than fiction…

That’s the case for Delia Owens, the author of the bestselling 2018 novel Where the Crawdads Sing, which has drawn comparisons with a real-life murder mystery. The story follows a young girl who raises herself in the North Carolina marshlands and is later accused of murder. Here’s where it gets weird… Before she became an author, Owens was a zoologist/conservationist who moved to Africa with her husband Mark in the 1970s. By the 1990s, they developed a reputation for taking on poachers, and they were caught up in the murder of one in Zambia. The family returned to America soon after. It’s alleged that Owens’ adult stepson Christopher was responsible – a claim the family denies – and they are still wanted in Zambia for questioning. The backstory has resurfaced before the release of a film adaptation of the book next week, but now it’s making headlines of a different sort…


Netflix enters a new era

The streaming giant is going down the road of offering a cheaper subscription plan with ads. It’s teaming up with Microsoft, which will build and manage the tech platform. Netflix COO Greg Peters says it’s still “very early days”, and while there’s no word on how much it will charge, the new plan will be an addition to the streamer’s current ad-free plans. Netflix has long resisted ads as a moneymaker, but it reconsidered after it recently reported its first drop in new subscribers in more than a decade. Global cost of living pressures and increasing competition have hit the target… Speaking of Microsoft, the company’s co-founder Bill Gates has donated US$20 billion of his personal fortune to the philanthropic foundation he started with his ex-wife Melinda. The world’s 4th richest person is worth an estimated US$114 billion and says he is keen to “move down and eventually off” the rich list. Our hands are up to help him achieve that goal…


Like Starlinks in the sky

If you looked up this week and spotted a straight line of bright dots moving rapidly in the sky, it wasn’t our alien overlords coming in for landing… It was a convoy of Starlink satellites launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in California. Since 2019, the company has launched more than 2,700 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit to provide broadband internet to regions that usually struggle to get coverage, including in remote parts of Oz – and most recently in Ukraine. Starlink gazing is set to become a common pastime as SpaceX turns its sights to assisting communications for commercial airlines, ships and trucks. As for other awe-inspiring things in the sky (and we’ve been talking about them a lot this week…), a supermoon illuminated Oz last night. The ‘buck’ moon is the biggest and brightest of the year and is named after the male deer that grow out their antlers in July.

Space Technology

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

This video of Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin talking about how she and her team went about creating the looks for Elvis – her husband Baz Luhrmann’s latest blockbuster – is packed with the intricate considerations they worked through. The importance of getting those iconic moments right – wow wee…

We have 2 options for your viewing pleasure this weekend. The Emmy nominated Abbott Elementary, which is about a poor primary school in Philadelphia, and it’s delightful. It’s on Disney+. And then there’s spy drama Slow Horses on Apple TV+. Starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas, it’s as good as you’d expect from those 2…

When mates give you lemons, make a lemon ricotta dessert cake, we say… We’ve got a bag of ’em, and this recipe makes something a bit like cheesecake. We like to serve it a little bit warm with lemon curd (which you can buy but it’s easy to make…) and thick cream. Bon app.

Australian News Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which TV show received the most nominations for the 2022 Emmy Awards this week? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz.

Squiz the Day

AIHW Release – Australian’s perceptions towards drugs by region

Western Australia’s new Governor Chris Dawson is sworn in

Commonwealth Games Australia reveals its final team for the upcoming Games in Birmingham, UK

World Youth Skills Day

Start of the Boulia Camel Races (until 17 July) – Warenda, Queensland

Anniversary of:
• the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs (1799)
• the birthdays of Dutch painter Rembrandt (1606) and British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (1858)
• the founding of the Boeing Company (1916)
Honky Chateau becoming Elton John’s first No. 1 album in the US (1972)
• the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana (1996)
• the murder of Gianni Versace in front of his home in Miami (1997)

Squiz the Day

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