Squiz Today / 19 August 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 19 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

Another week bites the dust…

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

13 / 19
7 / 16
10 / 26
9 / 15
9 / 19
6 / 14
18 / 33
5 / 14

Squiz Sayings

“Sake Viva!”

Is the name of Japan’s tax agency’s new national campaign aimed at boosting declining drinking rates among the youth and with it, government revenue. No word on whether the country’s health ministry was briefed on the matter…

Oh, what a dreadful war…

Next Wednesday marks 6 months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Oleksiy Arestovych, a key adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, says the 2 sides have hit a “strategic deadlock”. “Russian forces have achieved only minimal advances, and in some cases, we have advanced since last month,” he said yesterday. To discuss what’s next, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Zelensky in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv overnight. Top of the agenda is finding a political solution to the war – that’s not on the cards because experts say there’s no sign that either party is seeking a deal. Until there’s a dramatic shift on the battlefield, they say that’s unlikely to change. But there are 2 other pressing matters to address: the threat to global food supplies and the risk of a disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Keep your cool, we’re getting there… Recent fighting near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has raised fears of a catastrophe as the 2 sides accuse each other of behaving irresponsibly. Russia insists that it has no heavy weapons at the plant or nearby, but Ukraine is preparing for the worst by running disaster drills. The plant is under Russian control but is staffed by 10,000 Ukrainians, and while the United Nations’ request is for a demilitarised zone in the area, Russia has knocked that back and is not budging on leaving the site. The next move is a visit by experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency, but Russia has been accused of holding it up. It’s Europe’s largest nuclear plant, and it’s located in the middle of the continent, so a disaster there doesn’t bear thinking about…

We’ve talked about prices going up here in Oz, and the war in Ukraine is feeding into that. But we’re not short of food… Since the war’s start, Ukraine’s grain and oilseeds exports are down significantly because Russia blockaded its ports. There are no sanctions on Russia’s food and agriculture trade, but it’s struggling to ship its record wheat harvest due to logistical and financial problems. The World Food Program says those issues are big factors in the number of “severely food insecure people” – 135 million before the pandemic – rising to an expected 323 million by the end of the year. That hits the hardest in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. At the end of July, 3 ports in southern Ukraine were unblocked under a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey, and there are hopes this will continue. Oh and Australia’s Nicola and Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest had a big hand in that breakthrough too…

World News

Squiz the Rest

Get set for another economic record…

In July, Australia recorded its lowest unemployment rate since August 1974 when Paper Lace’s Billy Don’t Be A Hero was top of the pops. Since then, #1 songs about the American Civil War have been as rare as a 3.4% unemployment rate, which is where things landed in July. That’s down from 3.5% in June, according to the latest Bureau of Stats data. But, like many things in our economy ATM, #itscomplicated… Employment also fell – 40,900 jobs were lost in the month, and that’s the first fall in employment since October 2021. So why did our unemployment rate fall if there were fewer jobs? The participation rate also fell – aka those in work/actively looking. Long story short: the number of jobs fell in July, but the number of Aussies seeking employment fell even more. Some economists say the fall in jobs and weaker-than-expected wages growth could see the Reserve Bank ease up on interest rate hikes next month. Mortgage holders can dream…

Australian News Business & Finance

US and Taiwan get closer

In its latest show of support, the US has agreed to start formal trade negotiations with Taiwan in the coming months. Two-way trade between the countries was worth nearly US$106 billion in 2020, and the US says the talks present an opportunity to assist Taiwan in building its resilience and supply chains. Across the strait, China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, and its relationship with the US has been increasingly fraught as America strengthens ties with Taiwan. That included a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other political delegates this month – and didn’t that cause a stink… The latest move is set to anger Beijing, which is back to ramping up its military drills. Yesterday, China’s defence ministry said its troops will travel to Russia for joint military exercises to “deepen practical and friendly cooperation” and “strengthen the ability to respond to various security threats”.

World News

NRL decider back in Sydney – but not for long…

Despite Queensland’s best efforts to bring the NRL grand final back to the state for the 2nd year in a row, October’s decider will be staged in Sydney after tense negotiations between the NSW Government and the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC). The grand final has always been held in Sydney – except in 2021 when COVID lockdowns saw the comp set up a bubble across the border and finish the season in Brissie. ARLC chairman Peter V’landys says beyond this year, the match will either be sold off to a city each year, or NSW and Queensland will alternate hosting duties. Sydney had been promised the grand final until 2042, but V’landys and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet have busted up over suburban stadium upgrades.

And while we’re talking NRL… Paul Green’s brain has been donated to the Australian Sports Brain Bank to help with research into the long-term effects of concussion. The foundation’s director Michael Buckland thanked the much-loved player’s family for the “incredibly generous donation”.


Tweeting from the top of Kilimanjaro

High-speed internet services have been installed on the slopes of Africa’s tallest mountain as the Tanzanian Government embraces the power of social media. The 5,895-metre Mount Kilimanjaro is a key source of tourism revenue for Tanzania, with around 35,000 people trekking to the peak each year. Authorities say the mountain’s lack of internet connectivity posed a danger to visitors and porters, but the new upgrade also means social media-savvy tourists can document every step of their ascent. So far, internet services on Kilimanjaro cover up to an altitude of 3,720 metres, but Information Minister Nape Nnauye said the mountain’s summit should be fully connected by the end of the year. Because if it didn’t happen to social media, did it even happen?

World News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Damien Woolnough, the National Fashion Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald/Age, says he’s reliably informed that pink is here to stay. What he says goes, so it’s probably time to get onboard…

News of another Wizard of Oz remake ruffled feathers this week, but we’re on board with the redo of the 1992 classic A League of Their Own. Like the original, it’s a fictional account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League circa WWII, but the 8-part series is in our strike zone. Starring Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) and D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place), you can catch it on Amazon Prime.

We made these extra crispy corn fritters for brunch last weekend, and it’s a ripper recipe. Call us low brow, but we like ours with canned corn kernels – low fuss is the name of this game. Add some smashed avo and insert chef’s kiss… 

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know what retired tennis star Ash Barty’s new job title is at Optus? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz.

Squiz the Day

National Electric Vehicle Summit – Canberra

Company Results – Inghams; Stockland; AGL; Cochlear; TPG Telecom; Cleanaway Waste Management; Newcrest Mining

Afghanistan’s Independence Day

World Humanitarian Day

International Orangutan Day

World Photography Day

Birthdays for former US President Bill Clinton (1946) and singer Missy Higgins (1983)

Anniversary of:
• Coco Chanel’s birthday (1883)
• Soviet satellite Korabl-Sputnik 2 carrying 2 dogs, 2 rats, 40 mice, one rabbit and fruit flies into orbit (1960)
• The Beatles’ All You Need is Love hitting #1 (1967)
• the release of Lady Gaga’s record-breaking debut album The Fame (2008)

Squiz the Day

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