Squiz Today / 19 March 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 19 March


“It was immediately apparent to both of us that we were looking at something really very, very special.”

Said Angela McAteer of Sotheby's of what she and a colleague thought of a rare 15th-century Chinese porcelain bowl that sold at auction yesterday for $920,000. Its value was not as apparent to the garage sale proprietor who sold it for $45 last year


February's employment numbers were in yesterday, and "there are now more jobs in the Australian economy than there were before the pandemic," PM Scott Morrison said. The unemployment rate fell last month to 5.8%, down from 6.3% in January - a surprisingly good result with analysts expecting a fall, but not anywhere near as big. All of the 88,700 people who went into new jobs last month secured full-time roles - and 80% of them were women. It sees the number of employed Aussies shoot past the 13 million mark for the first time in 11 months.

Thumbs up for energy, but just rein it in a bit… Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the employment numbers are bloody great (or words to that effect…), but the “months from here will continue to be challenging because we are still in the midst of a global pandemic and the greatest economic shock since the Great Depression.” And with JobKeeper coming off on 28 March, he said “we know it will be bumpy”. To recap: people receiving the government-paid wage subsidy aren’t counted in the unemployment figures. So when the payment ends, will employers shed jobs or are they ready to fight on? That’s the multi-billion dollar question… One industry to secure ongoing government support is the aviation sector, and Qantas yesterday told stood-down staff like international flight crew that they will receive $500/week over the coming months.

Not if you were a Coalition senator trying to get a win on industrial relations… With portfolio minister Christian Porter on leave and despite months of negotiations on a wide-ranging bill, it didn’t get the support from the Senate crossbench it needed to see it pass intact. There was agreement on a new definition of 'casual employment', which small and large businesses have been calling out for, and extending the right to casual workers to convert to permanent jobs. But a lot of it was ditched in scenes that Labor said were humiliating for Team Morrison. The PM, however, brushed it off, saying he will find other ways to support job creation. The amended bill will pass the House of Representatives next week.



• Europe has threatened to seize AstraZeneca’s factories and strip the pharmaceutical giant of its intellectual property rights as the continent struggles to vaccinate its 450 million citizens. The vaccine is currently made in Europe, and authorities say local supply contracts should be honoured before sent elsewhere. PM Morrison said on Wednesday that he would appeal to the company and Europe’s regulators to release 1 million doses of Australia’s order to send to Papua New Guinea - and it comes after a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia was knocked back earlier this month.

• Prominent COVID sceptic and President of Tanzania John Magufuli has died at 61yo. Vice President Samia Suluhu said that he died of heart failure, but critics say he had the coronavirus. Magufuli last year claimed Tanzania had eradicated the virus via 3 days of national prayer.

• It was thought that the pandemic lockdowns and all that time spent indoors would lead to a generation of coronials, but it’s quite the opposite. Researchers looked at the prevalence of Google search terms relating to pregnancy, but early data suggests birth rates in the US, Italy and Spain will fall significantly. One theory is that people are just too stressed to procreate. All that time together might not have helped either…


One of Australia's top cop's suggestion to use a phone app to record sexual consent fell flat yesterday. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller suggested an app could normalise the act of seeking explicit consent and achieve better legal outcomes for survivors of rape. But women’s advocates say that consent could be superseded simply if someone changed their mind, while others say it could protect perpetrators of sexual crimes. Even Fuller said it could be "the worst idea I have all year", but a discussion about consent was important. A similar app was released in Denmark earlier this year, but it reportedly hasn’t been widely adopted with less than 5,000 downloads.


Russia has recalled its ambassador to the United States after President Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would "pay the price" for alleged election meddling and agreed that he was "a killer". And responding overnight, Putin said "it takes one to know one". The bad blood follows the release of a declassified US intelligence report that suggested Putin had authorised interference in last year’s presidential election in favour of Donald Trump. The US is expected to impose sanctions on Russia as soon as next week following the report’s conclusions.


It’s less than 4 months out from the Tokyo Olympics, and the Hockeyroos have lost their coach Paul Gaudoin. No, he’s not wandering around a confusing shopping mall, he resigned yesterday in the wake of an independent review that described a “dysfunctional culture” at the top of women’s hockey, and he follows high-performance director Toni Cumpston and assistant coach Steph Andrew out the door. The review was launched in December after claims of bullying and chaos. More than 100 people were interviewed for the review, which made 29 recommendations and said there was a need for more effective leadership. With Tokyo around the corner, Hockey Australia said it will fast track the necessary changes.


Former racing driver Sabine Schmitz, known as the “Queen of the Nürburgring”, has died at 51yo of cancer. In 1996, Schmitz became the first and only female to win the famous 24 hours race at the German track - and she did it twice. Her popularity grew after featuring on Top Gear, first as a guest in 2004 when she told then host Jeremy Clarkson that she could beat his time around the track in a Ford Transit Van (spoiler: she missed it by 8 seconds…), and then as a presenter. “Such a sunny person and so full of beans,” Clarkson tweeted.


How we use emojis does say something about us, experts say. And how men and women use the communications shortcuts - fascinating. A tip for the blokes: leave the eggplant alone…

Confession time: we do a Monday morning spot on the wireless with Sammy J on ABC Melbourne to talk about the news week ahead. He and the team are ace. But it is a bit difficult to front up with his yoga flow in your head - and his latest masterpiece explains the recent Royal saga perfectly.

Since we saw this corn recipe, we haven’t been able to stop thinking about it because it resembles something we ate on a trip to the US years ago and loved. Bring it on, weekend…


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the first senior face-to-face meeting in almost 9 months - Alaska

World Sleep Day

National Day of Action Against Bullying & Violence

Birthdays for Glenn Close (1947) and Bruce Willis (1955)

Anniversary of:
• the Lumière brothers recording the first footage ever using their newly patented cinematograph (1895)
• the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932)
• the beginning of the Invasion of Iraq by American and British-led forces (2003)
• the death of automobile engineer John DeLorean (2005)

4.30pm (AEDT) - Horse Racing - Golden Slipper Stakes - Rosehill, Sydney

UN International Day of Happiness

UN French Language Day

Persian New Year

World Oral Health Day

World Storytelling Day

International Astrology Day

Birthdays for Aussie author David Malouf (1934), film director Spike Lee (1957) and actor Holly Hunter (1958)

Anniversary of:
• the founding of restaurant chain KFC (1930)
• the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1969), and David and Angie Bowie (1970)
• Oz closing the international border amid the COVID-19 pandemic (2020)
• the deaths of Malcolm Fraser (2015) and Kenny Rogers (2020)

World Down Syndrome Day

International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

World Poetry Day

International Day of Forests

Birthdays for actors Gary Oldman (1958) and Matthew Broderick (1962)

Anniversary of:
• the death of Pocahontas (1617)
• Persia officially being renamed Iran (1935)
• the wedding of actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (1945)
• Ethiopia abolishing its monarchy after 3,000 years (1975)
• Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula (2014)

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