Squiz Today / 19 May 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 19 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Your get-up-and-go news source. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It’s OK. It’s kind of nice that they’ve noticed.”

Said Taco John’s boss Jim Creel of a challenge over the US fast food chain’s longstanding claim to the phrase ‘Taco Tuesday’. Taco Bell (which is about 20x bigger) claims the term is too common to be trademarked, and hopes US regulators will be taco-operative…

Heading to Hiroshima

A select group of world leaders have gathered in Japan’s Hiroshima for the Group of Seven (G7) Summit this weekend to discuss the top issues. Russia and China are at the top of the ‘problem’s list – specifically, Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, China’s aggression towards Taiwan, and its use of ‘economic coercion’. Naturally, that affects Australia and while we’re not a G7 member (that’s reserved for Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, and the UK), PM Anthony Albanese will attend.

Many of the G7 countries have close economic and trade ties to China – it’s the world’s 2nd-largest economy and a key supplier of manufactured goods. Reliance on trade with China has come into focus in recent years as tensions with Beijing led to trade bans and spanners thrown into global supply chains. So one of the big talking points will be dealing with that growing threat… But reports say there are mixed views on what can be done because G7 members with strong trade ties to China – particularly European nations – might be unwilling to upset Beijing. And for Oz, another step forward was taken yesterday when China’s Ambassador Xiao Qian said his country would lift its ban on Aussie timber imports.

Reports say the leaders plan to heap more sanctions on Russia over its ongoing attacks on Ukraine by restricting its energy production and trade that supports its military. They’ll also consider sanctions on 3rd countries aiding Russia’s efforts. And fittingly for a summit being held in Hiroshima – which was wiped out by an atomic bomb in WWII – leaders will also discuss the proliferation of nuclear weapons relating to Russia’s war and North Korea’s uptick in ballistic missile testing. Just on the development of dangerous weapons – this week, Ukraine claimed it had destroyed 6 of Russia’s prized Kinzhal missiles, which the Kremlin has denied.Russian officials have accused 3 scientists who created the “unstoppable” hypersonic missiles of treason, saying at least one revealed state secrets about the weapons.

World News

Squiz the Rest

An arrest in Wellington

He hasn’t been named ahead of a court appearance today, but authorities have charged a man with 2 counts of arson over the fire at the Loafers Lodge hostel on Monday night. Reports say he was a resident in the building, more serious charges could be filed against him, and police aren’t looking for anyone else. At least 6 people died in the fire, and up to 20 people are missing. Investigators are making progress at the scene, which has been challenging to navigate because of the extensive damage to the top floor – so far, 2 bodies have been removed, and 2 more will be taken out today. Along with generating a discussion on New Zealand’s safety standards, PM Chris Hipkins says the tragedy has spotlighted the nation’s housing crisis. High rental prices and a shortage of state housing has pushed many Kiwis into temporary accommodation like Loafers Lodge.

Crime World News

A rate pause is possible as unemployment rises

Economists say a June rate hike looks more unlikely after the Bureau of Stats posted a weaker-than-expected employment result. Unemployment rose to 3.7% in April – up 0.2% on the previous month, going against economists’ predictions that it would hold steady. It was forecast that 25,000 jobs would be added to the economy in April, but 27,100 full-time positions were shed, and 22,800 part-time roles were created. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the rate is unsurprising and “still remarkably low”, with the latest federal Budget forecasting a gradual rise in joblessness over the next couple of years. Some economists say it could be the first sign the labour market is cooling down along with this week’s as-expected wages growth data. And it could discourage the Reserve Bank from hiking the official cash rate when it meets next month. Fingers and toes crossed…

Australian News Economy

Scammer in the slammer

It’s been a bad week for convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes… If the name sounds familiar, she founded Theranos – a Silicon Valley startup which raised close to a billion US dollars on the promise they could test for hundreds of diseases using only a few drops of blood – except that they couldn’t. But before she was exposed, Holmes got extremely famous and attracted investments from big names, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday, a US court ruled that Holmes (and her business partner/ex-boyfriend) must pay back US$452 million to their investors, including US$125 million to Murdoch. Holmes also found out this week that she’ll have to prison ASAP. She was convicted of wire fraud in January but has stayed out of jail while appealing the sentence. Not any longer… Holmes will start her 11-year sentence soon – a lock-up date is yet to be set.

Crime World News

Plastic fantastic, temperatures drastic

Let’s do a quick environmental whip-around, starting with Australia’s decision to “temporarily” allow household plastics to be exported for processing. It follows our domestic recyclers warning they can’t cope with all our local trash. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek made the call to allow plastic exports, suspending a nationwide plastic export ban that commenced in mid-2021. Over in Italy, a dramatic downpour has caused 21 rivers to break their banks and flood the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, killing at least 8 people. Entire towns have been submerged, reports say that locals had to be evacuated from their rooftops, and the weekend’s F1 race at Imola has been canned. And to close, the World Meteorological Organisation says we’ve got a two-thirds chance of global temperatures rising to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2027 (uh oh) and a 98% chance of setting a record temperature in that time (double uh oh). Onwards and upwards…

Australian News Environment & Science World News

Ruling the kingdom

Aussies are more likely to play video games than watch free-to-air TV, making gaming the 2nd most popular form of entertainment after streaming. So that means you might be unsurprised to hear that this week’s game release, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, has sold 10 million copies in the first 3 days. For the uninitiated, Zelda is a Nintendo game franchise drawing inspiration from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings that first launched in the 1980s. Some of the most critically-acclaimed games ever come from the series, with this latest title set to become its fastest-selling. In fact, Tears of the Kingdom is on track to become the biggest game of the year, which would be quite the feat since its main competitor Hogwarts Legacy has already grossed US$1 billion. So if you’re one of Australia’s 17 million gamers, that might be your weekend sorted…


Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Mocumentaries are a favourite entertainment format first cemented for us with Best in Show – a cult classic about the crazy cats who show dogs… So we’ve been waiting for Documentary Now! – a series from Bill Hader and Fred Armisen, and ‘hosted’ by Helen Mirren – to become available here. The first series is on ABC iView – it’s quirky and fun.

We know we said we were on a clothes-buying hiatus, but… Surely a $25 pair of black jogger jeans from Kmart don’t count? They’re real comfy…

Fun fact: prawn prices have fallen by about 50% since Chrissy. In celebration, this Ottolenghi prawn/tomato/feta/risoni number is just the thing. 

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

G7 summit begins (until 21 May) – Hiroshima, Japan

Company Results – Woodside Energy

World IBD Day

Malcolm X Day – US

National Walk Safely to School Day

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Dame Nellie Melba (1861), Ho Chi Minh (1890), Malcolm X (1925), and Nora Ephron (1941)
• the deaths of Anne Boleyn (1536) and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1994)
• the founding of Save the Children, the first global movement for children (1919)
• Sri Lanka announcing victory in its 25-year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (2009)
• the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (2018)

Squiz the Day

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