Squiz Today / 20 January 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 20 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

An informed slide into the weekend. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

18 / 24
12 / 23
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11 / 20
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8 / 22

Squiz Sayings

“If nobody brought cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them.”

Said the UK’s food watchdog boss Professor Susan Jebb, who thinks people should stop bringing cake into the office for the sake of their colleagues’ health, likening it to passive smoking. Or maybe the real story is she has a workplace stacked with terrible bakers…

Ardern signs off as Kiwi PM

Jacinda Ardern has resigned as New Zealand’s PM. She’s not ‘loud quitting’ – she will finish up on 7 February and leave the parliament in April. In an emotional press conference, she said her 5.5 years in the top job were the “most fulfilling” of her life, but she doesn’t “have enough left in the tank” to continue. “With such a privileged role comes responsibility… the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also when you are not,” she said.

Where to start? Ardern became PM when her Labour Party beat the incumbent National Party in 2017’s election. At 37yo she was one of the world’s youngest leaders – and ‘Jacindamania’ set in… She made more waves in 2018 as the world’s 2nd leader to give birth while in office (Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto was the first…). Ardern led the country as it mourned 2019’s major tragedies – the Christchurch mosque attacks and the deadly Whakaari Island volcano eruption. Aussie PM Anthony Albanese was one of many who paid tribute to Ardern and her empathetic leadership style yesterday. That and her hardline approach to keeping COVID out of the country helped win 2020’s election in a landslide. But as the pandemic stretched on and inflation hits Kiwis hard, Ardern and Labour have faced growing criticism – and that’s been reflected in the polls.

For Ardern? She says she’s looking forward to getting her daughter Neve off to school, and she’ll finally tie the knot with long-time partner Clarke Gayford. As for her Labour Party, it needs a new leader – and it’s an open question about who will replace Ardern after her 2IC Grant Robertson announced he’s not planning to run as party leader. Reports say rising star/Minister of Justice Kiri Allen and Minister for Education Chris Hipkins are frontrunners in the vote that will be held on Sunday. Yesterday, Ardern also announced the country’s general election has been set for 14 October – so whoever it is will need to hit the ground running. You’d have to think this lady would make the transition a bit easier… 

World News

Squiz the Rest

Baldwin charged over rehearsal shooting

It’s been 15 months since the fatal shooting on the set of the Western movie Rust, and now Santa Fe’s prosecutor says TV/movie star Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (aka the person in charge of the guns and ammunition on set) will also be charged. It’s been a while since we talked about it, so to recap: cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed during a rehearsal when Baldwin fired a prop gun. Film director Joel Souza was also wounded, but no charges will be filed on that. Baldwin’s lawyers maintain that he had “no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set”. This morning, Hutchins’ husband Matthew said it is a “comfort” to her family that “no one is above the law.” If found guilty, both face up to 18 months in jail and a US$5,000 fine if convicted. The film’s production is set to restart this year, with Matthew Hutchins on board as executive producer.

World News

Challenges ahead as unemployment stays put

According to the Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s jobless rate was steady at 3.5% in December. Economists had tipped unemployment to come in at 3.4%, so it missed expectations after an estimated 14,600 jobs were lost last month. That’s well below the 25-35,000 new jobs predicted to be created… Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the result came down to slowing growth from the worsening global economic headwinds and higher interest rates, but he says Oz is still in an “incredibly strong position”. Economists say the worse-than-expected results will do little to dissuade the Reserve Bank’s board from further interest rate hikes when it next meets next month, and some warn the jobless rate could rise as economic challenges mount. 

Australian News Business & Finance

Computer says no

It’s a tough time for tech workers, and it doesn’t look set to improve anytime soon, with Microsoft the latest to make major layoffs. It will shed 10,000 jobs – about 5% of its workforce, costing over $1.7 billion in severance and reorganisation costs. It says the move is in response to “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities” – that’s code for a course correction after hiring big during the pandemic when there was a surge in demand for online services. Boss Satya Nadella also says that “no one can defy gravity” with inflation putting a break on demand worldwide. It is also part of a shift towards artificial intelligence (AI), with Microsoft said to be considering adding to its $1.4 billion stake in OpenAI – the company behind ChatGPT that has struck fear in the hearts of exam moderators, musicians and journos.

Business & Finance Technology

Canada says drinking too much whiskey is risky

According to new Canadian health guidelines, there’s no safe limit to the amount of alcohol you can drink. They say knocking back more than 2 standard drinks a week is a moderate health risk, and 7 or more drinks pose a high risk. That’s a significant departure from Australia’s guidelines recommending we drink no more than 10 alcoholic bevvies a week. And some health experts are sceptical, saying the research “ignores” benefits including “pleasure and stress relief and collegiality associated with alcohol”. That’s been backed up by a recent Aussie study finding those who drink a little bit of alcohol tend to be at a lower risk of depression than those that consume a lot or no alcohol. We’ll cheers (responsibly…) to that.


While you were sleeping…

Or maybe you threw caution to the wind and ignored the experts’ warning about sleep we told you about earlier this week? The Australian Open’s 2nd round match between Scot Andy Murray and Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis wrapped up after 4am this morning – it was an almost 6-hour 5-setter… Veteran Murray was not at all happy about being on the court into the wee hours, but a win’s a win… It was better news last night for Aussies Alex De Minaur and a teary Alexei Popyrin – they advanced in fine form. And Novak Djokovic also won his match last night despite his battles with a dodgy hammy and a spectator he said was “drunk out of his mind”. Today and tomorrow, it’s all about moving through the 3rd round before heading towards next week’s finals. No Aussie women are left in the tournament, and so far, top seed Iga Świątek is cruising through. In the men’s singles, 3rd seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top-ranked player still in it to win it. 


Friday Lites – Three things we like this week

We’re suckers for an at-sea drama, and the latest to light up our living room is The Rig. Featuring Line of Duty’s Martin Compston, Schitt’s Creek’sEmily Hampshire and GOT’s Iain Glen, workers on a remote Scottish oil rig inadvertently tap into a prehistoric threat… Check it out on Amazon Prime.

We’re not happy happy joy joy people, but we’re all for positivity. And if a shot of that is what you need in your Instagram feed, The Happy Broadcast is for you. Here’s a good snapshot of what they’re about.

Want something delicious and fancy-ish to each but can’t be stuffed doing any actual cooking? This herbed ricotta and roasted-tomato bruschetta is for you. We might have had it for dinner twice this week – can’t confirm…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

TBC – Tennis – Australian Open – Mixed Doubles – Sam Stosur and Matthew Ebden v Demi Schuurs and Nikola Mektić – Melbourne

6.30pm (AEDT) – Hockey – Men’s World Cup – Australia v South Africa – Bhubaneswar, India

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, November

Penguin Awareness Day

A birthday for astronaut Buzz Aldrin (1930), director David Lynch (1946) and muso Kevin Parker (1986)

Anniversary of:
• China ceding Hong Kong to the British during the 1st Opium War (1841)
• the premiere of High School Musical (2006) and Breaking Bad (2008)
• the car attack in Melbourne’s CBD, which killed 6 people and injured 27 (2017)
• the death of singer/actor Meat Loaf (2022)

Squiz the Day

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