Squiz Today / 21 April 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 21 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Making Friday even better. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Linguistically, we couldn’t all communicate. But young, old, Australian, not Australian, we all came together, and were so excited to see little crescent shaped shadows on the ground. It was incredible.”

Said Dr Sabine Bellstedt from the University of Western Australia who felt all the feels in Exmouth along with 20,000 of her besties witnessing yesterday’s total solar eclipse. It sure did look spectacular

Checking the RBA balance

A long-awaited review into the Reserve Bank’s operations has been released, and an extensive overhaul – the largest in about 30 years – is set to be rolled out by mid-2024. Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who commissioned the independent review, said he has agreed in principle to its 51 recommendations. You’ll be relieved to hear that we won’t list them all, but the key change will see the RBA board split in 2. One will set monetary policy/make interest rate decisions and will be made up of independent financial experts to ensure broader input into decision-making. The other will look after the bank’s general operations, like the currency supply. Chalmers says it’s all about “ensuring that the Reserve Bank is as strong and effective as it can be, now and into the future as well”.

You’re on the money – there’s a bit more to it. The review also suggested cutting the 11 annual board meetings down to 8. That’s notable because the idea is it would prevent (or at least slow down) the monthly interest rate rollercoaster Aussie mortgage holders have been strapped into over the past year. Another proposal would see the monetary board prioritising employment, not just inflation, when considering changes to the official cash rate. Coalition Treasury spokesman Angus Taylor is on board – he says those are a “good step in the right direction”. And many economists, including Deloitte’s Chris Richardson, gave the plan a tick, saying it would bring the Reserve Bank into line with its international counterparts. Nothing’s set in stone yet, though… Chalmers says taking action on the review’s recommendations will involve legislative changes and changes to be implemented by the RBA governor/current board.

Well, that brings us neatly to Governor Philip Lowe. His role has been under scrutiny since his pandemic claim that the Aussie cash rate/interest rates wouldn’t start going up until 2024. Since rates have since gone up at a record-breaking pace, quite a few people aren’t too happy with him… His 7-year tenure as governor ends in September, and Chalmers won’t say yesterday if it will be extended… But 2 board members whose tenures were about to expire have been replaced, with former Fair Work boss Iain Ross and Telstra director Elana Rubin named as replacements. For his part, Lowe welcomed the review and said the suggestion to split the board would “strengthen the monetary policy process”. Lowe also said he’s prepared to stay on as boss if he’s asked to. Watch this space…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Another tragedy in Yemen

A crowd crush in Yemen has killed at least 78 people and injured dozens more. Reports say hundreds of people were packed into a small street to receive charity aid from local businessmen – a tradition ahead of the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Officials from the Houthi rebel group, which controls the capital of Sanaa, tried to control the crowd by firing into the air, and witnesses say electrical wires were hit and caused an explosion. The Houthis say they’ll compensate the families of those killed and the injured. Yemen has been in a civil war since 2015 when Iran-backed Houthi fighters removed the government, creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. In recent weeks, some progress has been made towards a permanent ceasefire.

Australian News World News

America’s new battle for reproductive rights

There’s been a legal fight brewing in the US in the last couple of weeks since a federal court tried to ban a commonly used abortion pill. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that the drug mifepristone (also known as RU-486) shouldn’t have been approved for use in the US – a ruling immediately challenged and sent to the Supreme Court. Mifepristone is the first of 2 pills used in a medical abortion, which account for more than half of terminations in the US. Ever since the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US last year, anti-abortion activists have been targeting these pills to try to further restrict abortion access. The Supreme Court was meant to make a ruling by today on whether mifepristone can remain, but they’ve pushed their decision to the end of their week (the weekend, for us). Abortions are legal in Australia and free in the ACT as of yesterday.

Health World News

LIV’s Aussie debut tees off

No, we’re not talking about a lady named Olivia… The LIV golf tour is holding its first Aussie tournament starting today, with Adelaide’s Grange Golf Club hosting the event. If you’re not a golf devotee, we’ll tell you why it’s notable. The LIV tour has been set up to rival the world’s 4 big tours, including the PGA in the US. Spearheaded by Aussie legend Greg Norman, LIV has spent big money recruiting big names to play in its events, like Aussie mullet fan Cameron Smith. LIV players were banned from PGA tournaments for a while, but that’s no longer always the case. So that’s a whole thing… Adding to that is the Saudi Arabian Government’s backing of the LIV tour – cue claims of sportswashing, given criticism of the Saudi’s handling of human rights over the years. That hasn’t put off those who will head to the Grange – reports say it’s a sellout. As for the players, almost $37 million will be spread across 48 golfers at the tournament, with the winner pocketing $6 million.


Truth for the youth

You might have heard about Squiz Kids, our daily podcast that gives kids the news in a fun way without the nasties? At the start of this year, our Squiz Kids colleagues surveyed parents and teachers, who told us that 41% of primary school kids get news from social media – and that they’re worried about kids being exposed to misinformation. Parents/carers and teachers also admit they often don’t have the skills to help kids detect dodgy info. That’s why Squiz Kids created Newshounds, a media literacy program in which Squiz-E the detective dog teaches kids how to sniff out misinformation online. Launched in November last year, Newshounds is already being used in just under 1,000 classrooms around the country (woo-hoo…), and from the schools that piloted it, 100% of teachers involved said they can already see their students thinking more critically about their news habits. We’re releasing the survey results today – you can check it out here. Take that, trolls…

Australian News

Lending a helping hand

If you despair for humanity, this study might give back some hope… Researchers have found that, across cultures, humans are generally helpful and cooperative when asked to perform small tasks. We ask for assistance on average every 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and the people we ask are 7 times more likely to help us than not. The study focussed on micro-requests like passing the salt or getting a glass of water and found remarkable consistency across language groups – they studied people in England, Ecuador, Ghana, Poland, Italy, Australia, and Russia. Un’acqua, per favore?

Culture Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

We’ve been sitting on this for a while, but the time has come… Julien’s in Beverly Hills has their Hollywood auction of superstar items and memorabilia – and it’s almost time to bid. There’s something for everyone, from the storyboard sketches from Die Hard to signed Hitchcock movie posters to John Travolta’s iconic Saturday Night Fever suit. Flip through the catalogue here.

Tim Duggan, a legend in digital publishing in Oz, has recently started a monthly newsletter called OUTLET (for ‘one useful thing literally every time’). And we have found it very useful… Check it out and get on it for free here.

The classic ANZAC bikkie is beloved for a reason – but for something a bit different to bake this weekend, have a go at Helen Goh’s caramelised ANZAC bars. Super easy and deliciously crunchy, they’re so good we’ve been known to cook them year-round.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

NSW Liberal Party to elect its new leader and deputy leader at its first meeting after the state election – Sydney

ABS Data Release – Cultural and creative activities 2021-22 financial year – first release

LIV Golf tournament begins – Adelaide

World Creativity and Innovation Day

Grab a cuppa, it’s National Tea Day in the UK

Anniversary of:
• Romulus and Remus founding Rome, according to legend (753 BC)
• Elvis Presley’s first hit record Heartbreak Hotel going to #1 (1956)
• the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka (2019)
• the birthdays of Charlotte Brontë’s birthday (1816) and Queen Elizabeth II (1926)
• the deaths of author Mark Twain (1910) and singers Nina Simone (2003) and Prince (2016)

Squiz the Day

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