Squiz Today / 21 May 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 21 May


I think everyone’s tripping out that they can walk up and wiggle it and smell it.

Said Californian nursery owner Solomon Leyva of the line that formed to check out his corpse flower. Emitting a stench that could raise the dead, the plant is a rarity. Thank goodness…


Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen again… The official numbers for April were out yesterday, showing a decline from 5.7% in March to 5.5% - a smidge above where it was before the start of the pandemic. It's the 7th consecutive month that unemployment has fallen, and it provides the first look at life after the Morrison Government’s JobKeeper subsidy wrapped up.

Yes. And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg sang the result’s detailed praises, saying underemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 7 years, youth unemployment fell to its lowest level in 12 years, and 33,800 new full-time jobs were created in the month. But there is a plot twist: the number of part-time jobs fell by 64,400, meaning a total of 30,600 jobs were lost from the economy in April. So how does the unemployment rate fall if there are fewer people in work? Because fewer people were looking for work than in March. The result also ends concerns that up to 150,000 Aussies would lose their jobs when JobKeeper finished at the end of March. Treasurer Frydenberg said, "the reality is that the Australian economy strengthened even after the end of JobKeeper." Labor's deputy leader Richard Marles said the real test for the government is to create “secure, well-paid jobs”.

Indeed, and that’s what the team at Qantas were probably thinking yesterday as the airline cut more international cabin crew jobs and put a 2-year wage freeze in place as boss Alan Joyce forecast a $2 billion loss. The voluntary redundancies come on top of 8,500 roles that have already been cut because of the COVID crisis. Joyce says the pandemic will cost the airline at least $16 billion in revenue since the start of 2020, but things are "slowly turning the corner" thanks to increasing demand for domestic travel. And while Qantas seems to be struggling, rival Virgin Australia is hiring again with plans to launch more than 700 weekly flights across Oz in the coming months.



Israel has agreed to a ceasefire in conflict with Gaza militants. The Israeli Security Cabinet early this morning said it has "unanimously accepted" a bilateral unconditional ceasefire which will take effect "at a later date". It comes following heavy international pressure - including from the United States - to halt the conflict. US President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the week, telling the leader that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire”. Biden has also been in talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose nation has acted as a middleman in the negotiations as neither the US nor Israel deal directly with Hamas. Since the fighting began on 10 May, 232 Palestinians - including 65 children and 39 women - have been killed, and 12 have died in Israel.


An investigation into the circumstances around the 1995 bombshell interview with Princess Diana has found journalist Martin Bashir acted in a “deceitful” way by mocking up fake bank statements to gain access to the Princess. There have long been questions about how Bashir - then a relatively unknown journo - secured the interview with Diana where she said, "there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded", in reference to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Former Supreme Court judge John Dyson also found the BBC had fallen "short of the high standards of integrity and transparency", and its own internal probe in 1996 into what happened was "woefully ineffective". The BBC and Bashir - who earlier in the week left the broadcasting company - have apologised, saying the report showed "clear failings".


In a bid to curb the months-long mouse plague that continues to ravage parts of regional Australia, the NSW Government has secured 5,000 litres of one of the world’s strongest baits. They will be handed out to farmers free of charge over the coming days as part of a $50 million package to address the crisis. “This is an unprecedented plague with no blueprint on how to handle it, but we’re giving our farmers the tools they need to combat these vile vermin,” Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said. The infestation has so far caused an estimated $100 million worth of damage as mice eat their way across parts of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT. But pest experts warn the plague soon won’t just be a country problem, with millions of mice expected to arrive in Sydney by August after hitching a ride on freight vehicles. Sorry anaphylactics, but it could be time to get out the peanut butter...


Zhang Yiming, the co-founder and CEO of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, is leaving the top job. He said he lacks "some of the skills that make an ideal manager" and that he's (*irony alert) "not very social". Taking his place will be fellow co-founder and HR head Rubo Liang, while Zhang will take on a different role in the company within the next 6 months. It's the biggest change in leadership since the Chinese tech giant launched in 2012. The popular video-sharing app has blown up globally in recent years, boasting an estimated 700 million active monthly users. But its massive success has brought it under scrutiny from governments in both China and the West, with former US President Donald Trump threatening to ban the app last year amid national security concerns.


Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says hosting the 2027 World Cup would be a once-in-a-generation opportunity after Oz launched its bid yesterday morning. No other countries have so far indicated their interest in hosting the event. Bids are due by the end of the month, with the winner to be declared in May next year. Delivering a $2.5 billion boost to the economy, 13,000 jobs and more than 2 million attendees, Australia would also get a chance to show off a brand new national rugby museum. Oz has twice hosted the World Cup in 1987 and 2003, but both times lost out on taking home the Webb Ellis Cup. Australia could become World Cup central as it prepares to host the Netball World Cup in 2027 and co-host the Women's FIFA (aka soccer) World Cup in 2023. In preparation, Football Australia this week showed off plans for a "state-of-the-art" facility in Melbourne’s La Trobe University.


Bringing out our competitive nature, this test to measure the capacity of your lungs saw us do it more than once. Let’s just say we’re not happy with our ‘strong lungs’ result…

If you’re a book lover who also loves COVID vaccinations, this is the auction for you with books and mentoring sessions with star authors and publishers up for grabs. You’ve got until 9.59pm (AEST) tonight - and a friend in the UK for your books to be sent to would be handy…

We went to an Ottolenghi-inspired dinner party - and yes, it was the most delicious party ever. This saffron rice with pistachio and mixed herbs needs to change its name from side dish to star dish.


8.30pm (AEST) - Eurovision 2021 1st Round Semi-Finals - on SBS (not live)

UN World Day for Cultural Diversity

International Tea Day

Birthdays for Leo Sayer (1948), Mr T (1952), Noel Fielding (1973), Gotye (1980), and fitness entrepreneur Kayla Itsines (1991)

Anniversary of
• aviator Charles Lindbergh becoming the first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic (1927)
• Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic (1932)
• the birthday of The Notorious B.I.G. (1972)

8.30pm (AEST) - Eurovision 2021 2nd Round Semi Finals - on SBS (not live)

Upper Hunter by-election in NSW

Harvey Milk Day - US

International Day for Biological Diversity

World Goth Day

Birthdays for Naomi Campbell (1970) and Novak Đoković (1987)

Anniversary of:
• the abolishment of the transportation of British convicts to NSW (1840)
• the founding of the non-profit news organisation Associated Press (1846)
• Abraham Lincoln becoming the only US President to receive a patent (for a device to lift a boat over shoals and obstructions) (1849)
• the first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster by Aldie and John Mackay, who saw "something resembling a whale" (1933)
• Ireland becoming first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote (2015)
• the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 (2017)

5.00am (AEST) - Eurovision 2021 Grand Final - live on SBS (and replayed at 7.30pm)

Start of Schitzophrenia Awareness Week (on until 29 May)

Start of Food Allergy Awareness Week (until May 29)

World Turtle Day

Anniversary of:
• US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin announcing his invention of bifocals (1785)
• Mao Zedong starting the Great Leap Forward movement in China (1958)
• the Good Friday Agreement being accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland (1998)
• Indian PM Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) re-election in a landslide (2019)

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.