Squiz Today / 29 April 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 29 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Perfect prep to up your weekend chat game. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

​​“Usually I describe it as looking a bit like a yellow tomato and tasting more like a pear but with a flavour that can go right the way through to rockmelon.”

Said Alanna Sapwell, head chef at Beach in Byron Bay, of the newly popular persimmon. Possibly the worst thing we’ve ever eaten in our lives, don’t let our gag reflex put you off…

Putin tells the world to stop helping Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin is talking tough against the West, warning any country that intervenes in the Ukraine war will face a “lightning-fast” response. Ukraine’s allies have made significant commitments to supply of weapons and military aid this week. In response, Putin hinted at Russia’s arsenal of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, saying: “We have all the tools no one can boast of … we will use them if necessary.” 


It came after Western nations held a summit in Germany with the host nation commiting 50 anti-aircraft tanks to the front line. Overnight, US President Joe Biden said he would ask Congress to approve giving $33 billion to help the Ukrainians fight Russia’s invasion, including $20 billion in military assistance. And the UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss joined the chorus of support saying victory for Ukraine was now a “strategic imperative” for the West. Reports say Russia’s new offensive in the country’s eastern Donbas region isn’t going to plan either, with local troops still standing in the battered city of Mariupol. And as Putin ramped up the rhetoric, gas giant company Gazprom cut supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in what European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described as “an instrument of blackmail”. 


They do. And as the war continues, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has urged countries to focus on international justice for war crimes committed by Russian troops. She addressed an informal United Nations Security Council meeting yesterday and called for evidence of war crimes to be collected and properly stored for future prosecutions before the International Criminal Court. “Ukraine is, today, a slaughterhouse. Right in the heart of Europe,” she said. President Zelensky continues with his virtual tour of diplomacy with foreign leaders, tweeting yesterday that the Indonesian President Joko Widodo has invited him to the G20 Summit in Bali in October. He didn’t confirm if he’d accepted the invitation, but it sets up a possible showdown with Putin who says he intents on being there. 

World News

Squiz the Rest

The West moves on

As one writer in the West Australian says this morning, Western Australia has an extra special reason to say Thank God It’s Friday… A raft of COVID restrictions have eased overnight. Masks are needed for high-risk setting only, and density and capacity limits are easing, which means that Perth’s Optus Stadium can welcome up to 60,000 AFL fans for West Coast’s clash with Richmond tonight. Close contacts no longer have to live the iso life for 7 days provided they take a daily rapid test and wear a mask away from home. And travellers to the state don’t need to apply for a G2G Pass or have had their booster shot. It puts Western Oz in line with other states and territories, and comes after a long 2-and-a-bit years of operating under some of the toughest COVID restrictions in the world. Premier Mark McGowan, who has just recovered from a case himself, has thanked locals for “doing the right thing”. And hospitality businesses are urging people to get amongst it and enjoy themselves. TGIF indeed…


A ‘perfect storm’ of disease is coming

The World Health Organization and the UNICEF yesterday reported an uptick in preventable diseases after childhood vaccinations fell by the wayside during the pandemic. As of this month, 57 preventative vaccination campaigns across 43 countries that were supposed to take place since the start of 2020 remain postponed, impacting some 203 million people, the UN agencies said. And as the world starts to open up again, they said the vacuum has created a “perfect storm” for diseases like measles and whooping cough. Global measles cases are so far up nearly 80% in 2022 compared with 2021. Here in Oz, experts are urging Aussies to get a flu jab, warning the country faces a “significant flu epidemic” as we head towards winter. The pandemic all but wiped out the flu thanks to all the mask-wearing, handwashing, social distancing and staying local, but it’s returned with the lifting of COVID restrictions.


Making online marketplace play fair

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is concerned that the algorithms used by online retail marketplaces may not promote fair and competitive forums for buyers and sellers. An investigation found that companies like Amazon Oz, eBay Oz, Kogan and Catch use coded wizardry to provide preferential treatment to the marketplace’s own products. And it’s no small change – in 2020-21 these companies saw $8.4 billion in sales, a rise of 21% from the previous year. “Online marketplaces need to be more transparent with consumers and sellers about how they operate,” ACCC boss Gina Cass-Gotlieb said, including why their search functions promote some products over others. The report also noted that the large amounts of consumer data collected and used by these companies is a lot – another thing users should be told more about, Cass-Gotlieb said.

Business & Finance

A quick tech news wrap

There’s speculation that Elon Musk’s $62 billion acquisition of Twitter won’t go ahead. Last week, Musk outlined how he would finance the deal, but there are market jitters over questions about whether he’ll go through with it. Note: it would cost the world’s richest man US$1 billion – a sliver of his estimated US$240 billion fortune – to walk away. In other tech news, it’s company earnings season in the US. After posting its first-ever decline of daily active Facebook users in the 2nd quarter, Meta’s share price soared 18% after it reported that daily users had grown to 1.96 billion in the first 3 months of the year. It also posted its slowest revenue growth in at least a decade, so swings and roundabouts… Apple and Amazon’s results are out this morning so keep a look out…

Business & Finance Technology

New ideas on mute

“You’re on mute” remains a top post-March 2020 term thanks to video calls becoming BAU for many. But a new study published by Nature has found remote meetings have also put brainstorming sessions on mute. The study saw 745 pairs of engineers tasked with finding ways to use a Frisbee or bubble wrap either in face-to-face meetings or video calls. Those in the same room generated one more idea on average than those working remotely, and their ideas were deemed to be more creative. It was an outcome researchers expected, but they were surprised to find it wasn’t because the remote engineers lacked a social connection. Rather, it was because they were less likely to let their eyes and minds wander as much because they were busy focusing on the face on the computer screen. If that’s an excuse to turn the video off in our next meeting, we’ll take it…

Business & Finance Environment & Science

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

The Strategist has a newish section called ‘Saw Something Said Something’ that speaks to the way our brain works… It picks up tidbits of information about notable people’s lives, and then goes down an internet rabbit hole. This week – Prince Charles’ favourite toilet paper, as gleaned from Tina Brown’s new book on the royals that’s had a bit of attention this week. 

If you’re looking to shake up your music listening repertoire, give Radiooooo a go. You can explore music by decade and country, with playlists curated by DJs in the know. It’s just a fun way to hear something new/unusual/different. 

So 2 eats for ya. We visited friends last weekend for a late arvo vino/chat and they made this, baked it and served it before we’d even got started. OMG… And to balance that out, we snacked on a batch of these choc chip cookies. Note: your definition of balance might be different to ours…

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know what US First Lady Dr Jill Biden has been tasked with urgently buying for the White House this week? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz. 

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Producer Price Indexes, March

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

HSC timetables released

International Dance Day

Birthdays for comedian Jerry Seinfeld (1954), and actors Daniel Day Lewis (1957), Michelle Pfeiffer (1958), and Uma Thurman (1970)

Anniversary of:
• the release of Aretha Franklin’s song Respect (1967)
• the death of Alfred Hitchcock (1980)
• LA police officers acquitted of beating Rodney King, causing deadly riots (1992)
• the Chemical Weapons Convention coming into force, which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories (1997)
• the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton (2011)

Squiz the Day

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