Squiz Today / 12 December 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 12 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Good weeks start here. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We’re affiliated.”

Is what researchers from the University of Adelaide think your cat’s telling you when it kneads you while sitting on your lap. Purrfunctory yet also affectionate, which is right on brand for our feline friends…

Pollies set to legislate power plans

Low-income Aussies, including pensioners and the unemployed, will get temporary discounts on their power bills from April next year under a deal struck between the federal and state governments on Friday. Leaders hashed out the details during the delayed National Cabinet meeting, where it was decided that instead of cash handouts, there will be a $1.5 billion rebate package funded by the Feds and administered by the states. That’s because leaders are keen to prevent further inflation in the economy. The plan will leave those households $230 better off next year, but electricity prices will still be high, with a 56% hike expected across this and the next financial year. But as PM Anthony Albanese said on Friday, “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures”…

Well, the price of coal and gas will be down… To do that, the federal parliament will be recalled on Thursday to pass laws imposing a cap on gas at $12 a gigajoule, while the NSW and Queensland parliaments will also meet to legislate for the caps on coal at $125 per tonne. That’s down from record prices of more than $300 a tonne that it’s been fetching this year. The hope is that will lead to a reduction in electricity prices too, but longer term, leaders are banking on their plan to speed up Oz’s uptake of renewable energy under an agreement struck last week. But not everybody’s on board… Leader Adam Bandt says the Greens won’t give their support if plans to give compensation to coal companies go ahead. And Coalition leader Peter Dutton says instead of price caps, the government should facilitate more gas supply into the market to meet demand. 

Foreign Minister Penny Wong is leading a group of pollies – including from the Coalition – on a visit to the Pacific this week. She’ll be joined by Defence Minister Pat Conroy, the Liberal’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham and Nationals’ Pacific spokesman Michael McCormack for meetings with the leaders of Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. If you couldn’t guess, it’s all to do with China’s growing influence in the region… Australia’s hoping to bolster its relationships with those countries after China’s similar attempts earlier this year following its new security pact with the Solomon Islands in April. In a statement, Wong says she hopes the trip will demonstrate Oz’s “enduring commitment to strengthening our Pacific partnerships and addressing regional challenges”. Missing from the itinerary? Fiji. It’s due to elect a new PM on Wednesday, and there have already been concerns the election outcome could be contested. Watch this space…


Squiz the Rest

Telstra hasn’t got you covered…

Our biggest telco’s marketing line is easy to twist after an own goal for the communications giant as it published the names, addresses and phone numbers of 130,000 customers. Telstra has apologised for the “mistake”, which it has blamed on a “misalignment of databases”, leading to people who’d specifically asked to be unlisted suddenly finding their personal information available via directory assistance or the White Pages. The company’s financial boss Michael Ackland says affected customers will be contacted and offered free identity theft protection while acknowledging it was an “unacceptable breach of their trust”. It’s another blow for the industry following the Optus hack in September, which exposed the private data of 9.8 million Aussies. The federal government is still considering tougher laws covering companies’ handling of sensitive information as a result of the ongoing leaks.

Australian News

Lockerbie bomb suspect detained in US

A Libyan man accused of making a bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 in Britain’s deadliest ever terror attack has been taken into custody in the US. Overnight, Scottish and US officials confirmed that Abu Agela Masud will face federal charges over the attack that killed all 259 people on board the Boeing 747, which was en route to the US, and 11 others who died when the wreckage destroyed their homes. The US announced charges against Masud 2 years ago, and last month it was reported he’d been kidnapped by a militia group in Libya, leading to speculation he would be handed over to stand trial. Masud is the 3rd person charged over the attack, all of whom were former Libyan intelligence officers suspected of carrying out the murders in retaliation for a 1986 US bombing campaign against the Libyan capital city, Tripoli. A date is yet to be set for when Masud will face court.

World News

Merry COVID Christmas…

An unwelcome guest looks set to join us for the festive period – that’s if the latest Omicron wave of COVID infections proves to be more challenging to shake off than experts first predicted… The spectre at the feast has seen infections and hospitalisations rise in recent weeks, which experts say is down to the lifting of pretty much all restrictions and waning immunity. Nearly a quarter of all Aussies haven’t had a 3rd dose, and most have shied away from a 4th jab. The number of people needing urgent medical care is expected to continue rising and peak on or around 25 December (making Santa’s trip around the world a potential superspreader event…). Nearly 109,000 Aussies tested positive last week, and that’s with significantly lower testing rates and reporting. Experts say the real figure could be 5-10 times higher, meaning as many as 1 in 25 Aussies could currently have COVID. If you’re short on gift ideas, may we suggest a RAT?

Australian News Health

The world game brings joy and sadness

The Socceroos are long gone, but true football fans still had a lot to enjoy over the weekend as the quarter-finals determined the final 4 teams, including one history-making side… Croatia knocked out Brazil 4-2 in a penalty shootout. Also winning via penalties was Argentina, who defeated the Netherlands 4-3. Reigning champs France won 2-1 against England in regular time, but the real heroes were Morocco… They beat Portugal 1-0, making them the first African team to ever reach a semi-final. Cristiano Ronaldo made another emotional display as his side went down… And there were tears for 48yo American soccer writer Grant Wahl – he died at the World Cup on Saturday while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match. Big-name sports stars, including LeBron James and Billie Jean King, led the tributes with his friends calling his death “a tragic loss”. The semi-finals start on Wednesday when Argentina will face Croatia.


Aussie frogs take on Taylor Swift

We flagged this one a few days ago, but an album of frog noises has jumped into 3rd spot on the ARIA charts just behind Taylor Swift and Paul Kelly, leapfrogging Jimmy Barnes’ Blue Christmas. The album called Australian Frog Calls: Songs of Disappearance features the calls of 58 species, including many that are endangered or extinct. It’s been created by the same team of academics, musicians and conservationists who pulled together an album of Aussie bird songs, which flew into the top 5 last year. Album producer Anthony Albrecht says they set out to do “something even more outlandish” this year, and the team is proud of “the underdogs – or the underfrogs”, as they like to say. And they’re not done yet… Albrecht thinks they could still leapfrog into #1, saying it’s “the frogs versus Taylor Swift right now”. No doubt Swifties will be hopping mad at that suggestion…

Australian News Entertainment

Apropos of Nothing

Their origin might be a bit of a mystery, but a pair of jeans thought to be the world’s oldest has sold at auction in Nevada for $167,000. Said to be pulled from a shipwreck from 1857, vintage denim has never been so… soggy. 

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Gala on Saturday night coincided with the opening of its summer exhibition dedicated to fashion designer Alexander McQueen. And as the red carpet gallery shows, those attending seemed to keep their underwear under wraps…

And music/fashion entrepreneur Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Diddy/Puffy – real name Sean Love Combs – has welcomed his 7th child. The baby girl has been named Love Sean Combs. Got it? Good… 

Quirky News

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