Squiz Today / 28 February 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 28 February

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Earphones in, informed conversations out. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

20 / 25
18 / 26
21 / 29
19 / 27
20 / 36
16 / 22
25 / 30
15 / 24

Squiz Sayings

“I come from a very religious and reserved family, and Eurovision was kind of my guilty pleasure.”

Said Sheldon Riley, who Australia Decided will represent the country at the 66th Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy in May.

Soggy in the Sunshine State

A disaster is unfolding in Queensland and NSW’s far north coast after the region received almost half its usual annual rainfall over the weekend. More than 500mm of rain was recorded on Saturday and Sunday – and Brissie usually receives around 1200mm a year. Gympie and parts of the Sunshine Coast have also received more than 600mm since the middle of last week. Six people have died in the resulting floods, and 1,400 Brisbane homes and 500 Gympie homes have been inundated so far. Across the region, almost 1,000 schools are closed today, along with more than 1,000 roads – although, in some areas, there was no choice

In downtown Brissie, the Brisbane River peaked at 3.1m yesterday morning – that’s below the 4.46m level reached during the disastrous 2011 floods. But since then, a ‘rain bomb’ has dropped even more of the wet stuff, so the river is expected to peak at around 4m at 7am this morning. About 180km north in Gympie, the Mary River exceeded 23m yesterday morning, surpassing the 1999 flood, which got to 21.95m. Flash-flooding alerts were issued across the region and down to the Gold Coast as authorities pleaded with residents to stay home/off the roads. And across the border in NSW, heavy rain overnight has raised evacuation and major flood warnings for Lismore, Mullumbimby, and communities along the Clarence and Tweed rivers. Flooding there is expected into this week as water from Queensland heads south.

No. Brisbane is situated along a river and there is a lot of housing in low-lying areas – it can’t be made flood-proof. You might be thinking of the debate following the 2011 floods and the criticism of the management of the Wivenhoe Dam – the source of half of Brissie’s drinking water and the largest dam in southeast Queensland. In 2011, it was found that releases from Wivenhoe contributed to the flooding that inundated 28,000 homes in the city. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said improvements to the dam and its management mean it’s not the same situation. Last night, Wivenhoe reached 180% capacity, up from 59% on Thursday. However, officials say more than half of its flood storage capacity is still available. 

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

An update on Russia’s war on Ukraine

• Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to put its nuclear forces on high alert in response to criticism and sanctions. “Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” he said overnight. Worldwide weekend protests won’t make Putin feel any better… One expert said it may be a “preliminary command” that does not mean Russia is planning a nuclear strike anytime soon.

• In a positive development overnight, Ukraine President/pep-talk captain Volodymyr Zelensky says that talks will happen with delegations from Ukraine and Russia to meet on the border with Belarus. He did not confirm the time or place.

• On the war’s progress, Russia has been unable to take control of the capital Kyiv or the country’s 2nd largest city Kharkiv. Reports say that the attacks on both cities have been repelled by Ukraine’s fighters. Ukraine claims 4,300 Russians and at least 200 local civilians and troops have died – this has not been verified. And the United Nations refugee agency says that 368,000 people have fled Ukraine so far.

World News

Robbed of a Rudd return

This morning, the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age reports that former PM Kevin Rudd was looking to return to federal politics via a run in the upcoming election. The report says he told senior Labor figures he wanted to contest the federal Queensland seat of Fairfax – a plan that “sent panic through the highest ranks of the party”. He was ultimately dissuaded from mounting a run by senior party officials, including leader Anthony Albanese, because he would be “an unwelcome distraction”. For Rudd’s part, his office says he was asked to consider contesting the seat, but he “politely rejected” invitations. So that’s a no to Kevin 3.0… Things are hotting up with an election due by 21 May. This morning’s Newspoll has Labor maintaining a 55-45 2-party lead over the Coalition. Satisfaction with PM Scott Morrison increased to 43% (up 3 points), while Albanese rose 4 points to 44%. Morrison remains the preferred prime minister on 42% (down one point) while Albanese lifted 2 points to 40%.


Queen Elizabeth still crook with COVID

The Queen has cancelled an annual event at Windsor Castle as she continues her recovery from COVID. She was due to host hundreds of foreign diplomats, and according to Buckingham Palace, the event was postponed on advice from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. No details were given about why the event was canned, but it may not be entirely down to the coronavirus… Reports suggest that it’s linked to what’s happening in Ukraine and an assessment that the Queen’s gathering of international representatives might not be the most appropriate thing to do right now… But the work of the royals continues and Princess Anne will be the first royal to visit Australia in 3.5 years when she opens the Royal Sydney Easter Show in April. Giddy-up…

World News

Warren Buffett takes aim at ‘bloviated’ bull market

A giant of American business and investment, Warren Buffett is famously known for advice against investing in a business you can’t understand. Caution has remained the hallmark of the 91yo’s success, and now he’s told shareholders that “we find little that excites us” in the market. Last year, profits at Berkshire Hathaway rose 25% to a record $27.46 billion – but Buffett is holding onto the returns, for now. “Deceptive ‘adjustments’ to earnings – to use a polite description – have become more frequent and more fanciful as stocks have risen,” he says. “Speaking less politely, I would say that bull markets breed bloviated bull….” In order words, those who are talking a big game and “are motivated by ever-changing headlines, chatter and promises” are not getting his support. Hello, Elon Musk

Business & Finance

Vale John Landy

Australian sporting legend John Landy has died at 91 from Parkinson’s disease. The athletics star was the 2nd man in the world to break the 4-minute mile – which involves running 1.6kms really fast… Landy is best remembered for 2 things. The first is a moment of sportsmanship at the 1956 Track and Field Championships in Melbourne. Several athletes fell, including junior 1,500m world-record holder Ron Clarke. Landy stopped to check if Clarke was ok before rejoining the race to win in 4:04. In 1999, it was voted the “Finest Sporting Moment of the Century” by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. And the second is his rivalry with English runner Roger Bannister. Sebastian Coe, the World Athletics President/2-time gold medallist in the 1,500m, said Landy and Bannister were the sport’s pioneers. Off the track, Landy studied agricultural science, wrote 2 books on natural history, and was the 26th Governor of Victoria from 2001-06.

Australian News Sport

Apropos of Nothing

An American woman has turned a bingle into a $25,000 lottery win. Using numbers from the license plate of her damaged vehicle, she was a winner. And she’s put a deposit down on a new convertible.

It’s been 3 years since the world has been able to tune into some bald eagle action livestreamed from Washington DC’s Arboretum. But Mr President and LOTUS are back, they’re expecting, and the camera is on.

Those who live by the ethos that a good haircut involves ‘business’ at the front and ‘party’ at the back gathered in the NSW Hunter Valley for Mulletfest 2022. There are only 2 words for it: picture gallery.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.30am (AEDT) – A state funeral for rugby league great John Raper is held at the SCG – Sydney

ABS Data Release – Business Indicators, December 2021; Retail Trade, January 2022

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases its 2022 Climate Change Report

Public hearings for the coronial inquest into the 2019-2020 NSW bushfires resume – Sydney

Screen Actors Guild Awards – Santa Monica

Stella Prize 2022 longlist announced

Rare Disease Day

Anniversary of:
• Francis Crick and James Watson discovering the chemical structure of DNA (1953)
• Egypt marks 100 years of independence from the United Kingdom (1922)
• the end of the Gulf War after Iraq accepted a ceasefire following their retreat from Kuwait (1991)

Squiz the Day

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.