Squiz Today / 10 August 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 10 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I was slinging and slinging, he was striking and striking, and he just kept hanging on.”

Said a Texas woman as she recounted being attacked by a snake and a hawk at the same time. The 64yo was mowing her lawn when the bird accidentally dropped the serpent on her before swooping down to retrieve its snack. Get that woman a lottery ticket…

Billions in the (Comm)bank…

The Commonwealth Bank has posted a record $10.2 billion profit off the back of rising interest rates while warning they are starting to bite its customers… Australia’s largest bank released its financial results for the 2022-23 financial year yesterday, showing its profit could have been as much as $15.6 billion if provisions for bad/doubtful debts (aka the money it holds for loans that mortgagees might not be able to service) weren’t counted. CBA boss Matt Comyn – who received a handsome bonus for the result – said higher interest rates were slowing the economy and “we are near the end of the rate-hike cycle”. But when it comes to rates coming down, he said that’s “still some time off for customers who are doing it tough at the moment.”

It sure is, which is why the bank was at pains to say that its profit margin decreased between the first and second halves of the financial year as interest rates increased. And given the slowing economy, Comyn said profits could slide further. That’s because of the state of the economy and where consumers find themselves along with steep competition for new customers. The bank released data yesterday showing that at least 3.4% of its variable interest rate owner-occupier mortgage holders are currently spending more than they’re bringing in – with younger Aussies shown to be struggling the most). Comyn said the bank is “closely monitoring the impact of reduced discretionary spend, particularly on our small and medium-sized business customers”.

It’s all happening… The Italian Government has shocked its banks by dealing them a one-off 40% tax on their record profits. It’s “to punish banks’ unfair behaviour” for not passing on higher interest rates to depositors. In the US, bank stocks also took a hit after ratings agency Moody’s downgraded several banks after analysing their credit quality and flagged more might be on the chopping block. Having good quality credit is essential – watch The Big Short about the Global Financial Crisis to discover what happens when things go bad… And in China, consumer prices have fallen for the first time in 2 years thanks to weakened demand for Chinese-made goods at home and abroad. All of that adds up to an economic climate as unsettled as we were when we found out that crocodiles talk to each other

Reporting season is well and truly heating up – our latest Squiz Shortcut takes you through what it’s all about and why it matters.

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

A kick in the gut

Erin Patterson, the Gippsland woman who hosted a lunch on 29 July that left 3 dead and another fighting for his life, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the suspected mushroom ­poisoning. But reports point to a mystery gut illness that ­almost killed her estranged husband Simon Patterson twice last year. He was due to join the lunch party that killed his parents Don and Gail Patterson and aunt Heather Wilkinson but pulled out at the last minute. Reports also say police are examining a food dehydrator found at a local rubbish tip in connection with the poisonings. Mushrooms are most abundant in autumn and it’s possible to dehydrate them for later use, but Erin Patterson says she bought the mushrooms from a local store. Police haven’t commented on these latest developments.

Australian News Crime

A payout in connection to the Tyrrell case

A man falsely accused in the William Tyrrell case will be paid $1.5 million after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal said he was the victim of the “worst case” of malicious prosecution the state has ever seen. William Spedding was first identified as a ‘person of interest’ in 2015 – a year after the toddler disappeared from his foster grandmother’s house on the NSW Mid-North Coast. Spedding successfully sued the state last year after a court found detectives had arrested him in front of TV cameras on other historical charges to try to “crack him”. The NSW Government tried to get that decision overturned, but the decision was upheld, and police were warned that the stunt should never be repeated.

Australian News Crime

Barrier bleaching and fierce fires

The Great Barrier Reef just can’t cop a break… Even though 2022 was a cooler year for our oceans, there was mass bleaching of the Reef’s coral. That’s the 4th time it’s happened in 7 years. Scientists are alarmed that the La Niña weather pattern didn’t bring respite – especially with warmer ocean temps expected again this summer. The report card from marine scientists comes just a week after UNESCO said the Reef wouldn’t be added to its ‘in danger’ list – but is still under ‘serious threat’ because of climate change. Also under serious threat are people on Hawaii’s Big Island and Maui. “Unprecedented” wildfires have forced evacuations – people have also had to jump into the ocean to escape danger. Hawaii Governor Josh Green says there will be deaths from the fire that has destroyed big parts of Maui’s historic Lāhainā township.

Australian News Environment & Science World News

Walking back a popular health claim

Getting in 10,000 steps a day has long been touted as central to an active lifestyle – but a major new study has welcome news for those who struggle to hit the mark… After analysing the exercise and health data of 226,889 people taken from 17 existing studies from around the world, US and Polish researchers found those who took at least 3,967 steps a day had a reduced risk of dying prematurely from any cause. And those who got in at least 2,337 steps on the reg had a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. But before you bin the pedometer, researchers say the health benefits continue to improve significantly the more you walk each day. That’s true for people of any age, gender and country, though under-60yos get the most benefits. And 20,000 steps was named the ideal daily target, so good luck with that…


Who run the world?

Fellas, take the back seat… For the first time in its history, MTV’s Video Music Awards (aka the VMAs) have nominated all women for its Artist of the Year category. The nominees are Beyoncé, Doja Cat, KAROL G, Nicki Minaj, Shakira, and, of course, Taylor Swift (better luck next year, DJ Crazy Times…). There had been best female and best male artist awards up until 2017 when the VMAs combined them into one best artist category – but in 2023, the blokes didn’t make the cut. Swift had another stellar year with nods across 8 categories, making her the most nominated artist of the year. SZA followed close behind with 6 noms, and even though she wasn’t in the top artist category, her single Kill Bill was on the list for best video and best song. The VMAs will be held mid-next month.


Apropos of nothing

An Aussie woman’s claim she was unfairly sacked from her job was dismissed after an analysis of her laptop revealed “significant periods” with no keyboard activity as she worked from home. One of the former insurance worker’s responsibilities was WFH compliance…

A British tourist was outraged after a bar in Italy’s Lake Como charged him €2 to cut a toasted sandwich in half so he could share it with a mate. Going to Italy with a big appetite is always a good idea…

And a new study has found that young people are more likely to fall while they’re texting and walking than when they’re just walking. Science, eh?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Ecuador’s National Day

Company Results – AGL; AMP; Boral; QBE Insurance

World Lion Day

Darwin Festival begins (until 27 August)

International Vlogging Day

International Update Your Bio Day

Birthdays for Antonio Banderas (1960), Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins (1962), and Kylie Jenner (1997)

Anniversary of:
• the Louvre palace officially opening in Paris as The Museum Central des Arts (1793)
• the marriage of Virginia Woolf and Leonard Woolf (1912)
• the release of Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album (1979)
• Ruth Bader Ginsburg being sworn in as a US Supreme Court Justice (1993)

Squiz the Day

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