Squiz Today / 16 November 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 16 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Stand your butt up.”

Things got pretty heated in Washington when a fight nearly broke out between US Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin and union official Ted O’Brien who was giving evidence to a committee. Mullin challenged O’Brien to a duel – before committee chair Bernie Sanders stopped the whole alpha-male thing from spiralling…

There’s a hole in our pocket…

The Squiz

It might not feel like it, but Australia has notched the fastest quarterly wage growth since records began 26 years ago. Yesterday, the Bureau of Stats said wages rose 1.3% in the July-September quarter – mostly off the back of increases to the minimum wage and new financial year pay negotiations that factored in a pay bump to reflect our high inflation rate. The private sector saw the highest wage growth of 4.2%, while public sector wages grew 3.5%. But it’s not all good news… Economist Callam Pickering says wages “are still down around 7% from their peak and are hovering around their lowest level in 13 years”.

Is that why I’m not rolling in cash?

That’s part of it… To explain, Australia’s inflation rate came in at 5.6% in September. The Reserve Bank wants it to get down to 2-3%, which is why it’s hiked interest rates to a 12-year high of 4.35%. Mortgage holders don’t need a reminder, but that’s hitting Aussies’ back pockets in the form of bigger mortgage payments/rent costs. And to Pickering’s point about inflation’s effect on wages, analysis by the Financial Review (paywall) shows that Australia has recorded the largest decline to disposable household income in the developed world over the past year. 

So when will I start to get ahead?

According to the experts, the current situation is not likely to change until the end of 2024… And that’s something that’s been a big focus at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco this week… Global finance and trade ministers have been meeting ahead of the leaders’ gathering at the end of the week – Trade Minister Don Farrell used the occasion to say he’s “very confident” that China’s trade restrictions will be removed by Christmas. Speaking of… Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden are just heading into their long-awaited face-to-face meeting this morning. With a lot riding on it, reports say the pair have trade, human rights, the issue of Taiwan’s independence, climate agreements and the China-US drug trade on the agenda. Just a bit to talk through, then…

Australian News Business & Finance Economy

Squiz the Rest

Israel moves on Gaza hospital

Israel has raided the largest hospital in Gaza, and it call a “precise and targeted operation” is ongoing this morning. It believes Hamas is using the Al-Shifa hospital as a command centre, and since mid-yesterday our time, its troops have been searching for Hamas infrastructure and “terrorist means”. It’s impossible to get verified/independent information from there, but Israeli officials say they told hospital authorities of the plan to search the facility and have delivered medical aid, including incubators, baby food and medical supplies. Palestinian officials, the heads of United Nations several agencies and some regional leaders condemned the raid, warning that it risked lives. But overnight, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu brushed off concerns saying that there is “no place in Gaza that we will not reach.” He says the elimination of Hamas and return of the hostages “are 2 sacred missions.”

World News

A cyber update that won’t crash your system…

Australia’s had a rough 12 months for cybersecurity – and it’s not about to get any easier… The Australian Signals Directorate’s cyber threat report came out yesterday, reiterating that our high levels of internet connectivity and relative wealth make us a target for cybercrime. As for who’s coming at us, China was named as the major backer of serious hacking exploits. The Albanese Government appointed National Cyber Security Coordinator Darren Goldie mid this year to spearhead efforts, but he has been recalled to his home department of Defence to deal with a “workplace matter”. No further details were made available on that… And critical infrastructure related – we have an explanation of sorts for the Optus meltdown last week. According to an unnamed engineer, a software update at parent company Singtel (based in Singapore) resulted in the Optus network crashing for 16 hours of mayhem. Oopsie…

Australian News Business & Finance Crime Technology

Preppin’ for a scorcher

We’ve known for a while that we’re due to have a sweaty summer, and now our energy chiefs have given us permission to turn the air-con on… The Australian Energy Market Operator says even though El Nino means we’re in for a once-in-a-decade surge in electricity demand – extra rooftop solar and wind farms means, in theory, we’ll be a-ok for supply. But there is a catch – the system can’t afford any unexpected breakdowns (think ageing coal-fired power stations going offline), and if there are, Victoria and South Australia are at risk of blackouts.  Scientists are also continuing to warn us about rising temps around the world – researchers reckon 5 times as many people could die of heat-related causes by 2050. And in the US, it’s Fifth National Climate Assessment warns greenhouse gas emissions need to fall much faster to reduce severe weather events. So it’s a mixed bag, then…

Australian News Weather

Aussie words and puking birds

The Australian National Dictionary Centre has chosen ‘Matilda’ as its 2023 word of the year. While it’s an obvious nod to our women’s national soccer team and their wonderful World Cup run, the centre said the word has a “great and long history in Australian English”. Featured in Banjo Patterson’s famous ballad Waltzing Matilda, it’s a slang word for a swag (the outdoor sleeping bag, not the aura of confidence…). And speaking of winners, a New Zealand competition has crowned its bird of the century. After a huge effort from talk show host/self-appointed campaign manager John Oliver, the pūteketeke blew its competitors out of the air. The threatened species is known for its predisposition for grunting, vomiting, and strange mating rituals. The poor kiwi – or our favourite, the kākāpō –  never stood a chance…

Australian News Environment & Science Quirky News

All hail Queen Kylie

Ms Minogue took home her first pointy trophy in 21 years at last night’s ARIAs. She wasn’t there in person to accept the award for Best Pop Release for her earworm Padam Padam, but she thanked Aussies for the “unbelievable” win. “Padam to you, Padam to everyone,” she said. Aussie singer/actor Troye Sivan (who is probably still recovering from Timotheé Chalamet’s SNL impersonation) shone bright, taking home 4 ARIAs, including Song of the Year for Rush. And Canberra’s Genesis Owusu claimed 2 trophies, including Album of the Year. You can browse the list of winners here, and here’s the red carpet gallery. Sidebar: you know you’re getting old when you don’t recognise more than a few of them…

Australian News Entertainment

Apropos of nothing

“How Kendall Roy of him,” said one internet wag after actor Leonardo DiCaprio was videoed rapping at his star-studded 49th birthday party. And just for kicks, here’s Kendall’s iconic ‘L to the OG’ performance – one of TV’s greatest musical moments…

After Patrick Dempsey’s belated Sexiest Man Alive win last week, the surprises continued after reality star/businesswoman Kim Kardashian was named GQ’s Man of the Year. “Huh?” was the general reaction… 

And a rare collection of memorabilia from the late muso/fashion icon Prince is up for auction. Featuring iconic pieces like the ruffled white shirt worn during his 1985 AMAs performance of Purple Rain, the entire catalogue here

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.30pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final – Australia v South Africa – Kolkata, India

8.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s Soccer – World Cup Qualifier – Australia v Bangladesh – Melbourne

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, October

Company shareholder meeting – Sonic Healthcare; Mineral Resources; Seven Group Holdings; REA; Mirvac; Northern Star Resources; Altium

AIHW Release – Head injuries in Australia 2020-21

World Sanfilippo Awareness Day

International Day of Tolerance

World Philosophy Day

First part of the final season of The Crown premieres on Netflix

Anniversary of:
• the foundation of Havana after Cuba moved its capital to avoid mosquito infestations (1519)
• New Zealand officially becoming a separate colony within the British Empire, severing its link to New South Wales (1840)
• the founding of Qantas (1920)
• the founding of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (1945)
• Milli Vanilli being stripped of their Grammy Award because they did not sing on the Girl You Know It’s True album (1990)
• the first case of SARS virus recorded in China, though it wasn’t identified until later (2002)
• the debut of Lionel Messi for FC Barcelona (2003)

Squiz the Day

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