Squiz Today / 19 May 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 19 May

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

Squiz Today Podcast

Your get-up-and-go news source. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

9 / 19
8 / 15
18 / 24
8 / 18
13 / 22
8 / 14
23 / 34
-1 / 15

Squiz Sayings

“I’ve become the most relaxed person in Tasmania.”

Said former premier Peter Gutwein of his newfound ‘nobody’ status after leaving the top job 6 weeks ago. It might be music to the ears of some candidates in Saturday’s federal election that there is life after politics…

Wages, inflation and COVID make quite the cocktail


New data released by the Bureau of Stats shows why many Aussies are coming up short each week. Wages grew 0.7% between January-March taking the annual rate to 2.4% – that’s well behind the 5.1% rise in prices over the same period. And just as we’re being encouraged to embrace ‘COVID-normal’ and get back to work/leisure/life, case numbers remain stubbornly high


It underlines that things remain tricky for the Aussie economy as we transition out of COVID. Wages are growing – but at a rate that’s slower than the average of 3.1% recorded since data started being published in 1998. Given analysts reckon a small proportion of workers in “market sensitive” occupations are getting large pay rises, it’s clear that not all workers have had that pay bump. But inflation is high, and that’s eroding our standard of living. “The disconnect between wage growth and inflation would be devastating for household budgets across the country,” economist Callam Pickering says. And if that’s not enough, COVID isn’t done with us yet… Last week, Oz was a world leader in per-capita COVID infections, and there are continuing disruptions to schooling, health services, sport, and workplaces across the country. Note: there are currently more than 380,000 active cases in Australia, according to yesterday’s update. 

HOW DOES THIS END?On wages growth, PM Scott Morrison says if we keep the economy chugging along and unemployment low, pay packets will be fatter in about 18 months. In the meantime, there’s the government’s measures to help with cost of living pressures. And he pledged not to return to pandemic-era lockdowns. “I will not drag Australia back to those times again, and I have noticed that Anthony Albanese is keen to get back to that type of approach,” he claimed. In response, the Labor leader said yesterday’s wage figures were a product of the PM’s mismanagement. “Australian workers are paying the price for a decade of bad policy,” he said. He also vowed to establish a national strategy to better deliver information about COVID to a pandemic-weary population and said the virus is still a “major issue”.

Business & Finance Health

Squiz the Rest

NSW announces second Folbigg inquiry

A 2nd public inquiry will be held into Kathleen Folbigg’s conviction over the deaths of her 4 infant children after the emergence of new scientific evidence. The 53yo has maintained her innocence despite her conviction in 2003, which was largely based on diary entries expressing her anxieties about motherhood. She says her scribblings were taken out of context. Folbigg was granted a public inquiry in 2018 which found there was no natural explanation for the deaths of the babies. But last year, scientists said at least 2 of the children carried a mutant gene that may have contributed to their deaths. That led 90 top doctors and scientists to sign a petition calling for Folbigg’s release. While acknowledging the “disbelief” from some in the community that she will get another chance to clear her name, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the new evidence “cannot be ignored”.


China plane crash was likely intentional

Flight data retrieved from the black box of a China Eastern Airlines flight that killed 132 people when it crashed in March indicates it was intentionally put into a nosedive, US media reported yesterday. The Boeing 737-800 was an hour into its domestic flight from Kunming to Guangzhou when it crashed near Wuzhou in Guangxi province after a horrifying 3-minute descent. According to US officials’ preliminary assessment (first reported in the Wall Street Journal), investigators haven’t found evidence of a technical malfunction. Rather, they say data from one of the plane’s black box flight recorders retrieved from the crash site suggests that the plane “did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit.” The airline has previously said the 3 pilots on board were qualified and in good health.

World News

India swelters through record-breaking heatwave

The mercury crept past 49C this week as residents in Delhi suffered through their 5th heatwave since March. The extreme pre-monsoon conditions are hitting the whole region, prompting warnings that sick and elderly people and babies need special care, which isn’t always easy.  “Poor people have fewer resources to cool down as well as fewer options to stay inside, away from the heat,” the United Nations’ Dr Chadi Singh said. While heatwaves are common in India in May and June, the sweaty season started in March. Meteorologists say big storms originating in the Mediterranean meant little pre-monsoon rainfall in India’s north – but global warming is a big factor, experts say. The effects are widespread: spikes in demand for power is leading to outages in many states, and farmers say their wheat harvest is stuffed.

Weather World News

Hello, old human…

Confession time: until yesterday, we hadn’t given our Homo sapien ancestors a whole lot of thought. We might have been away that day/week/month that it was taught at school, but this blew our minds… Researchers reckon they’ve found a tooth in a Laos cave that could be the first piece of evidence of the Denisovans in Southeast Asia. They were a sub-species of archaic humans who experts think lived to our north in modern-day Indonesia, all the way to Siberia, and west to Tibet – but they became extinct about 20,000 years ago. A bit is known about them because Denisovan DNA lives on in some humans today (let’s just say our ancestors liked to spread their wild oats across hominin species…). But there’s few pieces of physical evidence from them and this cave is just the 3rd site in the world where fossils have been found. There’s some tests to go before confirming it’s Denisovan, but researchers are excited. Pretty cool…

Environment & Science

Cody Simpson (butter)flying high

Popstar-turned-elite athlete Cody Simpson is heading to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest after finishing 3rd in the 100m butterfly finals at the Australian Swimming Championships yesterday. The 25yo – who left behind his LA-life and music career to give swimming a proper crack – was beaten by defending champion Matt Temple and Olympic gold medallist Kyle Chalmers. The top 2 swimmers automatically qualify for the World Aquatics Championships in June, but with Chalmers not attending, Simpson – who hit the block in the mandated qualifying time of 51.96 seconds – has claimed his spot. “I’ve just put in the hours all year, just trying to make some progress and I didn’t expect this much progress so soon,” he said last night. Meanwhile, Shayna Jack made her return to top-level swimming after serving a 2-year ban for doping. She’ll be joining Simpson in Birmingham and Budapest after coming equal 2nd in the 100m freestyle final yesterday. 


Apropos of Nothing

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, April

Company Results – Aristocrat Leisure

Company AGM – Woodside Petroleum

World IBD Day

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Dame Nellie Melba (1861), Ho Chi Minh (1890), Malcolm X (1925), Pol Pot (1925), and Nora Ephron (1941)
• the deaths of Anne Boleyn (1536), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1994)
• the founding of Save the Children, the first global movement for children (1919)
• Sri Lanka announcing victory in its 25-year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (2009)
• the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (2018)

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.