Squiz Today / 24 February 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 24 February

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


Tweeted the Foo Fighters, who will be headlining Australia’s first full-capacity stadium concert since the start of the pandemic – that’s in Geelong on 4 March. Live music lovers have been waiting Everlong to get the show back on the road…

Questions about Putin’s next move in Ukraine


There is a lot of noise, but there are 2 major themes coming out of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine after Russia sent troops over the border earlier this week. The first is that sanctions from Western nations against Russia flew thick and fast yesterday. And the 2nd is about whether Russia will launch a fully-fledged war on Ukraine beyond the 2 eastern regions it occupied on Tuesday.


Fair enough. Yesterday, the US, European Union, the UK, Australia and many others announced a range of sanctions designed to hit Russia where it hurts – the hip pocket. Sanctions are punishments nations impose on other nations when they’re mucking up – like invading their neighbour. US President Joe Biden said the aim of the sanctions is to “cut off Russia’s government from Western financing.” The internationally coordinated response will do that by banning business with Russian banks and halting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a major Russian-German project. And sanctions have also been placed on powerful Russians who will be unable to travel or move their money outside of the country. But the West has stopped short of applying the most severe penalties that have been threatened over the last few weeks. That’s because there’s a belief that Russia is pulling a Deborah Conway


That it’s only the beginning… Those were Biden’s words – he says it’s his belief that Russia’s move into Donetsk and Luhansk – the regions of Ukraine that have been under the control of pro-Russian forces for the last 7 years – is “the beginning” of a bigger invasion of Ukraine, which could displace as many as 5 million people. That’s why the punishments announced yesterday are “the first tranche of sanctions,” Biden said, and he’s warned that more could come if Russia launches a larger military and territorial claim on Ukraine. European leaders will hold an emergency summit in Brussels later today to discuss how to respond to the crisis, while Ukraine is moving to impose a state of emergency, which will allow authorities to impose a curfew and stop big public gatherings. As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, he says “it’s impossible to forecast a specific pattern of action – it will depend on a concrete situation as it takes shape on the ground.”

Ukraine and Russia – now’s the time to get the backstory to this big news story. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back with #SquizShortcuts on the Ukraine-Russia relationship, and what the West and NATO has to do with it. You’re welcome…

World News

Squiz the Rest

Wild storms turn deadly

A 60yo woman has died in her car and a dozen people were trapped in floodwaters as wild weather lashed Queensland yesterday. More than 400mm of rain fell in the last couple of days near the already sodden region around Gympie – that’s almost 3 months of their average rainfall. Emergency Services received more than 100 requests for help up and down the Sunshine Coast since Tuesday – and there’s more to come… Fifteen of the state’s big dams are already overflowing as officials warned that another 300mm of rain could fall today. And residents from Maryborough to the Gold Coast and west to Toowoomba – get ready because there’s rain coming your way… South of the border, storms have caused havoc in Sydney with some parts receiving a month’s worth of rain in one day. Suburban streets were swamped, with authorities receiving 880 requests for support. The forecast: stormy weather for much of Australia’s east coast and across the north for the next bit.

Australian News Weather

Hongkongers get tested as England moves on

Authorities in Hong Kong have ordered its 7.5 million citizens to undergo mandatory COVID testing as its health system buckles under surging case numbers. The territory that has come more and more under Chinese control has been attempting to follow Beijing’s ‘COVID-zero’ policy, but Omicron has complicated matters… Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam says lockdowns are “not realistic”, so residents will be required to take 3 rounds of PCR tests at weekly intervals, and rapid antigen tests in between. As a result, it’s expected that many Hongkongers will have to stay in their tiny homes in the coming weeks… Speaking of isolation, that’s one of the COVID requirements set to be scrapped by England today in a world-first move. As part of UK PM Boris Johnson’s ‘living with COVID’ plan, all remaining restrictions will be lifted. Those with COVID have been urged to exercise the same caution as if they had the flu.

Health World News

Get it in your wallet

New Bureau of Statistics data released yesterday shows that wages have grown at their fastest pace in 3 years with the base rate of pay rising 2.3% in 2021. “Wage pressure continued to build over the December quarter for jobs with specific skills,” according to analyst Michelle Marquardt. Hospitality workers did the best with 3.5% more in their pay packets, while retail workers’ wages grew by 2.6% last year. The reality check is the 3.5% rise in prices last year – and that’s set to continue with Woolworths’ boss Brad Banducci yesterday predicting price rises in our supermarkets… In recent weeks as we trundle towards a federal election, union leaders have warned that they’ll step up industrial action to ensure that wages keep up with inflation. Economists predict that wage growth will take off this year, supported by lower unemployment and workers switching jobs and taking advantage of greater bargaining power. 

Business & Finance

Regrets – Phil Mickelson has a few…

Professional golfer Phil Mickelson has got himself in a pickle after he flirted with joining a breakaway competition funded by Saudi Arabia in order to “reshape” the PGA tour.  It’s been revealed that the American golfer told the writer of his unauthorised biography that the Saudi competition was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to gain leverage over those who run the existing tour, and that he thought the Saudi regime was “scary”. Fellow golfer Rory McIlroy described the comments as “naive, selfish, egotistical and ignorant.” So it’s no surprise that Mickelson – who is one of the greatest players in history – made a grovelling apology. He’ll take a break from the game “to work on the man I want to be.” The rival league is being led by Aussie legend Greg Norman’s golf company – but the $2.9 billion breakaway competition appears to be over before it began after failing to sign any players.


Before you go…

What happens in the last moments before we die has long been a secret to everyone but the dead. But scientists may have found the answer after an 87yo man with epilepsy died of a heart attack while undergoing a brain scan. It was the first time that human brain activity had been recorded during death, and a subsequent study by the University of Louisville into the results revealed that people may actually relive their lives in the seconds before they die. In the 30 seconds before and after the man’s final heartbeat, the scan picked up brain activity linked to memory retrieval, meditation and dreaming. It suggests that our lives may indeed flash before our eyes – something backed up by some who have had near-death experiences – or alternatively, the brain might enter a peaceful dream-like state. But scientists still aren’t certain, as more studies need to be done on the matter. Bags not volunteering for that…

Health Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

A new survey has revealed that one in 5 Aussies don’t lock their front doors. Keeping a key under the doormat’s fine through, right? 

And one Aussie baby was born a bit after 2pm yesterday. To be exactly, at 2.22pm on 22 February 2022. The day is unofficially celebrated by cricket fans as ‘Richie Benaud Day’, but Adelaide mum Jess Hamblen says the bonny boy will be named Levi. 

And in one of the weirdest stories we’ve seen this year, a Moreton Bay marriage celebrant is trying to locate a chicken “body double” to accompany her clients’ wedding rings down the aisle. The couple’s real feathered friend is unsuitable for the job for a simple reason – she’s “crazy”. Here’s hoping the banished bird can at least go to the hen’s party…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, December 2021; Average Weekly Earnings, November 2021

Company Results – Flight Centre; Qantas; Nine Entertainment; Ramsay Health Care; Brambles; TPG; Appen

Independence Day – Estonia

Birthdays for boxer Floyd Mayweather (1977) and tennis champ Lleyton Hewitt (1981)

Anniversary of:
• the sinking of the SS Gothenburg after hitting the Great Barrier Reef, killing approximately 100 (1875)
• the birthday of Steve Jobs (1955)
• the announcement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s engagement (1981)
• Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s wedding (1992)
• former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein being found guilty in New York following associations that ignited the #MeToo movement (2020)

Squiz the Day

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