Squiz Today / 26 October 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 26 October

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

12 / 19
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6 / 14
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Squiz Sayings

“I was following an oversized load… and I looked up and a giraffe was looking at me.”

Said one shocked motorist who spotted a giraffe on the Hume Highway yesterday morning. It wasn’t on the loose – the creature was being transported from Queensland to Victoria’s Werribee Open Range Zoo. Hopefully the unusual sight didn’t cause a giraffic jam…

Setting the scene for a state dinner

The Squiz 

PM Anthony Albanese is about to sit down with US President Joe Biden and other dignitaries for a state dinner in the White House. He was already treated to a rare private dinner with the President this week, but the state dinner’s a notable event because they’re hard to come by…  Albanese’s the third Aussie leader to have one held in their honour over the past 20 years. And it’s also the fourth Biden’s held as America’s leader… He and First Lady Dr Jill Biden hosted French President Emmanuel Macron last December, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in April (who surprised with an impromptu karaoke performance of ‘American Pie’), and India’s PM Narendra Modi in June. We probably shouldn’t expect Albanese to commandeer the piano for a rendition of his go-to karaoke song – there’s a somber backdrop to proceedings given the Israel-Hamas war.

Gimme the deets…

Firstly, the B-52s have been canned in favour of the President’s Marine Band and the Army and Air Force Strolling Strings. Dr Biden, who’s in charge of the event’s set-up, said things have been toned down “in a time when so many are facing sorrow and pain”. But it’s still a bit fancy. There are plenty of preview photos showing the pavilion erected on the South Lawn of the White House will be decked out in floral arrangements of eucalyptus from Oz and roses from the US. For the catering, Dr Biden said she was “inspired to bring together the vibrant Australian spring and crisp American Autumn”. Well-known US chef Katie Button is behind the menu featuring butternut squash (ahem, pumpkin…) soup, roasted beet salad, sarsaparilla-braised short ribs, and hazelnut and chocolate mousse cake for dessert. As for who’s coming, that’s still shrouded in mystery with rumours Aussie stars Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have been invited… 

Sounds fancy, but what about business?

You’re right – it’s not all fine dining and dressing up. Albanese and Biden have met overnight and held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden this morning. There a huge list of the things we’re working on, but security in the Asia-Pacific region was the big agenda item – they didn’t say it, but that relates to China and its expanding role in our backyard. There are plans to deepen the countries’ defence ties, even beyond the AUKUS submarines deal, as we work together to build maritime infrastructure and lay undersea cables to strengthen internet connectivity. And we’ll do more in the space industry with Australia set to cut its restrictions on commercial rocket launches. From here, Albanese will have meetings with officials at the Pentagon – the headquarters of the Department of Defence – before returning home.

AusPol World News

Squiz the Rest

A rate hike coin toss

Strap yourself in because the latest quarterly inflation stats are out, and they’re not where we wanted them to be… Prices rose 1.2% in the July-September quarter, bringing the annual inflation rate to a still-too-high 5.4%. The main culprits were petrol, electricity, rents, and the costs of buying a home – those contributed to an increase higher than the 1.1% expected. As for what it means, earlier this week, Governor Michele Bullock said the Reserve Bank board “will not hesitate to rate the cash rate further if there is a material upward revision to the outlook for inflation.” But Treasurer Jim Chalmers put his spin on it yesterday, saying the figures are “consistent with our expectations. It doesn’t materially change the inflation outlook going forward.” Economists are now split on whether the Reserve Bank will raise interest rates in its upcoming 7 November meeting. Until then…

Australian News Business & Finance

Gaza’s health system on the brink

Hospitals in the Palestinian territory will collapse unless the fuel needed to power generators is delivered within hours. That’s according to the World Health Organization, which has been critical of Israel for not allowing any fuel into Gaza since this conflict started. Israel says it fears it would be seized by Hamas and used for its terror operations. But doctors inside the territory’s hospitals are painting a grim picture, including overcrowded facilities and rationed medical supplies. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is also embroiled in a controversy –  yesterday he condemned the Hamas attacks on Israel, adding that it was “important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum” – that is “the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.” Israeli officials have responded with outrage, calling on Guterres to resign and saying they will refuse visas to key UN officials.

World News

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Even if you’ve wiped the COVID years from your memory, it’s hard to forget the Ruby Princess – the cruise ship that disembarked in Sydney and was responsible for the first big wave of disease in Australia. The spread of the virus on the ship also left 28 people dead in the early days of the pandemic. Yesterday, passengers from the cruise in question won a class action against operator Carnival Australia – the Federal Court ruled that it was negligent and in breach of its duty of care towards passengers. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Vicky Antzoulatos, said was was “the first successful cruise ship class action in the world” and that other operators “will be paying attention to this case”. As for Carnival, it said it’s considering the findings. “The pandemic was a difficult time in Australia’s history, and we understand how heartbreaking it was for those affected.”

Australian News Health

Lonely, not alone

It’s one of the most common problems in the world today, with one in 4 adults saying they feel lonely some or most of the time. The big survey by research firm Gallup in more than 140 countries found people aged +65yo actually didn’t feel that alone (17%), but young people in their 20s fared much worse, with 27% feeling very or fairly lonely. It’s an insight that explains why America’s top health official is getting around the nation’s colleges to encourage youngsters to prioritise their mates. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has declared loneliness an epidemic in the US – he says that feelings of isolation can be as bad for us as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, along with increasing the risk of dementia and heart attacks. There is a silver lining from a recent Oz report finding that pets brought big mental health benefits to people locked down during COVID. 


The music must not go on

Many would consider themselves Céline Dion fans, but some residents in the Kiwi city of Porirua never want to hear her powerhouse vocals again… The French-Canadian superstar has become the unlikely artist of choice for blokes running so-called ‘speaker battles’… The battles involve cars decked out in loudspeakers cruising at night to compete with each other to produce the best sound. Dion’s songs are a favourite because lots of her music has high frequency and little bass. But local residents aren’t happy about the noise and have launched a petition calling on authorities to shut the battles down. One of the battle organisers says he feels that’s “unfair” and it’s “better than night clubbing or drinking in a bar in the city”. Sometimes people just want to sleep without feeling like they’re on a sinking ship

Quirky News World News

Apropos of nothing

Florida billionaire Ken Griffin is busy constructing what could become the world’s most expensive home. Estimated to cost US$1.7 billion, the 27-acre waterfront property is the largest block in Palm Beach. Something you can’t put a price on: having former US President Donald Trump as your neighbour…

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have found themselves the target of another popular US cartoon series. This time, the Family Guy is poking fun at the duo, with a butler bringing them a Netflix royalty cheque as they lounge poolside at their mansion. 

And one man’s dating dilemma has gone viral on social media after he shared that his repulsed girlfriend had discovered his ‘yellow pillow’. Ratty pillow fans jumped to the man’s defence, but at least that’s his Christmas gift sorted… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00pm (AEDT) – Women’s Soccer – Olympic Qualifier – Australia v Iraq – Perth

Four people face court for murder of Cassius Turvey in WA’s Supreme Court – Perth

Company shareholder meetings – Woolworths Group; Wesfarmers; Cricket Australia; Ansell; Boral; South32; Whitehaven Coal

National Farmers Federation Annual Conference – Canberra

Austria’s National Day

World Amyloidosis Day

Birthdays for Hillary Clinton (1947), Keith Urban (1967), Seth MacFarlane (1973), and Guy Sebastian (1981)

Anniversary of:
• the first use of a lead (graphite) pencil (1492)
• the eradication of smallpox, with the last natural case of smallpox discovered in Somalia (1977)
• the release of the film The Terminator (1984)
• Jacinda Ardern being sworn in as PM of New Zealand, becoming the world’s youngest female head of government (2017)
• the death of ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria by US Special Forces (2019)
• the Uluru climb ban coming into force (2019)

Squiz the Day

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