Squiz Today / 28 April 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 28 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

The easy news hit. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
16 / 25
MEL
15 / 23
BNE
18 / 27
ADL
17 / 28
PER
13 / 21
HBA
14 / 22
DRW
25 / 32
CBR
11 / 19

Squiz Sayings

​​“Critics absolutely serve no purpose.”

Said actress Viola Davis after copping flack for her turn as former First Lady Michelle Obama. She says playing someone so well known is “almost impossible” because everyone has a view about whether “you’re doing too much or not enough”. And, as you know, everyone’s a critic…

Inflation soars to highest rate in 20 years

THE SQUIZ

If you’ve bought anything in the last few months, you don’t need us to tell you this – but prices rose by 2.1% in the first 3 months of the year, taking the annual inflation rate to 5.1%. It’s the highest level since the introduction of the GST in 2000, and well above expectations. It’s also more evidence of the rising cost of living pressures Aussies are experiencing – one of the key issues of the election.

WHAT’S DRIVING INFLATION SO HIGH?

The Bureau of Statistics said the biggest contributor to the rising cost of living is soaring petrol prices, which have risen 11% in a year, fuelled by the war in Ukraine. You’ll remember at the end of March, the Morrison Government has introduced – supported by Labor – a cut in the fuel excise rate to knock 22 cents/litre off the price. Also up are university fees (6.3%), as are new homes (5.7%). Groceries are 4% more expensive due to higher costs of transport, COVID supply chain issues and the floods in eastern Oz. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the stats don’t pick up the halving of the fuel excise, which Treasury anticipates will knock 0.25 percentage points off the inflation rate.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe will mull it over ahead of the board meeting next Tuesday when it looks at the official interest rate. There has been the expectation that rates will go up in June, but this higher-than-expected result makes a May move a possibility. If that were to occur, it would happen during week 4 of the election campaign, which is not on Team Morrison’s campaign wish list and it comes with bad juju… The last time interest rates went up during a campaign was in 2007 when the Coalition led by John Howard lost. Labor’s Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers says Morrison and Frydenberg are “out of plans and out of time” as he laid out their plan to manage the economy yesterday. But Frydenberg called on voters to trust in the Coalition’s economic management. “This is not a time to put at risk the gains we have made. This is a time for strength and stability,” he said yesterday.

Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

China accused of meddling in the election

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews reckons China deliberately timed the announcement of its security alliance with Solomon Islands to injure the Coalition’s chances at the election. “I mean we talk about political interference and that has many forms,” she said yesterday. Labor scoffed at the inference, with Labor’s Defence spokesman Brendan O’Connor saying she was “embarking on flights of conspiratorial fantasy” and called on Andrews to provide proof. Earlier in the day, top spy boss Andrew Shearer said that the Solomons deal wasn’t a result of intelligence failure but something that has been unfolding for a while. Given China’s regional ambitions, he said “there were signs of this well over a decade ago and we’ve seen this building.” He also warned that Chinese police could incite violence and instability in the Pacific nation.

AusPol

Suu Kyi gets another 5 years in jail

Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to another 5 years jail for corruption. It’s the latest verdict in a series of secret military-run trials following the coup in February 2021. It’s not known where the 76yo is being held and she hasn’t been seen in public for 15 months. Suu Kyi has been charged and found guilty of several criminal offences, including voter fraud and inciting dissent against the military. The court hearings, which have been dismissed as a sham by rights groups, have been closed to the public and media and her lawyers are forbidden from speaking to journalists. Yesterday, the court found her guilty of taking a US$600,000 bribe in the form of cash and gold bars from the mayor of Yangon. It takes her total prison sentence to 11 years, and with more charges pending, she could spend the rest of her life in jail. Suu Kyi’s economic adviser – Aussie Sean Turnell – is still in detention and facing trial for allegedly breaching the official secrets act.

World News

Singapore executes Malaysian drug smuggler

The Asian nation’s strict anti-drugs policy is in sharp focus after it executed an intellectually impaired Malaysian man yesterday. Nagaenthran Dharmalingam had been on death row for 13 years after he was arrested in 2009 for attempting to smuggle heroin. He was assessed by a medical expert to have an intellectual disability, which his supporters argued should spare him from capital punishment. But the Singaporean Government said he “clearly understood the nature of his acts”, prompting British billionaire/advocate Richard Branson to label his execution as a “dark stain on Singapore’s international reputation.” At the end of his final, failed court appeal, Nagaenthran and his family reached through a gap in a glass screen to grasp each other’s hands tightly and wept, his cries of “ma” could be heard in the courtroom. The 34yo had his picture taken in his favourite clothes which were provided by his family before he was hanged at first light inside Changi prison.

Crime World News

Stranded in the outback

Sure, the weather experts are talking about La Niña Part III, but Australia is occupied dealing with the second consecutive wet weather pattern – and none more so at the moment than those in western Queensland… “Monsoonal-like” rain began falling on Saturday delivering 5 times the average April rainfall to some areas. Barcaldine, Blackall, Winton and Longreach all recorded their wettest April day in decades. The area has been through a dry stretch, so local farmers are pretty happy about it. Not so pleased are travellers on the Oodnadatta Track in South Oz… Heavy rain in the state’s far north has left 80 travellers stranded on the Oodnadatta Track with their vehicles and caravans becoming bogged – some have been stuck for 5 nights. And more rain is on the way… Locals say with more extreme weather events likely, there’ll need to be better telco infrastructure and more rescue crews to keep people safe.

Australian News Weather

Watch out, porked-up crocs about

Crikey… Scientists have looked into the explosion of saltwater crocodile populations in the Northern Territory over the last 50 years and reckon their dietary shift from marine prey to land-based animals is behind the rise. Don’t worry – their terrestrial buffet doesn’t include humans – it’s the abundance of feral pigs that’s seen them leave the water to chow down. As Homer Simpson always says, hmm bacon… Scientists from Charles Darwin University measured changes in ratios of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in croc bones and found evidence to support their increasing taste for swine dining. “Crocodiles have gone from a population of … probably a few thousand individuals across the top of Australia in the 1970s, to over 100,000 adults in the Northern Territory alone,” said Professor Hamish Campbell in one of the most terrifying sentences ever uttered. Who’s questioning the NT News’s extensive croc coverage now?

Australian News Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

Lime Cordiale, Paul Kelly, and Lismore’s own Grinspoon are 3 of the big names confirmed for a free concert for flood victims of the smashed city on 15 May. It’s free for locals, and there will be 1,000 tix for sale for those outside the nominated postcodes.

Singer/actor Harry Styles is a coverguy again – this time it’s for America’s Better Homes and Gardens. He loves a bit of domestic bliss, apparently…

We can’t quite believe we’re saying this, but we’re looking forward to the Barbie movie… Pics of Barbie herself (aka our Margot) were released yesterday. It also stars Will Ferrell, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, and America Ferrera. And it’s being directed by Greta Gerwig. Now you see where we’re coming from…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.00am (AEST) – Foreign Minister Marise Payne delivers a foreign policy address – Canberra

ABS Data Release – International Trade Price Indexes, March

Company Results – Coles, Newcrest Mining, Fortescue Metals Group

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Pay It Forward Day

2022 Stella prize winner announced

Birthdays for rocker Jimmy Barnes (1956), and actors Penelope Cruz (1974) and Jessica Alba (1981)

Anniversary of:
• Captain James Cook landing at Botany Bay (1770)
• the mutiny on HMS Bounty against William Bligh (1789)
• the death of Benito Mussolini (1945)
• the Port Arthur Massacre (1996)

Squiz the Day

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