Squiz Today / 28 July 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 28 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you get on your way.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“The gesture is so pure, so joyful … that is what makes it so good.”

Said one arty type of the sculpture (or more correctly, the “sculptural gesture”) created by Sydney artist Matthew Griffin on the ceiling of an Auckland art gallery. He’s thrown the pickle of a Macca’s cheeseburger up there. The gallery wants NZ$10,000 for it… 

On the up and up…

We’ve received another set of serious with the Bureau of Stats which confirms that ​​the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – aka how we measure inflation/price increases – rose 6.1% over the 12 months to the April-June quarter. That’s 0.2% below what the market was expecting, but it takes inflation to more than double what the Reserve Bank is targeting. The price of everything in the Bureau’s basket of goods and services went up during the quarter except education, which didn’t move. What went up in price a lot over the year: new homes (+20.3%) and vehicle fuel (+32.1%). So it totally sucks if you’re driving around looking for a new place to call your own…

The last time inflation was this high was from the introduction of the GST in mid-2000 – and it’s not quite the same because that was the result of tax reform, not tricky economic times. A better comparison is from 1990 when inflation ended up at 6.9% for the year, which brought on the “recession we had to have”. Back to the here and now, analysts say inflation is on track to hit 7% by the end of this year, but price rises will be bumpy. For example, oil prices are backing off a bit, meaning petrol prices should come down, but gas and electricity prices are set to continue to rise. And with the International Monetary Fund forecasting “gloomy and uncertain” economic times globally, it’s troubling territory for policymakers and consumers alike.

More interest rate rises. The Reserve Bank board meets next Tuesday to consider its next move and the experts say get ready for a 0.5% increase taking the official cash rate to 1.85% – and there will be more where that came from. Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned the Reserve Bank not to “overreach” by raising interest rates too aggressively. “For every dollar that people find to service their mortgages, every extra dollar, it means a dollar that can’t go to funding the skyrocketing costs of other essentials,” he said yesterday. Chalmers will be front and centre today with an update on the state of the economy, and he’s already warned us to be ready for some “confronting” news. The Coalition’s Treasury spokesman Angus Taylor says he gets there are global headwinds outside the new mob’s control, but “the challenge of government is to meet the challenges that come at you.”

AusPol Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Finally, an end to the Roberts-Smith defamation trial

After a mammoth 13-month stretch and an estimated $25 million in legal fees, the defamation trial instigated by war veteran Ben Roberts-Smith against The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times wrapped up in Sydney yesterday. He says a series of ­reports published in 2018 are defamatory because they aired claims he committed war crimes while serving in Afghanistan – allegations he denies. Nine Entertainment (which owned the 3 papers) says the claims aren’t defamatory because they are true. The trial heard from 41 witnesses and was delayed for 6 months due to COVID. Roberts-Smith’s lawyers say his client is a victim of jealous colleagues who wanted to destroy his reputation, while the defence says some of the evidence Roberts-Smith gave during the trial is lies. And it’s not over yet – Justice Anthony Besanko is not expected to hand down his judgment for several months.

Australian News Crime

Superpowers phone it in

US President Joe Biden is set to speak with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping today as the 2 superpowers face fresh tensions over Taiwan. It will be the pair’s 5th chat over the blower and their first in 4 months. The key agenda item: an unconfirmed visit to Taiwan by House Speaker/notable Beijing critic Nancy Pelosi in the coming weeks. If the trip goes ahead, it would be the first visit by a high-ranking US politician to the island since 1997. China – which considers Taiwan its own territory – yesterday said there would be “serious consequences” if Pelosi made the trip. The issue has divided the US Government, and the Biden administration is said to be attempting to dissuade Pelosi from going over national security concerns. Meanwhile, notable Republicans are offering her rare words of encouragement… Politics, eh?

World News

It’s not easy being Meta

It’s that time of the year when America’s big companies are updating investors about their performance, and this morning, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram is expected to report its first-ever revenue growth fall. That’s because it’s facing an exodus of younger users to newfangled apps like TikTok. As it continues to work on its ‘metaverse’, Meta has been rolling out Instagram upgrades, including the addition of the Reels feature that’s dominating users’ feeds. The move – which embeds the app’s shift away from photos and towards video content – hasn’t been embraced by everyone, with a post by users calling on Insta to “stop trying to be TikTok” going viral on Monday. And that’s not from nobodies – that’s the take of celebrity businesswomen Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. Meta’s share price is already down 50% this year – and the pair are, like, influential in the social space…

Business & Finance Technology

Megatrends revealed

The brainiacs at the CSIRO – Australia’s science research agency – have outlined their take on the ‘megatrends’ that will shape our lives in the coming decades. And look, there’s not a lot of… fun – except maybe that we’re going to become more digital, and that will unlock a new world of entertainment and retail options, as well as more ‘teles’ – telehealth, telework, you get the gist. On the serious stuff, adapting to climate change is the first electric cab off the rank, followed by living greener. Dealing with health challenges (think ageing populations, chronic illness, mental health, and unsustainable healthcare spending) and big geopolitical shifts are up there too. “We use the analogy of an ocean rip for a megatrend. The better you’re able to comprehend it and understand where it’s taking you, the better you’re able to respond and survive and thrive,” said CSIRO’s Dr Stefan Hajkowicz. The report comes out every 10 years – meet you back here in 2032?

Business & Finance Environment & Science

Buzzing over a jacket

Buzz Aldrin isn’t just a cool dude who was the 2nd man to walk on the Moon – he’s also a cinematographer, inventor and Guinness World Record holder for being the oldest person to have visited the North and South Poles. And now he’s got a new record to add to his list of achievements – the in-flight jacket he wore on the epic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969 has sold for almost US$2.8 million ($4 million). That’s the highest price for any American space-flown artefact sold at an auction. Sotheby’s Cassandra Hatton said the price reflects the item’s rarity as the “only flown garment from the Apollo 11 mission that is available to be purchased. The provenance is absolutely stellar if you’ll excuse the pun.” Also set to be rare – items from the International Space Station used by the Russians… Bad blood over the Ukraine War has seen Russia confirm that it’s pulling out after 2024


Apropos of Nothing

Scientists at the UK’s Natural History Museum have discovered more than 30 new weird and wacky deep-sea creatures after using a remotely-operated robot. They included a centipede-like invertebrate, a type of sea cucumber and a gummy squirrel

A new study has revealed that dogs can use their noses to see. To explain: unlike other animals that rely primarily on vision to see, man’s best friend’s sight and smell are connected, so they can use their scent to work out where things are. Clever things…

And Belgian scientists are investigating a tip-off from a local farmer that his pigs respond to different types of music. He claims they love to shake their bacon to energetic dance songs – rock music, not so much.

Environment & Science Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEST) – Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff gives his ‘State of the State’ address – Hobart

7.30pm (AEST) – Neighbours finale – live on 10

7.50pm (AEST) – NRL Round 20 – a depleted Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Sydney Roosters – Brookvale

Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivers a statement on the economy and budget outlook

ABS Data Release – International Trade Price Indexes, June; Retail Trade, June

Statehood Day in Ukraine

World Hepatitis Day

Independence Day in Peru

Birthdays for Garfield creator Jim Davis (1945), Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (1952), and acting President of Venezuela Juan Guaidó (1983)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of author Beatrix Potter (1866) and former FLOTUS Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929)
• the invention of the hamburger in Connecticut (1900)
• the beginning of WWI, after Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia (1914)
• the release of Walt Disney’s Alice In Wonderland (1951)
• the Provisional Irish Republican Army calling an end to their 30-year armed campaign in Northern Ireland (2005)

4.00am (AEST) – 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony – Birmingham – live on 7

Squiz the Day

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