Squiz Today / 03 March 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 3 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Coffee queue appropriate. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

SYD
19 / 24
MEL
18 / 30
BNE
23 / 28
ADL
19 / 33
PER
12 / 26
HBA
17 / 26
DRW
27 / 33
CBR
14 / 21

Squiz Sayings

“I used not to like some of the voices but now I cannot get enough of them. That’s how I was with avocados.”

Said one excellent Squizer in our annual check-in survey to a question about our podcasts. We adore avocado so we’ll take the compliment… (Hint: do the survey please and thank you…)

A lot of support for Ukraine in Washington

THE SQUIZ

US President Joe Biden has vowed to stop Russia’s war on Ukraine in his first State of the Union address (for the uninitiated, that’s the annual message delivered by the president to the US Congress). Upping efforts to push back on Russia, Biden announced the closure of US airspace to all Russian flights and said the “ill-begotten” gains of Russian oligarchs located – like their yachts in Miami and luxury apartments in New York – will be seized. Biden warned that without consequences, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression wouldn’t be contained to Ukraine. “Throughout our history we’ve learned our lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” he said.

SO CONGRESS IS ON SIDE?

There was a lot of love for Ukraine from those gathered… Lawmakers wore blue and yellow – Ukraine’s national colours – in a clear display of support for the besieged country. Ukraine’s ambassador to America Oksana Markarova – who was given a standing ovation – was a guest of First Lady Jill Biden, who wore her support on her sleeve. It was a rare show of unity in a politically divided Washington. And it’s not just the politicians throwing Ukraine a bone… Yesterday saw an American corporate backlash against Russia, including aerospace giant Boeing suspending major operations in the country, as well as parts, maintenance and technical support services for local airlines. Apple has also halted all product sales in Russia and limited Apple Pay and Maps.

WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE GROUND IN UKRAINE?

Yeah, it’s not good for Ukraine right now as Russia intensifies its attack on the country. Hundreds of people are feared dead in the southern port of Mariupol after hours of sustained shelling. Russian paratroopers landed in Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv yesterday afternoon, while the southern city of Kherson has also reportedly fallen. The huge convoy of tanks and trucks heading towards Kyiv stalled after running out of petrol and food, but it’s back on the road and is closing in on the capital. Russia has warned residents to flee before a wave of attacks from “high-precision weapons”. And for the first time, Russia’s defence ministry has given a rundown of casualties from the war, saying 498 soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded. That’s significantly less than Ukraine’s claims that it killed 5,840 Russians. Russia says 2,870 Ukrainian troops are dead but Kyiv has not released any figures.

There’s a lot going on here, so now’s the time to get the backstory to this big news story. We’ve got your back with #SquizShortcuts on the West’s sanctions on Russia. And if you want more, here’s some details about the Ukraine-Russia relationship. You’re welcome…

World News

Squiz the Rest

More tragedy as the rain bomb hits Sydney

Four people have died in Lismore bringing the total death toll from the flood disaster in Queensland and NSW to 13. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet warned the state could “expect more tragedy to occur”. There are still multiple evacuation orders in place for the Northern Rivers region. That includes Ballina, which is in a “desperate situation” as communications have been cut off by floodwaters. And supermarkets in flood-affected communities are running out of supplies after being cut off. The surly storm front continues to move south, and the weather bureau has issued severe weather warnings spanning NSW’s mid-north coast to the Victorian border. Heavy rain hit Sydney overnight, with residents living near the Hawkesbury, Nepean and Georges rivers told to evacuate due to threats of “life-threatening” floods, with predictions this morning that it could be worse than what was experienced at the same time last year.  And for a visual of how big the flood in Queensland’s Gympie was, this quadbike caught on powerlines is a doozy…

Australian News Weather

Counting the cost

Operation Molto – the Aussie end of a global investigation into the exploitation of kids – was first made public in October 2020. Yesterday, the Federal Police revealed the results of the work with ​​authorities from every state and territory to identify the children and investigate the offenders. In total, police from across Australia executed 158 search warrants, charging 117 men and removing 51 children from harm. It was no easy task with a special task force being set up to review 3.75 million digital files that were being shared amongst thousands of offenders globally. Of the Australian children identified, many had been coerced into producing the images and videos themselves. Detective Superintendent Jayne Welsh from Victoria Police said cyber safety is a must for families. “It’s so important that everyone understands the warning signs of unwanted contact, how to protect your or your family’s privacy online, and how to report any suspicious activity.” Some tips for parents about their kids’ cyber safety are here.

Crime

An end to Aussie border bans

Western Oz lifted its hard border this morning after 697 days (aka a smidge under 2 years…) of iso from the rest of Oz. International and domestic travellers will be able to enter the state without quarantining, but there are rules… You need a travel pass, triple-vaccination, and undertake a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival. But it’s not just about getting to the West – it’s also about locals being able to leave/come home without a hassle… Underlining that point is Webjet data that shows bookings for outbound flights is up 234%, while those heading into Western Australia rose by 128%. Qantas boss Alan Joyce – who likened the longstanding border block to North Korea – said it would take some time to rebuild the tourist trade, but things are looking up because “Australia is now finally back together.” The thing to know if you’re in Western Oz or, like Labor leader Anthony Albanese, you’re on your way: new restrictions start today as new COVID cases reached a record high of 1,770 yesterday.

Australian News

Our economy brings it home in 2021

Go you good thing… The economy has just posted its equal-best quarter of growth in 46 years. The Bureau of Stats released our national accounts yesterday, and it shows that the economy recovered from its -1.9% Delta downer in the July-September quarter to record a 3.4% jump in October-December. That’s the strongest quarterly growth our economy has delivered since March 1976. And looking across the data, despite our COVID ups and downs, our economy is bigger than it was before the pandemic, which is a big relief for policymakers. Towards the end of last year, consumers drove the growth with a 6.3% lift in household spending. The biggest rises were a 24.3% jump in spending in cafes and hotels, as well as a 17% rise in recreation and culture. The end of lockdowns in our 2 most populous states will do that…

Business & Finance

Dreaming of dogs – and straycations…

If you’ve woken from a weird dream and jumped onto Google to figure out what it means, you probably helped contribute to this analysis. Luxury bedding retailer Secret Linen Store has collated the most commonly-Googled dreams across more than 180 countries. Stay with us; it’s much more fascinating than your best mate telling you about her dream where her teeth fell out and oh lord make it end… Dreams often reflect our worries or subconscious thoughts, so perhaps surprisingly, the research found that dogs are the most common dream subject globally. Experts say that’s a nod to relationship themes like loyalty and protection. On a less wholesome note, the other top dream subjects included pregnancy, snakes, travelling, or an ex-partner. Cheating was the most common dream search in Oz, but don’t stress if that’s you… Experts say it’s often a way of processing complex emotions about past events so don’t take it literally. Phew…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

There’s nothing worse than finding an amazing pic on Insta of a beach or bush track you’d like to visit but there’s no location deets. Except being invaded by Russia. Or your home/business being flooded. You know what we mean… But Tassie wilderness experts want social sharers to keep the specifics on the down-low to help protect sensitive areas. Check in with nature, but not on your socials… 

If you’re partial to a bit of bric-a-brac, this origin story of a 30,000yo figurine lady is for you. ‘Buxom’ is the description… 

As cyber types remind us that online crims are active due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, it’s a timely reminder to lift your online password game. And it seems many of us have some work to do… The most commonly found password from accounts stolen by hackers and published on the dark web – 123456. The 2nd most common – 123456789. Do with that what you will…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Western Australia’s border reopens to triple-vaccinated domestic and international visitors

ABS Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, January; Building Approvals, January

Start of the Melbourne Fashion Festival (on until 12 March)

World Hearing Day

World Wildlife Day

World Book Day

Mulled Wine Day

Birthdays for singer Ronan Keating (1977), model/actor Jessica Biel (1982) and singer Camila Cabello (1997)

Anniversary of Star-Spangled Banner becoming the USA’s national anthem (1931)

Squiz the Day

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