Squiz Today / 30 November 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 30 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

18 / 28
15 / 19
21 / 33
13 / 25
17 / 29
12 / 17
27 / 35
11 / 23

Squiz Sayings

“Everyone was freaking out… so I ran up the front of the bus and steered it away from getting hit” 

Said Northern Rivers teen Isabelle Miller who’s become a local hero after she stopped a runaway school bus from crashing into a petrol station. The 14yo is too young to have her licence, but she should be fine to pass her L’s after finding the brakes without a problem…

A merrier Christmas for mortgage holders…

The Squiz

It’s rare to be surprised on the upside, so yesterday’s update from the Bureau of Stats was a welcomed change from the recent reem of challenging economic news… Australia’s annual inflation rate fell to 4.9% in October – down from 5.6% in September. Economists had been predicting 5.2% – so many reckon this fall to a figure with a 4 in front of it has taken the pressure off the Reserve Bank to hike interest rates next week. As financial analyst Tony Sycamore put it: “The breath of relief from the (Reserve Bank’s) Martin Place HQ and mortgage holders nationwide was almost audible in the streets of Sydney.”

What’s behind the fall in inflation?

Economics wonks say it’s down to a few things. The price of clothing and footwear has now fallen 1.5% throughout the year, while fuel fell 2.9% in October. And finally, rental prices have come down, with those costs falling by 0.4% last month. The cost of taking some hols also fell by 7% in October – but food prices are proving a bit stickier, up 0.1%. But we’re not there yet… While good progress has been made since inflation peaked in December last year at 8.4%, it still has a way to go before it returns to the Reserve Bank’s sweet spot of 2-3%.

So overall, that’s pretty good? 

Don’t take it from us… Yesterday, Reserve Bank Governor Michele Bullock told a big banking conference in Hong Kong that Aussie households and businesses “are actually in a pretty good position. Their balance sheets are pretty good”. Her point was that she reckons people have coped well with the 13 rises that’ve taken the official cash rate to 4.35% – despite a lot of “noise” around every decision. Consumer spending over the past weekend seems to back up what she’s saying. Online retailer Temple and Webster had a 100% increase in Black Friday sales, saying “November is the new December”. The total Aussie retail spend from the past weekend isn’t in yet – but US online spending hit new records over the 4-day sales – up 7.8% year-on-year, totalling $38 billion of Americans bagging themselves a bargain…

Australian News Business & Finance Economy

Squiz the Rest

The drenching continues…

As promised by forecasters, big parts of NSW and Victoria have been hit by supercell storms. More than 60 homes were flooded on NSW’s South Coast after more than 330mm of rain fell in the Ulladulla area, while more than 100mm fell in Deniliquin in the southwest. The State Emergency Service says its crews responded to at least 370 calls for assistance along the South Coast and warned people to steer clear of floodwaters. Victoria didn’t get off scot-free either – residents in Gippsland, northeast and southwest Victoria were put on flood watch. Emergency crews responded to more than 180 calls for help over the 24 hours to yesterday morning, with many coming from Swan Hill and the Mallee region, one of the areas hit hardest by last year’s mega floods.

Australian News Weather

Negotiating another ceasefire extension

As the 2-day extension to the 4-day temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas runs out this morning, American and Israeli security chiefs are in talks with Qatar and Hamas in the hope of securing the release of more hostages from Gaza in exchange for more time. Reports say Israel is willing to extend the pause in fighting for at least 3 more days but as many as 10 if Hamas commits to returning 10 hostages for each extra day. Top of mind for Israel are concerns for a mother and her 2 young children from the Bibas family after Hamas claimed they had been killed in Israeli airstrikes. In Israel, they have become symbols of the hostages held in Gaza, particularly 10-month-old Kfir, who was the youngest person taken on 7 October. Since the start of the ceasefire, Hamas has released 81 hostages and Israel has released 180 Palestinian prisoners.

World News

Pope on a nope

COP28 starts today in Dubai, minus one notable attendee: Pope Francis confirmed yesterday that he’d be sitting out the United Nations climate conference on doctor’s orders. But that wasn’t the biggest thing threatening to derail proceedings… It’s being held in the United Arab Emirates (aka a major oil producer) and will be led by Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber (who is CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies). And earlier this week, the BBC and Centre for Climate Reporting published leaked documents showing Al-Jaber planned to use the climate talks to negotiate global oil deals. “I can’t believe it” was how UN Secretary-General António Guterres reacted to those reports, but Al-Jaber denies that deals are being done… Australia’s delegation led by Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen will be there for the action that kicks off in earnest tomorrow.

Environment & Science World News

A victory for free-to-air telly

If you were one of many Aussie football fans left grinding your teeth by the lack of free TV broadcasts during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, you might like to know that legislation put forward by Communications Minister Michelle Rowland aims to prevent that from happening again. The laws would make it compulsory for smart TVs to show local free-to-air apps – like ABC iView, 7Plus, 10Play, SBS OnDemand and 9Now – before paid streaming services like Netflix, Binge and Disney+. And free-to-air services would also get preferential treatment during bidding wars for major events/broadcasts – such as the Olympics or AFL/NRL games – by giving them first dibs on acquiring broadcast rights. But not everyone’s happy… Critics say the laws would be unfair to subscription services like Stan and Kayo – the biggest investors in Aussie TV production and sport. Settle into your sofa as this plays out…

Australian News Entertainment

Cake that’s good for your noggin’

That’s according to Sydney pastry chef Christopher Thé and researchers from the University of New South Wales, who have cooked up a brain-friendly cake for NSW’s Meals on Wheels 70th birthday. But if you’re thinking of a Victoria sponge, think again… The ‘Unforgettable Cake’ is chock-full of ingredients like beetroot, spinach, olive oil, turmeric, and pumpkin – all known to give the grey matter a boost. UNSW food and health expert Johannes Le Coutre says the thinking behind it is that “specific ingredients can play a role in the onset of cognitive decline by fixing damage as it occurs”. And the icing on top? It’s also designed for those who have trouble swallowing. So next time you’re feeling a bit foggy, here’s where you can buy a slice or score the recipe when you donate to Meals on Wheels.

Australian News

Apropos of nothing

It’s not your video meeting that’s a drag – you’re probably suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’… In a new study, those who sat in on a video meeting were found to undergo physical changes correlating with mental fatigue, unlike those participating in an in-person meeting. 

Here’s a PSA for Google users: from this Friday, the tech giant will start permanently deleting any inactive Google accounts, including Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, and Google Docs, so it might be a good time to check in. You’re welcome…

And we’re all for keeping you on top of the latest fashion trends, so here’s the latest: oversized sleeves. It emerged from the ‘cosy girl’/hygge aesthetic that’s popular on TikTok, and while it’s great for keeping your hands warm, it does tend to attract food stains…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

COP28 summit begins – Dubai (until 12 December)

The Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) releases its seasonal bushfire outlook for summer

Golf – Australian Open begins – Sydney (until 3 December)

Independence Day in Yemen and Barbados

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

St Andrew’s Day

Ausmusic T-Shirt Day

A birthday for Ben Stiller (1965), Kaley Cuoco (1985) and Chrissy Teigen (1985)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Mark Twain (1835), Winston Churchill (1874) and Phillip Hughes (1988)
• the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982)
• the premiere of Schindler’s List (1993)
• the death of former US President George HW Bush (2018)

Squiz the Day

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