Squiz Today / 30 September 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 30 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Give us some love on International Podcast Day. Go on… 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s. We just made history tonight!”

Said pop megastar/accomplished flautist Lizzo after she became the first person to ever play the former US President’s delicate instrument while pulling off her signature dance moves. Oh Lizzo, never change… 

Sizing up Australia’s most powerful people

The Australian Financial Review’s annual power list is out this morning, which is spruiked as “the definitive analysis of Australia’s most powerful people.” Spanning multiple categories like culture, business, law, technology, education and many others, it’s useful for understanding who’s who in various zoos. And the big events are the ‘overt’ and ‘covert’ power lists, which rank the prominent and lesser-known faces. As the publication puts it: “From prime ministerial coups to back-room manoeuvrings, our annual Power issue identifies the Australians shaping the nation.”

Let’s start with overt power (paywall), and there are no surprises that PM Anthony Albanese is at the top of the list. The judging panel gave him points for leading Labor to its first majority victory in 15 years and a “strong start” in the big chair. He’s joined at the top by Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who the editors say has one of the biggest jobs in town as he goes about steadying the economic ship that’s facing stiff headwinds ATM… Foreign Minister Penny Wong is 3rd and notes she is a “trailblazer for women and minorities in public life”. And then it’s the Teal independents in 4th and Deputy PM Richard Marles in 5th. Next up are economic influencers Sally McManus from the ACTU and Reserve Bank boss Philip Lowe. Greens leader Adam Bandt is 8th after a historic election result. Then we cross into business/tech with Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes after he became the largest shareholder of Australia’s largest power company AGL. And rounding out the top 10 is Coalition leader Peter Dutton.

As for covert power (paywall), top of the pops is Tim Gartrell – the longtime politico is Albanese’s chief of staff. Glyn Davis, the newly installed head of the Prime Minister’s Department, is 2nd. He’s a former university vice chancellor and head of Australia’s largest charitable foundation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation. The panel says he’s got a big job steering reform “and the restoration of the public service brief of ‘frank and fearless advice to government.” In 3rd is Paul Erickson, the national secretary of the ALP, who the panel says was the “principal architect” of Albanese’s election victory. Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy is 4th, and Don Farrell, a right-wing powerbroker within the Labor Party, is 5th for managing Albanese’s critics. Former union boss/MP/super boss Greg Combet, women’s advocate/business figure Sam Moysten, Business Council chiefs Tim Reed & Jennifer Westacott, Foreign Affairs department boss Jan Adams, and independent whisperer Cathy McGowan make up that list. So there you go…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Hurricane Ian batters Florida

Ian has crossed the east coast of Florida as a tropical storm and is gaining power again as it heads north towards South Carolina’s coast. In its wake, it left what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says is “historic” damage and has predicted that rebuilding could take years. And US President Joe Biden has painted a bleak picture of the devastation overnight, saying that early reports indicate “what may be substantial loss of life” in the state. He says federal agencies are helping state and local officials assess the damage and rescue stranded people. More than 2.5 million households and businesses are without power after Ian smashed into the southwestern coast yesterday as a “catastrophic” Category 4 storm. In one of the most powerful storms to hit the US in recent years, the 241km/hour winds and huge sea surges have wreaked havoc, particularly in the coastal cities of Fort Myers and Naples. The full extent of the impact is yet to be confirmed, but the photos and videos are intense.

World News

Less money, more inflation problems

Australia’s annual inflation rate hit a 30-year high of 7% in July before easing slightly to 6.8% in August, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Statistics. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said there’s no “sugar coating” it – many Aussies are doing it tough. On top of that, more ABS data yesterday revealed household wealth fell by $484 billion (3.3%) in the June quarter to $14.4 trillion. That’s the first quarterly drop since 2020, thanks to falling property prices and super balances affected by stock market declines. All that and growing economic woes in the US and the UK are expected to give the Reserve Bank’s board another reason to lift interest rates when it meets next Tuesday. Also in economic/environmental news, AGL – Australia’s largest electricity generator – will make a big step away from coal. Yesterday it announced that it will close its coal-fired power plant Loy Yang A in Victoria by 2035, about 10 years earlier than expected.

Business & Finance

Oz rejects Myanmar’s ruling

Australian economist Professor Sean Turnell has been sentenced to 3 years in jail in Myanmar for violating the country’s official state secrets act. There to advise civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Turnell was arrested in February last year when the military seized power in a coup. That has seen the democratically elected government pushed aside despite protests from the United Nations and free countries worldwide. Turnell’s trial was held in secret and Australian diplomats have been denied access to him and the court proceedings. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the treatment of Turnell has been “unjust”. “We will continue to take every opportunity to advocate strongly for Professor Turnell until he has returned to his family in Australia.” Turnell’s wife Ha Vu said the sentence – which could see him detained until February 2024 – is “heartbreaking for me, our daughter, Sean’s 85yo father, and the rest of our family”.

Crime World News

A time to shine

Rugby League’s ultimate games of the season are back in Sydney on Sunday after a 2-year absence due to COVID… The women’s are up first with the Parramatta Eels and Newcastle Knights playing at 3.55pm. Both teams are premiership debutantes, and the experts say the Knights have the upper hand. And for the men, it’s Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels at 7.30pm. The Eels are looking to end their 36-year premiership drought, and they have won 2 of their 3 clashes against Penrith this year. But Penrith are the favourites as the reigning champions who have remained at the top of the ladder throughout the season. After a one-sided AFL final, fingers are crossed for 2 close-fought games… The whole shebang is on Nine. And last night, the Aussie Opals won their Women’s World Cup Basketball quarter-final to send them into the final 4. They take on China tonight for a place in tomorrow afternoon’s final against either Canada or the USA. Super exciting…


Sniffin’ out stress

It’s something that’s long been suspected, but researchers have confirmed that dogs can recognise when their human is stressed out. Previous studies have suggested that pooches can probably sniff out human emotions, but scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast looked into whether they could pick up on stress specifically. They presented 4 dogs with breath and sweat samples from 36 human volunteers before and after participating in a challenging math exercise. With more than 90% accuracy, the clever canines were able to detect which samples were taken before the math exercise and which were taken afterwards – showing that stress alters a human’s ‘odour profile’ and that dogs can accurately identify the emotion through smell. Meanwhile, cat owners might want to find another source of comfort altogether…

Environment & Science

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

It’s a weird quirk of timing (or maybe our subconscious knew something…), but last weekend we started watching Five Days at Memorial on Apple TV+. It’s based on the book by Dr Sheri Fink following her Pulitzer Prize-winning look at the Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Suffice it to say that bad stuff happened…

So a couple of very different things to listen to… The New York Times podcast series Modern Love is back, and this story about a legally blind 83yo’s difficulty navigating a, let’s just say, shop that sells adult stuff was a good one. And RIP Cooliothis playlist of 90s hip hop.

Ok, ok… You know our troubles with vege… But this veggie moussaka is a great one. It might be the cheese or the umami of the porcini mushies, but it’s a good weekend one. And the leftovers are even better.

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know which Broadway show is ending its record 35-year run in New York? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz.

Squiz the Day

National Cabinet meeting – Canberra

Botswana’s National Day

International Podcast Day

International Translation Day

Dolly Parton Festival begins (until 2 October) – Narromine, NSW

Birthdays for actor Fran Drescher (1957) and dancer Maddie Ziegler (2002)

Anniversary of:
• anaesthetic ether being used for the first time by American dentist Dr William Morton (1846)
• 22 Nazi leaders being found guilty of war crimes at the Nuremberg war trials (1946)
• the death of James Dean (1955)
• the premiere of the cartoon The Flintstones (1960)

Squiz the Day

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