Squiz Today / 31 March 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 31 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Whack it on while you get your morning sorted. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I feel like life has finally gotten back to normal.”

Said Takanori Shiwaku, a cafe owner in Tokyo of the arrival of hanami – the ritual of viewing the city’s spectacular cherry blossoms. The pandemic saw local viewing festivals cancelled in the last couple of years. And from the pics, it’s been worth the wait…

Flood frustration as communities hit again


Residents across southeast Queensland and northern NSW are in the midst of another flood disaster. The advice on Tuesday night was that rains were easing and flood warnings were lifted or reduced in severity – but it wasn’t to be. By yesterday morning, many communities that were still reeling from the floods of 4 weeks ago were underwater again.


The rain lingered in Queensland as already sodden parts of the Gold Coast and communities west of Brisbane saw floodwaters rise. What’s unfolded there this week is the state’s 4th round of deadly floods in 4 months. This time, 2 men have died in flash floods near Toowoomba, and authorities yesterday said 5 people have been rescued from some dangerous situations. And in NSW, well, the footage tells the story. Lismore’s levee didn’t hold back the water as was hoped yesterday morning – the Wilsons River rose too high thanks to the latest bucketload of rain that has fallen on the region. The river peaked at 11.4m at 5pm yesterday afternoon – not as bad as the record 14.4m reached on 28 February, but it’s a contender for the second biggest flood the city’s ever recorded. Police are still searching for a 55yo aged care nurse thought to have been swept away in her car. The floods have also hit Ballina, Byron Bay, Bellingen, and so many more. Today, the rain is heading south, but it continues across many flooded areas.


It’s a good question and one that’s already being asked. What officials and emergency services in NSW say is the weather systems we’ve seen are “highly dynamic”. The Bureau of Meteorology’s senior forecaster Neil Bennett told the ABC yesterday that forecasting the weather is like “throwing a fishing net over the planet, and … you apply equations at those knot points.” Frustratingly, what happened in Lismore early yesterday morning was a system “small enough to slip in between those knot points”. That means it’s been hard for officials to give people adequate warning about what’s coming. That’s hard for affected residents to hear as their lives are turned upside down yet again.

Australian News Weather

Squiz the Rest

Let the sales pitch begin…

The Morrison Government’s Budget for 2022-23 is out there, and the chief criticism is that the Coalition is buying votes with tax cuts and one-off payments ahead of the election. That was rebuffed by Team Morrison yesterday – they say they are taking the steps necessary to help Aussies manage cost of living pressures. PM Scott Morrison copped heat yesterday for his response to a question about helping renters – he said the “best way to support people who are renting a house is to help them buy a house.” Dr Chris Martin, a housing policy expert from NSW Uni, said the comment was a “let them eat cake moment”. Today, the focus shifts to Labor and Anthony Albanese’s Budget in Reply address. He says he won’t unveil an alternative Budget, and details on financing his policies will be unveiled during the election campaign. Whatever it is, it’s a tough gig to follow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

This week’s Squiz Shortcut is on this pre-election Budget. Get across it in less than 15mins as part of your election fitness regime. Talk about good value…


Trump’s phones go quiet

After a long legal battle, the congressional committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump on 6 January 2021 has received the official White House phone logs from that day. They reveal that Trump contacted 8 people in the morning and 11 more that evening. But there’s a 7-hour gap in the records – including when the Capitol was under attack. That goes against accounts from several Republican congressmen who said they spoke with the President that afternoon. It’s left questions about whether Trump ‘went dark’ by using other people’s private phones or whether the logs were destroyed altogether. Team Trump disputes those claims, saying his phone records had been appropriately recorded. And in another blast from the past, Trump is continuing to push claims about President Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings. He’s now calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the intel he has on the Biden family.

World News

Andy Penn gawn

We like to stay on top of the big corporate moves because, like it or not, these companies are in our lives… None more so than Telstra – and yesterday its boss Andy Penn announced he would be stepping down in September after more than 7 years at the top. He said the decision was a long time in the making, and the timing was “right” as the telco prepares to deliver its latest growth strategy. Penn oversaw a turbulent period for Telstra as it battled NBN rollout issues and increased competition. The company’s share price diving by nearly 40% since he took the reins can’t have helped… But Telstra chair John Mullen said Penn would be remembered for his “courage” in undertaking significant cost-cutting measures during his tenure. Not all of them, like sending call-centres offshore, have been successful. Stepping into Penn’s shoes is Vicki Brady – she has been the company’s chief financial officer since 2019.

Business & Finance

Farewell Warnie

More than a billion people around the world – including tens of thousands who poured into the Melbourne Cricket Ground – have remembered the extraordinary life of Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne. He died suddenly on holiday in Thailand last month, aged just 52. Elton John appeared via satellite and performed his hit song ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ in Warne’s honour, alongside tributes from other celebrities. Warne’s old sporting foes like West Indies star Brian Lara were part of the memorial, as well as older Aussie cricketers like Merv Hughes who described him as a “dead-set bogan”. Warne’s 3 kids Jackson, Summer and Brooke remembered a fun-loving Dad, and his father Keith said the day of his death was “the darkest in our family’s life.” Warne was widely considered one of the world’s best-ever bowlers, who played 145 Test matches for Australia and remains the most prolific wicket taker. He was also remembered for his work off the field, raising $4 million for victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.


Bruce Willis to give up acting due to illness

The Hollywood star will bow out after being diagnosed with a condition that interferes with your ability to speak and write. The 67yo’s family, including his wife Emma Heming-Willis and ex-wife Demi Moore, announced on Instagram overnight that he has aphasia, which experts say is usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain. “With much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” the statement read. “This is really a challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.” Willis is best known for playing the hard-bitten New York cop John McClane in the Die Hard films, which launched in 1988. He’d been acting in the years before that, first starring opposite Cybill Shepherd in the TV series Moonlighting. But after he hit fame, his films have grossed more than US$5 billion worldwide and he’s been nominated for 5 Golden Globes and won 2 Emmy awards.


Apropos of Nothing

According to UNICEF (the United Nations agency for children’s aid), schools across 23 countries responsible for 405 million pupils remain partially or fully closed because of COVID. Agency director Catherine Russell says children are “the hidden casualties of the pandemic”.

Speaking of COVID, remember the chaotic English parish council zoom meeting of late 2020 that was a lockdown sensation? It led to one councillor yelling the infamous words: “You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver. No authority at all.” A review has been done, and it turns out she didn’t have any authority. Oops… 

Cathay Pacific’s New York-Hong Kong service could become the world’s longest commercial passenger flight by distance. The war in Ukraine has seen airlines reroute flights to avoid Russian airspace, and a spokeswoman said it would require “strong seasonal tailwinds” to make the 17-hour journey, which isn’t particularly reassuring… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

5.30pm (AEDT) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Australian Parliament

9.00pm (AEDT) – Cricket 2nd ODI – Australia v Pakistan – Pakistan

ABS Data Release – Job Vacancies, February; Building Approvals, February

2022 Stella Prize shortlist announced

International Transgender Day of Visibility

World Backup Day

Day of the Taco in Mexico

Birthdays for actor Christopher Walken (1943), former veep/environmentalist Al Gore (1948), muso Angus Young (1955), and actor Ewan McGregor (1971)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Isaac Newtown (1727), Charlotte Brontë (1855), JP Morgan (1913) and Jesse Owens (1980)
• Oliver Cromwell being offered the crown by the English Parliament (he declines) (1657)
• the Eiffel Tower officially opening in Paris (1889)
• Donald Trump buying Eastern Air Lines shuttle, which he renamed Trump Shuttle (1989)
• Harry and Meghan officially stepping down from royal duties (2020)

Squiz the Day

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