Squiz Today / 07 July 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 7 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you crack on with your morning.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Splice the mainbrace”

Was the order given by New Zealand’s top naval officer to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s an old tradition where sailors are issued a ration of rum to mark special occasions. But 120 taxpayer-funded bottles later, some are asking if they went overboard….

Fourth time’s a charm?

PM Anthony Albanese reckons “it’s a question of when” a 4th COVID jab will be made available to Aussies under 65yo, not if. The PM was asked about the red flags raised this week by officials and experts as infections rise thanks to the new BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. He confirmed that the question of a 4th dose for the general population was on the immunisation experts’ agenda for their meeting yesterday. Currently, the extra jab is available to +65yos, Indigenous Aussies, and people with certain chronic health conditions/the immunocompromised.

Yesterday, 43,596 new cases were reported – the highest number for a month and a half. The experts say that getting vaxxed will likely prevent hospitalisation and death from COVID, but it won’t stop transmission and symptoms – and that’s what’s driving the new wave of cases. This week, NSW’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged people to mask up in enclosed spaces while the state’s Health Minister Brad Hazzard encouraged people to get their 3rd COVID shot ASAP and called for a 4th dose to be made available to the general population. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wants 4th doses for health workers. Earlier this week, Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said it’s up to the experts, but he would be surprised if eligibility for a 4th dose was expanded to the whole population. That has put the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’s (ATAGI) deliberations about opening up eligibility for a 4th dose in the spotlight.

That’s a good question and not an easy one to answer. If you’re asking if it could help keep you out of hospital (or worse…) if you get COVID – the answer seems to be that a 4th dose won’t hurt. This week, Dr Chant said it’s been 6 months since her 3rd jab, and she “wouldn’t mind a bit of a top-up” in protection. But if you’re asking if a 4th done would help stop you from getting or spreading COVID, the answer is that’s probably a job for vaccines made for the Omicron variant. On that note, the Therapeutic Goods Authority yesterday granted ‘provisional determination’ to Pfizer for 2 vaccines that do just that. It’s early in the approval process, and the new formulation is unlikely to be available this year – but it’s a factor ATAGI will consider when pondering a 4th dose for everyone. In the meantime, officials have some work to do to get more Aussies to have their 3rd shot and initial shots. About 80% of the eligible population have had 2 doses, and 67.5% have had 3.

Australian News Health

Squiz the Rest

Rain, rain go away

NSW’s Hunter, Central Coast and Mid North Coast regions are on high alert after receiving up to 200mm of rain yesterday – that’s almost 8 inches on the old scale. More than 85,000 people between Greater Sydney and north of there are under evacuation orders, up from 50,000 on Tuesday night. All eyes today will be on Singleton and Broke in the Hunter Valley – they face record flooding. Joining NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for a look at flood-affected communities yesterday, PM Albanese said a one-off $1,000 disaster relief payment would be available in 23 local government areas from today. An additional 250 Defence Force personnel will also be deployed. The weather system was forecast to move offshore yesterday afternoon, but the rain and dangerous conditions will stick around for the rest of the week. Boo… Some good news: the cargo ship that has been stranded off the NSW coast since Monday and its 21 crew members have been safely towed into port.

Australian News Weather

Concerns about China

In an unprecedented joint appearance, the heads of America’s FBI and the UK’s MI5 have warned of the threat posed by China. Appearing in London before an audience of senior business people and academics, the pair have outlined their concerns about operations undertaken by the Chinese Communist Party, calling them “game-changing”, “immense”, and “breath-taking”. FBI Director Christopher Wray said China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security” and warned those assembled that the Chinese Government was “set on stealing your technology”. And MI5 boss Ken McCallum said they had more than doubled its work against Chinese activity in the last 3 years and would be doubling it again. Overnight, our Foreign Minister Penny Wong addressed a security forum in Singapore and urged China to show “restraint” in its dealings with our Pacific Island neighbours. She also called on China to use its influence with Russia to bring an end to its war on Ukraine.

World News

Everything up but home prices

Mortgage holders are set to feel the squeeze after the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, the National Australia Bank and Westpak said they will pass on the Reserve Bank’s latest 0.5% rate increase. It means the average $500,000 loan with 25 years remaining will see an extra $137/month added to their repayments – and that’s on top of the last 2 hikes. Rising rates have seen property prices fall for the 2nd month in a row, with home values falling 0.6% across Oz in June, led by falls in Sydney (-1.6%) and Melbourne (-1.1%), and Hobart (-0.2%), according to analysts CoreLogic. Pressure might be coming off the market for buyers, but for renters, it’s tighter than the plaits done by a harried parent… The rental market continued to tighten over the April-June quarter, with national vacancy rates dropping to 1.2% from 2.2% on last year and rental prices climbing 9.1% in the cities and 10.8% in regional areas. Canberra remains the priciest city to rent, while Melbourne has overtaken Adelaide as the most affordable.

Australian News Business & Finance

One out of two ain’t bad…

Nick Kyrgios is through to the semi-final at Wimbledon, while Ajla Tomljanović’s campaign has ended. Ladies first – Tomljanović lost to Kazakh player Elena Rybakina in 3 sets – she said she was disappointed because “I felt like with my game I was really there.” As for Kyrgios, he’s the first Aussie bloke through to the final 4 of Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt did it in 2004 – or as we remember that time, when Shannon Noll and Paulini were dominating the charts. He got off to a rough start against Cristian Garín but got on track and won it in straight sets. It took a lot of self-talk through the match, but at 27yo, he said “I just never thought I would be at the semi-final of a grand slam, I thought my ship had sailed.” Facing the media for the first time since assault charges were laid over an alleged incident with his former partner Chiara Passari, he had “things I want to say” but had been advised not to by his lawyer. He’ll take on Rafael Nadal tomorrow night for a chance to appear in the final.


Rihanna has her money

Popstar/businesswoman Rihanna has dethroned Kylie Jenner as the youngest self-made female billionaire in the US, according to the latest Forbes rich list. The 34yo has amassed an estimated net worth of US$1.4 billion (A$2.1 billion) thanks to her Fenty Beauty cosmetics line and lingerie brand Savage x Fenty, on top of her music earnings, of course… The next youngest person to be named is 41yo Kim Kardashian, with an estimated net worth of US$1.8 billion from her beauty company KKW Beauty and shapewear line Skims. America’s richest self-made woman is Diane Hendricks, the co-founder and chairman of ABC Supply. She’s built one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding and windows in America. Forget the fashion and beauty game – she’s worth US$12.2 billion. Now we’re talkin’…

Business & Finance Entertainment

Apropos of Nothing

After the recent release of its 4th season, Stranger Things has become the 2nd Netflix show after Squid Game to pass the 1 billion viewing hours milestone. That probably doesn’t include the opening credits… 

The ‘world’s loneliest home’ is up for sale. Situated on a tiny/private island off the coast of Maine, it lacks an indoor toilet, running water and central heating. Lovers of creature comforts need not apply.

And a new Swedish anti-hangover supplement is now available in parts of the UK and Europe. Taken before a night on the tiles, the reviews claim it works, but it also reduces one’s ability to get drunk. Whether that glass is half-full or half-empty is one for you to decide…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern addresses the Lowy Institute – Sydney

7.30pm (AEST) – PM Anthony Albanese and Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern attend the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum Dinner – Sydney

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, May

AIHW Release – Australia’s Health 2022

Solomon Islands’ National Day

This year’s Hajj (the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) begins (until 12 July)

World Chocolate Day

Ringo Starr’s birthday (1940)

Anniversary of:
• Missouri becoming the first place sliced bread is sold (1928)
• the death of Sherlock author Arthur Conan Doyle (1930)
• the first Three Tenors concert featuring Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti in Rome (1990)
• Nelson Mandela stepping down as President of South Africa (1996)
• the London terrorist attacks that targeted commuters during the morning rush hour killing 56 and injuring 784 people (2005)

Squiz the Day

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