Squiz Today / 08 June 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 8 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

An easy way to walk the talk. 

Today’s listen time: 8.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


Has been declared the official name of Fraser Island following support from Queenslanders who voted in a public survey. Pronounced ‘gurrie’, K’gari means ‘paradise’ in the local Indigenous language – and as the world’s largest sand island, it kinda is

A weird start to winter


What a way to start hot choccy season… Perth has had its heaviest rain in 5 years, and Adelaide was lashed by lightning as thunderstorms rolled across the state on Tuesday night. Those storms are now moving towards the east, with flood warnings for Victoria being issued. Across the board, Australia is seeing its warmest start to winter in more than a decade, which has some weather people scratching their heads. We knew there was an increased chance of moderate temperatures/dry conditions to start the cold season, but that’s not been the case so far.


The picture gets even weirder when you look at the rest of the world. Southeast Asia has been hit by a record heatwave over the past few weeks, with Laos and Vietnam setting temperature records. Thailand’s Bangkok got to 41C, the hottest it’s ever been – and we’d hate to imagine the humidity… One weather historian described the event as “the most brutal never-ending heatwave”. The Caribbean’s Haiti has experienced dramatic flooding over the last week, with thousands of homes washed away and at least 42 people killed. In the US, the state of Georgia lost 90% of its famous peach crop because of an unseasonably warm winter followed by a late-season frost. And we’re also seeing wildfires across almost all of Canada, with worse set to come in August. Bad news for the US cities that are already covered in the smoke that’s drifted south, including New York.


An update on Tuesday from the Bureau of Meteorology put the chance of an El Niño at 70%, which would be the first outing for the climate system since 2016. We’re also expecting an update from America’s Climate Prediction Center today – they put El Niño’s chances at 90% back in May. If we do get a visit from the climate pattern, it’s likely to mean less rain and snow but more frost, and a heightened risk of coral bleaching and bushfires later in the year. It’ll also be one of the drivers behind those record-breaking global average temperatures we heard about a few weeks ago. The upshot if you’re out and about? Pack light, but also warm, but also sunscreen, and don’t forget a brolly. And please don’t get struck by lightning…

Australian News Weather

Squiz the Rest

Economy slows to a snail’s pace

Australia’s economy grew 0.2% in the first 3 months of the year – that’s below expectations of 0.3%, and it’s the slowest pace recorded since 2021 when lockdowns lingered. The latest GDP figures from the Bureau of Stats show the household saving-to-income ratio dropping to its lowest level since 2008. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said rising interest rates and cost of living pressures were “clearly biting” Aussies. Despite that, analysts say it’s unlikely to stave off further rate hikes… Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe yesterday doubled down on Tuesday’s rate hike decision and warned there could be further increases, saying the path to reducing inflation was “likely to be a bumpy one”. ‘Bumpy’ is a word that can also be used to describe the World Bank’s latest global growth outlook – it slashed its expectations for 2024 as rate hikes take a toll worldwide.

Australian News Business & Finance

Counting the cost of Ukraine’s dam collapse

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths warned the collapse of the massive Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Kherson region “will have grave and far-reaching consequences“. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the collapse, and Putin has called the dam collapse an “environmental and humanitarian catastrophe”. The collapse has so far caused widespread flooding and forced around 42,000 people to evacuate. Experts say there is no immediate threat to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is Europe’s largest and relies on the water supply regulated by the dam – but there are doubts longer-term. It will likely take weeks to determine the full impact of the catastrophe, but experts warn of widespread issues, including upending communities that rely on the reservoir for drinking water and agriculture. There’s also an issue with polluted floodwater washing into the Black Sea, which could impact the nearby countries of Romania, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria. A gallery of pics of the disaster shows the damage. 

World News

Pope Francis’s gut check

The Pope was under general anaesthetic overnight for a three-hour abdomen operation, which the Vatican said was a success. The surgery was intended to fix a hernia causing “recurrent, painful and worsening symptoms”. Yikes. It’s not the first time the Pope has been laid low this year after a fever took him out for several days in late May, and bronchitis saw him in hospital in March. On leaving the hospital after his March bronchitis stint, Francis joked that he was “still alive”… and as for this latest abdomen operation, we’re told by his surgeon that the Pope has already cracked at least one joke since waking. Good to hear that he’s still got it. Pope Francis’s audiences have been cancelled until at least 18 June “as a precautionary measure”.

World News

Getting to grips with the latest in golf…

Reactions to the PGA/European DP World Tour and LIV Golf’s merger came in thick and fast yesterday, but there’s no consensus on whether it’s a good or a bad thing… The rival tournaments will be merged into a new, yet-to-be-named organisation. It’s controversial because the US-based PGA Tour has slammed the Saudi-backed LIV Golf over and over and over again since it was founded (and lured some top players, like Aussie Cameron Smith) in 2021. LIV’s close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have concerned the critics, along with the nation’s poor human rights record. But golfing great Jack Nicklaus said bringing the players together into one mega tour “is good for the game”. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how it will all unfold, but Greg Norman – who’s lost his job as LIV Golf chief in the merger – still seems upbeat


Some cereal-sy good porridge

If you’re wondering what you should make for brekky, may we suggest a bowl of steaming hot porridge? To get you in the mood, Sydney chef Toby Wilson – the current #1 porridge maker in Oz after making the top 6 in last year’s World Porridge Making Championship in Scotland – has some tips. All you need is 3 ingredients: 1 part whole oat groats (that’s not a typo – that’s the whole oat grain seed with the husk removed because it has better flavour than rolled/quick oats, Wilson says) to 3 parts water, along with salt. Wilson says he chucks it all in a saucepan and uses his special spurtle that’s “branded with fire” to stir, but the spurtle-less amongst us can use a wooden spoon. Phew… Wilson’s butter and brown sugar topping looks delicious, but he’s insistent that “the porridge [is] the show itself, not a vehicle for bananas, nuts, berries, honey”. Who are we to argue with a champion…

Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

Cue the Jaws music… A new study in California has used drones to track shark movements, and it’s found juvenile sharks swimming close to unsuspecting humans in the water on nearly all of the days surveyed over 2 years. There were no unfortunate encounters recorded, but still…

The only thing better than one 18m rubber duck is 2 – or at least, that’s what Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman thinks. After taking a solo oversized bath toy on a bit of a world tour (including Sydney) 10 years ago, the new ‘Double Ducks’ installation will float near Hong Kong for 2 weeks this month. 

A new version of the ‘chaise lounge’ double-decker airplane seat design is back at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Germany, with its designer calling it the future of flying in economy. There’s a photo here, but let’s just say we have questions about how flatulence issues are mitigated.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00pm (AEST) – Voice to Parliament ‘town hall’ with Professor Tom Calma, Shireen Morris, and Ruby Langton-Batty and independent MP Allegra Spender – Sydney

11.00pm (AEST) – Tennis – French Open – Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

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

World Brain Tumor Day

World Oceans Day

Dark Mofo festival begins (until 22 June) – Hobart

National Best Friend Day

Birthdays for Nancy Sinatra (1940), inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee (1955), and Kanye West (1977)

Anniversary of:
• the completion of the first trans-Pacific flight (US to Australia) by Charles Kingsford Smith (1928)
• Siam changing its name to Thailand (1949)
• the publication of George Orwell’s 1984 (1949)
• the death of Anthony Bourdain (2018)

Squiz the Day

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