Squiz Today / 11 July 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 11 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Good prep for some 5-star news chat. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you are opening a bottle of champagne, don’t do it as the players are about to serve.”

Was the mid-match announcement made by Wimbledon umpire John Blom. And it’d have to be a safe bet that it was Champs and not a local sparkling wine…

Aussies feeling low as cost of living bites

It might not come as a surprise, but cost of living concerns are at the front of Aussies’ minds… That’s according to communications/advocacy firm SEC Newgate and its latest Mood of the ­Nation report, showing 61% of the 2,207 people surveyed think things are “heading in the wrong direction”… That’s up from 51% in April. Researcher David Stolper says the cost of living “is really starting to bite hard,” and we’re “deeply pessimistic about the economic outlook for the next 12 months.” And it’s an issue that’s also biting the Albanese Government

And the report says that’s turned into a feeling of despondency, with 61% of respondents believing the country is heading in the wrong direction. Stolper says the survey also shows “nearly half (46%) of Australians are now experiencing financial difficulties”, up 7% over the past couple of months. That’s backed up by data from research firm Digital Finance Analytics that the financial stress felt by Aussies is at its highest since records started in 2001. And despite hearing a lot about housing prices lately, Stolper says the cost of everyday essentials is a problem. “Australians are particularly worried about the rise in grocery and electricity prices,” he said, with 90% of the survey’s respondents flagging those as their main concerns.

Indeed – and nod furiously (but protect your neck…) if you remember that a big part of Team Albanese’s pitch to voters last year was a promise to bring energy prices down… Yesterday, Energy Minister Chris Bowen confirmed that the mandatory gas code of conduct has been finalised, and from today, there will be “more gas at more reasonable prices for Australian gas users.” Bowen has been talking to producers for months about a wholesale gas price cap – $12 per gigajoule, to be exact – along with getting domestic supply commitments. That process has wrapped up, and along with introducing caps on coal costs for electricity generators, Bowen says the government’s actions have “nearly halved wholesale energy prices.” APPEA – the industry body representing the gas producers – says their members will get on with it, but what’s needed from the government is a plan “to bring on new gas supply”. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

Australian News Economy

Squiz the Rest

War talks in Lithuania

All eyes are on Lithuania this week as the leaders of NATO nations convene for 2 days of talks starting tonight out time. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the military alliance between Western European countries, Canada, and the US. On the agenda: signalling to Russia that NATO will back Ukraine for the long haul, even though Ukraine isn’t a NATO member and won’t be admitted any time soon. What will be done, though is the creation of a new NATO-Ukraine Council that speaks to the close relationship. Also not in NATO is Australia, but PM Anthony Albanese will be there as an ally, fresh from shaking hands with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin…  Germany has bought Australian 100 Boxer “armed carriers” to beef up its military capacity. The deal to supply the Queensland-made vehicles is worth $1 billion to the Oz economy…

World News

Expanded access to the abortion pill

All doctors and nurse practitioners will be allowed to prescribe the pregnancy termination pill MS-2 Step from August following recommendations from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee set to be approved by the Albanese Government. Who can prescribe and dispense the drug has been tightly held since the drug, also known as RU486, was approved in Australia in 2006 after a bruising political debate. It was a few more years before it started to be used in 2012 – and today, about 10% of doctors and 30% of pharmacists are certified to deal with the pill. Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney said Aussie women – particularly those in regional and rural areas – have problems accessing abortions. “We welcome these changes that remove red tape and improve equitable access to healthcare for all Australians,” she said. MS-2 Step is a two-tablet course of misoprostol and mifepristone that can be taken up to 9 weeks into a pregnancy.

Australian News Health

A deep sea showdown

A version of Ocean’s Eleven has been playing out on the world stage for the past 2 years… The target? Deep-sea minerals. In 2021, Pacific Islands nation Nauru partnered with The Metals Company to submit a formal request to the Unite Nationa for a commercial licence to mine the ocean floor. If you need a snorkel to stick with us, now’s a good time… That request triggered a 2-year period for members of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to decide on rules for deep-sea mining, which runs out this month. Gasp… Marine biologists are adamantly against ocean mining, with one saying it would be a move taken “without really understanding what we’re doing”. ISA members are convening in Jamaica for the next 3 weeks to try to agree on international regulations. That’s how the movie ends, right?

Environment & Science

Xavier 0, fish 1

On Saturday, 22yo Queensland sailor Xavier Doerr was rescued in the Great Australian Bight after his boat capsized during a heavy storm. Doerr was attempting to break several sailing records, but he reckons it wasn’t the storm that brought him low… “I believe it was a pod of sunfish,” he said yesterday. What the fish? Sunfish are huge and can weigh over 2,500kg. They also look very strange – think of a guitar pick with wings… Doerr says he was surfing down a giant wave when his boat came to “a very abrupt stop… I hit an object and kind of folded over it”. The young boatie ruled out a lost shipping container because he “didn’t have a hard crunch on collision”. Marine biologist Sheree Marris agrees that a sunfish (or a couple of them) was the likely culprit because of their “epic proportions”. There’s no word on whether anyone’s checked how the fish is going…

Australian News

Elton John goes breaking our heart

Hold us closer, tiny dancer… The sun’s gone down on Sir Elton John’s performing career after wrapping up his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour that kicked off in 2018. Featuring more than 300 shows attended by more than 6 million fans, it was originally meant to end in 2021. The legend was still standing despite COVID, and because his gift is his song, he was determined to bring his 5 decades on the road to a proper close. Yep, he’s been doing it for a long, long time, and it must have been a huge sacrifice… As for what’s next, the 76yo says he’s going to spend more time with his husband and young kids. And he says he will continue to work on new music, but there will be no more concerts – unless he remembers when rock was young and gets back out there… If you’re an Elton fan, we guess that’s why they call it the blues


Apropos of nothing

It’s been a pretty soggy newsletter, but there’s one more ocean story… Divers have put on an underwater concert to advocate for reef protection in the Florida Keys. The band played Yellow Submarine by the Beatles…

Despite Adele’s warning (aka threat) to concert-goers throwing items on stage, Harry Styles was hit in the face onstage in Vienna. It’s not the first time he’s been hit during his ‘Love On Tour’ shows, with an LA crowd throwing Skittles at the singer in 2022.

And Las Vegas has an eye-catching new venue. The giant sphere covered in HD screens can show images on the outside (so far, we’ve seen Earth, the Moon, fireworks, and a giant eye). More than one driver has called it more than a little distracting…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

NATO summit begins in Lithuania (until 12 July)

ABS Data Release – Monthly Household Spending Indicator, May

AIHW Release – How long can Australians live?

World Population Day

Birthdays for Giorgio Armani (1934)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Charlotte’s Web author EB White (1899) and former PM Gough Whitlam (1916)
• the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
• the death of actor Laurence Olivier (1989)
• the escape of Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán from a maximum-security prison near Mexico City (2015)

Squiz the Day

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