Squiz Today / 12 April 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 12 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you going.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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9 / 19
25 / 34
10 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“I feel so satisfied with how my skating career has gone.”

Said US figure skating champ Alysa Liu as she confirmed her retirement from competition – at 16yo… She’s just a skater girl, she said see you later, girl…

Stats bingo creates havoc for Labor

And you can mark ‘ask a politician to confirm the interest rate/unemployment rate/price of petrol/price of bread’ from your election campaign bingo card if you had that one… The ‘gotcha’ question has long been a feature of our election campaigns since taxes on birthday cakes were hard to explain. And yesterday, 2 stats tripped up Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

He was giving a press conference in Launceston in Tassie, primarily to announce funding to boost support for kids with hearing loss. But campaign press conferences can be unwieldy beasts, and he was asked by 3 journos to confirm if he knew what the nation’s unemployment rate and Reserve Bank cash rate is (to be pedantic, it’s the cash rate target they were looking for…). “I think it’s 5 point, 4 – sorry, I’m not sure what it is.” His colleague Katy Gallagher was able to assist: “The Reserve Bank current rate is 0.1. And the unemployment rate is at 4%,” she said reluctantly. Before the exchange, Albanese had baulked at playing the stats Q&A game, saying “I know about those things that affect ordinary people. I’m happy to engage with you. It’s up to people to ask whatever questions they want.”

It depends on where you’re placed on the political spectrum… Labor supporters pointed out that PM Scott Morrison had his own issue recently and that former Liberal PM John Howard doesn’t think it’s a big deal. And they say Albanese did the right thing in apologising later in the day. For the Coalition’s part, they say it’s uncovered a big issue with Albanese’s bid for government. “If you don’t know what the interest rate is, you can’t be trusted to put the right policies in place to keep them low. If you don’t know what the unemployment rate is, you can’t be trusted to keep Australians in jobs,” said Finance Minister Simon Birmingham. They’ve already cut the attack ad… Expect to hear more about it today as Morrison makes a big jobs announcement.


Squiz the Rest

Russia prepares to launch a new attack on Ukraine’s east

US military officials say Russia is massing its troops on Ukraine’s eastern border as it prepares for a major new offensive in the war. Satellite images show hundreds of military vehicles moving towards the eastern cities of Izium and Dnipro, with residents joining the 4.5 million Ukrainians who have fled west or across the border seeking safety, as dangerous as those options are. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the coming week could be crucial, but experts say Russia is still struggling to execute its war plan. That could be behind Moscow appointing a new top commander, General Alexander Dvornikov, as part of a major military reshuffle. He has extensive experience in Ukraine’s Donbas region and was the first Russian air war campaign leader in Syria. The war is now in its 7th week, and the World Bank says Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 45% this year.

World News

Macron and Le Pen to fight it out

Emmanuel Macron has won the first round of the French election and will runoff against his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen on 24 April in a repeat of the 2017 presidential election. Macron staged a convincing win, receiving 27.8% of the vote compared to Len Pen’s 23.2%. “Make no mistake, nothing is decided,” Macron told cheering supporters yesterday. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon came in 3rd and has the unlikely role of kingmaker, telling supporters “you must not give a single vote to Marine Le Pen,” but he didn’t back Macron either… Voter turnout was higher than expected at 73%, with Le Pen performing best among 35-64yos, while Macron was favoured by over-65s. The President is firing up his campaign for round 2 after the Ukraine war demanded his attention in recent weeks.

Australian News World News

It’s the journey, not the destination…

…are not soothing words to Easter travellers’ ears. Soz, but more pain is expected at the airports as Aussies get set to enjoy the extra-long weekend. The F1 Grand Prix and a faulty Qantas baggage belt yesterday morning caused extensive delays in Melbourne, mirroring scenes in Sydney where long lines stretched out of the domestic terminals onto the road. Qantas chief Alan Joyce did the media rounds yesterday and apologised to passengers – but he said travellers aren’t “match fit“. His finger was also firmly pointed at security staff absenteeism, which is managed by the airports, not the airlines. It could be an epic weekend on the roads, too – last year was a shocker and this year could be even worse with COVID restrictions largely lifted across Oz.

Australian News

Musk turns down a seat on Twitter’s board

Tesla/SpaceX boss Elon Musk has decided against joining Twitter’s board, the social media giant confirmed yesterday. Following revelations he had become the company’s largest shareholder last week, Twitter announced Musk would be appointed to the company’s board. But in an internal memo shared yesterday, Twitter boss Parag Agrawal said that Musk turned down the offer after “many discussions”, which he believes “is for the best”. While no reason was given for the decision, Agrawal said board members were expected to “act in the best interests of the company”, and Twitter will “remain open to [Musk’s] input”. That’s good news for the world’s richest person, who has advocated for changes, like an edit button. Next on his list: turning Twitter’s largely-deserted headquarters into a homeless shelter


The Queen had a rough trot with COVID

In a virtual visit to the Royal London hospital, Queen Elizabeth said she was left “very tired and exhausted” after her bout with COVID in February. As she marks 70 years on the throne, there have been fears for the 95yo monarch’s health after becoming ill with what Buckingham Palace called “mild cold-like symptoms”. It saw her step down from royal duties, but she has since returned to public life and is believed to be in good health aside from mobility issues that she’s expressed frustration with. Still, the Queen has delegated some public appearances to her family, including events she has rarely missed. And on Saturday, the Queen marked the first anniversary of the death of her husband Philip while the royal family shared a poem in his honour. Describing him as the “last of the great avuncular magicians”, it’s, well, a poem…

World News

Apropos of Nothing

In a world-first, UK scientists say they have rejuvenated a 53yo woman’s skin cells to resemble those of a 23yo. Scientists genetically altered adult human cells using technology similar to that used to create Dolly the sheep. The science still has a way to go, but there are hopes for age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

If living among penguins sounds like your jam, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is seeking someone to manage a gift shop and post office on the frozen continent. The catch? Other than sub-zero temperatures, there’s no running water – so showers/toilet facilities are basic. So not tempting…

As The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean says: “It’s very hard to do a ‘first’ after 722 episodes.” But they’ve done it with a new episode featuring a deaf actor and sign language for the first time. It was no easy feat, given the characters have just 4 fingers on each hand…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – 2022 Country Music Awards – Nashville, Tennessee

7.45pm (AEST) – Soccer – Women’s Friendlies – Australia v New Zealand – Bruce, ACT

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, February

International Day of Human Space Flight

Birthdays for TV host David Letterman (1947), and actors Magda Szubanski (1961), Shannen Doherty (1971), Clare Danes (1979) and Saoirse Ronan (1994)

Anniversary of:
• the publication of Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary (1857)
• the beginning of the US Civil War with the Battle of Fort Sumter (1861)
• the divorce of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet (1993)
• US President Bill Clinton cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit (1999)

Squiz the Day

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