Squiz Today / 21 November 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 21 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“This looks like a print ad for Viagra cologne.”

Said one internet wag after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos donned his cowboy hat (again…) for a Western-themed Vogue photoshoot with his fianceé Lauren Sanchez. Let’s just say real cowboys weren’t impressed

Optus opens the line for a new boss

The Squiz

It’s been speculated about on the business pages since the Optus mega network outage nearly 2 weeks ago, and yesterday, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin put an end to the rumours… She announced her time at the helm of the nation’s #2 telco is over, with the company’s chief financial officer, Michael Venter, stepping in as interim CEO shoes as the company searches for a new boss. Yesterday, Bayer Rosmarin said after “some personal reflection” following her Senate Committee appearance on Friday, she decided her departure “is in the best interest of Optus moving forward”.

It’s been a big 13 months at Optus… 

Hasn’t it just. It started in September last year when the company was dealing with the fallout from a big cyberattack – it affected up to 9.7 million current and former customers and was later named one of the worst data breaches in Australian history. Bayer Rosmarin, who began as the company’s chief executive in April 2020, described it at the time as a sophisticated attack, but Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil disagreed – she said Optus “left the window open”. So, with the telco still dealing with that fallout, the company’s more than 10 million customers and government stakeholders weren’t so forgiving of this month’s 13-hour phone/internet blackout – or how long it took for Bayer Rosmarin and Co. to tell them what was going on. Talk’s now turning to who might replace her, with Gladys Berejiklian one name being floated

It’s hard to hold down a high-profile job these days… 

Yeah, good shout… Over at the social platform X (formerly Twitter), CEO Linda Yaccarino is being urged to resign. That’s after her boss Elon Musk called an antisemitic conspiracy doing the rounds on the platform the “actual truth” last week, which had the White House accusing him of spreading “a hideous lie” and more companies pausing their ads on X. Yaccarino has so far resisted the calls to resign, saying X is “extremely clear” in its fight against antisemitism. Still, reports say multiple marketing executives have told her she’s risking damage to her reputation by staying. And at OpenAI (aka the company behind ChatGPT), ex-boss/founder Sam Altman was said to be negotiating a return after his shock firing on Friday. But those rumours were also put to bed yesterday, with the OpenAI board naming an interim CEO and Altman offered a new AI leadership gig at Microsoft.

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

An update on Aussies in conflict zones

The number of Aussies/permanent residents/their family members who have been able to leave the Gaza Strip and cross the border into Egypt has doubled. Thirty-one people got out of the war zone early yesterday, making it the largest single group of Aussies to leave the Palestinian territory since Israel’s war on Hamas began. A total of 62 individuals have now left Gaza – a couple of weeks ago, reports said 85 people were registered with Australian officials as wanting to leave. Meanwhile, 28 premature babies were also evacuated from Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital to Egypt overnight. And in eastern Ukraine, it has been reported that Aussie Army veteran Matthew Jepson was killed in a Russian artillery strike last month. Jepson (known as Jeppo, of course…) was serving in a foreign mercenary unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. There are no official numbers on Aussies serving in Ukraine, but previous estimates have pointed to as many as 200.

World News

A not-so-happy birthday

US President Joe Biden turned 81yo yesterday, but it was a low-key affair as his Democratic Party fends off voter concerns about his age ahead of next year’s presidential election. While the White House insists that the country’s oldest-ever president is fit to fight for a second term, recent polls have seen Biden trail likely Republican contender Donald Trump in key swing states, with voters citing concerns about the president’s health. Three years separate the 2 men, but Biden’s high-profile stumbles and gaffes have stuck in voters’ minds. His team is emphasising his recent displays of stamina, including trips to Ukraine and Israel, but reports say supporters are quietly worried it won’t be enough. All that aside, Biden spent his b-day kicking back with his family in Nantucket – perhaps treating himself to orange Gatorade and an ice cream sundae… 

World News

Court cases galore

Lisa Wilkinson, the Network 10 star who hasn’t been on the telly for 12 months, is in a legal tussle with her employer over who should foot the bill for her legal costs in the defamation case brought by former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann. Wilkinson has taken her fight to the NSW Supreme Court, insisting the broadcaster should cough up for her $700,000 legal bill now rather than wait until the defamation case is over. But the network is pushing back, saying it was unnecessary for Wilkinson to hire her own lawyers and that they have yet to see the invoices. And you know what bookkeepers are like when you don’t give them your receipts…  Lehrmann, a former colleague of Brittany Higgins, is suing Wilkinson and Network 10 over their February 2021 interview that aired on The Project. That defamation trial is set to start in Sydney tomorrow.

Australian News Crime

Putting a shadow over your Black Friday

Look, we’re not the boss of you, but there are plenty of warnings around in this tight budgetary environment that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales frenzy could lead you astray. According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan, Aussies are predicted to splurge a whopping $6.36 billion across the 4-day shopping bonanza this year – a 3% increase from 2022. But before you get carried away, we’re being warned to scrutinise those deals, make a list of what you actually need, and stick to it. And no, you probably don’t need another pair of black stretchy leggings from your fave online retailer despite the 40% discount, which almost makes them affordable in AUD (or are we talking about ourselves again?)… So, as you get that dopamine hit from snagging a deal, remember to keep your wits about you. Happy shopping, and may the odds be ever in your favour…

Australian News Business & Finance

Rover McRoverface was robbed…

Aussies love a good competition, and it doesn’t get much better than one to name our first-ever moon rover… In September, the Australian Space Agency (ASA) revealed it will send the first Aussie-made rover to the Big Cheese as early as 2026 as part of NASA’s Artemis mission. Aussies submitted more than 8,200 potential names, and now there’s a shortlist of 4 to vote on. While pearlers like Bluey, Walkabout, Wombat, Rove-r McManus and Rover McRoverface were run up the flagpole, it’s come down to Coolamon (an Indigenous word for a multi-purpose, sustainable tool), Kakirra (meaning ‘moon’ in the Kaurna language), Mateship and Roo-ver. And speaking of competitions, Macquarie Dictionary has opened voting for its 2023 word of the year. We do like a bit of ‘angry water’ – ‘scrotox’, not so much…

Australian News Space

Apropos of nothing

A 2-cornered hat owned by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte has sold for a record €1.932 million at auction – that’s $3.22 million Aussie dollars. The French military commander is believed to have owned 120 hats during his lifetime, but only 20 remain. 

Those wanting to get their hands on a piece of royal memorabilia might have to settle for a replica as hundreds of props and items from Netflix’s The Crown go under the hammer early next year. That includes a copy of Princess Di’s famous ‘revenge dress’, which at an estimated $22,900 would be a bargain… You can check out the catalogue here

And last week, a new US$925 ‘towel’ skirt by luxury brand Balenciaga went viral for, well, looking like a towel… So Swedish retailer Ikea has debuted its own spin on the skirt, clocking in at a more wallet-friendly $9. Being a fashionista doesn’t have to break the bank…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00pm (AEDT) – Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, addresses The Lowy Institute – Sydney

Minutes of the Reserve Bank’s board’s November monetary policy meeting are released

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare chairs an online meeting of state and territory education ministers

ABS Data Release – Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2022-23 financial year

Company shareholder meeting – AGL; Fortescue Metals; Bluescope Steel

AIHW Release – ADF Veterans who have served since 1985 – suicide monitoring 1997-2021; Younger people in residential aged care

World Television Day

Happy birthday to Tweety Bird (1942), Goldie Hawn (1945), Bjork (1965) and Carly Rae Jepsen (1985)

Anniversary of:
• the premiere of Rocky (1976)
• the release of Pharrell Williams’ Happy single (2013)

Squiz the Day

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