Squiz Today / 29 March 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 29 March

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Take it for a Wednesday walk.

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

20 / 28
15 / 18
22 / 29
15 / 21
15 / 27
13 / 22
24 / 34
13 / 22

Squiz Sayings

“I thought the Pope’s puffer jacket was real and didn’t give it a second thought. No way am I surviving the future of technology.”

Tweeted media personality Chrissy Teigen of an AI-generated image of the Pope wearing a white puffer jacket that’s gone viral. Still, ‘Swaggy Pope Francis’ is a look that could catch on this winter…

Sheltered from the financial storm

The boss of one of Australia’s major financial regulators has reassured industry leaders that the national banking system “is among the strongest and most resilient in the world”. John Lonsdale, chair of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), says Aussies’ $8.2 trillion in assets are in safe hands with the domestic banking system bolstered by safeguards that go “above and beyond minimum international requirements”. Lonsdale’s reassurance comes as nerves continue to jangle following the collapse in confidence for some US and European banks and as the Reserve Bank board gets ready for its meeting next Tuesday when it will decide whether to roll out an 11th consecutive rate hike.

Let’s go back a step… This month’s banking crisis unfolded after 2 US banks – Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank – collapsed, and Switzerland’s Credit Suisse required an emergency buyout. That got many bank customers and investors wondering how safe their financial institution is. But Lonsdale says the safety net developed in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, like the government guarantee on deposits of up to $250,000, has upped confidence in our banks. And to pat himself on the back, Lonsdale says regulators, like APRA, are super vigilant in monitoring the banks, insurers and super funds. Expert Michael Lawrence says that since APRA’s formation in 1998, “no Australian has ever lost even one cent of their retail deposit”, which is a fancy way of describing the moolah in your bank account. But others are wary… ANZ boss Shayne Elliot says we should be “a bit more safety-oriented as we enter the coming months”.

Well, investors are considering their options, and as a result of the turmoil, many are (re)turning to cryptocurrency, but the industry is firmly in regulators’ sights. Yesterday, America’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission moved to sue and ban the world’s biggest platform Binance and its CEO/founder Changpeng Zhao over its “illegal” exchange with a “sham” compliance program. The company called the move “unexpected and disappointing”. And overnight, it was unveiled that failed FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged for paying bribes “of at least US$40 million” to Chinese officials. He allegedly paid the money to access US$1 billion in frozen crypto assets. FTX was the world’s 3rd largest crypto exchange when it collapsed in November, and Bankman-Fried has previously pleaded not guilty to a range of charges, including conspiracy to commit fraud.

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Another school shooting tragedy in America

Six people – 3 children aged 9yo and 3 adult staffers in the 60s – were killed in a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, prompting fresh scrutiny of the high level of gun violence in America. The shooter, 28yo former student Audrey Hale (who reports say was transgender), was killed during gunfire with police. Officials say “resentment” may have been a motive and noted that Katherine Koonce, the head of the school, was killed in the attack. Hale had bought 7 guns legally and planned the massacre meticulously – and unlike last year’s Robb Elementary massacre in Uvalde, Texas, the police response was swift. The shooting at the private Christian school marks the 129th mass shooting in the US this year alone. US President Joe Biden said lawmakers “need to do more to protect our schools” and has called on Congress to pass a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons.

World News

The turmoil in Myanmar continues

Myanmar’s military leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing says his forces will take “decisive action” against anyone who resists the country’s military rule. The man who’s essentially the nation’s leader told service members they “need to take action” against those “trying to devastate the country”. Since 2021’s coup, the number of resistance fighters has grown, and more than a 3rd of townships are not under full military control. With over 3,100 people dead and over a million displaced, the military’s been accused of killing civilians as it cracks down on its critics. And elections promised by Min Aung Hlaing have been delayed, and a new date hasn’t been set. Yesterday, Min Aung Hlaing’s military junta said 40 political parties have been dissolved, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s leading National League for Democracy. They had failed to register for the election that critics say will prolong the military’s grip on the nation.

World News

Aussie soldier granted bail

Oliver Schulz – the former SAS soldier accused of murdering an Afghan civilian in 2012 – was granted bail by a Sydney court yesterday. The 41yo became the first Aussie serviceman to be charged with committing a war crime after he was arrested last week following a 4-year investigation stemming from the Brereton Report and longstanding rumours that our elite soldiers were involved in atrocities in Afghanistan between 2005-16. Schulz was due to be held in custody until the criminal proceedings concluded, which could take years. But Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson found there were exceptional circumstances to grant Schulz bail, acknowledging he would be in danger wherever he was detained as he would likely have to mix with Islamist extremists or sympathisers. Conditions of his bail include a security deposit of $200,000, daily reporting to the police, a nightly curfew and a ban on contacting any ex-colleagues. The case returns to court on 16 May.

Australian News Crime

Some cool celestial developments

Stargazers will be treated to a rare sight over the next few weeks as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus align with the moon in the night sky. The so-called ‘planetary parade’ can be seen anywhere in the world – all you need are a pair of binoculars, clear skies and a good view of the western horizon right after sunset. Different planets align in the sky every so often – the last was a 5-planet lineup last year. And while we’re talking astronomy, a new study has found tiny glass beads on the lunar surface could contain billions of tonnes of extractable water. Scientists are saying it’s a massive breakthrough in space agencies’ bids to set up base on the moon, as it would provide an accessible source of water, hydrogen, and oxygen. It could also prove a very profitable venture for the more spiritually inclined…


A not so (octo)generic adventure

Some octogenarians might want to ring in their 8th decade with a crossword and a good night’s sleep – but 2 ladies from Texas are doing it differently with an adventure around the world. Inspired by Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days, 81yo mates Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip were supposed to embark on their round-the-world trip last year but ran into some COVID delays. “Our theme now is around the world in 80 days at 81 and still on the run”, Hamby said. The duo left the US on 11 January and have already visited Antarctica, South America, Europe, the Arctic Circle, the UK, Africa, Bali, India and Japan. They’re currently on the Australian leg of their journey before heading back home to finish their journey on 1 April at the Grand Canyon. It sounds a lot more enjoyable than the world’s longest bus journey

Quirky News World News

Apropos of nothing

An Italian academic has stirred the pot after claiming carbonara is an American dish and the only place to buy authentic Parmesan cheese these days is Wisconsin. A number of his fellow citizens have called his claims pre-pasta-rous…

One student took advantage of the University of Kyoto’s lax graduation ceremony dress code by rocking up as Volodymyr Zelensky. He nailed the Ukrainian President’s stoic expression…

And Ralphie the French bulldog – famously described by a New York animal shelter as a “fire-breathing demon” – has been adopted for the 4th and hopefully final time – this time by a professional dog trainer. Speaking of demon animals, here’s a giggle-worthy gallery of some destructive pets…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

1.30pm (AEDT) – SA Premier Peter Malinauskas delivers his first State of the State address – Adelaide

7.45pm (AEDT) – An Evening with President Obama – Melbourne – available to livestream here

Four people including Jack Brearley face court charged with the murder of 15yo Cassius Turvey – Perth

ABS Data Release – Monthly Consumer Price Index indicator, February; Permanent migrants in Australia, 2021

The Hatchery Women in Leadership Summit (until 30 March) – Sydney

Melbourne International Comedy Festival begins (until 23 April) – Melbourne

Piano Day

Birthdays for Vangelis (1943), Elle Macpherson (1964), and Lucy Lawless (1968)

Anniversary of:
• the official opening of Royal Albert Hall by Queen Victoria (1871)
• Australia’s first federal election leading to Edmund Barton being elected Prime Minister (1901)
• Nelson Mandela being acquitted of treason after a 4.5-year trial (1961)
• the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, China (1974)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.