Squiz Today / 03 September 2019

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 3 September


"We've joked that we're 'two old broads still dreaming', not wanting to get to our 80s, sitting on a porch and wondering, 'What if?'"

Said Jo Kadlecek, a part-time theatre type who, with her theatre company co-founder Alison Chambers, will tonight realise some big-time dreams. A play that Jo’s written starts its run at the Sydney Fringe Festival. Their production Speak . . . easy is about "writers, women and wisecracks". Sounds like it was written for us… Please welcome Jo to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.


And it’s an intense brute. The hurricane is still pummelling the Bahamas with a destructive force befitting of the most powerful tropical system ever observed in the Atlantic Ocean. Making landfall yesterday as a Category 5 storm, it hit the Abaco islands (population 17,000) before moving on to the Grand Bahama (population 50,000). Dorian brought winds of almost 300km/hour yesterday - reports say that's now eased off a bit. And it’s a terrible slow coach - the system is moving at walking pace. Before Dorian, the worst hurricane to hit the Bahamas came through in 1932 bringing winds of 260km/hour.

Because Dorian has hung around for 24 hours, a full assessment is a while off. Extensive power cuts and limited internet access have also hampered many from getting word to the outside world. But this video posted on Twitter shows Abaco under water. There are reports of deaths, but nothing has been verified by officials. Prime Minister Hubert Minnis likened the situation to being "at war". And it's not over - officials are also predicting a 'life-threatening' storm surge of up to seven metres in some areas. Some pictures are here.

Forecasts have Dorian approaching the South Florida coastline tonight (our time), and while it's not expected to cross the coast, extensive preparations are underway. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said US President Donald Trump is "fully engaged", although media noted he must be getting his updates while on the golf course... Residents along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are also bunkering down. In the meantime, climate change experts have pointed out that Dorian makes 2019 the fourth straight year a Category 5 hurricane has smashed the Atlantic, following Matthew (2016), Irma (2017), Maria (2017) and Michael (2018). It’s a concerning record that some believe could be a trend towards more regular extreme weather-related disasters.



Authorities are searching for 30 missing people after a 75-foot dive boat burned down off the coast of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles in the Channel Islands National Park. Reports say four bodies have been recovered. Five people were rescued by a nearby boat (notably called The Grape Escape) - they were members of the boat’s crew who were above deck and able to jump into the water. Those who are missing were sleeping below deck. The Conception, a commercial dive and fishing boat, was on a three-day Labor Day diving excursion. One firefighter told reporters it was a difficult fire to fight because flames that had been extinguished came back to life, possibly because of the fuel load. The families of those onboard are awaiting news.


Jaymes Todd, the 20yo man who killed aspiring comedian Eurydice Dixon after stalking her through Melbourne’s CBD, has been sentenced to life in prison and must serve a minimum of 35 years in jail before he can apply for parole. Describing the offender’s actions as "totally and categorically evil", Victorian Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye said he’d considered submissions that Todd was at risk of reoffending. Dixon’s father Jeremy said of Todd’s family; "I extend my sincere sympathy to those who love him, it's a terrible tragedy all round." And of his daughter (who was 22yo when she was killed in June last year); "Eurydice herself should be remembered, as her friends will remember her, for her wit and her courage and for her kindness, not for her death."


Conservative MPs who join with Labour to vote against UK PM Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would effectively be expelled from the party, reports yesterday said. That’s not to say Johnson is gunning for a 'no deal' Brexit - in fact, he is trying to make a new deal with the EU. There is the concern that government members voting to block a 'no deal' exit would "plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position," Johnson said. And in a press conference overnight, Johnson put the possibility of a general election on the table - by saying he doesn’t want one. Reports say Johnson could bring on a vote in mid-October if MPs don't sing to his tune.


After two years of declines and then modest growth since July, home prices made strong gains in Sydney and Melbourne over August, according to analysts CoreLogic. Across Australia, prices were collectively up 0.8%, powered by significant increases in Sydney and Melbourne at 1.6% and 1.4% respectively. Prices were also up in Canberra (0.8%), Hobart (0.5%), and Brisbane (0.2%). Down were Darwin (-1.2%), Perth (-0.5%) and Adelaide (-0.2%). But hold your horses - analysts warn these positive results don’t necessarily signal the start of another boom. Regulatory pressure on mortgage lending as well as an expected influx of properties onto the market in Spring will keep any price gains modest, experts say. And for double property market points: economists predict the Reserve Bank will keep record-low interest rates on hold today for another month.


Aussie travel company Flight Centre has become an unlikely target in the Fyre Festival saga with the news its US business is being pursued by the failed venture's bankruptcy trustee. According to court documents, Fyre's financial clean-up crew is seeking to reclaim US$121,400 (A$179,000) it says was paid to Flight Centre to transport musical acts to the disastrous luxury music festival that was to unfold in the Bahamas - services that were allegedly never provided. In its attempts to round up what money it can salvage, the trustee is also suing models Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski. They raked in tidy sums to promote the festival. Flight Centre will defend the lawsuit.


Tourism South Australia has been given the rounds of the social media kitchen for its “depressing” and “sad” ad promoting Adelaide. Marketing expert Adam Ferrier said: “This communication creates a paired association between South Australia and being older, sad and lonely. This obviously isn’t great.” That thud you can hear is Ferrier’s assessment landing on the desk of the marketing director responsible for the campaign…


2.30pm (AEST) - Reserve Bank announces its decision on official interest rates

ABS Data Releases - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, June; Retail Trade, July

National Flag 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.