Squiz Today / 07 February 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 7 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you get your arms around it. 

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“When I initially received it, I thought that maybe I had a secret admirer with really bad taste.”

Said Melbourne woman Justine Mintern after receiving a mysterious package in the mail containing a fake Cartier ring that turned out to be part of a new swindle targeting Aussies. Be like Justine and hold out for the good stuff… 

Alcohol bans brought back in the NT

Alcohol bans will be reinstated in Central Australian communities after temporary restrictions were implemented to curb a spike in crime less than 2 weeks ago. NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said she’ll introduce urgent legislation to back the bans next week when the Territory’s parliament resumes sittings. The Albanese Government’s also pledged $250 million in extra funding for education, youth engagement and job creation programs, and improved services. These latest developments came about with the release of a report into alcohol-related harm in the region, which PM Anthony Albanese requested during his snap visit to Alice Springs at the end of last month.

It’s a good question – and we won’t know the answer until the legislation is drafted, but Fyles says affected communities will play a big part in developing their ‘alcohol management plans’. Fyles – who initially rejected calls for the reintroduction of alcohol bans after laws lapsed in July last year, labelling them racist – says she has heard “loud and clear” that communities need to be part of the solution. One thing that’s known is that if communities want to allow grog, 60% of residents will need to agree. As the plans are drafted and voted on, Fyles says the government will implement “a circuit breaker” of temporary dry zones in affected areas. Alcohol sale restrictions in Alice Springs will stay in place for now, as “they have proved to provide an immediate respite”.

Many people are hoping that’s the case… Fyles says although she’s aware that some people will be disappointed by the bans, she believes they’ll “provide a clear pathway” forward. For Albanese’s part, he says he wants “better outcomes for the most disadvantaged group in Australian society – First Nations people”. And on that note, he added that he’s “very hopeful” the Indigenous Voice to Parliament could be set up during this term of government – aka by mid-2025 – if this year’s referendum results support it. Greens Senator/Indigenous woman Lidia Thorpe also made waves yesterday when she quit the Greens over the party’s stance on the Voice. Thorpe’s in favour of a treaty before a Voice to Parliament and says her focus “will now be to grow and amplify the black sovereign movement in this country”.

AusPol Australian News Crime

Squiz the Rest

Deadly earthquake hits Turkey and Syria

More than 2,600 people have died following a massive earthquake in southern Turkey/northern Syria, and that number is rising as rescuers search through the rubble of flattened buildings. Reports say at least 12,000 people are injured, but that’s also likely to increase. The magnitude 7.8 disaster first struck at 4:17am local time on Monday, with a 2nd tremor hitting just 9 minutes later. Dozens of apartment buildings collapsed across several cities while people slept. Vibrations were felt as far away as Lebanon, Greece, Israel and Cyprus. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has declared 7 days of mourning… He says it’s the strongest quake that’s hit the country since December 1939. The situation in Syria’s been described as “disastrous”, with reports of many people still trapped under buildings in rebel-held parts of the country. PM Anthony Albanese has offered Australia’s condolences and says the government’s not aware of any Aussies caught up in the tragedy.

World News

New year, old rate hikes on the cards

Yipee, the 2-month reprieve from interest rate rises looks set to end today (said no one ever…). The Reserve Bank’s board is gathering for the first time in 2023, and the question is not if it will lift rates but by how much… Economists from the big banks are predicting a 0.25% hike from 3.1% to 3.35%, with CBA warning there is a chance the increase could be as much as 0.4%. Whatever it is, it would mark the 9th consecutive rate rise and mean those with a $500,000 mortgage are shelling out more than $900 extra in monthly repayments than when this exercise started in May last year. ANZ and Westpac also predict that rates will keep climbing to a peak in May at 3.85%. The outlook is especially tough for 800,000 households on the “mortgage cliff”. No, that’s not the worst geological feature in the best town – it’s about people with low fixed rates that are about to end later this year.

Australian News Business & Finance Economy

Talkin’ trade with China…

China’s relationship with the US might be on ice, but Oz remains on track to strengthening our relationship after trade officials from both nations had a virtual natter yesterday. It was the first meeting of its kind since 2019, with Trade Minister Don Farrell raising ongoing sanctions against Australian exports – including wine, barley and lobsters – as a key issue with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao. It follows comments last month by China’s Ambassador to Oz Xiao Qian that talks to resolve the trade disputes were getting underway. While yesterday’s meeting won’t change China’s approach overnight, it’s part of an ongoing thawing of tensions that emerged during the pandemic over the Morrison Government’s calls for an investigation into the origins of COVID. The Albanese Government says our differences should be managed “wisely” but insists it hasn’t given ground on the things that matter.

AusPol Australian News Economy

A safe spot v your comfort zone

It’s hard to imagine any part of a plane being particularly safe during a crash, but according to experts, some seats are safer than others. The good news for safety buffs is that the best seats are the ones most travellers choose last – the middle rear seats. The middle’s good because, to put it plainly, you have a human shield on either side. Meanwhile, highly desirable (and often costly) exit rows can be the most dangerous as fuel is stored in the wings of a plane. And those fancy folk in First Class are directly in the firing line, as the front of an aircraft usually takes the brunt of any impact. No matter where you’re seated, air travel is still the safest mode of transport. In fact, the odds of dying in a plane are one in 205,552, compared with 1 in 102 in a car. So in the words of your captain: sit back, relax and enjoy your flight…

Australian News Quirky News

Bey not the only queen at the Grammys

Beyoncé yesterday cemented her status at the Grammys by becoming the most decorated artist of all time, scooping 4 awards to reach 32 career wins that saw her beat a 26yo record previously held by Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti. Hubby Jay-Z gave her a standing ovation as she fought back tears, “trying not to be too emotional”. That sure was something, but Queen Bey arguably tied for the night’s biggest winner with actor Viola Davis. She became the 18th person to achieve EGOT status – aka winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards – by taking out the best audiobook, narration, and storytelling recording for her memoir Finding Me. And kudos to Harry Styles for winning Album of the Year and Lizzo for Record of the Year with About Damn Time. Speaking of being loud, there were some wild outfits on display on the red carpet, not least Shania Twain’s ensemble… And if you’ve got a bit of time, here’s a 262-pic gallery extravaganza


Apropos of nothing

It’s not what we expected, but scientists have released what they describe as “fairly alien” underwater sounds recorded in the Arctic and Antarctic. Think: ‘singing’ ice and crabeater seals… not to mention the ones that researchers can’t even name.

The days of musos searching high and low for record deals might be over, with a new Swedish app supporting artists via fan investment for each project. You’ll need to trust your ear and your investment gut – if a new song flops, that’s your money done.

If you’re into endless Seinfeld re-runs but hunger for a fresh take, the internet has you covered. Nothing, Forever is an AI-generated, 24-hour-a-day show streaming non-stop since December. Like the NYC-based show, they talk forever about nothing. Unlike the TV hit, the 4 main characters look like they’ve been spat out by a 1990s computer game. And the punchlines are a bit iffy – but some said that about the original…  

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

2.30pm (AEDT) – RBA Governor Philip Lowe makes an announcement on interest rates

NZ PM Chris Hipkins to meet with PM Anthony Albanese – Canberra

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, December

Company Results – Transurban

WA Clean Energy Forum – Perth

Safer Internet Day

Birthdays for singer Garth Brooks (1962) and actor Ashton Kutcher (1978)

Anniversary of:
• the colonial Tasmanian Parliament passing the world’s first secret ballot (1856)
• New Zealand’s worst maritime tragedy – HMS Orpheus sunk off the coast of Auckland killing 189 (1863)
• the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, which killed 173 people (2009)

Squiz the Day

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