Squiz Today / 01 February 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 1 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Kicking off your new month in fine fashion. 

Today’s listen time: 9.00 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Any paint spill is hard to clean up, but when it is 6 tonnes it will take many hours.”

Said NSW firefighter Chad Wallace after his crew were called in to clean up thousands of litres of paint that spilled onto a road after a truck overturned north of Wollongong yesterday. It was messy, but his team are professionals so were able to brush it off…

Settle in for an economic rollercoaster ride…

Get ready for a post-holidays wake-up call next week when the Reserve Bank (RBA) makes its first interest rate announcement for 2023. After a 2 month hiatus, economists are predicting a 0.25% increase on Tuesday – making it the 9th consecutive hike – taking the cash rate to 3.35%. And it’s unlikely to be the last of it, with Deutsche Bank predicting 4 impending rate rises, taking the cash rate to 4.1% by August, costing those with a $500,000 mortgage an extra $300 per month on what they’re paying now. And it will be a shock for the 20% of people who locked in super low rates during the pandemic – they will see their fixed-term rates end this year, so their finances could get a lot tighter.

First and foremost, it’s about inflation remaining high. Last week, new official figures revealed that inflation hit 7.8% in 2022 – the highest since the dark economic days of 1990. But there is one sign that last year’s interest rate hikes are doing their job… New retail sales data out yesterday showed a fall of 3.9% in December compared to the previous month. It’s the first drop in almost a year, suggesting Aussies are finally starting to rein in their spending. But… sales at the shops were still 7.5% higher than in December 2021, so the experts say the latest info is unlikely to stop the RBA from lifting rates again. And then there’s the housing market to consider… New data from CoreLogic shows while home prices fell in every capital city in January, the prices across the country remain above pre-pandemic levels.

Actually, it’s a rosier picture than when we wrapped things up last year… The International Monetary Fund (aka the United Nations’ big financial institution) upgraded its global growth forecast for 2023 from 2.7% to 2.9%. It’s still down on the 3.4% growth recorded in 2022, but it’s better than expected thanks to “surprisingly resilient” demand in the US and Europe, an easing of energy prices, and China’s economy reopening after ending strict COVID restrictions. IMF boss Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas says it could mark a “turning point” for a better 2024. But before we break out the Champagne, he’s warned that Oz’s battle against inflation is “far from won” and that easing off rate rises too soon could undo the work done so far. Onwards, and most likely upwards…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Paid domestic violence leave begins

Aussies experiencing domestic violence can access 10 days of paid leave in most workplaces from today under new laws passed last year. The policy starts for employees of small businesses on 1 August, giving their employers extra time to adjust. Replacing previous unpaid leave arrangements, the new entitlement will support all full-time, part-time and casual workers to relocate and attend court hearings or counselling/medical/financial appointments. Employment Minister Tony Burke says “no employee in Australia will ever again be forced to make a choice between earning a wage and protecting the safety of themselves and their families.” And it has the backing of Coalition with Employment spokeswoman Michaelia Cash saying it’s an important step.

Australian News Crime

Expecting a crowd for Pell’s farewell

Starting this morning, the body of Cardinal George Pell will lie in state at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney ahead of a requiem mass and private burial service tomorrow. Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic died on 10 January in Italy at 81yo and was farewelled at a mass held at St Peter’s Basilica before his remains were returned to Sydney. A big crowd of mourners is expected to attend tomorrow’s service, so 2 extra masses will be held for Pell today. Pell’s legacy is clouded by his connection to cases of clerical child abuse, and that’s seen survivors of child abuse and their supporters tie ribbons to the fence surrounding St Mary’s in commemoration of victims. They have been removed this week, drawing criticism from Pell’s critics. And reports say at least one protest is expected near the cathedral – NSW Police are seeking a court order to prevent that from happening.

Australian News

Calling for calm in Jerusalem

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says his country supports a 2-state solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict as tensions take one of the worst turns in recent times. The recent violence has prompted speculation that a 3rd Palestinian uprising is coming. The previous 2 resulted in several thousand deaths and failed to settle the decades-long fight over territory. Blinken spoke alongside Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday following the “horrific terrorist attacks” of the weekend in East Jerusalem, which left 7 Israelis dead. Reports say 29 Palestinians were also killed in January by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. Blinken said Israel has America’s “ironclad” support but has pushed for a de-escalation of tensions. That could be a tough sell with Israel’s government with Netanyahu not showing any signs of backing down.

World News

Presley’s estate drama all shook up

Lisa Marie Presley’s sudden death a couple of weeks ago was a shock to her family – and now her mother Priscilla has started legal action to contest how her estate is managed. Lisa Marie was the sole heir of ‘The King’ Elvis Presley’s fortune after he died in 1977 – reports say at one point, the estate was worth upwards of US$100 million after his ex-wife Priscilla turned the Graceland mansion into a tourist destination. When she died at 54yo on 13 January, Lisa Marie left the estate to daughter Riley and son Benjamin, who died in 2020. Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s former business manager were the original co-trustees, but they were removed in 2016 without their knowledge. Priscilla is now contesting that amendment, alleging something fishy has happened. Lisa Marie was buried at Graceland last week, and the cause of her death is still being investigated by the Los Angeles County Coroner.


A massage for your mouth

Ah beauty trends, you never fail to surprise us… This time it’s about so-called ‘buccal fat’ and, more specifically, how to get rid of it – something that’s been trending on social media in recent weeks with attention placed on a cosmetic procedure where cheek fat is removed to create a more hollowed-out, angular jawline. There are rumours that A-listers Bella Hadid to Zoë Kravitz had the procedure, but it was first catapulted into public consciousness after media personality Chrissy Teigen admitted to getting it done in 2021. But with some experts warning against the procedure, those not wanting to go under the knife can turn to another celebrity-approved pursuit: buccal massage. It involves having someone massage your facial muscles from inside your mouth and is apparently enjoyed by the likes of J-Lo and Meghan Markle. It’s not something for the dentist-phobic…

Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

If you watched the Aussie Open men’s final on Sunday night and noticed the Djokovic family were quick to whip out a commemorative t-shirt marking Novak’s 10th win in Melbourne – there’s a story behind it… There’s nothing like a high-profile last-minute project to get the adrenaline pumping…

A wombat on Victoria’s Lake Mulwala had rescuers stumped on Monday… How on earth it got stranded in the water is a mystery given the rotund cuties aren’t known for their swimming abilities.

From Commodores to cup mushrooms – a $110 million fungi facility is set to open at the former Holden car factory in South Oz. The state government says it will become the “exotic mushroom capital of Australia”, which sounds Vitamin D-elicious…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

From 9.30am (AEDT) – The body of Cardinal George Pell will lie in state at St Mary’s Cathedral
with masses to be held for the late cardinal at 1.10pm and 8pm – Sydney

12.30pm (AEDT) – Employment and Arts Minister and Leader of the House of Representatives Tony Burke addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Selected Living Cost Indexes, December 2022

Beginning of Ovarian Cancer Month

Start of African-American History Month in the US

World Hijab Day

A birthday for charismatic crooner Harry Styles (1994)

Anniversary of:
• the arrest of Martin Luther King Jr and 700 protestors in Selma, Alabama (1965)
• the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster killing all 7 astronauts aboard (2003)

Squiz the Day

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