Squiz Today / 18 January 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 18 January

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Squiz Today Podcast

Maintaining your news game.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“The apocalypse is well on its way. This song sucks.”

Said muso Nick Cave in response to a fan who sent him AI tool ChatGPT’s attempt at writing lyrics in his trademark style. Others reckon it’s not far off the mark – nor is the chatbot’s imagining of Donald Trump’s take on Bitcoin

Ups and downs in the global economy

According to new official figures, Aussie wages are growing at the fastest rate in a decade. Between July and September, wages increased by 1%, taking annual growth to 3.1%, up from about 2.3% annually over the past 10 years. People in low-paid jobs saw the biggest increase, and Treasurer Jim Chalmers expects that to continue. Also positive was the latest consumer confidence data from Westpac that shows Aussies are feeling slightly more optimistic about the economy despite 6 months of interest rate rises. That might change next month when the Reserve Bank reconvenes to discuss another increase and what 2023 might hold… Wages growth and confidence are 2 significant domestic factors policymakers are keeping an eye on. And that’s before we look at what’s coming in from overseas…

Global economists are keeping an eye on China’s recovery after its harsh COVID lockdowns abruptly ended late last year. China’s quarterly data release shows its economy grew by 3% in 2022 – its worst result in 50 years. That’s well below the government’s target of 5.5% but above analysts’ forecasts. As for the here and now, the significant surge in COVID cases might slow Chinese consumer spending, which has a flow-on effect on other countries that trade with the superpower. And there’s China’s population decline – its first since 1961. Its headcount was down 850,000 last year, and experts say that trend has long-term implications for a country looking to become the biggest economy in the world.   

Indeed. The state of the global economy – and concerns of a widespread recession – are on the table at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. The theme for this year’s gathering is “cooperation in a fragmented world”, but some attendees say it’s actually about war, the climate crisis, energy problems, inflation, famine, worsening inequality and political instability. Underlining that, Forum President Borge Brende says we’re experiencing “the most complex geopolitical and geoeconomic backdrop in decades”. So, just a bit of light chit-chat amongst the movers and shakers in attendance, then…

Business & Finance World News

Squiz the Rest

Vale Jim Molan and Renee Geyer

Liberal Senator/retired Major General Jim Molan has died 2 years after he was diagnosed with an “aggressive form” of prostate cancer. The 72yo had a long and distinguished career with the Australian Army – one of his most notable roles came in 2004 when he was chief of operations of Coalition forces in Iraq. He entered the federal parliament in 2017 – between his military and political careers, he was recruited to help shape Operation Sovereign Borders. Yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese said he was “a man of principle and a politician of conviction”, and Coalition leader Peter Dutton said the nation has lost “a decent, honourable man”. Molan had 4 children, including radio/TV host Erin Molan.

And iconic Aussie soul singer Renee Geyer died at 69yo from complications from hip surgery. She had breast cancer in the past, and reports say while in hospital for her most recent surgery, it was discovered that she had inoperable lung cancer. Known for her distinctive husky vocals, Geyer was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2005 for her career spanning 5 decades. She had big pop hits like Say I Love You and Heading in the Right Direction. But it was her jazz and R&B creds that saw her recognised by the best in the biz as an immense talent. Her family say she was “irrepressible, cheeky and loyal” and a “force of nature”.

Australian News

Queensland floods turn deadly

There are emergency flash flooding warnings in place and heaps of road closures across northern and central Queensland as it continues to be inundated with heavy rain. Rain records have been smashed across the state, with Mackay on the state’s central coast receiving 1,000mm over the last 7 days. For context, Melbourne’s average annual rainfall is 650mm… And a man died yesterday after his vehicle became trapped in floodwaters near Nebo. Adding another layer of complexity, the Bureau of Meteorology warns the low-pressure system that’s hovering over the region could develop into a tropical cyclone today… It’s a far cry from sweltering conditions in parts of the country’s south and west this week. After 3 years of so much rain in eastern Australia, ‘unprecedented’ heatwaves are set to be a feature of 2023 around the world, with scientists forecasting the return of La Niña’s dry/hot brother El Niño. Ay, caramba…

Australian News Weather

Geopolitical issues flagged at Aussie Open

Organisers have banned Russian and Belarusian flags at the tournament after a Russian flag was seen in the stands during Monday’s match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. To back it up a bit… Russian and Belarusian tennis players have not been able to play under their countries’ flags since the start of the Ukraine war – but before yesterday, fans were allowed to display their flags. The flag ban was called for by Ukraine’s ambassador to Oz, Vasyl Myroshnychenko. As for what’s happening on the court, Queensland wildcard Kimberly Birrell pulled off a big upset to join fellow Aussie Olivia Gadecki in the 2nd round. And there are plenty of Aussie men to cheer on – Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis, John Millman, Jason Kubler, Alexei Popyrin, Aleksandar Vukic, Max Purcell and debutante Rinky Hijikata. They are into the 2nd round or have first-round matches to complete after rain disrupted play in Melbourne last night.

Australian News Sport

Cancelling Clarkson

ICYMI, Jeremy Clarkson has been in hot water since writing an article for The Sun last month outlining his “cellular level” hatred of Meghan Markle, calling for her to be publicly humiliated a la Game of Thrones’ Cersei Lannister. The backlash – including from his daughter – was immediate, sparking a record number of complaints. He has form, but the 62yo said sorry on Twitter and sent a Christmas Day email apologising for his “disgraceful” choice of words. Prince Harry says it was only addressed to him and has called the comments “horrific, hurtful and cruel”. Yesterday, Clarkson issued a 2nd apology “with bells on”, but a spokesperson for the Sussexes says it doesn’t make up for his “hate rhetoric and misogyny”. As a result, it’s reported Clarkson will be dumped by streaming service Amazon Prime, which would mean no new seasons of popular shows The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm on the platform.


Let’s get loud

If ‘quiet quitting‘ your job didn’t pan out how you’d hoped in 2022, some are taking a different approach to manage their careers in 2023, with ‘loud quitting’ the new thing… Contrary to what the name suggests, it’s a tactic that (supposedly) will help you keep your job and increase your pay. Essentially, you tell your boss you plan to quit, and the idea is they immediately panic and offer you an obscene amount of money to stay put. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but there’s one problem – it only works if you’re good at your job. And if you’ve spent months quiet quitting and doing the bare minimum, it probably hasn’t gone unnoticed. The good news is that if quiet/loud quitting hasn’t worked out, you can always go about ‘rage applying‘ for a new gig to get you outta there. Your boss will be sorry when you’re gone – maybe…

Business & Finance

Apropos of nothing

An Italian fashion startup has a solution for those fed up with being tracked by facial recognition software: patterned clothes. Its debut collection includes pieces with colourful, animal-like prints that are said to confuse AI algorithms into thinking the wearer is a giraffe or zebra. It’s wild…

Female apiarists have broken the world record for the most photos of women beekeeping uploaded in 24 hours after 1,300 participants from 25 countries, including Oz and war-torn Ukraine, took happy snaps in their bee kits. Tassie-based organisation Sister Hives Australia led the effort to create a buzz around female beekeeping.

And if you’re having a rough week, the 2022 Dog Photography awards winners have been announced. You’re welcome…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

11.05am (AEDT) – Cricket – Women’s ODI – Australia v Pakistan – Brisbane

Jack Brearley in court for the murder of 15yo Cassius Turvey – Perth

National Winnie The Pooh Day – US, commemorating author A.A. Milne’s birthday (1882)

A birthday for former PM Paul Keating (1944)

Anniversary of:
• Captain James Cook coming across the Hawaiian Islands, which didn’t end well… (1778)
• the first group of ships from the First Fleet arriving in Botany Bay (1788)

Squiz the Day

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