Squiz Today / 02 March 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 2 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Woah, we’re halfway there…

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Tonight I tested positive to COVID-19. I am experiencing flu-like symptoms and will be recovering over the next week.”

Said PM Scott Morrison late last night, after pulling out from an event in support of the Ukrainian community at Sydney Opera House. He’ll keep working in isolation, we hope he’s stocked up on paracetamol…

Ukraine readies for a major assault


A long convoy of Russian armoured vehicles and tanks is bearing down on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. And when we say long, satellite photos have captured images of the 64km-long line of Russian military vehicles south from Belarus. At the same time, the Russian forces bombed a TV tower in Kyiv, killing 5 people, as well as a massive strike on a Government building and residential districts in the second largest city of Kharkiv, killing scores more. Russia has warned of more “high-precision” strikes on targets in Kyiv. The United Nations says more than 660,000 civilians have fled the country.


If Kyiv is claimed by Russia, it’s a huge loss in Ukraine’s battle to hold onto power. Analysts say Russia was held back by limited logistical support and reinforcements, but the convoy’s advance points to the fact that a major attack is imminent. US officials reckon Russian forces will try to encircle Kyiv to force the Ukrainian Government to surrender or agree to concessions. But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky made a passionate speech to the EU Parliament overnight by video link, saying “no one is going to break us, we are strong, we are Ukrainians,” which received a standing ovation. Russia’s new strategic partner – China – yesterday started evacuating its citizens from Ukraine, prompting speculation that it’s calculated the invasion could be about to get worse. And commentators say Russia’s track record in the Syrian war and crushing separatism at home suggests an increasingly brutal campaign ahead.


Not easily, no. Earlier this week, President Zelensky appealed for people around the world to join a yet-to-be-established foreign legion of fighters to battle the Russians. The UK said it’d back any British citizen who wanted to join, but PM Scott Morrison yesterday said the advice remains to avoid the conflict zone. It’s a criminal offence for an Aussie to become a foreign fighter unless they’re a member of a foreign defence force. The Ukrainian Embassy in Canberra said it’d received at least 20 enquiries from Aussies asking how to join the fight. But the Ukrainian Council of NSW said there are better ways to help through financial and humanitarian assistance. “There is no need to have further unnecessary deaths for Ukraine,” director Andrew Mencinsky said. Morrison yesterday confirmed that Australia has committed more than $70 million to Ukraine’s defence via military equipment and weapons.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Floods disaster moves south

An elderly woman has been found dead inside her home in flood-affected Lismore, and the body of a 76yo man located in his submerged vehicle outside Brisbane, bringing the national death toll from the emergency to 11. As the massive clean-up begins in QLD, authorities in NSW are trying to account for everyone in the city of Lismore, which was hit by extreme flooding over the past couple of days. The severe weather front continues to track south along the east coast, prompting the city of Ballina to evacuate as well as low-lying areas of Lennox Head and surrounding towns. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet described it as a “one in 1000-year” event and warned Sydneysiders that the city would be smashed by more thunderstorms, heavy rain and damaging winds overnight and into today. A flood watch is in place for the Mid North Coast down to the South Coast and Sydneysiders are being urged to avoid unnecessary travel. Keep that raincoat/brolly handy…

Australian News

A different State of the Union address

US President Joe Biden is gearing up to deliver his first State of the Union address this afternoon (1.00pm AEDT), but the unfolding war in Ukraine has forced him to change focus. Just a few months ago, Biden’s speech was set to highlight his domestic agenda to renew attempts to pass his US$1.75 trillion (A$2.5 trillion) Build Back Better spending package – including a wide-ranging list of social policies on education, healthcare and climate change. Now, the speech is expected to emphasise America’s world leadership role and push for a unified global response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And Biden is still expected to tout his major accomplishments during his first year in office: managing the COVID vaccination program and securing the funding for a US$1.2 trillion infrastructure plan. But with Biden’s approval rating plunging, his administration will get a sense of where voters are at as the midterm primaries kick off today.  

World News

Home prices stall in Sydney and Melbourne as rates held

Property prices across the country continued to rise in February by 0.6% – its slowest pace since October 2020. But the 2 largest cities bucked the trend, CoreLogic says, with prices in Sydney falling for the first time in 17 months (by -0.1%) and Melbourne prices stalling thanks to buyers hitting the limits and more properties flooding the market. Brisbane (1.8%), Adelaide (1.5%) and regional Oz (1.6%) posted the biggest gains for the month. And as new official data revealed Aussie investor mortgages are at a record high, the Reserve Bank yesterday resisted calls to raise rates from 0.1%. Analysts expect rates to lift as inflation pushes up prices as we attempt to cast of the pandemic, but Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said rates are on hold because it was too early to tell whether the upward trend will continue.

Business & Finance

Building your muscles lowers the risk of death

Half an hour of lifting weights, push-ups or heavy gardening each week could help reduce the risk of dying from any cause, according to a new report. Previous research has indicated a link to a lower risk of death, but until now experts didn’t know what the right “dose” of huffy-puffy might be. To find out, researchers in Japan scoured databases for relevant studies and concluded that 30-60 minutes of muscle-strengthening every week could be linked to a 20% lower risk of death from all causes. And it doesn’t require you to go to the gym – approved muscle building includes lifting heavy shopping bags through to carrying your kids. The results rang true for all causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The analysis included people aged between 18-97yo, but researchers said that studies of more diverse populations would increase the certainty of their conclusions. But don’t die waiting, it’s probably best to get to it…


Navigating a tricky geopolitical environment…

It’s hard being a brand in the current environment. What with a zillion consumer concerns and causes buzzing about, it’s difficult to be everything to everyone… And while we might be many miles away from Eastern Europe, Russia’s war with Ukraine has impacted those doing business here. Yesterday, we learned Russian liquor has been removed from the shelves of the big booze retailers. “As an organisation, Endeavour Group is deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine and we join the calls for peace,” said the business that operates Dan Murphy’s. The United Nations will be pleased to hear it… And years-long marketing favourite – Aleksandr, Sergei and the Orlov family – are also facing the chop. Who dat? They’re the Compare the Market meerkats. They’re Russian, and these days things are far from simples…

Business & Finance

Apropos of Nothing

Social media sensation Tiktok is no longer the platform of shortform videos – it’s expanding the maximum limit to 10 minutes. Seen as a challenge to YouTube, the company says it’s hoping to “unleash even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world.” Or more terrifying celebrity recipes at the very least… 

Paris is hosting the 2024 Olympics, and there’s an opportunity for organisers to claim some words in the sports that are new to the schedule. Claiming terms used in sport and the arts is an extension of the long-running battle of French v English. Breakdancing makes its debut in the Paris Games so get ready for ‘le breaking’ and ‘la frise’…  

The Tyrannosaurus rex – an 8-tonne dinosaur with sharp teeth and puny clawed arms – may not have been the only representative of his species. They might have had 2 cousins. Run…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – President at Science & Technology Australia and Director of CNBP Science Professor Mark Hutchinson addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

1.00pm (AEDT) – US President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address

The US midterm elections begin – Texas

ABS Release – Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, December 2021

Ash Wednesday

Dr Seuss Day

Birthdays for Mikhail Gorbachev (1931), Mark Evans (1956), Jon Bon Jovi (1962), Daniel Craig (1968), Chris Martin (1977) and Rebel Wilson (1980)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Dr Seuss (1904), Lou Reed (1942) and Karen Carpenter (1950)
• the release of The Sound of Music (1965)
• Winx setting a world record for Group 1 wins by taking home the Chipping Norton Stakes in Sydney (2019)

Squiz the Day

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