Squiz Today / 21 June 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 21 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Get into the news groove. 

Today’s listen time: 7.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“They all hate you. It’s pretty cool.”

Said NSW prop Payne Haas about what it’s like running out onto the hallowed turf of Suncorp Stadium to face Queensland at home. He’s hoping the Blues can pull off an upset in rugby league’s State of Origin series and make it 1-1 in tonight’s game. Good luck with that, Payne…

A search of titanic proportions…

The clock is ticking to find a submersible diving vehicle that has gone missing while exploring the wreck of the Titanic. There are 5 people aboard the vessel – 4 tourists and the pilot – and the vessel has a limited supply of oxygen. The Titanic is, of course, the passenger liner that infamously sank in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg on her maiden voyage. The wreckage is around 690km south-southeast of Canada’s Newfoundland and sits 3.8km under the sea. The US Coast Guard is conducting a search and rescue operation in conjunction with Canadian forces and private vessels in the area – yesterday, Rear Admiral John Mauger said, “we are deploying all available assets to make sure that we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board”.

The submersible is named the Titan and is owned and operated by OceanGate, a company that runs extreme ocean tours. OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush had previously compared their work to the space tourism industry, and the price tags certainly match up: passengers each paid US$250,000 (around AU$365,000) for the 8-day trip that included several dives to the Titanic site. One of the 4 passengers is British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58, who holds 3 Guinness World Records for extreme travel feats. Another is Paul Henry Nargeolet, a French expert on the Titanic. Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman make up the final 2 passengers on the Titan, and the vessel is being piloted by Rush.

Officials say the Titan lost contact in a remote area, and Rear Admiral Mauger said it’s “a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area”. Underwater rescues pose numerous challenges, including the lack of light. If the vessel is found underwater, the question will be how to retrieve it because of the pressure at the depth of the Titanic wreck. The Titan commenced its dive to the Titanic on early Monday morning our time and lost contact about 1 hour 45 minutes into what was meant to be a 2.5-hour round trip. Because they weren’t expected to be down for long, experts say it’s unlikely there are good food and water supplies onboard. And with around 40 hours of emergency air left, the rescue window could stretch until Thursday night/the early hours of Friday. Admiral Mauger said they are “making the best use of every moment of that time.”

World News

Squiz the Rest

The RBA’s rate rise rationale

The Reserve Bank teetered on the edge of leaving interest rates on hold this month, according to the minutes from the central bank’s board meeting. But go up they did… Deputy Governor Michele Bullock says it was due to concerns about worsening inflation. That’s led some analysts to foreshadow a pause when the board meets again in a fortnight, but many are predicting another couple of rate rises in the coming months. Regardless, Bullock says she and her colleagues are watching employment figures closely. That’s because if the rate rises are working, our economy will be cooling as intended – which could see the unemployment rate increase from its current 3.6% to 4.5%. The challenging conditions are having an effect if Best & Less’ note to investors yesterday is anything to go by… The budget-friendly retailer says sales are down by more than 13% since mid-May, and foot traffic is lagging.

Australian News Business & Finance

A crackdown on short-term stays

State governments and local councils are setting their sights on short-term accommodation providers as they struggle to solve chronic housing shortages. On Monday night, Hobart City Council voted to double the rates on about 700 properties used for holiday rentals via platforms like Airbnb and Stayz, along with vacant residential land. Hobart’s Mayor Anna Reynolds says 9% of the city’s rental properties have been turned into “short-stay mini-hotels”, and that’s driving bad outcomes for those who need a place to live. It follows in Brisbane City Council’s footsteps last week to raise rates on short-stays by 65% to discourage landlords from taking properties off the long-term rental market. And in Victoria, the state government’s considering higher taxes on short-term accommodation providers and “rent caps or other forms of rent control”. Reports say legislation enforcing the regime is expected to pass this week.

AusPol Australian News Economy

Study finds a quick snooze is key to brain health…

If life has you feeling tuckered out, consider this permission to schedule a nanna nap today… A team of researchers at University College London say that regular daytime naps of less than 30 minutes have been found to delay brain ageing/improve brain health. That’s because naps reduce brain shrinkage that naturally happens as we age. Scientists studied 35,000 people aged 40-69yo and compared the nappers to non-nappers, finding those who partook in a regular snooze had brains that were 15 cubic centimetres larger, which equates to a 3-6 year delay in brain ageing. With a lack of sleep linked to poor brain health and diseases like dementia, researcher Valentina Paz says, “regular napping could protect against neurodegeneration by compensating for deficient sleep”. Consider us sold…


Can you feel, can you feel the thunder?

We started the final day of the first Ashes Test in the series being played in England needing 174 runs to win – and overnight, the Aussies won a thriller, beating England by 2 wickets in the 1st Test. Skipper Pat Cummins hit the winning runs, with reports calling him the “hero” of the match – although the official player of the match title went to Usman Khawaja for his 2 impressive innings with the bat. And while Test cricket has got a bad rep for being boring – this Ashes series has already been one of the most drama-fuelled contests for years… England’s captain Ben Stokes has been orchestrating field positions that have been blowing people’s minds, there’s been a predictable blow-up over sledging (and this time, it’s actually the English calling our players bad names…), and there’s also been some great cricket. So it’s one match down, 4 to go. Come on, Aussies, come on…


Whale whale whale, what do we have here…

Everyone’s favourite albino humpback whale Migaloo has been MIA since 2020, but 2 recent sightings of a rare white whale off the Queensland coast have his fans waiting on tenterhooks to find out if it’s him… Macquarie University whale expert Vanessa Pirotta says the vision of the whale taken by a tourist flying over the Great Barrier Reef is “promising”, but they “can’t confirm until we’re 100%”. Migaloo’s 3-year absence had led to fears that he might have died, and Pirotta says, “if it is him, it would be incredible that this one iconic whale has avoided being seen for so long along one of the busiest coastlines in the world”. Regardless, Pirotta called the white sighting “a win for citizen science”, and she’s encouraged others who think they’ve spotted Migaloo this whale season to contact the White Whale Research Centre.

Looking for the backstory to the annual whale migration along Australia’s coast? Of course you are, and we’ve got you covered in this Squiz Shortcut.

Australian News Environment & Science

Apropos of nothing

Move over electric cars: flying cars are swooping in. Japanese auto giant Suzuki says it’ll start rolling ‘electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft’ (or eVTOL) off its production line in mid-2024. Implementing that is well over our heads…

We’re not sure whether this will come as a relief or not to parents ahead of the school holidays, but an expert says letting the kids experience moderate levels of boredom can be good for them. Do with that what you will…

It’s farewell to Fantales, with food company Nestlé saying the Aussie chocolate-covered caramel icons have been suffering declining sales and will cease production next month. Time to stockpile…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Tibetan President Penpa Tsering addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

8.05pm (AEST) – State of Origin Game 2 – Brisbane

ABS Data Release – Monthly Employee Earnings Indicator, April

Red Apple Day supporting Bowel Cancer Australia

2023 National Press Gallery Federal Parliamentary Midwinter Ball – Canberra

World Humanist Day

International Yoga Day

World Music Day

Go Skateboarding Day

National Selfie Day

Birthdays for Ian McEwan (1948), Joko Widodo (1961), Prince William (1982), Edward Snowden (1983), and Lana del Rey (1985)

Anniversary of:
• the first Victoria Cross won during the Crimean War (1854)
• the birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905)

Squiz the Day

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