Squiz Today / 04 May 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 4 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Putting the hum in Hump Day.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

13 / 25
13 / 16
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10 / 22
13 / 16
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4 / 18

Squiz Sayings

​​“Thou shalt commit adultery”

Reads an extremely rare copy of the Bible from 1631 that was recently discovered in New Zealand. Dubbed the ‘Wicked Bible’ due to the scandalous printing error, it’s more hedonist than Old Testament…

Interest rates rise and there’s more on the way

We’re on the up… The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Governor Philip Lowe yesterday confirmed that interest rates will rise from 0.1% to 0.35% – the first official rate hike in more than 11 years. But wait, there’s more… Lowe says that rising inflation “will require a further lift in interest rates over the period ahead”, with a “normal” official rate looking like 2.5%. The Commonwealth Bank was first out of the gate last night, announcing it will pass the 0.25% increase in full – ANZ and Westpac have followed. On a $650,000 mortgage, the increase will add $86 a month to repayments.

The Aussie economy has revved up more quickly than expected, and he says there’s some good news to point to. Unemployment now sits at 4% and it’s expected to fall to 3.5% by early next year – which would be a 50 year low. And he says that there’s evidence that wages growth has been picking up. “In a tight labour market, an increasing number of firms are paying higher wages to attract and retain staff, especially in an environment where the cost of living is rising,” he said. This brings us to last week’s higher than expected inflation rate of 5.1% for January-March… That all means the RBA thinks it’s time to “normalise” rates. “The board judged that now was the right time to begin withdrawing some of the extraordinary monetary support put in place to help the Australian economy during the pandemic,” Lowe said. Note: the record low rate of 0.1% was one of those measures.

Economists say a string of interest rate rises in the pipeline will make some businesses and consumers think twice about borrowing and spending money. “The Reserve Bank is basically increasing the cost of borrowing money to decrease the speed of the cost of living going up,” said ANZ senior economist Adelaide Timbrell. Regardless of what the analysts say, there’s significant political fallout because it puts both the major parties under pressure to explain how they will handle rising cost of living pressures 2.5 weeks out from election day. Labor wasted no time getting stuck into the Coalition yesterday. “Scott Morrison’s economic credibility was already tattered and now it is completely shredded,” Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said. But PM Scott Morrison was having none of it, saying that the rate rise is proof that the economy is recovering from the worst of the pandemic – something that’s been managed on his watch.

Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

US Supreme Court readies to ditch Roe v Wade

America’s top court could overturn the nationwide right to abortion in what the Democratic leaders of Congress have labelled the “greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years – not just on women but on all Americans.” According to a leaked draft of a 98-page opinion that is said to represent the majority of Supreme Court justices, conservative Justice Samuel Alito says the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that legalised terminations in the US is “egregiously wrong.” If overturned, women’s access to abortion would be left to the states, and ‘trigger laws’ would instantly see the procedure restricted or banned in 22 states. Chief Justice John Roberts says the document is authentic, but the decision is not final. He will launch an investigation into the leak that he says was “intended to undermine the integrity of our operations”. So it’s not over – the final decision is to be published in the next 2 months. In the meantime, cue the protests

World News

Heartbreak in Mariupol as Russia attacks

The humanitarian crisis in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol continues as Russia refocuses on the city’s last remaining stronghold. About 100 civilians who’d sheltered inside the Azovstal steelworks managed to escape on Sunday, helped by Red Cross workers to crawl over rubble and climb out to safety. Some reported that they hadn’t seen sunlight for 2 months. But hundreds remain inside, and now Russian forces are storming the plant. Taking the port city is a key Russian aim, but the steelworks and its maze of underground tunnels – surrounded by water on 3 sides – have become a fortress for about 1,000 citizens and a small group of Ukrainian soldiers. Earlier this year, Ukraine officials gave fighters maps of the underground network and supplied the plant with 40,000 packages of food. “But we didn’t expect such a genocide and inhumane war,” plant director Enver Tskitishvili said.

World News

Playing house to get harder

The Climate Council says one in 25 homes in Oz are at high risk of becoming effectively uninsurable by 2030. That number rises to more than one in 10 homes in the most affected regions, including parts of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Shepparton in Victoria, Ballina in NSW and Port Adelaide in South Oz. The new report says that the risk is highest from flooding, but bushfire risk will also push insurance premiums higher. When a property becomes ‘effectively uninsurable’, it means insurance premiums are unaffordable to average homeowners. Queensland tops the list with 193,000 properties, followed by NSW with 148,000. Boss of the Insurance Council Andrew Hall says the research should prompt a conversation about how to build more adaptable homes and think about land use differently. He says that “no area is uninsurable, but the question becomes what price do you pay in insurance when the risk is very high?”

Australian News Environment & Science

A very strange prison break

Authorities in Alabama are on the hunt for a prison inmate and a prison guard after the pair went missing last week. Corrections officer Vicky White escorted inmate Casey White out of prison last Friday, saying she was dropping him off at the county courthouse before getting medical care for herself, as she wasn’t feeling well. If you’ve clocked the shared surname, snap, but 2 are not related or married. Authorities say no court hearing was scheduled for the inmate, and the pair never showed up at the courthouse. The officer’s patrol car was found abandoned in a parking lot near the prison, and she has been out of contact since. Local sheriff Rick Singleton says they want to assume that Vicky was taken against her will, but “all indications” suggest she helped the inmate escape. The “model employee” was set to retire on Friday, telling colleagues she thought about moving to the beach.

Quirky News World News

Gilded glamour at the Met Gala

Polish off your best “sweetie-darling” and summons some energy after a month-long juice cleanse to fit into your frock – it’s time to dissect the Met Gala… A-listers descended on New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday for the fashion world’s big night. The annual fundraiser took on a ‘Gilded Glamour and White Tie’ theme. And look, we don’t know where so many of these fit into that, but we’re not experts… The talk of the town was Kim Kardashian in the dress famously worn by Marilyn Monroe when she sang Happy Birthday to JFK in 1962. As for the other celebs: Blake Lively wore a colour-changing Versace dress, Elon Musk took his mum, and everyone was confused by actor Jared Leto’s doppelgänger… Check out the full red carpet gallery here – just put aside a bit of time to give it the attention it deserves…


Apropos of Nothing

At 100 years young, American Lester Wright has broken the official world record for the fastest 100m sprint for centenarians, closing the distance in 26.34 seconds. “If you’re going to go out to run a race, you should really run the race to try to win,” the WWII veteran said. Too right, Lester.

If that wasn’t enough to make you question your sporting prowess, 46yo Jacky Hunt-Broersma has claimed the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons after completing an incredible 104 events in 104 days. She did it with a prosthetic leg…

And a new study has found that taking a daily ‘awe walk’ – that is, consciously looking at and appreciating your surroundings while going for a stroll – can have positive mental health benefits for those aged 60yo and over. Now, that sounds more achievable…

Quirky News Sport

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers debate economic policy at the National Press Club – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Lending Indicators, March; Retail Trade, March

Company Results – ANZ

International Firefighters’ Day

Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You…)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of actor Audrey Hepburn (1929) and artist Keith Haring (1958)
• Margaret Thatcher becoming the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of the UK (1979)

Squiz the Day

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