Squiz Today / 06 July 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 6 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Maintain your news game. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“One of the most impressive athletic feats in human history.”

Tweeted one fan of Joey Chestnut’s downing of 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – a feature Independence Day event in New York. It’s the 15th time he’s claimed the title – and this year, the added complication of an animal rights protester made things interesting…

Tricky times as interest rates rise again

As anticipated, the Reserve Bank has increased official interest rates for the 3rd consecutive month. This time, it’s a 0.5% rise taking the cash rate to 1.35%, up from 0.85% last month. It’s a long way from the historic low of 0.1% rate we had over the last couple of years, and it marks a 1.25% increase in 3 months. That makes it the most aggressive tightening of monetary policy since 1994, and they’re going to keep going up – some analysts predict they’ll end up at 3.5%. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said that the rate hike “is a further step in the withdrawal of the extraordinary monetary support that was put in place to help insure the Australian economy against the worst possible effects of the pandemic,” he said.

Lowe is saying that having rates as low as 0.1% isn’t normal – a look at this graph shows you that… That means there’s some ‘normalising’ to do, so brace for rates to keep going up in the coming months as the central bank withdraws that stimulus from the economy. But that’s not the whole story because inflation is also high on the Reserve Bank’s list of things to manage. It’s currently at 5.1%, and we’ll find out what happened during the April-June quarter later this month – but Lowe and Treasurer Jim Chalmers says it’s going to get worse (like 7-8% worse by the end of the year…) before it gets better and then down to the target rate of 2-3%. There’s no one reason why inflation is high. When you look at Australia and the world, there are supply-chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine, floods and the tight jobs market all contributing to seemingly everything costing more than a few months ago.

So, raising interest rates acts like a handbrake on the economy – it slows things down. If borrowing money is more expensive, we punters and businesses big and small pump less cash into the economy. And if demand is down, experience tells policymakers that price rises will slow down, too – the trick is to apply the handbrake just enough so it doesn’t bring economic growth and job creation crashing down. People in the know say the economy is strong and can withstand these interest rate hikes. But here and now, many Aussies will be paying higher prices and more for their mortgage. Treasurer Chalmers’ message yesterday: things are tough, it’s going to get tougher, and then it will get better. The Coalition’s Treasury spokesman Angus Taylor said the new mob doesn’t have an economic plan for the tricky times. We’ll learn more about what Team Albanese thinks when they redo the Budget in October. In the meantime, you can calculate your new mortgage repayments here. Enjoy…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Deluge moves up the NSW coast

There are 50,000 people under evacuation orders as rain continued to batter parts of the coast of NSW yesterday. The weather bureau said some areas have received a massive 800mm over the past 4 days, with some catchments exceeding recent flood levels. The deluge has seen 23 local government areas across Greater Sydney, the Hawkesbury, Central Coast and Illawarra declared eligible for disaster funding. The rain has started to dry up across Sydney as the weather system moved north towards the Hunter and Central Coast before heading to the Mid North Coast today. But authorities warn danger remains as floodwaters continue to build in some areas and linger in others. And after returning from his whirlwind trip around Europe yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese will join NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for a visit to flood-affected communities on the outskirts of Sydney this morning.

Australian News Weather

Keeping up with Pope Francis

A month ago, we put rumours of Pope Francis’ plans to retire on your radar. He’s now addressed them zucchetto-on, saying the idea “never entered my mind”. But the 85yo added that he would step down if he became physically unable to continue in the role. “When I see that I can’t do it, OK… I will do it in the great example of Pope Benedict,” he said. His predecessor stepped down in 2013 – he was the first Pope to relinquish the position since 1415. One of the things that had tongues wagging was a plan for a meeting with his cardinals in August – the same sort of meeting Benedict held with his crew to tell them he was off. But it’s onwards and upwards despite ongoing knee issues. Francis is heading to Canada later this month and says he wants to visit Russia and Ukraine after that to “try to help in some way”. Oh, and zucchetto? They are the skullcaps worn by Catholic clerics. Fun fact: it’s named for its resemblance to the humble pumpkin (‘zucca’ in Italian)…

World News

Going mad for Minions

Minions – those little yellow creatures from the Despicable Me films – are adored and despised in equal measure. Now, they’re the basis of a new TikTok meme that’s gone viral and global following the release of the franchise’s latest spin-off, Minions: The Rise of Gru. Inspired by this video posted by 18yo Sydneysider Bill Hirst last week, groups of teenage boys worldwide are heading to the cinema dressed in suits to watch the film. They call themselves the Gentleminions… Unfortunately for fellow moviegoers, they’re often a rowdy bunch, leading to a ban on groups of young dudes in suits for some UK cinemas. Why suits and why the ruckus? That’s the meme lyfe, baby… As the cool kids say, “it’s so funny for no reason“. And as for the movie itself, it’s been a box office hit, taking the #1 spot in Oz after raking in $8.2 million in its opening weekend.

Entertainment Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Victor Hugo Sosa, the mayor of a small Mexican town, has married an alligator in a white dress. You’re not tripping out… It’s an old ritual “like a prayer pleading for nature’s bounty.” There must be easier ways to get a good return from your crop…

Good news – China’s not taking over the moon. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson recently flagged it as a concern, but China says that’s not their plan, and the US agency is engaging in a “smear campaign”.

And in more hot dog news, a Brooklyn outfit has turned it into an ice cream flavour. At least one reviewer was pleasantly surprised by ‘Let the Dogs Out!’. “If you’re someone who likes to pick at the crisped, burnt bits of whatever’s been cooking on a sheet pan or the grill, “Let the Dogs Out!” will be extremely your jam.” Mmm…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Chairperson of Universities Australia, John Dewar, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

10.30pm (AEDT) – Wimbledon Quarter-Final – Ajla Tomljanović v Elena Rybakina

11.45pm (AEST) – Wimbledon Quarter-Final – Nick Kyrgios v Cristian Garin

International Kissing Day

Birthdays for the Dalai Lama (1935), former US President George W Bush (1946), actor Sylvester Stallone (1946), actor Geoffrey Rush (1951), author Hilary Mantel (1952) and rapper 50 Cent (1975)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of artist Frida Kahlo (1907) and former First Lady Nancy Reagan (1921)
• the release of Forrest Gump (1994) and Pokémon Go (2016)

Squiz the Day

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