Squiz Today / 08 February 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Good days start here. 

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“You can see his batteries draining in real time.”

Tweeted one wag as Ben Affleck’s apparent lack of enthusiasm at the Grammys has become the internet’s favourite new meme. As many have noted, one of life’s great chores is going to your partner’s work functions…

Death and devastation in Turkey and Syria

The World Health Organization says the death toll from 3 earthquakes that have struck Turkey and Syria is expected to rise “significantly” as rescuers search through the rubble. More than 6,300 people have died across both nations (4,500 in Turkey and 1,800 in Syria), and more than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey. The first 7.8 magnitude quake – one of the largest ever recorded in the region – struck just after 4am on Monday morning near the city of Gaziantep, home to millions of Turkish citizens, displaced Syrians and refugees. The 2nd 7.6 magnitude quake hit about 95km north of there hours later, and the 3rd 6 magnitude quake was recorded yesterday. Ten cities in Turkey have been affected, and overnight, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a 3-month state of emergency to ensure rescue work can be “carried out quickly”. In Syria, Aleppo has experienced the worst damage.

This occurred in one of the world’s most active earthquake areas because it’s at the junction of the Anatolia, Arabia and Africa plates. As you can see here, the disaster has affected a huge part of Turkey and a large part of Syria in the wartorn north. There have been big quakes in this zone before, including in 1999, when more than 17,000 people died in Turkey’s northwest. Seismologists say this disaster was caused by a strike-slip quake – that’s where tectonic plates jolt past each other horizontally, creating massive tremors. That and poorly constructed homes, buildings and other infrastructure are behind the huge death tolls. Adding to the problems, several areas are cut off because roads and airports have been damaged.

The focus will be on rescue and recovery, but Turkey’s Ambassador to Oz Ufuk Gezer says there are many challenges on the ground, and the scale of damage is “unbelievably horrible”. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an international response, noting that many families hit by the disaster were “already in dire need of humanitarian aid”. Forty-five countries have offered support, with many sending specialist rescue teams, sniffer dogs and equipment. PM Anthony Albanese yesterday committed $10 million in humanitarian aid for those in “greatest need” and acknowledged it is “a difficult time” for those with family in the region. So far, there are no reports of Aussies caught up in the disaster – if you’re worried about someone, the Foreign Affairs Department’s set up a hotline, and the details are here.

World News

Squiz the Rest

Another rate rise, and more on the way…

Yep, the Reserve Bank’s confirmed another 0.25% increase after its first board meeting of 2023. The 9th consecutive rate rise brings the official cash rate up to 3.35% – the highest its been since September 2012. As for how that hits the hip pocket, people better at maths than us say it means an extra $110 a month for those paying off a $750,000 home loan. And there’s more to come this year… Boss Philip Lowe says “the board expects that further increases in interest rates will be needed over the months ahead” to curb ongoing high inflation, which is in line with what many economists predict. Lowe says the board will look at what’s happening in the global economy, household spending, employment and inflation to decide on future rises.

Australian News Business & Finance

Warming up for the State of the Union

US President Joe Biden will deliver his 2nd State of the Union address early this afternoon our time, and he has more than a Chinese spy balloon hanging over him… It’s expected Biden will cover American support for Ukraine in its war with Russia and gun violence/policing issues at home. And in what’s expected to be Biden’s unofficial 2024 re-election pitch, he’ll likely talk up the Democrats’ better-than-expected midterm elections result, the improving economic outlook, and his administration’s handling of the COVID emergency since coming to office in early 2021. But it’s a hard sell – even with his own people… New polling suggests 37% of Democrats want Biden to run for a 2nd term, and 62% of Americans think Biden has accomplished “not very much” during his presidency. But if you’re not up for a Biden speech, here’s ChatGPT’s take on it if Jerry Seinfeld or Winston Churchill were at the lectern…

World News

Fifth time’s a charm

Aussies aged over 18yo will have access to an additional COVID jab from 20 February. To date, a 5th shot has been available to the severely immunocompromised only, while those under 30yo were unable to get a 4th dose. The federal government was waiting on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation about the next steps, and that’s now been provided and accepted. The top line is people aged over 18yo who have not had a COVID vaccine or positive case in the last 6 months are eligible for their next shot. A straight-up-and-down COVID-19 booster is good, but the experts say an Omicron-specific mRNA vaccine is better. Health Minister Mark Butler says there are 4 million of those available, and 10 million more are set to arrive. Enthusiasm for a 4th dose was way below the original course + a booster – 44% of those eligible went back the 4th time.


Cricket legend puts down the bat

Aussie cricketer Aaron Finch has retired from international cricket, calling his 12-year career in the green and gold “a pretty amazing ride”. The 36yo former T20/One Day International captain says it’s time to make space for fresh talent ahead of the T20 World Cup in 2024. It’s not entirely out of the blue – there was speculation Finch was about to call time after doing a hammy in October’s T20 World Cup… But he’s going out on a high as Australia’s most successful T20 batsman, and he broke several big records – including one of his own. A lot is going on for cricket fans ATM… The Aussie men start the first Test match in a series in India tomorrow, and the Women’s T20 World Cup kicks off in South Africa on Saturday. Up there, Cazaly…


You ain’t nothing but a howl dog…

It won’t be news to any Husky owners out there, but scientists in Hungary have confirmed that certain dog species with closer genetic ties to wolves tend to howl more than they bark. To figure it out, researchers played howling wolf sounds to 68 dogs with differing amounts of DNA ‘distance’ to their ancestors. The results? Ancient breeds like Huskies, Malamutes, the Shiba Inu, and Pekingese howl more to communicate, while modern breeds like Great Danes, Labradors, Beagles, Boxers and mini Poodles bark. The theory is that selective breeding has changed dogs’ communication patterns. One very good boy who has surely mastered polite communication is Portuguese dog Bobi, who celebrated his nearly 31 years on Earth with a Guinness World Record crown as the world’s oldest dog this month – and hopefully, some of his favourite treats…

Environment & Science Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

After a 2-year COVID-inspired hiatus, the Sydney Airport lost-and-found charity auction is back. More than 3,000 unclaimed items are up for grabs, so if you’re after some new bling, a laptop, or even a sun lounge, take a look at the catalogue here.

Fresh off the launch of her new autobiography and Netflix documentary, Pamela Anderson has announced her latest venture: a plant-based cooking show. The committed vegan and animal rights activist could bring a different audience to tofu…

And a new restaurant’s appetiser featuring an iconic Aussie snack has been dubbed “peak Sydney” by the internet. Described as “jatz, smoked butter, anchovy”, it’s exactly what it says on the packet… But if you want to try it for yourself minus the $10 price tag, here’s the recipe.  

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – ACT AMA President-Elect Dr Kerrie Aust, RACGP President Nicole Higgins and Grattan Institute’s Dr Stephen Duckett address the National Press Club – Canberra

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

Company results – Boral; Amcor; Suncorp

Laugh And Get Rich Day

Birthdays for screen composer John Williams (1932) and author John Grisham (1955)

Anniversary of:
• the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1587)
• the birthdays of author Jules Verne (1828), actor James Dean (1931)

Squiz the Day

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