Squiz Today / 09 November 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 9 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

This news was made for walkin’. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“No, no, no, I’ll leave that to the pros.”

Said Aussie legend Ash Barty to the suggestion that she could make a comeback to tennis. Speaking at her book launch yesterday, the former women’s #1 says she’s “completely content, fulfilled and happy.” We’ll have what she’s having…

It’s Biden v Trump in the American midterms

By early arvo Aussie time, millions of Americans will have voted in the US midterm elections. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of 100 Senate seats are up for grabs – and the margins are thin… The Republicans need a net of 5 seats to win control of the House and just one in the Senate. And there’s a lot at stake for President Joe Biden with the outcome dictating how the rest of his term in office plays out – that’s because whoever controls Congress controls the legislative agenda. Note: it’s not unusual for the party that holds the presidency to lose a stack of seats in the midterms. If that happens, it will set the hares running over Biden’s future, so strap yourself in…

Like many countries, the economy is top of mind as the US struggles to contain inflation, which is currently at 8.2%. For comparison, Australia’s is 7.3%. Cost of living pressures are being felt across the nation, and while there have been fears that the next stop is at Recession Station, the economic outlook has improved in recent weeks. Republican candidates have focused on economic concerns, and Democrats zeroed in on social issues, including women’s reproductive rights after the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v Wade earlier this year. Immigration is also a big election issue, with 10.5 million foreign-born people in the US considered to be unauthorised immigrants. Those living along the US-Mexico border are on the front line, where a record 2 million migrants were detained this year – a 24% jump from 2021. As for the races to watch, these 6 states that Biden flipped in 2020 are on pundits’ lists.

Dunno. About a 3rd of expected voters got in early, but it could take days to settle, especially where the count is tight and the parties demand recounts. If that happens, it wouldn’t be the first time – in the 2018 midterms, it took about 2 weeks to finalise… This time around, pundits say it’s a tight race, with some predicting that the Republicans will regain the House, while the Senate race is expected to be close. Yesterday, presidents from the past were on the hustings with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama supporting the Democrats, and Donald Trump was out for the Republicans (as was Chief Twit Elon Musk…). Never one to share the spotlight, yesterday Trump said he’ll make a “very big” announcement on 15 November – and we don’t think it’s about a new line of pool accessories#SquizShortcuts

World News

Squiz the Rest

Christchurch gunman appeals life sentence

The Australian-born terrorist who murdered 51 people in the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019 has launched an appeal against his convictions and sentence. Brenton Tarrant initially pleaded not guilty to the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, but in March 2020, he changed his plea to guilty. He then became the first person in the nation’s history to be sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole. It’s unclear what his grounds for appeal are yet, but last year, lawyers said Tarrant believed his treatment in custody was “inhumane and degrading”. Christchurch’s Muslim community has previously said that an appeal would cause harm to families still grieving loved ones killed in the attack. Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern, who’s refused to name Tarrant since the attack, said it’s an attempt to “victimise people” and that her thoughts are with the victims.

World News

Confidence falls to new lows

Consumer confidence – aka how people feel about the economy – has plunged to its lowest point since the start of the pandemic in April 2020. The latest survey found sentiment dropped sharply after the Reserve Bank’s latest rate hike – and the Albanese Government’s first budget left 35% of Aussie households feeling worse off financially. As the silly season approaches, nearly 40% of those surveyed said they expect to spend less on Christmas this year – the most on record. Despite this, household spending spiked significantly in September with shoppers splashing out on clothing, going out and household goods. Analysts say it usually takes a few months for interest rate hikes to hit borrowers’ hip pockets. And with power bills set to continue rising, one thing that could be on the cards is a federal intervention to cap energy prices. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Stephen Kennedy said that’s something he would recommend.

Australian News Business & Finance

Medibank hackers make good on their threat

We mentioned yesterday that whoever’s behind the Medibank hack had threatened to release customer data if the company didn’t pay a ransom. That followed Medibank boss David Koczkar’s confirmation that the health insurance company wouldn’t pay up because there was no guarantee the data would be made safe. Well, some details, including phone numbers and Medicare numbers, were released onto a dark web forum overnight. Reports say it’s “a sample”, with the hacker declaring they would “continue posting data partially, need some time to do it pretty” because it’s not in a “human readable format”. There are 9.7 million customers affected by the hack, so watch this space… And Medibank customers aren’t alone in having their information compromised. A survey by ANU says one in 3 adult Aussies has had personal data stolen in the past year. All our people are getting a password manager subscription for Christmas…

Business & Finance Crime

Livin’ la vida longer

Aussies are living longer than ever, according to the Bureau of Statistics. Its latest data from 2019-2021 found that the average baby boy is expected to live to 81.3 years, while girls are expected to reach 85.4 years. That’s a modest increase on 2018-2020. The United Nations says Oz has the world’s 3rd highest life expectancy after Monaco and Japan and we’re one of the only nations to record an improvement during the pandemic. Despite many of us getting, ahem, a little rounder, spending more time at home over the past couple of years saw many stave off non-COVID illnesses. But according to official data released last month, alcohol-related deaths jumped by 5.8% between 2020-21, with the highest fatality rates attributed to heart disease, dementia, stroke, and lung cancer. Another growing killer: selfie-related deaths. Yikes…

Australian News Health

Royalists (and many republicans) rejoice…

And that’s because after a pause in filming out of respect for the real Queen, series 5 of The Crown is almost here, 2 years after the last season. Viewership of seasons 1-4 have surged following the Queen’s death, and this series might be the most popular yet. That’s because a new cast will tell the somewhat true story of the royals during the 1990s, a tumultuous period, to put it mildly… Imelda Staunton takes the reign as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, and Jonny Lee Miller as the bespectacled PM John Major. But who cares about them – this series is all about Princess Diana’s breakaway from ‘The Firm’, as portrayed by Aussie Elizabeth Debicki with Dominic West as Prince Charles. Some key moments will include their divorce, Diana’s controversial 1995 BBC interview, and the infamous ‘Tampongate’ scandal… You can binge all 10 episodes on Netflix from tonight. Giddy up…


Apropos of Nothing

The world’s largest lottery jackpot – US$2.04 billion/A$3.14 billion – has been won. A US Powerball prize grew and grew after no winner was drawn, and now a ticket holder in California has the winning numbers, according to the administrators. As ABBA said, the winner takes it all… 

A new series will see David Tennant play Alexander Litvinenko, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was poisoned with a rare radioactive substance. It’s already causing a stir after Tennant eerily recreated a famous photo that dominated news headlines.

We hope the conditions were conducive to some moon-gazing last night. No doubt the pictures you took of the Blood Moon are just as good as these

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Professor Megan Davis and Pat Anderson address the National Press Club on the First Nations Voice to Parliament – Canberra

1.00pm (AEDT) – Polls close in the US midterm elections

Jack Brearley due to appear in court over the murder of 15yo Cassius Turvey – Perth

Cambodia’s Independence Day

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, September

Company Results – NAB

Company AGM – Coles; Newcrest Mining

World Adoption Day

Season 5 of The Crown premieres on Netflix

A birthday for singer Delta Goodrem (1984)

Anniversary of:
• Napoleon Bonaparte becoming the dictator of France under the title of First Consul after staging a coup (1799) 
• the opening of checkpoints allowing East Berliners to walk freely into West Berlin (1989)
• the birthday of actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr (1914) 
• the deaths of British PM Neville Chamberlain (1940), French president Charles de Gaulle (1970), author Stieg Larsson (2004)

Squiz the Day

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