Squiz Today / 10 May 2021
Squiz Today – Monday, 10 May
“Still just dating.”
Is how bird expert Neiva Guedes describes the relationship status of Juliet, who is thought to be the last wild macaw in Rio. Maybe she's an independent/no commitment kinda girl?
FEDERAL BUDGET ONE SLEEP AWAY...
And sure, the Federal Budget gets your heart racing each and every May, but this year is set to be one for the ages thanks to the once-in-a-lifetime (we hope…) pandemic.
BUT ISN’T THE ECONOMY GOING BETTER THAN EXPECTED?
It is. A year ago, Australia was expecting a 'U' shaped recovery, but we've gone for a 'V'. What that means is instead of lingering in the economic yuckiness at the bottom, we took a dive and then kicked back up. We've seen that with unemployment - now at 5.6% despite predictions of 10% and then some. The government now has ambitions to get it to under 5% - seriously low, even in pre-pandemic times. Yesterday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it’s a realistic aim after 105,000 people came off income support last month despite the $90 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy program at the end of March. That’s good news, but there’s “a lot of work still to do," he said.
Well, the pandemic has put Australia in serious debt. It is forecast to pass $1 trillion, which is a big hole to fill… But this year's deficit is expected to be around $150-160 billion, about 25% better than the Treasury expected when it released the last forecast in December. That’s given the Morrison Government room to spend on job creation programs as a rev up for the economy. And we can expect billions for long-term "structural spends" to fix failing services across the aged care, disability and mental health sectors. This morning, there's word of $10 billion for road, rail and freight infrastructure projects. Labor’s Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers yesterday said Oz would be "recovering more strongly were it not for the vaccines debacle and other mistakes that the government has made”. We’ll find out the deets tomorrow night - squeal…
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MEANWHILE, IN CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• India's death toll yesterday rose by 4,092 and 4,187 on Saturday - the first time the 4,000 mark has been breached in the unfolding disaster. Reported cases also increased by more than 400,000 each day of the weekend. Calls for a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus continue to mount…
• The Budget includes a guestimate of when Aussies will be able to freely travel overseas again - and it’s next year, says Treasurer Frydenberg. It was a talking point yesterday after News Corp reported PM Scott Morrison “doesn’t see an appetite” for Australia opening to the world at the moment.
• In a surprise move, the Biden administration says it will join talks about the waiver of intellectual property rights as a way to boost vaccine supplies by allowing poorer countries to make their own. A reason not to do it: China and Russia will gain insights into biopharmaceutical technologies they currently don’t have.
A WIN FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE SUPPORTERS
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party is expected to fall one seat short of winning the 65 required in the 129-seat parliament, but she will retain control for a historic 4th consecutive term. And Scottish voters have given a clear mandate for an independence referendum by overwhelmingly electing supportive politicians, Sturgeon says. "Given the outcome of this election, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future,” she said. The UK Parliament must approve the referendum, but UK PM Johnson said on Saturday that it would be “irresponsible and reckless” given the coronavirus and current economic challenges. Next steps: Johnson will hold a crisis meeting with the devolved leaders of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to discuss “shared challenges”.
STAR ROLLS THE DICE ON CROWN
The stakes are getting higher for suitors of Crown Resorts. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald/Age this morning says The Star, Australia’s other major casino operator, will today lodge the paperwork to make official its proposal to merge with Crown. In a deal worth $12 billion, The Star’s offer is more than that put in by US investment firm Blackrock, even though reports say it upped its bid on the weekend. Oaktree Capital has also offered $3 billion for James Packer's 37% stake in Crown. The Star has casinos in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and they would need to get a swathe of approvals, including to operate in Perth. But their contention is they can solve Crown’s regulatory woes faster than anyone else because they already operate in the sector. Watch this space...
WESTERN OZ SHARKS SPARED...
It started with the launch of China’s Tianhe (aka Heavenly Harmony) on 29 April and ended with earthly anxiety over the uncontrolled descent of the Long March 5B space rocket that put the module into orbit. During the rocket’s journey, Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said that the potential debris zone could have been as far north as New York, Madrid or Beijing, and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand. So, it’s safe to say there was a bit of speculation about where the danger zone was… But all's well that ends well - Chinese state media reported it crashed into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives yesterday arvo. It's prompted a discussion about space junk and the dangers given all the activity above us. Note: reports say a piece of paint the size of a fingernail struck the windscreen of a space shuttle, piercing two of three layers of glass. Yikes…
THE GIRL WITH THE GOLDEN BOOT
Sam Kerr has capped off her strong run in the Women's Super League overnight by helping her side Chelsea to another title win as English champs. They beat Reading 5-0 with Kerr assisting with 3 goals and scoring one herself. That saw her claim the league’s Golden Boot award for the season’s top goalscorer - a title she has now claimed across the English, American and Australian competitions. Keep an eye out for Kerr next weekend when Chelsea takes on Barcelona in the Champions League to decide the best team in Europe. Not so lucky this weekend was Ash Barty who went down to Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Madrid Open. Barty lost the first set 6-0 - the first time she was unable to get on the scoreboard in 4 years. “You can’t win ’em all,” she said after the match. True dat…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Speaking of space, enthusiast Elon Musk has become the first non-entertainer/athlete to host Saturday Night Live since Donald Trump’s turn in 2015. And for the first time, he revealed he has Asperger's syndrome. The reviews are divided, but you can check out his stylings here.
And when it comes to boys' names, 'Liam' tops the list ATM. No one really knows why but given Noel is now a popular middle name, it’s hard to look past the Oasis connection...
SQUIZ THE DAY
The Federal Court to hear a challenge to the Morrison Government's India travel ban
ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, March
Birthdays for Bono (1960) and Leigh Sales (1973)
• Germany’s invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and the appointment of Winston Churchill as UK’s PM after the resignation of Neville Chamberlain (1940)
• India’s population reaching 1 billion (2000)
• Apple becoming the first company to be worth more than US$800 billion (2017)
• Uber listing on the New York Stock Exchange (2019)
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