Squiz Today / 17 December 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 17 December
“iiNet has just emailed me a recipe ... I am quite done with 2019.”
Tweeted journalist Alice Workman of the internet provider’s attempt at Christmas cheer. Still, the Cherry Ripe Rum Balls could be worth a try?
NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS LIKE A BUDGET UPDATE
Yesterday marked the release of MYEFO. No, it’s not some kind of new ‘fear/joy of missing out’ acronym… It’s the federal government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, and it didn’t paint an overly optimistic picture of our nation’s finances. But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was keen to stress that our economy is still growing, and the Coalition remains on track to deliver the first budget surplus since the Howard era.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEM AREAS?
There are a few things… But on three key measures:
• Consumers aren’t spending as much as predicted, so GST revenues are down by $10 billion.
• The prediction for wages growth was revised down from 2.75% to 2.5%. It’s good that wages are rising more than inflation, which is at 1.7%, Frydenberg says. But it’s not enough to get us to hit the shops or invest bigly.
• And the anticipated unemployment rate for 2019-20 was lifted to 5.25% from the previous forecast of 5%. That means more will be paid out in welfare benefits than expected and less income tax will be coming into the coffers.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
Labor’s Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the outlook showed the government’s not dealing with the key issues “including weak consumption, stagnant wages, falling productivity and high underemployment.” But Frydenberg pointed his finger at "weak momentum in the global economy" and "the devastating effects of drought and bushfires". Which means if you see a Coalition politician doing a rain dance, you’ll know what it’s about. As for the bottom line, the Treasurer says the government will make good on its promise to deliver budget surpluses in the coming years, including this financial year. They will just be smaller.
Want to get topped up on the US-China trade war? There's a Squiz Shortcut for that.
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BACKBURNING TURNED INTO DESTRUCTIVE BLAZE
It was an exercise that was meant to make the area safer, but backburning in NSW’s Blue Mountains led to as many as 20 homes going up in flames on the weekend. And yesterday, some areas where the out of control Gospers Mountain ‘mega blaze’ is burning north-west of Sydney hit emergency levels. That advice has been downgraded early this morning. Looking west, and this kid (and his dog) were lucky to get to safety away from dangerous fires north of Perth. Conditions are set to worsen in NSW, South Australia and Victoria with temperatures in the high 40Cs forecast later in the week. The heat has already arrived in Brissie with the mercury hitting 41.2C yesterday equalling the city’s hottest ever December day set in 1981.
RETURN OF THE OVATION
Passengers have described a sombre mood onboard as the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour yesterday, a week after the volcanic eruption at New Zealand's White Island. Of the 47 people on the island, 24 were Australian citizens, and many were mid-cruise on the Ovation. Passengers disembarking the ship yesterday spoke of their wait for information on their fellow travellers. “I'm here with a family of four children and we could have been on that tour," said one passenger. Foreign Minister Marise Payne flew to New Zealand yesterday to meet with PM Jacinda Ardern as a minute of silence to honour the victims of the tragedy was observed.
JETSTAR GROUNDS JANUARY FLIGHTS
The budget airline yesterday announced it will ground 10% of its domestic flights over January and may sell off three of its long-haul aircraft in anticipation of further strikes by pilots and ground staff. That means 800-1,000 flights will be canned during the airline’s busiest time of year. Affected customers will be contacted and provided with alternatives, including full refunds, according to Jetstar. The disruptions over the pay dispute across December and January are estimated to cost the airline up to $25 million.
AND NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS LIKE NEW GROG GUIDELINES
This might not be the best time to tell you this, but frankly when would be? So here we go… Adults should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week, down from the previously recommended cap of 14 drinks. And if you’re thinking ‘I’ll have my 10 drinks all at once thank you very much’, you shouldn't have more than four drinks a day. That’s according to new draft recommendations released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) yesterday. Why the change? The NHMRC says there's growing concern about low-level drinking and the risk of cancer. Cheers to that…
JUST DO IT... WITH THE RIGHT RUNNERS
It ain’t science fiction - Nike’s new running shoes may actually help you run faster. An analysis by the New York Times found a runner wearing the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% or ZoomX Vaporfly Next% shoe ran up to 5% faster than a runner wearing an average running shoe. That’s no secret amongst athletes with Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge - and his pacesetters - wearing the shoes as he cracked a sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna in October. There’s some concern amongst runners about the shoes providing an unfair advantage. But if you don't want to hand over US$250 for a pair, an 11yo running champ from the Philippines has the right idea…
YOU’D GET LESS FOR MURDER…
Or to take a nicer view of this couple’s upcoming 80th wedding anniversary, John (106yo) and Charlotte Henderson (105yo) have the honour of being recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest living couple. Their story started as so many have: they met at college. But Charlotte took things slowly, eventually marrying John on 22 December, 1939. "It took her five years to make up her mind that she wanted to get married," John said. The Hendersons have some way to go to achieve the title of the world's longest marriage - that's held by Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher, who were married for 86 years and 290 days before Herbert's death. The Hendersons' rule for harmony? Always settle arguments before bedtime. Aww...
SQUIZ THE DAY
The United Nation’s First Global Refugee Forum - Geneva
ABS Data Releases - Lending Indicators, October; Personal Income in Australia, 2011-12 to 2016-17
Annual General Meetings - ANZ; Orica
Bhutan’s National Day
Pope Francis’ birthday (1936)
30th anniversary of The Simpsons premiering on the telly (1989)
Anniversary of PM Harold Holt disappearing while swimming off a beach near Portsea, Victoria (1967)
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