Squiz Today / 22 September 2017

Squiz Today – Friday, 22 September



That’s a congealed mass of fat and other assorted grossness currently blocking the London sewage system. Measuring some 250 metres in length, the fatberg has been created, according to Thames Water, by “fat, oil and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo.” Some good might come of it with a company this week saying they could turn it into biodiesel. Gag.


It’s a big weekend for psephophiles (that’s a fancy word for people who love elections) with two notable elections about to unfurl. Close to home, New Zealanders go to the polls on Saturday and on Sunday, it’s Germany’s turn. Both include female candidates for the top job, and both are looking close.

No worries, cuzzie bro. There are two main parties: the National Party and Labour – but neither will be able to form a government in their own right. That means there’s some wheeling and dealing to be done after the results are in. The National Party has been in power since 2008. Long-time PM John Key stepped down last year (becoming one of the few politicians ever to leave on their own terms) with Bill English replacing him as PM. The key points are:

• The Nationals were a shoo-in for re-election until 7 weeks ago when Jacinda Ardern took the reins of the Labour Party.

Jacindamania has swept the country - it’s had a bit of a feel of Kevin Rudd taking on John Howard in 2007. She’s 37yo and is a great communicator. 

• Labour made up an incredible amount of ground in the polls until a couple of days ago when the Nationals edged ahead again – but only just.

The issues: a good economy and tax cuts (Nationals) v a cut in immigration (driven by a housing and infrastructure squeeze) and a promise of free tertiary education (Labour).

It’s going to be a close one. We’ll be having a wine while watching the results come in on Saturday night. Don’t say we don’t know how to live…

Some analysts are saying it might take as long as 3 months to work out who will form power in Germany. If it goes her way, Chancellor Angela Merkel (leader of the Christian Democratic Party and German leader since 2005) will need to make a deal with a couple of other parties and there are no easy options. Merkel’s main opponent is Social Democrat Martin Schulz. One thing to watch: experts say it’s likely representatives of the Alternative for Germany party will be elected making it the first time far-right/anti-immigration candidates have made it to parliament since the defeat of the Nazis in 1945. Wrap your head around that.


Late yesterday reports surfaced that former PM Tony Abbott was headbutted by a same-sex marriage campaigner in Hobart. Abbott phoned into a radio program to share the news of his misfortune saying; "He wasn't very good at it, I've got to say, but he did make contact. The only damage was a very, very slightly swollen lip.” He went on to say the marriage equality debate is getting ugly and; "The love is love brigade aren't showing a lot of love." Reports say both PM Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten called Abbott to check he was ok. The Equality Campaign responded saying; “Marriage Equality is about respect and dignity for every Australian. There is no room for any disrespect either physical or verbal in this national debate.”

Both China and the US have unveiled new sanctions against North Korea. In an executive order signed yesterday, US President Donald Trump has approved new measures to make life difficult for the Hermit Kingdom including giving more authority to the Treasury Department to "target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea." He also said that China had ordered Chinese banks to stop business with North Korean entities calling the move "very bold" and "somewhat unexpected."

MEXICO EARTHQUAKE – Rescuers have been rushing to find as many people as they can in the rubble as they fight the clock to save lives. "The priority now is continue rescuing those who are still trapped and provide medical attention to the injured," said President Enrique Peña Nieto. The death toll is at 250 people, at least 100 of those were in Mexico City.

HURRICANE MARIA – Reports say it's going to take months to restore electricity to Puerto Rico. Maria has headed a bit further north, which means the eye will likely miss the Dominican Republic, but the flooding and winds are likely to be extreme. And Turks and Caicos Islands are still in the danger zone for Friday night local time.

BALI VOLCANO RUMBLES – An earthquake in the Java Sea has triggered fears of a volcanic eruption on Bali. Mount Agung last erupted 50 years ago and is just 80km from Kuta. The airport is open but is monitoring the situation carefully for the dreaded volcanic ash that might force some travellers to extend their stay. That's called a 'volcation' BTW...

Indigenous rights campaigner Dr Evelyn Scott has died at 81yo. She was a key player in all the significant Indigenous issues from the 1970s to the 2000s. Scott started her activism during the 1967 referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians, and she was a friend of Eddie Mabo and active in the fight for land rights. Daughter Charmaene Scott said fishing was her mother’s joy. "She came from very humble beginnings to walking the national and international stage and she touched the lives of so many people," she said.

AFL FINALS WITH AIDO – We could introduce this penultimate weekend of the AFL finals series with a Bachelorette-style voiceover because this weekend it’s "four teams, two roses". The two winners proceed to the grand final, and it's goodbye to the two losers. Tonight Adelaide play host to Geelong. The Crows go into the game as favourites, but Geelong have won five of their last six games against Adelaide so don’t count them out. And on Saturday, Greater Western Sydney face Richmond at the MCG, likely in front of 100,000 (predominantly Richmond) fans. Richmond is looking for their first grand final berth since 1982, while GWS hope to make it their first. Despite admiration for GWS’s success this year, it’s hard not to get caught up in the romance of a Richmond win.

NRL FINALS WITH GIBBO - Tonight’s match between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos is mouth-watering. It’s hard to see the Storm being beaten at home - I think the ‘the accountant’ Cameron Smith will be too clever for his opponent Ben Hunt. And another contest to watch is in the coaches boxes - Craig Bellamy’s explosions versus Wayne Bennett’s ice coolness. Saturday night will see the Sydney Roosters up against the North Queensland Cowboys.  I’m backing the Roosters, but Mitchell Pearce will have to perform at his highest level, as opposed to how he does for the NSW Blues!

Bridget Jones and sensible underwear have won – the g-string is dead.

A fixture for decades at the New Yorker, Lillian Ross's death this week at 99yo is the end of an era. Ross was a pioneer of the non-fiction novel, and legends like Truman Capote trod in her footsteps. As a tribute, this compilation of links to some of her best work is well worth a look. If you’re after a long read, her piece on Ernest Hemingway is the one that’s held up as groundbreaking.

Grand Designs: Millennial Edition. It’s a cack. Mind the odd swear word…



World Car-Free Day

World Rhino Day

Release of the Netflix documentary on Lady Gaga Five Foot Two


New Zealand Election

Start of the Invictus Games - Toronto (on until 30 September) 


8.30pm - Channel Nine's 60 Minutes interview with Cassie Sainsbury, the Australian detained in Colombia on drug smuggling charges

German Election

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