Squiz Today / 12 November 2018

Squiz Today – Monday, 12 November


"Cashew nut crisis.”

No, your local Chinese restaurant hasn’t taken chicken with cashews off the menu… Tanzanian President John Magufuli is about to call in the army to round up the crop following a dispute between farmers and traders. With the problem brewing for weeks, it’s been a hard nut to crack…


A lone terrorist killed a beloved restaurateur and injured two others after he drove into the centre of Melbourne, set fire to a ute loaded with gas cylinders and attacked pedestrians with a knife. It’s led to questions about the effectiveness of our anti-terror policing efforts after it was revealed the attacker had been known to authorities for years.

• The attacker – 30yo Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was born in Somalia and moved to Australia with his family in the 90s. Reports say he had recently split with his wife over drug and alcohol issues. Friends say he was “agitated” and “deluded” in the lead up to Friday’s rampage. Last night, his family released a letter saying he was mentally ill and the attack was a ‘cry for help’.

• His history – Federal Police describe Shire Ali as radicalised and inspired by Islamic State. In 2015, his passport was cancelled when ASIO believed he planned to travel to Syria to fight. He had no record of ‘violent offending’ and police do not believe he was formally linked to IS.

• His connections - Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Shire Ali “was as much on a list because of his familial connections and others that he associated with as he was for any conduct that he had been involved in.” Despite this, Shire Ali was assessed as not posing a threat to national security.

• The attack – Police allege Shire Ali’s intention was for the gas cylinders to explode, adding that the so-called ‘low tech’ attack failed to inflict mass casualties as planned. Three civilians, including Michael “Trolley Man” Rogers, aided police. The police officer who shot and killed Shire Ali had only graduated from the academy three months ago.

• The victims – There has been an outpouring of grief for Sisto Malaspina, the 74yo co-owner of Melbourne institution, Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar. Witnesses say Shire Ali stabbed Malaspina after he went to offer assistance when the ute caught fire. A security guard and Tassie businessman were also injured in the attack and are recovering from upper body stab wounds.

Authorities said that in the three years since Shire Ali’s passport was cancelled, he didn’t merit closer investigation by federal, state, or joint counter-terror teams. Pundits say that means he wasn’t discussing an attack or accessing ‘how to’ material online. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton yesterday said preventing attacks like Friday’s is complicated and the community needs to step up to report their concerns about someone’s behaviour. He also said that encrypted apps make it hard for authorities to monitor suspected terrorists, and the government is currently trying to change the law.


Had some guests stay this weekend? You'll have some sympathy then for French President Emmanuel Macron who's just hosted the heads of 70 world governments...

• Marking the centenary of the Armistice that brought an end to WWI, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron went to Compiegne – the place where the ceasefire was signed. It’s a safe bet that France’s Ferdinand Foch and Germany’s Matthias Erzberger didn't hold hands in 1918 as Macron and Merkel did 100 years later… Overnight, a commemoration in Paris saw Macron warn against nationalism.

• Despite some earlier Twitter jabs, Macron also got a leg squeeze in with US President Donald Trump. The touchy-feelies were overshadowed when Trump cancelled a visit to an American cemetery on Saturday due to poor weather.

• Next up – Macron’s Paris Peace Forum to which Trump’s RSVP reads ‘declined’.

It’s Newspoll day and good news for Labor/Bill Shorten. Down another point in the two-party preferred race, the Libs/Nats trail Labor 45:55. In the leaders’ head to head – PM Scott Morrison slid in the Better PM stakes but still leads Shorten 42:36. Satisfaction with Morrison’s performance also continues to fall.

And while we have you… If Bill Shorten becomes PM there will be a plebiscite during Labor’s first term on ditching the Windsors to become a republic via a simple yes/no question - "Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state?" The argument for doing it that way is that voters can focus on the principle of it without getting distracted about how a head of state would be selected/elected. The argument against is people care a great deal about the model. The cost of the exercise - $160 million. Today’s Newspoll says 40% of us are in favour of a republic - a significant dip on recent numbers.

A fire in the north of the state and two fires near Los Angeles have claimed at least 25 lives, with 100 people missing. The Camp Fire, north of Sacramento, has made it into the record books as the state’s most destructive fire ever having destroyed almost 7,000 homes and buildings in the town of Paradise. Around Malibu, 200,000 people have been evacuated as fires raced towards the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica mountains. From space and from the ground, the pictures are terrifying.

A quick whip around recent stories…

SISTERS ARE DOIN’ IT FOR THEMSELVES – After six hours of surgery at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, Bhutanese conjoined twins Nima and Dawa Zangmo were successfully separated. And breathe…

DALEY TO FIGHT CLEAN – NSW Labor has elected Michael Daley to lead the party to next year's election. Daley says he wants a mud-free fight to help restore voters' confidence.

STRAWBERRY ARREST - A 50yo Queensland woman was arrested yesterday for the original needle contamination that sparked a national strawberry crisis. Reports this morning say she's a farm worker with a grudge.

Heard of Singles Day? No, it’s not something out of a Bridget Jones book... It’s China’s largest annual shopping event aimed at young people to celebrate singledom. Staged by the e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, it happened this weekend. How’s it gone? Very well you’d have to say. US$1 billion in sales were processed in the first 85 seconds. And in the first nine hours, more than US$25.4 in sales were recorded. That's a whole lot of boyfriend arm pillows


Parliament resumes, Senate only this week - Canberra

UN World Pneumonia Day

National Recycling Week

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Anniversary of Josef Stalin becoming the ruler of the Soviet Union with Leon Trotsky expelled from the Communist Party (1927)

Birthdays for Anne Hathaway (1982), Ryan Gosling (1980), Tonya Harding (1970) and Grace Kelly (1929)

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.