Squiz Today / 14 August 2017

Squiz Today – Monday, 14 August


“There will obviously not be a wedding but one of the things that I can do, and I was going to do in front of many witnesses, is express my vows of love to Justine.”

Don Damond, fiancé of Australian woman Justine Damond who was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police in July, remembered her at a memorial service on Friday night. They were to be married on Thursday this week. Her family say there are many questions yet to be answered about her death. Meanwhile, police officer Mohamed Noor has maintained his refusal to give a statement on his role in her death.


Ugly clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday have left three people dead and dozens injured. Heather Heyer (32yo) was killed when a car drove into the crowd on a pedestrian mall (the 20yo male driver James Fields Jr was arrested and charged with murder) - she was there to "protest against hate". And two police officers died in a helicopter crash following surveillance of the protests. A state of emergency was declared by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe. One senior city official said; “Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would.”

It started out as a rally against the removal of a statue of Confederate Army General Robert E Lee (who was on the Southern/pro-slavery side of the American Civil War) from a local park. Tensions kicked off on Friday night at the University of Virginia with protesters chanting “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us”. By Saturday, hundreds of white nationalists, Klu Klux Klan and Neo-Nazi supporters gathered for an address by former KKK leader David Duke who said their efforts were; “the first step toward taking America back.” Counter-protesters arrived and it descended into chaos and violence. Police have been criticised for allowing hostilities to escalate.

All eyes were on US President Donald Trump who said; "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides… No matter our colour, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first." Those expecting a strong condemnation of the white supremacists were disappointed. Also unhappy was the white supremacist David Duke who tweeted at Trump; “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.” There’s a lot of nervousness about where this might go this week. 


We often look at reports on high-achieving kids in their 30s and wonder what they hell we’ve been doing with our lives. Not so much with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (33yo) – we’re not yuuuge fans of his work. That's not likely to improve anytime soon. Three things to note:

1. Prepare for a tense week - Tuesday is Liberation Day (commemorating the end of Japan’s colonial rule of Korea). And on the following Monday, the US and South Korea are due to begin military exercises that will almost certainly get North Korea’s goat.

2. Trump’s been chatty – he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and reports say Xi asked Trump to tone down the inflammatory rhetoric. Trump also shot the breeze with Guam’s Governor reassuring him (in defiance of the laws of mathematics) that; "We are with you 1,000%."

3. Australia will be there if it all goes pear-shaped – PM Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that if the US was attacked; “…in terms of defence, we are joined at the hip.”

But a ray of sunshine was offered overnight by CIA Director Mike Pompeo - he says that a nuclear war with North Korea isn’t imminent, but they are definitely making progress on having that capability. Our advice – be alert, not alarmed.

Twiggy Forrest, richy-rich business-dude/philanthropist, is good at getting publicity for the causes he champions. Whether that was his motivation for calling the Greens “the party for paedophiles” yesterday, we don’t know. But the words were successful in drawing national attention to his push for a rollout of cashless debit cards across at-risk indigenous communities for the management of welfare payments. Forrest and a group of indigenous and community leaders were in Canberra last week putting the case by sharing a video showing awful cases of violence and neglect resulting from drug and alcohol abuse. Forrest says the Greens weren’t interested in looking at his video and remain opposed to the cards. Greens spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said; "I will not be bullied into supporting the cashless welfare card and will not be dignifying his absurd and offensive comments any further."

TENSIONS IN VENUZELA ESCALATE – After Venezuela’s questionable elections a couple of weeks ago and a further ramping up of protests and violence pitting protesters v the military, Trump didn't rule out a military intervention against President Nicolas Maduro's government when asked about it on the weekend. They fired back saying it would be “a crazy act”.

60 CHILDREN DIE IN INDIAN HOSPITAL – it seems unthinkable, but allegations of an unpaid bill for the hospital’s oxygen supply is said to be behind tragedy. Most victims were in the neonatal care unit or were being treated for encephalitis. Authorities dispute the allegation.

SCARAMUCCI’S FIRST TV INTERVIEW – Former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci successfully orchestrated the removal of press secretary Sean Spicer and chief of staff Reince Priebus during his short time in the job. And it seems he also had chief strategist Steve Bannon in his sights. The reason why he moved against them? He doesn’t think they’re loyal to Trump. 'The Mooch' talked about it during the first of his ‘exclusive’ interviews as he moves to secure his legacy from his White House glory (ten) days.

Sally Pearson was already a legend coming into athletics’ World Championships on the weekend, but what she achieved in London on Saturday was – as Bruce McAvaney would say – special. After years of injury and disappointment, she went into the race as the underdog. None of that stopped her from winning the 100m hurdles in spectacular style.  Pearson previously won the world title in 2011 and she took Olympic Gold in 2012 (remember her awesome interview?) and has latest achievement places her with Cathy Freeman as one of our most successful modern-day track athletes. Not so lucky was Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in his last international race – a cramp in the 100m relay final saw the team crash out without a medal. 

We’ll make this real quick:

The lawsuit against Taylor Swift by a Colorado DJ was dismissed by the judge. But it’s not over yet - there also a suit against Swift’s mother that a jury will decide on…

A man was detained and then released by police on suspicion he was the Putney Bridge jogger who pushed a pedestrian in front of a bus last week. The man channelled Shaggy and said; "it wasn't me" and the police believed him. The search continues…

Alternative diversity policy author and Google engineer James Damore has been fired. He says he feels betrayed.

“Ease up, turbo,” said the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on the B3 vitamin breakthrough warning there may be detrimental effects on mum and bub. “More testing please” was their key message.

And you're ready for Monday. 


11.00am (AEST) - Soccer commentator Les Murray's State Funeral - Sydney

Pakistan Independence Day

Anniversary of Japan surrender in 1945, ending WWII

Anniversary of Britain sending troops to Northern Ireland in 1969

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