Squiz Today / 14 January 2019

Squiz Today – Monday, 14 January


"So far I have thrown out all of the vegetables, my bra, the electric bill, the scale, a mirror, and my treadmill.”

Said one Twitter wag of the phenomenon that is Netflix’s new series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. The show is based on her theory that you should chuck the things in your home that don’t “spark joy”. Our tweeter mustn’t own an iron...


A sketch of America’s withdrawal from Syria is starting to form as its departure commenced and officials met with leaders in the region. The critical issue on the agenda: protection for American-allied Kurdish rebels in Syria who are considered to be terrorists by northern neighbour Turkey.

Let’s break it down:

• Turkey and the US are allies via the military alliance that is the powerful North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). That means America's partnership with the Kurdish rebels during the complex conflict in Syria has put a strain on US-Turkish relations.

• So when US President Donald Trump announced mid-December, against the advice of his advisers and generals, that Islamic State had been defeated in Syria and it was time for US troops to vamoose, there were a lot of questions about what would happen to the Kurds.

• Things between Turkey and the Kurds remain tense. As recently as Friday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said military preparations were being made to fight the Kurds.

• But visiting the region on the weekend, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was confident an agreement with Turkey could be struck that allows it to defend its border while leaving the Kurds alone.

• Still to be worked through? The total defeat of Islamic State and what to do with America's least favourite regional player Iran after the US ships out.

Not happening: a fully operational government in the US. Now officially the longest in history, the partial shutdown over Congress’ refusal to fund Trump’s border wall with Mexico saw 800,000 public servants miss their first paycheck on Friday. Trump says he's waiting for talks to resume.

Happening: accusations Trump concealed the details of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And a report that the FBI investigated whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia against American interests while President. (He’s Twitter blasted both reports.)

So, you know, just a couple of things…


Young Saudi refugee Rahaf Alqunun has touched down in Toronto to begin a new life. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced on Friday that his country would accept the 18yo after she fled her family fearing they would kill her for renouncing Islam. She was stranded in Bangkok on her way to Australia after a Saudi official took her passport. From there, Alqunun barricaded herself in an airport hotel room and took to social media to request asylum. After she was declared a refugee, Australian Government ministers and officials said we were considering her application in the usual way, but some said it was not quick enough. Both PM Scott Morrison and Labor Leader Bill Shorten said it was good news she was safe. Alqunun's case has again highlighted the repression of Saudi women with some activists predicting she could inspire “a revolution”.

An emergency callout turned deadly for two firefighters when leaking gas at a bakery near the Paris Opera led to an explosion. Two women were also killed, 47 were injured, nine seriously, and there was extensive damage to property along the street with the explosion described as "massive". The medical response to what's thought to be an accident was hampered by barricades in place to deal with the ninth consecutive Saturday of ‘Yellow Vest' protests. Last week it was revealed protestors had damaged about 60% of France's speed cameras.

Sydney teenager Max Meyer was killed after he was buried under two metres of snow while skiing in Austria last week. Stuck in a valley off the beaten track, he'd phoned rescuers minutes before the tragedy. The avalanche hit Max and his mother. She survived, while his father and brother were not in its path. Alpine areas of Europe are experiencing a once-in-a-generation extreme snow dump that has taken more than 20 lives in recent days. Talking about extreme weather, every state and territory in Oz is in line for heatwave conditions this week.

Updating you on stories you've recently Squized...

ANOTHER MUSIC FESTIVAL DEATH - The debate about pill testing at music festivals was kicked along again at the weekend with the suspected overdose death of Central Coast teenager Alex Ross-King. Her grandmother has asked NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to show “strong leadership” and introduce the measure.

CRAIG MCLACHLAN CHARGED - The actor has been charged with several counts of assault by Victorian Police. It’s been a year since three women who worked with him on the 2014 production of the Rocky Horror Show came forward with their accusations of bullying and misconduct*. McLachlan maintains his innocence and is currently suing for defamation.

HEPBURN JURY DISMISSED - The jury for the trial of Aussie-cricketer-in-England Alex Hepburn were discharged on Saturday after failing to reach a verdict. He is charged with assaulting* a woman in 2017 after setting up a competition with a group of mates on WhatsApp to bed and rank as many women as possible.

*Sorry for the vague language, it’s to help us get into your inbox.

It’s the two weeks where we become immersed in the top tennis players’ little quirks. To get you started, Novak Djokovic won’t use the same shower twice in a row. Serena Williams doesn’t change her socks when she’s on a winning streak. And Rafael Nadal has a whole thing with his water bottles. Actually, Nadal has a whole thing going on the whole time he's on the court, but we'd be here all day… The key points are:

• The top seeds going in are Djokovic and Simona Halep.

• Aussies Ash Barty and Alex De Minaur have been seeded for the comp meaning they don't face higher ranked players for a few rounds. Both made it to the final of the Sydney International on Saturday with De Minaur taking out his first ATP title.

• All eyes will be on Scot Andy Murray at 6pm tonight - he says he’ll likely retire soon as he continues to struggle with a hip injury. His teary press conference last week won the feminist some (more) new fans.

• Remember, the telly coverage has switched from Seven to Nine.

• And a good guide to the fortnight is here.


Anniversary of US President Franklin D Roosevelt and UK PM Winston Churchill beginning the Casablanca Conference (1943)

Anniversary of the establishment of the Reserve Bank of Australia (1960)

Anniversary of the death of Dorothea Mackellar (1968)

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