Squiz Today / 15 June 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 15 June


“It was a terrifying experience.”

Said Czech man Ivo Dokoupil of his encounter last month with the Polish military after they'd accidentally invaded the Czech Republic. Which is apparently a thing that can happen….


Actor, wealth adviser and father Karm Gilespie (also known as Cam) has been sentenced to death in China. He was arrested at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in December 2013, and it was alleged that he had more than 7.5kg of methamphetamine in his checked luggage. The verdict was delivered last Wednesday according to an update posted on a Chinese court website on Saturday. He has 10 days to appeal.

Not unless you're part of his close circle of family, or you're an official working on his case. Even close friends of the 55yo Melbourne man said they had no idea he was detained in China for the past 6.5 years. After spending years trying to find him, “we resigned ourselves to the idea that he had left because he wanted to start a new life," said a friend of the man who’d had a recurring role in police drama Blue Heelers. Other lawyers who have been involved in defending Aussies on drug charges in Guangzhou said they were completely unaware of the case. Despite the verdict in his case, official details are in short supply, which experts say isn’t unusual for China’s opaque legal system.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says "we shouldn’t necessarily view it as such.” But there's no denying we’ve had our issues with China of late. And while some legal eagles say the verdict in Gilespie’s case is too much of a coincidence given our diplomatic issues, others say it’s just how things work there. The Australian (paywall) says at the end of 2019, more than 100 Australians were under arrest in China, most on charges of drug trafficking or fraud, and most cases have never been publicised. What everyone agrees on is the pain the lengthy case and last week’s death sentence has caused Gilespie and his family. “This is very distressing for Mr Gilespie and his loved ones, and our government will continue to provide consular assistance,” said Birmingham.



A new wave of protests was sparked in Atlanta, Georgia following the fatal police shooting of 27yo African American man Rayshard Brooks on Friday night. Long story short, officers had been dispatched to investigate a man (Brooks) asleep in a car in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant drive-thru. Things escalated, and after Brooks grabbed an officer’s stun gun, one of the officers shot him, and he died later in hospital. After video footage of the shooting emerged, the city’s police chief resigned, and the officer who shot Brooks was sacked. The restaurant was torched by protestors on Saturday night, and authorities said 36 people were arrested in the unrest that followed. The city had been rocked by big demonstrations following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last month. Politicians and civil rights leaders are calling for lasting police reforms to protect black Americans.

And while we have you… About 7,000 protestors in Perth and 1,000 in Darwin were out on Saturday calling for an end to racism in Australia. They were joined by crowds of varying sizes in other centres supporting Black Lives Matter and refugee rights in defiance of public health orders against mass gatherings.


Our two biggest states are forging ahead with plans to ease coronavirus restrictions in the coming weeks. In NSW from 1 July, indoor venues can have one person/4m2, and outdoor venues that can hold up to 40,000 people can allow a quarter of that capacity in. Funerals can now take place without limits apart from adhering to the 4m2 rule. And at weddings, same deal, but no dancefloor soz. In Victoria, up to 50 people will be allowed to go to cinemas, theatres and cafes from next Monday. And for snow bunnies, Victoria's ski season will open then too. On border restrictions, the South Oz Government says 20 July will see it open up again. And 10 July seems to be firming as the date Queensland will do the same. That will be welcome news to Aussies with the travel bug after the ban on overseas trips was extended for a further three months, to 17 September. Exemptions will be made should nations be deemed safe, reports say. Meanwhile, PM Scott Morrison will this morning unveil $72 billion in funding for priority infrastructure projects to further aid our coronavirus recovery.


Sick and tired of being ignored by America and unable to shake off economy-crushing sanctions, North Korea has been accused of acting out against its southern neighbour to move things along. South Korea yesterday convened an emergency security meeting and urged North Korea to uphold its end of their reconciliation agreement after Kim Jong Un’s regime threatened to demolish a liaison office on the border. More worryingly, North Korea has threatened to take military action against South Korea, a situation the latter views “as grave.” The threats were delivered by Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who is the regime's influential propaganda chief. Analysts say stalled talks with the US over the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the coronavirus pandemic has driven the latest round of threats.


If you have a replica Eames dining chair at your joint, there's a good chance it came from Matt Blatt. The company behind the replica-furniture business collapsed last month, forcing it to permanently close its 12 stores, leaving debts of $11 million. Creditors include 3,000 customers who were left high and dry after paying deposits for items they hoped would soon grace their homes, but analysts say it's unlikely they'll see their money back. There’s been some confusion after the Matt Blatt brand and its intellectual property was sold to e-tailer Kogan for $4.4 million. But for pre-existing transactions, the former business owner and liquidator Solomons are the ones facing questions. Analysts say the acquisition is a good move for Kogan because they'll have access to Matt Blatt’s 100,000-strong customer database.


The founder of the Japanese company that created Hello Kitty - the 'kawaii' cartoon cat with no mouth - has announced he is stepping down as CEO at 92yo. Shintaro Tsuji is handing over control of Sanrio to his 31yo grandson, Tomokuni Tsuji in the company's first leadership change in its 60-year history. Hello Kitty-branded products are sold in 130 countries worldwide, but sales have fallen in recent times, so analysts are interested to see if Tomokuni can teach an old cat some new tricks.


After the years-long drought, a bit of rain has certainly delivered that for some of our farmers and regional communities.


9.15am (AEST) - PM Scott Morrison to address CEDA's State of the National Digital Forum, to be followed by Labor leader Anthony Albanese at 10.00am

ABS Data Release - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, April

Start of Men’s Health Week (until 21 June)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Global Wind Day (meteorological, not gastrointestinal…)

Birthdays for Xi Jinping (1953) and Neil Patrick Harris (1973)

Anniversary of:
• the signing of the Magna Carta (1215)
• France surrendering to Nazi Germany, which occupied Paris (1940)
• the premiere of Disney's The Lion King (1994)
• Rebel Wilson winning her defamation case against Bauer Media (2017)
• Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes being charged with fraud (2018)

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