Squiz Today / 02 December 2019

Squiz Today – Monday, 2 December


"Frozen. Every little girl wants something from Frozen. Or an iPad. Back when I started, it would have been a Meccano set."

Said Patrick Sheean (aka Santa Pat) of what the kids are wanting for Christmas these days. With 40 years in the red suit and 10,000 letters to Santa under his belt, he’s a man in the know...


The all-too-familiar spectre of terror returned to the British capital when a convicted terrorist went on a stabbing rampage on Friday (local time). Two people were killed, and three others were injured in the attack. The suspect, 28yo Usman Khan, was shot dead by police after he had been stopped by members of the public.

The attack started at Fishmongers' Hall and continued on London Bridge, the scene of an attack in 2017 where eight people died. Members of the public took on Khan, who was armed with two knives, using a narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher before others stepped in to pin him down. One of the men involved in apprehending Khan was a convicted killer on day release… Police said an explosive vest Khan was wearing turned out to be a hoax but looked "very convincing". Jack Merritt (25yo) and Saskia Jones (23yo) were killed in the attack. Both were involved in a prisoner rehabilitation program at Cambridge University. And they, along with Khan, had been attending a conference when the attack was launched.

There will be a lot of talk about the UK’s parole system. Khan was convicted in 2012 of plotting an attack on the London Stock Exchange, and of setting up a jihadist training camp in Pakistan. He was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment but was released early under supervision. Khan had taken part in the government's rehabilitation program for people who have been involved in terrorism. The Ministry of Justice has launched an urgent review of the system that has released 74 offenders convicted of terrorism offences back into the community.



The Aussie held captive by the Taliban for almost three years, Timothy Weeks, believes US Navy Seals tried - and failed - to rescue him six times during his captivity. Finally on home soil and speaking to the media for the first time, the English teacher from Wagga yesterday said he felt no animosity towards his captors. “I don’t hate them at all,” he said. “Some of them I have great respect for and, and great love for almost.” The 50yo was captured by the Taliban at gunpoint in 2016 while teaching at the Afghanistan University in Kabul. His release, along with that of 63yo American Kevin King, was part of a prisoner swap negotiated by the US, Australian and Afghan governments.


Concerns have been expressed for the wellbeing of Yang Hengjun, the Chinese-Australian academic and pro-democracy writer who has been in detention in China since the start of the year. Reports say he is being held on suspicion of endangering China's national security. His Australian-based lawyer Rob Stary says he believes Yang is being shackled by his wrists and ankles and being subjected to daily interrogations. Stary also says he is being kept in isolation with letters from his family and friends kept from him. Foreign Minister Marise Payne has previously said our government has pressed Beijing to ensure Yang had access to "basic standards of justice".


After a difficult penultimate week, the Coalition Government will be hoping the last sitting week of Federal Parliament for the year - which starts today - will go more smoothly. And there are a few things on PM Scott Morrison’s mind:

• Queensland senator Pauline Hanson surprised Team Morrison (and her staff) on Thursday when she, along with Tassie Senator Jacqui Lambie, sided with the Greens and Labor to knock back the Coalition's union-busting bill. The Coalition is expected to reintroduce the plan this week.

• And the government will have to meet an undisclosed condition of Senator Jacqui Lambie if it wants to see the Medevac laws repealed this week.

• It’s back to the drawing board for the PM’s religious freedom bill after faith-based groups expressed concern. The government won’t put it to the Parliament until next year.


Twenty-eight people have died from measles on the Pacific island of Samoa in the last week taking the toll to 48. Forty-four of those who have fallen victim to the outbreak are children under 4yo. The country's Ministry of Health also says the number of suspected cases of measles has more than doubled over the past week to 3,530. Before the outbreak, Samoa had low rates of vaccine coverage at just 31%. A mandatory vaccination program kicked off on November 20 after a state of emergency was declared, and health officials say almost 60,000 people have since been vaccinated.

And while we have you… The Sunday Telegraph yesterday reported immunisation rates have hit a record high in Australia. National coverage for 5yos is at 94.82% - just 0.18% under the gold standard of 95%.


He didn’t have a great year in 2018 (#balltampering), and he didn't have a great Ashes series earlier this year, but David Warner has had a great test match against Pakistan in Adelaide. The batsman scored 335 runs not out before Australia declared, surpassing Sir Donald Bradman’s greatest ever test score of 334 runs. It is also the 10th highest individual score in the history of Test cricket. Warner's helmet will end up in a soon-to-be-opened South Aussie cricket museum after he gifted it (it's believed…) to a young fan. As for the game that's in motion, Australia is in a dominant position with two days to go.


Cats might not be as aloof as they seem, with a new study showing that humans are just incredibly bad at reading feline facial expressions. Unless of course, you're Grumpy Cat (may he rest in peace) - he was clearly just plain grumpy all the time... “Cats are telling us things with their faces, and if you're really skilled, you can spot it," says behavioural biologist Georgia Mason. While the majority of study participants failed to identify the mood of cats in various videos correctly, 13% were dubbed 'cat-whisperers' with accuracy rates of 75% and more. Oh, alright then, have a cat video...


Parliament’s last sitting week for 2019 kicks off

COP 25, the UN Climate Change Conference, kicks off in Madrid (on until 13 December). Probably not attending - Energy Minister Angus Taylor who’ll be in Canberra for the last week of Parliament

Shopped out? Keep going with Cyber Monday...

National days for the United Arab Emirates and Lao People’s Democratic Republic

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

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