Squiz Today / 21 May 2018

Squiz Today – Monday, 21 May


“You look amazing.”

Said Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, the newly installed Duchess of Sussex, on her arrival at the altar for the wedding of the year. But who would have picked that hair was to be a key talking point what with Harry’s beard and Meghan’s stray strand? More in a moment…



Coalition Government ministers are putting up a unified front to reassure critics that they aren’t a (Turn)bull in a China shop when it comes to handling our largest trade relationship. The government’s been keen to point out that PM Malcolm Turnbull will travel to China to meet President Xi Jinping in November, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met with her Chinese counterpart on the weekend and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo was in Shanghaito talk the relationship up last week. So there's nothing to see here, move along… And The Australian reports this morning that Labor is sending frontbenchers Penny Wong and Richard Marles to Beijing in September as emissaries of a future Shorten Government.

Some people (for example former PM and Sino-fan Kevin Rudd and our former ambassador to China Geoff Raby) think the government has been about as good for the relationship as this guy has been for the pathways of Brisbane’s Greenslopes. Which is not very good at all. But there have been tricky issues to navigate including the introduction of foreign interference laws, as well as scandals like former Labor senator Sam Dastyari’s ties to a Chinese donor. That prompted Chinese state media to call Australia an “anti-China pioneer in the last two years”. So #itscomplicated.

President Xi has been given the option to be China’s leader for life, and he’s pushing for his country to be more prominent in our region and the world. So our political leaders will be thinking about the health of the long-term relationship. Even the US is doing deals while being simultaneously alarmed. So it’s about picking their fights (like when Bishop backed away from a colleague's statements about China saddling Pacific Island countries with debt) and not freaking out about everything. Balancing this relationship will continue to be a key theme for some time to come.


Eight students and two teachers were killed and 13 injured, two critically, when 17yo Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire on an art class at his Texas high school on Friday morning. Pagourtzis is alleged to have used a shotgun and revolver registered to his father. Explosives believed to be connected to the attack were also found at and near the school. Authorities are unsure of his motive but it’s believed a student rejected his advances in the days before the attack. Pagourtzis is said to have spared students he liked so they could tell a story sympathetic towards him. His family described him as a "smart, quiet, sweet boy." The debate in the US seems to have quickly pivoted to arming teachers.

One of the black box recorders has been retrieved from the site of Cuba’s worst air disaster in decades after 110 people died in a crash shortly after takeoff near Havana airport on Friday. Three women survived. The plane was owned by Mexican-based Damojh airlines, a charter company that had previously received safety complaints. The vast majority of the dead were Cuban. Commentators said it is the first big test for new President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

The World Health Organisation says the latest Ebola virus breakout in the Democratic Republic of the Congo could spread “exponentially”, but it’s currently not an international emergency. At least 25 people have died and 45 have been infected by the outbreak that has reached the city of Mbandaka. A vaccination program has been deployed and those who have had contact with patients are being tracked down.

Some notable stories we’ve recently covered need some updating…

SKRIPAL RELEASED – Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent who was poisoned by a (thought to be Russian-made) nerve agent with his daughter Yulia in April, has been released from hospital.

WHEELING AND DEALING ON IRAN – The European Union has told Iran it’s committed to a nuclear deal after the US bailed on the arrangement. And reports say the EU, China and Russia are in talks for a new deal.

LAVA HURTS – The first injury from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been recorded with a man’s leg shattering after being splashed with lava. Ouch…

CANNES PRIZES - Japanese film Shoplifters, the story of a family of petty criminals making ends meet in Tokyo, won the prestigious Palme d’Or. And All These Creatures, the story of an Ethiopian family in Melbourne, won the short film prize.

It was an event so well received and perfectly executed, even the hardest republican’s heart surely melted. With so much already said, we’ll make this short:

• The frocks, both for the ceremony and evening functions, were gorgeous. And Meghan's veil had the floral emblems of all 53 Commonwealth nations. Welcome to our family, Duchess.

• Doria Ragland, Markle’s mum, was her only family to attend. And she’s clearly struck up something great with Charles.

• Speaking of Harry’s dad, he’s said to have had the reception in stitches and tears talking of his “darling old Harry”. Or maybe it was the effort of juggling ‘bowl food’ that brought the crowd unstuck?

• American Bishop Michael Curry was variously praised/accused of stealing the show. But we reckon it was teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason who was the real showstopper. And while we're talking music, the couple's first dance was to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).

• What do you give the couple who has everything? Well, Oz gave them $10,000 towards October’s Sydney Invictus Games and a couple of Akubras. And NSW gave them two koalas. Which is not quite as practical a pair of monogrammed Sheridan towels, but fun nonetheless.

Back home, about 5.5 million of us watched on Saturday night, and Channel Seven won the ratings. Now, as Eminem said, snap back to reality…


Federal Parliament resumes

Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry recommences hearings focusing on loans to small and medium enterprises (on until 1 June)

ABS Data Releases - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2016-17; Agricultural Commodities, 2016-17

UN World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

National Volunteer Week

National Palliative Care Week

Schizophrenia Awareness Week

Spinal Health Week

Leo Sayer's 70th birthday. Wonder if he feels like dancing?

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