Squiz Today / 28 October 2019

Squiz Today – Monday, 28 October


"Who hasn't cried on a treadmill at some point in their lives?”

Said artist Alex Plante who’s immortalised the struggles of Cinderblock, a fat cat with a long diet and exercise regime ahead of her…


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, died during a US Special Operations raid in northwest Syria on Saturday. In an announcement overnight, US President Donald Trump said Baghdadi "died like a dog" as he detonated a suicide vest during the raid also killing three of his children. "The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him," Trump said.


• Believed to be born in the early 70s, he was the son of an Iraqi farmer. Reports say Baghdadi was rejected by the army due to his nearsightedness. Instead, he studied the Quran at university in Baghdad and received a PhD in 2007 while supporting two wives and six children.

• He became politically active during the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and was detained by the US for 10 months in 2004. That led him to join an emerging al-Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State in Iraq (ISI).

• Baghdadi took over the leadership of the group in 2010, and by 2013 he'd announced its expansion into Syria to form Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

• In June 2014, ISIS captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, where Baghdadi delivered a sermon declaring himself caliph (aka the ruler of a new Islamic state), and he was rarely seen publicly after that. Since then American, Syrian, Kurdish, Iraqi and other forces (including Australia's) have all but eliminated ISIS from the region after its reign of terror led to the deaths of thousands.

• Despite his death being falsely reported many times before, Trump said the US finally caught up with Baghdadi on the Iraq-Syria border.

The technical term is 'adjusting its posture’... US President Donald Trump said earlier this month that he would pull US troops out of Syria. Putting aside for one moment the Turkish offensive against the Syrian Kurds (America’s ally in the fight against Islamic State), many critics of Trump’s decision to vamoose also worry that it could lead to Islamic State regaining strength in the region. Pundits say the announcement of Baghdadi’s death could help to ease those concerns.

And if you’d like a quick breakdown on the US-Turkey-Syria-Kurdish entanglement, we’ve got a Squiz Shortcut for that.



Australia’s most notorious serial killer Ivan Milat died in Long Bay prison yesterday morning after he was diagnosed with terminal oesophagus and stomach cancer in May. A man with a dark past, Milat was convicted in 1994 for the murders of seven backpackers whose bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the Belanglo State Forest (south-west of Sydney) between 1992 and 1993. His victims were hitchhiking (three were German, two were British, and two were Aussie) when they went missing between 1989 and 1992. Former detective Clive Small yesterday said he was confident Milat killed at least three others, but the number could be a lot higher. “I've got no doubt that in passing there was some satisfaction in 'I still have the answers and they don't,'" Small said of Milat.


UK TRUCK CHARGES - Maurice 'Mo' Robinson, the 25yo Northern Irish driver of a truck that had 39 dead people inside, has been charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. Three other people from the trucking company have also been arrested. Authorities in Belgium are looking for the driver who delivered the trailer to the port before it arrived in the UK.

IRAQ AND CHILE PROTEST DEVELOPMENTS - Almost 200 people have died in demonstrations in Iraq this month, including nationwide protests on the weekend featuring unemployed young men demanding jobs and better services. Meanwhile, Chile's President Sebastian Piñera has dismissed his cabinet and has promised to introduce social reforms. At least 17 people have died in violent clashes since the anti-inequality protests kicked off a week ago.

BOEING AND REGULATOR TO BLAME FOR LION CRASH - The design of the anti-stall system in the 737 MAX plane left the pilots of last year’s doomed flight fighting a losing battle for control, a report by Indonesian investigators says. Boeing’s boss Dennis Muilenburg will face a US Congressional committee hearing on the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes on Wednesday.


And we’re not even out of October… Hot and windy conditions on Friday and Saturday in northern NSW saw more than 1,300 firefighters take on two big fires near Forster-Tuncurry with homes under threat forcing many to evacuate. Conditions eased yesterday. And over in California, 180,000 people have been evacuated in the north of the state, and two million people are without electricity after a major supplier cut the power in an unprecedented precautionary blackout. A state of emergency has been declared in parts of Los Angeles and Sonoma with thousands of firefighters battling blazes there.


...when you can head to the bank of Morrison and Cormann. And it's a 'first-in, best-dressed' kinda situation. Promised by the Coalition at the election, details of the government's first home buyer scheme were provided yesterday. It aims to help up to 10,000 first home buyers on low and middle incomes enter the market each year, kicking off in January next year. How it works: the government will go guarantor on loans with a deposit of as small as 5%. It’s open to singles with income of less than $125,000 a year and couples earning up to $200,000. And there are caps on the price of the property too. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann yesterday said it will help property newbies buy a “modest first home”. Labor said more detail would be good, including which lenders will be involved.


Winning their game against New Zealand’s Silver Ferns in Perth yesterday, the Diamond’s levelled the Constellation Cup 2-2 keeping it in Aussie hands. The game wasn’t as tight as previous encounters - we won 53-46. It’s our seventh straight Cup win that offsets some of the pain of losing to the Kiwis in the World Cup in July.

And while we have you… It wasn’t New Zealand’s weekend with the All Blacks going down to England 19-7 in the Rugby World Cup semi-final. England, which deployed an interesting haka-time tactic, will play South Africa in next weekend's final after they defeated Wales 19-16 last night.


After all that death and destruction, you’ve earned it


Annual General Meeting - Domino’s Pizza

Czech Republic’s National Day

Anniversary of Elvis’s groundbreaking contribution to getting American teens vaccinated for polio (1956)


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