Squiz Today / 04 September 2017

Squiz Today – Monday, 4 September



Western Australian Liberals yesterday voted in favour of the state pursuing “financially independent” from the rest of Oz. It follows unsuccessful overtures to get more share (currently about 34 cents in the dollar) of their GST contributions. Surely busting up our federation needs a more original title – how about ‘aWAy’ or ‘WAlkout’? (Or we could stick to our day jobs…)


North Korea said yesterday that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that it believes could sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. The test was its largest ever, and reports say it was seven times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in WWII. The underground explosion was recorded as a 6.3-magnitude tremor - significantly more powerful than the 5.3-magnitude event caused by a test blast last year. It was the Hermit Kingdom’s sixth ever nuclear test – the first was conducted in 2006. However, this is the first nuclear test conducted since US President Donald Trump has been in office.

US President Donald Trump would not confirm if the US is making plans to strike North Korea. But he tweeted; "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.” This would go well beyond the current UN sanctions. South Korean President Moon Jae-in had a similar thought when he called for new UN Security Council sanctions to "completely isolate" North Korea. China has so far been unwilling to pursue economic sanctions that would completely cripple North Korea for fear it would cause a refugee crisis on its border (among other things). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said; "we absolutely cannot tolerate and must protest firmly.” And China, Russia, the UK and Australia all condemned the action.

North Korea’s long-held desire to be a nuclear power is at the centre of the current crisis. It sees it as crucial to deterring any US-led attempts at invasion. So how does the international community pull North Korea into line? The experts are saying three things:

1. Don’t overreact. Experts say it’s important the US “does not cause more damage with its reaction than the test did itself."

2. UN sanctions (which will strip North Korea of a third of their export revenue) will start to bite soon.

3. Keep working towards a diplomatic solution. "That remains the best of the options on the table for trying to reduce the level of tension and avoid a crisis," said another expert.

All good points that are no doubt easier said than done... Unfortunately, former President Barack Obama didn't leave any specific advice on handling this in his outgoing letter to Trump.


A report in the Daily Telegraph this morning says (now) PM Malcolm Turnbull used colourful language to berate (then PM) Tony Abbott during an alcohol-fuelled flight from Sydney to Canberra. The pair and other Liberal ministers had been to a party to celebrate The Australian’s 50th birthday in mid-2014. Team Turnbull denies the accusation. The report also says of the 12 passengers onboard the government plane, five were staff. Going to parties must be harder than we remember. Anyway, a new Newspoll is out today – the Coalition remains behind Labor in the two-party preferred race 47:53. Turnbull gained more ground v Bill Shorten as preferred PM leading 46:29.

The long and bitter battle between Australia and East Timor over our sea border has been resolved. The dispute was focused on jurisdiction over the Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields, said to be worth an estimated $40-50 billion. We’ll have to wait until October to hear what has been decided, at the moment the deets are confidential. Both countries have started saying nice things about each other, so that’s something.

ROHINGYA FLEE - UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged Myanmar's (Burma) de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene in the crisis over the persecution of Muslim Rohingya. Violence erupted a week ago leaving 100 dead and forcing 70,000 Rohingya (about 10% of their population) to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. The military and Buddhist mobs are believed to be behind the latest violence towards the stateless Rohingya who claim Rakhine (the poorest area of Myanmar) is their homeland.

LA FIRES - Los Angeles has endured one of its largest fires on record with 5,800 acres of the city's outskirts engulfed by flames over the weekend. Hundreds of homes were evacuated, and some of Hollywood's iconic Burbank studios were under threat. No injuries have been recorded.

NZ ELECTION HEATS UP - With their election less than three weeks away, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern (who only took the leadership reins a month ago) has the polls swinging towards her. PM Bill English and his National Party went into the campaign as strong favourites but momentum seems to be with Ardern. It's one to watch.

There was a bit of confusion yesterday over whether the Australian Olympic Committee’s media manager Mike Tancred has a job or not. Tancred – a close ally of controversial AOC president John Coates – was under investigation following bullying complaints, including by former CEO Fiona de Jong. A review cleared him of misconduct. Reports yesterday morning said he had been sacked following a vote of the board on 24 August. But AOC CEO Matt Carroll later said that wasn’t the case, although they are considering Tancred’s future. As any good media-minder knows – it’s bad when you’re the story…

NETBALL – The Aussie Diamonds lost to the NZ Silver Ferns (who ultimately took out the series) in the final match of the quad series. The Diamonds will cop a bit of criticism for the loss as they were firm favourites and lost the game by ten goals.

TENNIS – We have no women or men left in the US Open singles. As the tournament heads into the Round of 16, three of the top ten women’s seeds are still standing (Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Venus Williams). There are four seeds left in the men's (Raphael Nadal, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and David Goffin).

IN NRL-LAND, OUR CORRESPONDENT GIBBO SAYS: The Penrith Panthers didn't turn up for their match against silvertails at Manly, and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs ruined St George-Illawarra Dragons’ run. So the North Queensland Cowboys scrape into the final eight. It's hard to see anyone beating the Melbourne Storm this year. Bring on the finals…

AFL – With the men’s bye this weekend, the women took to the field with Victoria taking on The Allies (kinda like a ‘rest of Oz’ team). Our favourite quote from one report; “Victoria showed more hunger, dominated possession and was able to lock the ball in its forward half for large periods of the match.” We don’t think being hungry or possessed sounds great, but we assume in footy that’s a good thing - they won 113 to the Allies’ 16 points.

Hard to say what was more exciting yesterday when Australia’s evergreen sweetheart, Olivia Newton-John (that’s ONJ to you) came out in favour of medicinal cannabis. Was it the fact that one of the nation's most enduring stars is a fan of the Mary-Jane (she says she has come to rely on it since a recent cancer diagnosis). Or was it the fact that in speaking about it, she also alluded to next year being the 40th anniversary of the release of Grease. Would a Sandy and Danny reunion be too much? We’re rooting for you, Livvy.


Federal Parliament Resumes

ABS Data Releases - Business Indicators, June; Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, June

ANZ Job Ads Data for August

National Child Protection Week

Women's Health Week

National Stroke Week

National Superhero Week (for the benefit of Muscular Dystrophy Australia)

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