Squiz Today / 17 January 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 17 January


"When elected, United Australia Party will ban unsolicited political text messages which Labor & Liberal have allowed.”

Said the political text message received by a Squizer last night from political text messaging fiend Clive Palmer. Cheeky bugger


Yesterday, UK PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal - which set out the terms of Britain's exit from the European Union on 29 March - suffered a history-making defeat in parliament. Today, we’ll know if she’s able to save her job with a vote of no confidence in the government expected at 6am (AEDT).

We’ll keep it orderly (unlike May…):

• Members of the House of Commons really don’t like the Brexit deal May has negotiated with the European Union. They voted yesterday to strike it down 432 votes to 202. Those voting against the deal included 118 from her own Conservative Party.

• For the maths-challenged (our hand is up), that means it was rejected by 230 votes (we think) - the largest parliamentary defeat in history for a sitting government. In. History...

• Why did all those MPs vote against the deal? Let us count the ways… Some think May has let the EU walk all over the UK and want the deal amended. Others want a new referendum or to stop Brexit altogether, or to leave without a deal. On the substance of the deal, the Northern Irish backstop is the big sticking point.

• That's why May said; "It is clear that the House does not support this deal, but tonight's vote tells us nothing about what it does support."

• As you can imagine, the British newspaper front pages were scathing…

Shrugging lady emoji x 2. The first order of business is to deal with the no-confidence motion, which reports say she will survive. All those Conservative MPs who voted against the Brexit deal will likely back the government on the question of whether it should continue to govern. Then she needs to talk to the EU for the millionth time about what it could compromise on. "Non" has been their response to date. And then she needs to go back to the parliament on Monday to do it all again. Thing to remember: the UK is still on course to leave the EU on 29 March. It’s just the details of how and when that’s tearing their politicians apart.


A worker on a live export ship offered to cut the ventilation so they could film distressed animals for payments from Animals Australia. That’s according to a report this morning in the Daily Telegraph (paywall). Looking for evidence it could use to apply pressure to the industry, the animal welfare group discussed payments with ship workers. When asked by one worker about cutting the ventilation, he was told not to put the animals at risk by concocting poor conditions. Faizal Ullah, the worker who took the footage of sheep struggling on the 2017 Awassi Express voyage when 2,400 died from heat stress that was used on 60 Minutes, may have received almost $40,000 from Animals Australia, the report says. The report also noted that Ullah had a previously been disciplined for allegedly beating cattle with a stick.

Those elements were put together in a Brooklyn court yesterday with witness Alex Cifuentes confirming he’d told US authorities about what he’d seen while working as an aide to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Giving witness testimony in Guzman's high profile trial, Cifuentes said the drug kingpin paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012. The money was to keep Mexican authorities off his back. Nieto has not commented. Guzman is in court on a tonne of charges relating to his alleged leadership of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Things went sour in early December when Canadian police arrested Chinese telco Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition request. And while Canadian drug dealer Robert Schellenberg has been in custody since before the whole Meng thing blew up, this week he was sentenced to death. PM Justin Trudeau linked Schellenberg’s severe sentence to the two countries’ relationship troubles saying China had chosen to "arbitrarily apply" the death penalty. "The Canadians are the ones who have arbitrarily arrested somebody,” China’s spokeswoman said. The technical phrase for that exchange is ‘tit-for-tat’... Meanwhile, Huawei founder and Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei denied his company assists Beijing with espionage. And he said US President Donald Trump was a “great president”. He’s no doubt hoping that flattery will get him (and his family) everywhere…

Some developments in recent stories:

NAIROBI SIEGE OVER - It took 19 hours, but Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says the attack by militants from the Somalia-based group al-Shabab is over. The attack on an upmarket hotel in Nairobi has left at least 14 people dead (including an American and a British citizen) and 50 people are missing. Kenyatta says the government will hunt down those involved.

TURKEY AND THE KURDS ARE A-OK - That’s what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told President Trump according to reports. That’s a big turn around from last week when his people were talking about waging war on the Kurds. The US is involved in this one because Kurdish rebels have been US-allies in the fight against Islamic State in Syria. Meanwhile, US troops were among those killed by an explosion in Syria yesterday. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

COME BACK TO WORK - For no pay… That’s what 50,000 of the 800,000 US government workers affected by the partial US government shutdown have been asked to do. It’s to keep some important services up and running, like the country’s tax office.

Some people look at a new year with a sense of optimism. And then there are Aussie consumers… Analysts say we're not feeling great about the economic outlook. Things on our minds: property values falling (a new report says further falls are slated for this year), worries about Australia's economic growth and the global trade wars, and political uncertainty. The latest consumer confidence numbers show the biggest monthly drop in three years. Happy new year to you too…

Qai Qai (pronounced ‘Qway Qway’) is tennis champ Serena Williams' Insta-famous granddaughter… With 89,000 followers, the doll of Serena’s daughter Olympia has been labelled the ‘breakout star’ of the Aussie Open. How’s an emerging tennis player meant to compete with that?


ABS Data Release - Housing Finance, November

Birthdays for Aussie netball legend Liz Ellis (1973) and former First Lady Michelle Obama (1964)

The first anniversary of the death of actress Jessica Falkholt after a car crash on Boxing Day 2017 that also killed her sister and parents

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