Squiz Today / 20 July 2017

Squiz Today – Thursday, 20 July


"You've stopped my heart. I need my heart fixed."

Winning Oz Lotto would do that to you. Despite her heart issues, this lady from Queensland was pretty pleased with herself yesterday. She did better than her joint winner, a gent from Sydney, who hung up on officials when they called to give him the good news. Along with a third winner from Western Australia, the three claimed $16.6 million each. Not bad work for a chilly Tuesday night.


Consider this your week's brain-food - not that appetising, but very good for you... The financial institutions’ regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (or APRA to its friends), yesterday announced new requirements they say will strengthen our banks.

• Thing to know - APRA will require the big banks to increase their equity capital ratio from about 9% to 10.5%.

• WTF? – Yep, and soz. It’s the percentage of cash reserves the bank has to hold relative to its assets (mainly money it has lent).

• Give me an example - If a lot of us suddenly couldn't pay back our mortgages, the bank should have enough cash on hand to remain solvent. As of 2020, APRA says they should have 10.5% in reserve.

Well, an insolvent bank is a very ugly sight. Think Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Not that we’re in that ballpark – in fact, our banks and regulatory system are held up as an example of world’s best practice. APRA says the increase will make our banks ‘unquestionably strong’, will further improve our resilience to any global or domestic financial shocks, and strengthen our banks’ ability to borrow money (you know, the stuff they use to lend to Aussie businesses and individuals).

Well, the stock market certainly liked it. The big banks’ share prices had a good bump upwards yesterday. This is probably because investors think the banks won’t have a problem getting their hands on another +1% of capital. The banks are supportive. And Treasurer Scott Morrison said “ripper”, as long as the banks don’t increase interest rates as a way of raising the cash. Indeed.


While Mohamed Noor (the policeman who shot Australian Justine Damond in Minneapolis on Saturday night) has so far refused to be interviewed by authorities, his family says he was acting honestly and sincerely, and that they are traumatised. Matthew Harrity, Noor’s partner in the car on the night, has been interviewed - reports say the pair heard a loud noise and it’s possible Noor thought they were being ambushed. PM Malcolm Turnbull weighed in yesterday asking; "How can a woman out in the street in her pyjamas seeking assistance from the police be shot like that?" A review of Damond’s 911 calls shows she was concerned for a woman she thought was being raped. 

Police on Sydney’s Northern Beaches issued a Facebook plea yesterday for a bit more neighbourly care following the discovery of deceased couple Anne and Geoffrey Iddon, both in their eighties, in their home in Palm Beach. The couple were described as well off, fiercely independent and, unfortunately, very isolated. It’s thought they were dead inside the house for two-to-three weeks before they were found. Police believe Geoffrey died of natural causes leaving Anne, who was blind and disabled, with no ability to care for herself. She's thought to have died some days later. Neighbours say they tried to help, but the couple rejected all overtures. “Life is a team game,” the police posted and asked us to get to know our neighbours, particularly the elderly. So very sad. 

HIZB UT-TAHIR BANNED IN INDONESIA – Worried about the emergence of extreme Islamic groups, the Indonesian government issued a decree last week that organisations not supportive of their country’s ideologies would be outlawed. They’ve moved quickly and yesterday banned hardline Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahir for "anti-state activities". The group is active (and legal) in Australia, and there has long been debate about whether they should be on our banned organisations list.

QATAR DEMANDS AMENDED – The Saudi Arabia-led alliance of countries are no longer requiring Qatar to meet a list of specific demands – instead, they are being asked to sign up to six broad principles against terrorism. The six-week dispute has seen Qatar import food by air and sea to meet their people's basic requirements. The backdown follows news that the saga was kicked off by a ‘fake news’ story planted by the United Arab Emirates. Naughty! US intelligence officials said they have evidence the UAE planted a false story about Qatar’s support for Iran/terrorism on their state news agency website and social media. The UAE said the story was wrong and denied any involvement.

FRANCE TOPS SOFT POWER LIST – The election of charismatic President Emmanuel Macron has seen France overtake the US and UK as the world’s top ‘soft’ power of the world. Sounds like an insult, but it’s not. Soft power is the ability to shape the agenda through the art of persuasion. Look, France has wine and cheese and more wine – very attractive. Australia fell from sixth to eighth; still, we’re punching well above our size and economic weight.

Stage 17 was completed overnight with Brit Chris Froome holding onto the leader's yellow jersey (that means he’s winning). Australia's Michael Matthews has been going bloody well – he’s the favourite to win the green jersey (a points classification title) with the leader for the Green, Marcel Kittel, crashing out overnight. But really, all this was just a ruse to show you Polish rider Paweł Poljański picture showing off his tired legs. These guys are machines. There are 21 stages in the TDF in total, so they're getting to the pointy end. 

Mick Fanning has had another close encounter with a shark at Jeffrey’s Beach in South Africa – the same place that he famously punched away a shark in 2015. Fanning and Gabriel Medina were plucked from the water by jet ski after a shark (that was some 700 metres away) started to move towards the surfers. He was surfing in the quarterfinal of the J-Bay Open which Fanning went on to lose. The shark was said to be a +two metre Great White; "Those things are just submarines, however long they are, the roundness of them as well ... they are big, big beasts," Fanning said. It's like he has a smell the sharks there can't resist...


ABS Data Releases - Labour Force, June; Business Use of Information Technology

Start of the 2017 Open Championships Golf - Royal Birkdale Golf Course, England (on until 23 July)

International Chess Day

48th anniversary of Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon

43rd anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

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