Squiz Today / 22 November 2018

Squiz Today – Thursday, 22 November


“I got a phone call from my husband around 6:30pm saying 'get the washing off the line' and around 7:20 we were in the middle of it."

Dust storms are making their way from the west to the east coast. Drought – the gift that keeps on giving…


“America First! The world is a very dangerous place!” are the first two lines of yesterday’s statement from US President Donald Trump about “Standing with Saudi Arabia”. In it, Trump says we may never know the facts of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi's murder, including whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered his brutal demise. But in the end, "the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner" of the Saudis, particularly when it comes to doing business with them.

We’re not the boss of you, you’re super-smart, so your surprise level is yours alone to gauge… Our tip: probably not. Trump has been saying ever since news of Khashoggi’s grizzly end broke that good relations with Saudi Arabia is a priority. Trump yesterday put some more meat on those bones saying the role they play in the Middle East as a check on Iran and ally to America in the troubled region was more important than other concerns. And there’s the $450 billion the Saudis are investing in the US that can’t be ignored… Critics said the transactional costs of being Saudi Arabia’s ally, like turning a blind eye to the CIA’s conclusion that the Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi's murder, is too high a price to pay.

Saudi Arabia wasn’t the only one let off the hook yesterday. Trump said First Daughter Ivanka “did some emails” from a private account, but no classified information was communicated, and no records were deleted making her case different to that of former opponent Hilary Clinton – who he excoriated for a similar ‘crime’ during the 2016 presidential election. And then there's Carrots and Peas. It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys…


"I'm rather scared, but I'm fine," said Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence on her release from Bangli Prison late yesterday. With the media pressed up against the only door out, Lawrence was pushed through into a van and it was off to the airport. She flys into Brisbane this morning and then reports say the next stop is Newcastle.

No one likes having their invitation for a get together rejected. PM Scott Morrison says that’s happened to him with some Muslim leaders boycotting a meeting with him today. Nine of those invited say they were disappointed with Morrison’s comments in the wake of the recent Bourke St terror attack when he described "radical, violent, extremist Islam" as the greatest threat to our national security. Morrison said the boycott was a continuation “down a path of denial”. Mind you, the PM will still need to put the kettle on. Ten groups are attending today’s meeting.

Speaking of rejection… A Sydney branch of the Liberal Party has voted to kick out former PM Malcolm Turnbull. That’s because Turnbull’s Instagram account follows the “Vote Tony (Abbott) Out” account. Former former PM Tony Abbott said it would be a “pretty radical thing”. What’s not known is if Abbott means ‘radical’ in a down-with-the-kids/#awesome kinda way, or if it’s something to be wary of…

But arms are wide open… To the National Energy Guarantee. Reports this morning say Bill Shorten’s Labor will adopt the discarded Coalition policy as its own to take to the upcoming election. How very cheeky… Shorten is also expected to announce rebates for households and businesses to install solar batteries and $10 billion for renewable energy projects.

There was shock in the UK overnight with British citizen Matthew Hedges, a PhD student from Durham Uni, receiving a life sentence for spying in the United Arab Emirates. He was arrested at Dubai airport more than six months ago at the end of a research trip where he was interviewing locals on civil-military relations. His family say the charge is a crock and the five-minute hearing in which he had no legal representation is a travesty. Both UK PM Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt say they are disappointed and worried.

MORE KNOWN ON BABY’S DEATH - There are disturbing reports in The Australian this morning (paywall) about the circumstances around the death of nine-month-old baby girl who was found washed up on the beach at Surfers Paradise on Monday. Police are investigating allegations she was drowned at the mouth of the Tweed River as a ‘sacrifice’ by her father. He has been extradited to NSW to face murder charges.

MITCHELL STEPS DOWN – Media mover and shaker Harold Mitchell has stepped down as chair of Free TV. He is under investigation by the corporate regulator for tipping the scales in favour of Channel Seven for the broadcast rights of the Aussie Open when he was on the board of Tennis Australia. Mitchell says the accusations are false.

MAY MUSCLES INTO BRUSSELS – UK PM Theresa May’s there as a last push before Sunday’s meeting when European Union leaders will consider, and she hopes approves, the Brexit deal.

If Aldi was your answer, you’re in line with the latest quarterly Roy Morgan Net Trust Score survey that looks at our confidence in brands. The German retailer has topped the list once again. After that, it's Bunnings (apparently the new sausage sizzle rules aren't a deal breaker…), Qantas and the ABC. Samsung, Myer, RACQ and IGA are out of the top ten. In are Kmart, ING (thank Isla Fisher…) Toyota and Target. Who don’t we trust? It’s a financial-sector-heavy list…

'Man’s car almost buried by $100k of fresh chicken' isn’t a headline you see every day… The footage of a truck crash on the Calder Freeway north of Melbourne on Tuesday night is like something from an action movie.


8.30pm (AEDT) - Walkley Awards (broadcast on Sky News Extra)

Thanksgiving Day (US)

ABS Data Release - Population Projections, 2017-2066

Anniversary of the assassination of US President John F Kennedy (1963)

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