Squiz Today / 24 October 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 24 October


"He grew a 910-pound pumpkin and then used it as a boat”

And to Illinois farmer Justin Ownby’s credit, the 410kg squash made a pretty good boat too.


The National Farmers Federation yesterday said it has written to PM Scott Morrison asking him to fund exit packages for drought-stricken farmers. NFF President Fiona Simson said she did not know how many farmers want to leave their farms, but "we do believe there are a number of families now really considering their future," she said yesterday.

There’s no doubt the agricultural sector is under extreme pressure with many areas suffering under severe drought conditions, particularly in northern NSW and southern Queensland. And like any sector facing an existential threat, it's not uncommon for governments to offer 'adjustment' funding - and this sort of thing has been made available to farmers under previous governments during times of drought. But exit packages aren’t the only thing that the farming lobby group want. The NFF has also pitched for more financial assistance, including better access to income support, and interest-free government loans to support those who are battling through these tough times.

It hasn’t said what it will do on those specific requests. But the ABC reported last night that PM Scott Morrison is considering a federal funding package worth hundreds of millions of dollars aimed at rural communities to be announced next week. The political heat has been turned up in the last fortnight, and while Morrison and Co have reiterated that the $7 billion they've spent on supporting farmers has done a lot, there are loud calls to do more.



People smuggling is thought to be behind the deaths of 39 people who were discovered in a truck container in Essex in the UK yesterday. The details are still being locked down, but reports say it's believed the container's journey started in Bulgaria and made the Channel crossing via Belgium. A truck thought to have come from Northern Ireland picked it up before the gruesome discovery was made an hour later. The truck’s driver, 25yo Mo Robinson from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Reports say the container was refrigerated and sealed, and an expert described the conditions inside as "absolutely horrendous”. A spokesman from the Bulgarian Government says "that it is highly unlikely that they are Bulgarians." Police are now working to identify the victims.


How about the short story on some long issues?

BREXIT BLOCKAGE - PM Boris Johnson is waiting to hear if the European Union will agree to a three-month delay, as requested in his unsigned letter from the weekend. With the legislation to Brexit suspended after the timetable to consider it was knocked back yesterday, and a delay in the offing, Johnson is channelling his efforts into a call for an election as a way to resolve things.

TURKEY GETS ITS WAY - The US had told Turkey the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from a “safe zone” along the border with Syria is complete, so Turkey says there is "no need" to relaunch its military offensive. And under a deal negotiated between Presidents Erdogan and Putin on Tuesday, Syrian and Russian forces will now patrol the area. What that ultimately means for the Kurds’ welfare is not yet known.

WHAT HAPPENED IN UKRAINE HASN’T STAYED IN UKRAINE - As inquiries into US President Donald Trump trundle along (featuring Republicans' storming' in to disrupt a closed-door hearing…), the focus is on whether there was a 'quid pro quo' in his dealings with Ukraine. That is, did the President withhold military aid until his politically motivated requests were agreed to? Evidence given yesterday by the US Ambassador to Ukraine is another pointer in that direction, reports say.


And if you listened carefully, you could almost hear Labor leader Anthony Albanese telling Victoria's construction union boss John Setka not to let the door hit him on the way out… Efforts to withdraw Setka's membership of the party kicked off when he denigrated the work of family violence prevention campaigner Rosie Batty in June. Despite pending legal proceedings, Setka ended it yesterday saying he didn’t want to be a member of a party led by Albanese. Meanwhile, Albanese said Setka's resignation "allows us to draw the line under these issues." With the Coalition pushing a plan that would make it easier to deregister law-breaking unions, it's a pencilled-in line rather than one drawn in permanent marker…


Have you wondered what happens to those reality stars who are the season's designated villain when the show ends? Nicole Prince, a contestant on season five of Seven’s House Rules that aired in 2017, took her grievances to court when she was unable to get a job because of her portrayal on the show as a bully. Prince said she was harassed and assaulted while on the show, and that other contestants were pitted against her by the producers. And yesterday, the Workers Compensation Commission found she was an employee of the production company and should have afforded certain protections. Industry types said the finding would send a chill up any reality TV producer's spine given the dastardly deeds done in the name of 'good tv'…


And the winner is… Author Gail Jones for The Death of Noah Glass. The work of fiction is about “the mystery of families – the way they share a culture, sayings, habits and memories, while parents and children are essentially unknown to each other,” Jones said. She takes home the $80,000 in prizemoney, as does Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell for their non-fiction win with Half the Perfect World - a history of artists living on the Greek island of Hydra. The full list of winners is here.

And while we have you… Laura Brown, the Aussie who is the global editor-in-chief of fashion publication InStyle, is the 2019 Australian Fashion Laureate. It’s the most prestigious peer-voted industry award in the country.


Don't worry, any 'Halloween isn't a thing in 'Straya' outbursts can be put back in their box. But we can giggle/sneer at the lengths others are going to. First up is the spooky appearance of a Phantom Frappuccino... If that doesn’t sound bad enough, it’s charcoal-infused, includes a green slime, and is available in Starbucks in Europe. Next is the Ghost Whopper from Burger King in the US which underwent a 'spirit taste test' in its development. And with a week to go, let's say you needed some trend tips on who to dress up as for the big night, it’s Ariana Grande all the way


ABS Data Release - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018

The Louvre launches an epic Leonardo da Vinci exhibition (on until 24 February) - Paris

United Nations Day

World Polio Day

Former PM Malcolm Turnbull turns 65yo

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