Squiz Today / 05 October 2017

Squiz Today – Thursday, 5 October


“Yeti boots”

Yeah, nah. They look great on Rhianna but they're probably not for everyone. Neither is Stella McCartney’s return to acid wash denim. Be afraid, be very afraid…


If today’s counter-terrorism summit between PM Malcolm Turnbull and state and territory leaders goes to plan it won’t just be your local roads authority that has your bad driver’s licence photo. The major item for discussion is joint cooperation to build a national facial recognition database using existing photos from drivers’ licences. Ultimately it means the federal government would have a significant national facial biometric matching capability – something that has previously been frustrated by privacy concerns.

Well, keep in mind that governments already have access to this sort of thing. Their reason for putting it into one database is that terrorism moves quickly and streamlining access to information that identifies suspects can help in preventing or responding to threats. David Vaile from the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at UNSW is worried about the risk from hacking. “You can't say 'I am going to change my face'. So once it is hacked you potentially have a lifelong problem," he said. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian put the government's case yesterday; "I think all of us have had to accept that our civil liberties from time to time aren't what they used to be in order to protect public safety.”

There are two other major agenda items where they’re aiming for national harmony:

1. No bail or parole in terror cases. The NSW government goes into today’s meeting with extra brownie points. It yesterday announced new laws to allow the ongoing detention of prisoners deemed to be a terror risk even if their sentence has been completed. It was not lost on critics that prison is often where radicalisation occurs in the first place.

2. Detention laws to enable terror suspects to be held without charge for 14 days.

Expect this meeting to get a lot of coverage today.


Australian citizen Marilou Danley has returned to the US to answer questions about her partner, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock. She was met off her flight from the Philippines by FBI agents at Los Angeles airport. Her sisters yesterday told Seven News she had no knowledge of what Paddock was planning but believe he’d sent her away a couple of weeks ago so she wouldn’t interfere. Reports yesterday said Paddock made a wire transfer of US$100,000 to the Philippines last week. While it’s not clear if Danley was the recipient of the money, Paddock’s brother Eric said he wouldn’t be surprised; "The people he loved, he took care of and as he was descending into hell, he wanted to try and take care of her." Authorities said they expect information about Paddock’s motive to be unearthed in coming days.

Investment bank UBS made a disturbing claim yesterday: they reckon a third of new interest-only borrowers don’t know how their mortgage works. The bank says they don’t get they’re not paying down the principal, leaving them vulnerable to a big shock should the terms of the loan change. UBS came to the conclusion after surveying 900 borrowers, 25% of whom said they’d taken out an interest-only loan, well below the 35% average, so they've assumed the difference is made up with unknowing interest-only borrowers. Hmm, not sure that’s very scientific but there’s no doubt financial literacy is an issue. Just ask us – we’re acquainting ourselves with the BAS system at the moment…

Here are some weather talking points for when you’re stuck and need to make conversation. You might have noticed we’ve not had much rain lately. That’s a problem for farmers in NSW, Queensland, SA, Victoria and Tassie. In fact, our largest food bowl, the Murray Darling Basin, recorded the lowest September rainfall on record. Dry conditions and late frosts have damaged winter crops and the government reckons the upcoming harvest will be at least 40% down on last year. It’s as disastrous as UK PM Theresa May giving a speech to the party faithful. Time to get out there and do a rain dance for our farmers (keep your clothes on please…). 

Rupert Murdoch’s made his dislike of Google and Facebook clear in his message to shareholders in News Corp’s latest annual report. "This is an era where publishers – and the economy and society at large – are affected by the behaviour of a small number of technology companies." Gripes against the big tech mobs include their mass hoovering of advertising revenue and being platforms for piracy. Internationally, News Corp had a tough year, posting an A$808 million loss after writing down the value of their Australian and British papers, as well as its stake in Foxtel. No doubt Murdoch would be happy to hear Google are playing nice in one regard. It's announced it is shutting the loophole that allows access behind publishers’ paywalls under its ‘first click free’ policy. Lucky The Squiz is free, huh!

AID NEEDED FOR ROHINGYA REFUGEES - With an estimated 800,000+ Rohingya Muslims having fled across the Myanmar border to Bangladesh, aid organisations say they need +$400 million over the next six months to help them and the many more they expect to come. Myanmar has rejected the UN’s claims of ethnic cleansing.

CATALONIA BRINKMANSHIP – Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says he will claim independence from Spain in a matter of days. His declaration came after the Spanish King Felipe VI made a rare intervention and said efforts for separation were “outside the law”. Reports say 700,000 Catalans took to Barcelona streets yesterday to protest national police violence last weekend during the banned independence referendum.

COPENHAGEN MURDER MYSTERY CONTINUES - Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor accused of killing and dismembering journalist Kim Wall, has been found to have very unsavoury footage on his computer hard drive. The discovery casts more doubt on his claim that Wall’s death was an accident. The reporter’s headless torso washed up on a beach near Copenhagen in August.

Kim Cattrall, the actress who was blamed earlier this week for being the reason why a third movie in the S*x and the City franchise won't go ahead, came out guns blazing yesterday. Calling her relationship with her fellow cultural icons “toxic”, Cattrall said her return to the screen as Samantha Jones was never been on the cards. “Me playing her, that I can assure you will never happen. For me it's over, it's over with no regrets, I just wish that Sarah had been nicer.” Ouch! We don't like to see the ladies fight... 


5.45pm (AEDT) - Netball Constellation Cup - Australia v New Zealand - Auckland 

Council of Australian Governments Security Summit - Canberra

ABS Data Releases - International Trade in Goods and Services, August; Retail Trade, August

World Teachers Day

70th anniversary of the first ever US Presidential TV live address. It wasn't very lofty but it was practical - President Truman asked Americans to refrain from eating meat on Tuesdays and poultry on Thursdays to help stockpile grain for starving people in Europe.

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.