Squiz Today / 08 August 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 8 August



Is what some parts of the south-east corner of Oz could be in for later today/Friday if thunderstorms occur in areas where it’s cold enough to snow. With high winds, blizzards and bitterly cold temperatures on the way, officials at the weather bureau say it’s fine to stay in, eat your body weight in mashed potatoes and drink red wine. Ok, maybe not that last bit…


In breaking news this morning, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say they have found the bodies of two Canadian teenagers suspected of killing three people - Australian Lucas Fowler, his American girlfriend Chynna Deese and Canadian professor Leonard Dyck - last month. The bodies of Kam McLeod (19yo) and Bryer Schmegelsky (18yo) were found on a bank of the Nelson River in Manitoba. While official identification is yet to occur, Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy announced "I'm confident that it is them."

At this stage, not a lot. No details on how or when the pair died have been released. McLeod and Schmegelsky were into their third week on the run. The trail had run cold since 22 July when authorities found their burnt-out vehicle in Manitoba - thousands of kilometres away from where the killings occurred. But reports yesterday revealed there was a breakthrough on Friday when items belonging to the pair were found near the Nelson River. A foot search followed in the heavily-wooded area leading to the discovery of their bodies.

“To the families of everyone affected by the series of events over the last few weeks, I know it has been so very difficult, and I hope today’s announcement can begin to bring some closure,” said MacLatchy at a press conference.



Roberta Williams, the widow of convicted gangland killer Carl Williams, was yesterday arrested and had a shopping list of charges laid against her including kidnap and false imprisonment, threats to kill, and inflicting serious injury against Ryan Naumenko, the producer of Williams’ wannabe reality show. Naumenko says Williams and five others lured him to an office in Collingwood in early July and attacked him while demanding $20,000. “It was horrific, I thought I was going to die,” he told The Age three weeks ago. Naumenko has since been outed by the Daily Mail as a “convicted fraudster who has spent time in jail”. But the alleged victim’s history mattered little to prosecutors yesterday as they outlined details of the attack in court, including that Williams is alleged to have wrapped a power cord around Naumenko’s neck, choking him. She was released on bail after a hearing late yesterday afternoon and will return to court on 8 October.


Michaela Banerji, a public servant who was fired from her job in 2013 at the then Department of Immigration and Border Protection, lost a landmark free speech case in the High Court yesterday. Her lawyer argued she was unfairly sacked for tweets that were critical of the government and its border security policies. But the court yesterday found that her freedom of political communication was superseded by her signing the Australian Public Service code of conduct in which she agreed to "uphold the integrity and good reputation” of her employer. Banerji’s supporters yesterday said it was “bad for democracy”, while others said impartiality is essential to a professional bureaucracy.


Three things to note:

• US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are visiting El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the sites of two mass shootings in the weekend, where they aren’t expected to receive warm welcomes.

• Trump said overnight there is “no political appetite” for banning assault rifles. But rattled Republicans are looking into ‘red-flag’ laws that would restrict potentially dangerous people from owning weapons, rather than restricting the deadly weapons themselves.

• And with racial tensions firmly in the spotlight (not helped by this incident in Galveston, Texas on the weekend…), Jim Watkins, owner of 8chan (the online messageboard favoured by extremists including alleged El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius), has been called to give evidence to the US Congress on “the proliferation of extremist content” on his website. And for a good backgrounder on this seedy underbelly of the internet, check out the New York Times' The Daily podcast.


FEARS FOR KASHMIR - After 70 years of autonomy, Kashmir’s special status was revoked by the Indian government this week in a move to integrate the area (which has a Muslim-majority) with the rest of India (which is predominantly Hindu). Kashmir is a contested region with both India and Pakistan (with its Muslim-majority) administering parts of it. Pakistani PM Imran Khan yesterday said he would fight the move and feared ethnic cleansing by India. Observers fear the situation is “a volcano ready to erupt”.

ALL GOOD IN NORTH KOREA - Not really… Captain Obvious/North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday said his latest missile launches are a warning to the US and South Korea over their joint military drills that began this week. Meanwhile, a leaked United Nations report says North Korea has stolen US$2 billion to fund its weapons program via cyber-attacks.

FOOD EMERGENCY IN ZIMBABWE - The UN says the effects of drought, a cyclone and an economic crisis has left a third of the population - 2.5 million people - in need of food aid with many on the brink of starvation. The World Food Program has launched an appeal for almost $500 million as President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week declared a national disaster.


Hasn’t this week had it all? Global trade drama, tumbling stock exchanges, revised economic outlooks - and now our dollar has hit a 10-year low against the US dollar. What sparked that was a surprise 0.5% cut in Kiwiland’s interest rates yesterday - and international markets then ‘priced in’ a future interest rate cut for Australia. Some analysts think the AUD could hit the 65c mark in coming months… Is that a problem? Well, there are two sides to the dollar coin - a fall can make us more internationally competitive and boost exports. It can also mean higher prices for imported goods, and it’s not great for anyone travelling to the United States.


“I could have slept less,” was the assessment Germany’s Fiona Kolbinger gave of her performance after breaking all records to become the first woman to win one of Europe’s most gruelling cycling events, the Transcontinental Race. The +4,000km race from Bulgaria to the north-west coast of France attracted 265 competitors this year, including 40 women. The 24yo completed the race in 10 days, two hours and 48 minutes, and the bloke who finished second came in ten hours behind her. Asked to rate her effort, Kolbinger said she probably could have “gone harder”.


Company Earnings Result - AGL; AMP; Insurance Australia Group

DEF CON Hacking Conference starts - Las Vegas

International Cat Day

Birthday for Roger Federer (1981)

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