Squiz Today / 23 April 2019

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 23 April


“And 24-hour media means that Australia is not as far away as it used to be.”

London’s Sunday Times reported palace officials had considered and dismissed the idea that Prince Harry could be made Australia’s governor-general in a bid to help his growing family "enjoy a break from the divisions that have riven the royal household in recent months". With Australia deemed too accessible, somewhere in Africa (presumably with no airstrip/roads/mobile reception…) is said to be next on the list.


An Australian mother and her 9yo daughter - Manik and Alexandria Suriaaratchi - are among the victims of the Easter Sunday bombing attacks that occurred across several locations in Sri Lanka. The death toll yesterday rose to 290, and more than 500 people were injured with another two Aussies included in that number. Suicide bombers targeted churches and upmarket hotels in coordinated attacks that occurred at about 8.45am Sri Lankan time. Explosives were also found, including near the country's main airport in the capital of Colombo.

The attacks are the deadliest since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009 when the Tamil Tigers, who had fought for 26 years for an independent homeland, were defeated. The nation hasn’t been violence-free since then - in March last year, a state of emergency was declared when a group of people from the majority Buddhist Sinhala community attacked mosques. Twenty-four people associated with extremist Islamist terror group - NJT (National Thowheeth Jama'ath) - have been arrested. And a government spokesman says they believe the attacks were carried out with the help of an international network. Note: nothing has been officially confirmed on that front at this stage.

A state of emergency has been declared giving authorities additional powers to detain and question suspects, and an overnight curfew was put in place from 8pm to 4am local time. And to people's dismay, the government confirmed the country’s security services had information about a possible attack two weeks before the attacks, but did not act upon it. Meanwhile here in Oz, PM Scott Morrison announced the deaths of the two Australians late yesterday saying: "We deeply regret these deaths and we extend our deepest and most sincere sympathies to the family," he said. Australians are being urged to rethink any imminent travel plans to Sri Lanka.



Heartbreaking tributes have been paid to Ross and Andy Powell - the father and son lifesaving duo who drowned in Victoria on Sunday while trying to rescue a tourist. The long-serving community volunteers died when their rescue boat overturned in rough seas. The tourist found himself in trouble after wading near the mouth of the Sherbrook River near Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road, but he and a third lifesaver were winched to safety by a rescue helicopter. Sadly, the Powells could not be saved. Andy’s partner Amber Griffiths wrote on Facebook, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child, said he was; “The love of my life, light of my life, father of my baby girl. My heart is broken.” Ross was described by his sister, Marea, as ‘my rock’. It was not the only tragedy on our coastline over Easter - the bodies of a 35yo man and his 5yo daughter were recovered after they were hit by a wave and swept into the water near South Australia’s Port Lincoln.


The third dingo attack in almost as many months took place on Fraser Island in the wee hours of Saturday morning in a bold strike reminiscent of the famous 1980 Azaria Chamberlain incident. A 14-month-old boy was dragged from his family camper trailer as his parents slept nearby. Fraser Island rangers say were it not for his father being woken by the child’s muffled cries and chasing the dog through the bushland to wrestle his son from its jaws, the outcome may have been tragic. The boy was recovering in Brisbane Children’s Hospital with multiple puncture wounds to his neck and a fractured skull. The debate about managing the wild dogs on the island has kicked off again…


The Coalition’s political opponents are asking questions about an $80 million taxpayer-funded deal to buy licences from an ‘Australian’ company based in the Cayman Islands. The company has links to Energy Minister Angus Taylor who dropped any association when he entered parliament in 2013. Last night, former Water Minister Barnaby Joyce told the ABC he had "absolutely nothing to hide" with his department and the Queensland Labor Government recommending the deal. "This is an absolute load of horse poo because we did nothing but our job," he said. Expect more on this today with Labor demanding documents from the government be released.


HELLO MR PRESIDENT - There have been previous reports saying a visit from US President Donald Trump to Oz is on the cards. This morning, the Financial Review (paywall) says speculation is rife about him coming to watch the Presidents Cup golf event in Melbourne in mid-December. Brace yourself…

MUELLER REPORT RELEASED - All 400-odd pages of it… A document of two parts, questions of Team Trump’s collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election was ruled out. But whether President Trump obstructed the investigation (for example, when he told staff to have it shut down) is another matter... Next - Democrats are said to be mulling over impeachment proceedings

UKRAINE HAS A NEW PRESIDENT - Life imitating art? Comedian, actor and businessman Volodymyr Zelensky has played a guy who accidentally became president for goodness sake… But it promises to be his most challenging role yet given tensions with Russia, abundant corruption, and a struggling economy.


The Ash Barty party train kept on pumping at the weekend with a stunning win alongside fellow Aussie Sam Stosur in the Fed Cup semi-final against Belarus. Team Green-n’-Gold despatched with their Belarussian rivals 3-2 in a five-match tie before a hometown crowd in Brissie. The win sets up an Australia v France final (again in Brisbane) in November - the first time Australia has been in a Fed Cup final since 1993. World #9 Barty impressed by cruising to victory in both her singles rubbers, beating fellow top seeds Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka.


Look, we know it gets cold and dark over there in wintertime. But even so, taking part in dressage competitions where your steed is a plush toy-horse head on a pole? Finland, you've done it again. For a bit of giggle, and a reminder of how gloriously nutty those Scandos can be, check out this New York Times report on the latest craze: hobbyhorsing. It’s a girls-only pursuit, apparently, and meets are attended by ‘vets’ who sternly advise competitors to adhere to strict vaccination schedules. True story. Are we the only ones reminded of Miss Helena and Romper Room? All together now… “Oh, come with us and gallop, and gallop, and gallop…”


Easter Tuesday Public Holiday - Tassie

Day of mourning following the Easter Sunday terror attacks - Sri Lanka

St George’s Day - England

World Book and Copyright Day

Actor Dev Patel's birthday (1990)

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