Squiz Today / 30 April 2019

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 30 April


“The feedback I’ve had is that the investment in the machines has been appreciated by our staff.”

Said Kiwi prisons boss Neil Beales defending the decision to buy guards NZ$1 million of high tech equipment to keep them cool during tense, hot summers - slushie machines. That's some out of the box thinking...


Kathleen Folbigg, the woman who was jailed for her role in the deaths of her four children, yesterday gave evidence in the inquiry into her conviction. Maintaining her innocence, Folbigg broke down and said; "I don't know why any of my children died, but I didn't kill them." Unrecognisable compared to the pictures we are used to seeing of her, the 51yo’s case has been pushed by a group of supporters who believe her story. Central to the hearing are several diary entries she made around the time of her children's deaths.

It was mid-2003 when Folbigg was found guilty by a jury in the New South Wales Supreme Court of the murder of three of her infant children (Patrick, Laura and Sarah) and the manslaughter of a fourth (Caleb) over 10 years. She is currently serving a minimum sentence of 25 years in jail. Folbigg did not give evidence at her 2003 trial, so yesterday was the first time she’d testified about the content in some diaries she kept at the time. She says they are a record of a depressed mother. But the Public Prosecutions’ barrister Christopher Maxwell put to her that the entries were “incriminating” and point to her role in her kids’ deaths.

The coronial inquiry isn't just looking at old diaries - it will also consider the new forensic opinion that all four deaths could be explained by natural causes. The inquiry has already heard that DNA material taken from the Folbigg children hasn’t found anything genetically that could link their sudden deaths from natural causes. This week has been put aside for the inquiry to hear from Folbigg.



The verdict is in. The winner was (drumroll...) Channel Seven’s dramatic music and graphics combo. It was full on… The official winner: the crowd of 48 undecided voters said it was Labor leader Bill Shorten’s night. But there were few surprises about PM Scott Morrison or Shorten's pitches. Morrison is big on managing the economy and border security. Shorten is keen on fairness and more government services. What do they like about each other? Well, that is a question… Morrison admires Shorten’s commitment to serving in the parliament. Shorten said he could do better than that - he likes Morrison’s commitment to improving mental health services. Aww… Only three more sleeps until Friday’s Sky News People’s Forum in Brissie.

And while we have you… Those looking for a racier option last night had the opportunity to tune into Nine’s A Current Affair to see One Nation’s Steve Dickson (you might remember him from stories such as Al Jazeera's One Nation/NRA investigation…) put dollar bills down a dancer's top. Or not. It was up to you.


ISLAMIC STATE LEADER REEMERGES - Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man believed to be the leader of extreme Islamist terror network Islamic State, has made his first on-camera appearance in five years. In a video released by the IS media arm, Baghdadi acknowledges the loss of Syrian and Iraqi territory but says the group is fighting a battle of attrition. "There will be more to come after this battle," he says. IS says it was filmed this month. Reports say there is an audio recording added to the video of Baghdadi talking about the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka. He was last seen in 2014 in Mosul when he proclaimed the creation of a "caliphate" across parts of Syria and Iraq.

INDONESIAN CAPITAL TO MOVE - Even though a winner of its election is still to be officially declared, President Joko Widodo is said to be behind a proposal to relocate the country’s capital. One of the problems with Jakarta, the current capital, is it’s sinking. Widodo has vowed to spread economic development more evenly around the country.

END OF AN ERA IN JAPAN - Later today, the almost three-decade-long reign of Japan's Emperor Akihito will come to an end. He’s the first to abdicate in 200 years, and he’s standing aside due to his age (85yo) and health. Tomorrow, his son, 59yo Crown Prince Naruhito, will become Japan’s first emperor to be born after WWII. His regalia inheritance (which sounds like a coronation) is off limits to women from the Imperial family, but the country’s only female government minister will become the first woman in modern history to attend. And along with a 10-day public holiday (which is stressing people out…), there are a bunch of ceremonies to mark the occasion.


The famed Aussie wool clip (ie the wool that’s shorn from our sheep ever year) is on track to hit a record - and not in a good way. The forecast is it will be at the lowest level in almost 100 years, mainly due to the drought. Two factors are at play: there are fewer sheep than last year (because farmers have reduced their stock levels given the scarcity of feed and water), and our sheep are producing less wool. It's another blow to farmers and rural communities.


Australia’s modern-day bush laureate Les Murray has died at 80yo. Growing up in a two-room shack at Bunyah near Coolongolook (honest, we didn’t make that up - it’s near Forster, NSW…), his family was poor and seeking formal education was tough. But he was gifted and made his way to Sydney Uni where he was a contemporary of Clive James, Robert Hughes, Germaine Greer and Bob Ellis. After years of travelling and working jobs he wasn't much into, he rose to become one of Australia's best regarded poets winning prizes and respect around the world. That doesn't mean he was universally loved - he upset many friend and foe over the years. But he was Les. He died yesterday in a nursing home in Taree, and he is survived by his wife and five kids.


It does still exist and in the most unlikely of places… No, we're not talking about the assistance offered to this awkward London Marathon participant. It was English soccer team Leeds United and its manager Marcelo Bielsa who allowed opponent Aston Villa to score an uncontested goal to end their Sunday match in a draw. Leeds had scored a goal in dubious circumstances earlier in the game. Fans were conflicted about the move, particularly given a win would have seen the side through to the Premier League. But the thumbs up the world has given the side for fair play has seen the sporting gesture become a point of pride.


Life goal: Find someone who wants you to sleep well as much as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg does for his wife Priscilla.


Emperor Akihito steps down from Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne

ABS Data Release - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2017-18; Agricultural Commodities, 2017-18

International Jazz Day

Email Debt Forgiveness Day

Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon (1975)

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