Squiz Today / 30 May 2017

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 30 May


“Weddings are not the best time of your life. They’re the most chaotic… I don’t like weddings that much.”

For someone who isn’t a big fan, Jen Glantz has picked an interesting profession. She’s a professional bridesmaid. For just $2,600 she will counsel you on everything from your relationship to the catering. And she looks great in the photos. But doesn’t this remove one of the main reasons to have a wedding - the opportunity for the bride to torture her friends? 


Defence Minister Marise Payne said yesterday we have agreed to a US and NATO request to send 30 more Defence Force personnel to Afghanistan to train and mentor the Afghan army. That will take our number to 300 in total, engaged in a “train, advise and assist mission.” The announcement came as prominent US Republican Senator/former presidential candidate/war hero John McCain came to Canberra for security talks.

Our role in building stability in Afghanistan is still hotly debated in military circles. Our combat troops were completely withdrawn by the end of 2013, after 12 years and 40 soldier deaths. The exercise cost Aussie taxpayers $7.5 billion. Remember the conflict started as a hunt for Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attack on US soil and became an ongoing fight against Taliban and Islamic State insurgents. The area has a lot of problems and some say it would be good to know what the strategy is to move things forward. Others like former Chief of Army Peter Leahy said he thought the commitment of more trainers was a good move. Labor said they’re looking forward to a briefing and support moves to deal with terrorism in Afghanistan which could ultimately endanger Australians.

McCain is respected for his military and security credentials – what he says is taken seriously in Washington DC. He fell out with US President Donald Trump during the election campaign and refused to endorse Trump. Trump returned fire saying; “He’s not a war hero... I like people that weren’t captured.” (McCain survived five and a half years as a tortured prisoner during the Vietnam War.) McCain is pretty much our best mate in US politics and he’s here to take our temperature on all things regional security. How do we thank him? We make him sit through Question Time in parliament. Lucky he’s resilient. He said last night on ABC’s 7.30 that he considers Russia a bigger threat than Islamic State – worth keeping in mind given the investigation into the Trump campaign's Russia links.


Senior-Constable Brett Forte (a father of two) was killed near Gatton in the Lockyer Valley (west of Brissie) yesterday afternoon by a man who is said to have a machine gun. The gunman is career criminal Rick Maddison, he’s on the run and police say he is holed up in a nearby farmhouse where he's been firing at police through the night. Maddison is wanted on domestic violence and firearms charges. Residents in the Seventeen Mile area have been advised to stay inside and police say they are hoping to resolve the standoff without any further loss of life.

Treasurer Scott Morrison will dedicate today to his new favourite hobby – bank bashing. He said a bit about the Banking Executive Accountability Regime in the budget and today’s Daily Telegraph gives us a few more details. Executives will be deregistered (from what register we’re not entirely sure) for conduct that does not meet community standards. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will also check current executives for criminal records, and can remove or fine executives. Stay tuned today.

Another successful missile test was celebrated in North Korea yesterday, this time it was a short-range ballistic Scud missile. Mark Philippoussis was nowhere in sight (soz, we shouldn’t joke about something so serious). Experts say the unprecedented testing pace and clear progress suggests the North Koreans are making gains towards having long-range nuclear missile capability.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe can no longer rely on the US or UK after the events of the last year. Merkel is facing her own election campaign in late September so expect some repositioning in the coming months. Merkel made the comments at an event in a beer tent and while we don’t think she had to skol a beer, maybe Bob Hawke could score an advisory gig?

It’s been a big few days for French President Emmanuel Macron. He met with Russian President Vladimir Putin overnight – they’ve agreed to keep talking on things like Syria and strengthening economic ties. This is despite Macron accusing Russia of launching cyber attacks on his election campaign. And then there’s his account of meeting US President Donald Trump; “My handshake with him, it wasn't innocent.” (Say that with your best French accent…) Macron really went for it – there’s footage of Trump trying to let go. “I don't let anything pass. That is how you get respect," he added. International diplomacy at its best.

Look, we’re not into cutting down tall poppies – if Rob Scott can add value to a $48 billion company, create jobs and deliver for shareholders, good luck to him. We also can’t imagine what that pressure would be like. Wesfarmers' new boss has a pay deal of $2.5 million in fixed salary and up to $7.5 million in bonuses. Wesfarmers has a big retail arm with Coles, Bunnings, Kmart, Target and Officeworks as well as resources operations, and they are Australia’s largest private employer. So no pressure at all really…

It’s the saddest arrest photo we’ve seen in a long time. Tiger Woods was arrested at 3am on Monday morning in Florida. Woods recently had back surgery and blogged that it was a long road of rehab ahead. Last year he was named by Forbes as the 12th highest paid sportsman of 2016 despite not playing a lot of golf due to his back injury. That means he has a lot of sponsors who won’t be thrilled he’s added a DUI charge to his CV.

The story about health funding changes from yesterday went down pretty much as we expected – Health Minister Greg Hunt said ‘nope’.

We erred on where Schapelle Corby’s mum’s place is – Loganlea is in Logan, not the Goldie. Thank you, Rachael ;)

Squiz Sayings – it’s back before the main story, because that’s what you’ve told us you want. You're welcome. 


ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, April

US economic data releases on house prices, consumer confidence and incomes

House of Cards Season 5 released on Netflix

Let It Go singer Adele Dazeem's birthday (better known as Idina Menzel)

Joan of Arc burned at the stake (1431)

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