Squiz Today / 09 July 2019

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 9 July



That’s the conservative estimate prosecutors in America have put on the earnings that convicted criminal overlord Joaquín Guzmán Loera (aka El Chapo) scooped up from his illegal drugs operation - and now they want him to cough it up. Authorities have come to that rather precise figure because his cartel kept inventory records that were set up under seemingly legit companies. See? Keeping your admin up to scratch never pays off...


We’re heading towards a national sheep flock of 65.8 million head this year - the lowest it’s been since the early 1900s. Sounds like a lot, but compared to the boom times of the late 1990s, it’s a fall of about 100 million sheep. The drought that’s affecting vast swathes of the country has forced farmers to reduce their stock levels because of the scarcity of feed and water. The good news is those who can afford the feed are seeing record returns from wool sales, and for stock heading to the abattoir. The bad news is there’s no indication the drought is going to break anytime soon.

It isn't and not just for farmers and the rural communities that depend on a strong agricultural sector, but for all of us. Recently, the food, fibre and forestry products grown by Aussie farmers has been responsible for 3% of our economy, 92% of our domestic food supply and as an industry has employed more than 300,000 people. But the drought has presented a bunch of serious problems, including the management of the Murray Darling Basin, which covers large parts of Queensland, NSW, Victoria and some of South Oz, as outlined on last night’s Four Corners on ABC TV. And farmers’ groups are stepping up their calls for governments to help them tackle the effects of climate change.

Aside from a government-mandated rain dance ceremony at the start of each day? On the agenda are more talks about how to help those affected and how to best prepare for future droughts. PM Scott Morrison, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and the sector’s key people are heading to Dubbo next week (18 July) for a ‘Bush Summit’ convened by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.



Speaking of the Tele… After being cleared last week of the rape of a housemate in 1976, actor John Jarratt will launch legal action against the News Corp tabloid. Jarratt said he first heard the "scandalous lie" that was levelled at him when he was asked to comment on it by a Tele journalist, later to see it splashed across the newspaper’s front page. His big-name lawyer Chris Murphy used Twitter yesterday to announce his client was pursuing the defamation claim. News Corp has not commented. The publisher lost a defamation case brought by actor Geoffrey Rush earlier this year, copping a record $2.9m judgment against it - a decision it’s appealing.


A snap election has seen a change of power in the home of democracy. The centre-right’s New Democracy party and its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis won in a landslide Sunday against the incumbent leftist Syriza party. Outgoing PM Alexis Tsipras was in the bad books with his people after promising an end to the belt-tightening that came with Greece’s financial crisis that started more than a decade ago and saw it bailed out by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Mitsotakis, the son of a former PM, has promised to lower taxes, privatise services and tackle Greece’s 18% unemployment rate.


Afghanistan’s political leaders and senior figures of the Taliban have met in Doha for peace talks. It is the third meeting this year and follows 18 years of a devastating war. The delegates have been directly affected by the conflict, including some from the Taliban side who spent years detained by the Americans in Guantánamo Bay. And as a reminder that the horror hasn’t ended, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a bombing in Ghazni on Sunday that killed 12 people as the first day of talks unfolded. Meanwhile, the US is directly talking to the Taliban to agree to its withdrawal of troops while seeking a guarantee that it will not allow foreign groups to use the country as a staging ground for global attacks.


Don’t get in between an Aussie income earner and a tax offset... That’s the lesson from the first week of the financial year with a record 650,000 people lodging their tax returns with the Australian Tax Office. The drawcard for those low and middle-wage earners who’ve got their tax returns in early? A maximum $1080 cash injection that could hit the bank accounts of those who’ve submitted their returns as early as next week. It’s thanks to the Morrison Government getting its $158 billion tax package through parliament last week… and a weekend of work for the good people at the Tax Office.


Which is normally our favourite thing because who wants to be carrying on past 9pm? But last night Australia’s pride Ash Barty bowed out of Wimbledon with her loss to the unseeded American Alison Riske. Going to three sets, Barty's defeat ended her 15-match winning streak and dashed hopes for back-to-back grand slam titles. Still, Barty did better than she ever has at the grass court tournament by making it to the fourth round. “I didn't win a tennis match. It's not the end of the world… Obviously it's a tough pill to swallow, in the same breath it's been an incredible few months," Barty said. She's expected to retain the #1 world ranking no matter who takes home the Wimbledon trophy. Riske goes on the face Serena Williams in the semi-finals. It was a rough day for up-and-comers with the 15yo crowd favourite Cori' Coco' Gauff going down in a straight-sets loss to 7th seed Simona Halep.


As far as baby names go, these two former classics are as rare as female baby orcas… Shane and Ross are no longer in vogue either, according to a list of names that are steadily falling out of favour in England and Wales. Rachael, Kirstie, Jodie and Gemma are on the way out, while Aria and Jaxon are both on the rise. Another trend is a ‘search for distinctiveness' leading to the creative iterations Abbiegayle, Abagael, Abygayle, Abaigael and Abbygael in the place of the original Abigail. ‘Nuff said…


National Australia Bank’s Business Confidence Survey for June

Anniversary of the Commonwealth of Australia being established by the British House of Commons (1900)

5.00am (AEST) Wednesday - Conservative Party leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to participate in a televised debate - ITV

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