Squiz Today / 10 July 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 10 July


“Map, felt pen and sight.”

Is how Switzerland's vintage fighter jet squadron navigated its way to the wrong festival on the weekend. Instead of commemorating an aviation pioneer's death, the jets, which are not equipped with GPS, flew over and startled visitors at a yodelling event in another municipality. Yodel-oh-oh-dear…


Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire hedge fund manager with deep connections to the American and British establishment, appeared in a Manhattan court yesterday charged with assaulting and trafficking dozens of girls as young as 14yo in the early 2000s. He is also accused of paying some girls to recruit their friends. He faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison and has pleaded not guilty.

It’s the second time Epstein has faced charges. A 2008 court case in Florida unravelled when a plea deal, which is now under scrutiny, has current-day prosecutors questioning whether Epstein’s impressive Rolodex saw him escape a harsher sentence. The guy who oversaw the plea deal at that time is now US President Trump’s Labour Secretary, and there are calls for him to resign. Epstein was famously at the centre of allegations he procured underage girls for high-flying friends including Prince Andrew – a claim Buckingham Palace has repeatedly denied. A couple of Epstein’s other notable contacts include US President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side,” Trump said of Epstein in 2002.

There sure is. All eyes are on a related lawsuit brought by one of Epstein’s victims. A court last week ruled that documents which are said to implicate “numerous US politicians, powerful business executive, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister and other world leaders” in his sex-trafficking ring should be unsealed and the names made public. So it’s about to get murkier.



Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam yesterday declared the controversial extradition plan “dead”. Hundreds of thousands of the island’s residents have voiced their opposition to the bill that would allow their extradition to mainland China, Macau and Taiwan for serious criminal charges. Locals were concerned China would use the laws to pursue its political opponents. Lam stopped short of ‘withdrawing' the bill, and she has not met other demands from protestors like calls for her resignation. That means there are expectations of ongoing disruptions. Hong Kong, a former British colony, is part of China but run under a "one country, two systems" arrangement designed to keep its legal processes separate.


The Aussie who this time last week was in detention in North Korea has had a bit to say on social media, including that he is "obviously" not a spy. "The whole situation makes me very sad," Alek Sigley says, including the fact that he "may never again walk the streets of Pyongyang, a city that holds a very special place in my heart." He also laments not finishing his studies there, and the cancellation of tours run by his travel business. "I will not be giving any media interviews, holding a press conference or answering questions about this on social media,” he ends the thread.


Keeping you up to date on some recent stories.

BASIC ROADMAP AGREED - “A substantive step towards peace in Afghanistan” was taken yesterday by representatives of its government and the Taliban after 18 years of war. The non-binding agreement is vague, but it was welcomed for its focus on reducing civilian deaths and assuring fundamental rights for women.

WATER FIGHT - Not everyone was happy with Monday night’s ABC TV’s Four Corners story on how funding under the Murray Darling Basin is being spent. Calling the report “reckless and ill-informed,” the National Farmers Federation and other farming and irrigators’ groups have complained to the national broadcaster. The ABC has not responded.

AT THE SHOPS - Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reckons that’s how low to middle-income earners will spend their tax refund from the first round of tax cuts, worth $15 billion. You don’t have to be told twice… The latest tally of personal returns already lodged with the Tax Office yesterday morning was 810,000 - they will likely see their refund by this Friday.


The Aussie tech darling is cracking on. Listed on New York's NASDAQ exchange, Atlassian's share price has more than doubled in the last year, giving it a market valuation of A$47.8 billion. For context, if it were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, it would be our 7th biggest company sitting ahead of Telstra. Its storming financial performance also takes co-CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar's personal wealth to almost $13 billion each and within reach of becoming Australia's most wealthy individuals. On top of that, the company also dispenses good health advice


When in doubt, follow the money. That at least will be one of the things putting a spring in the step of the NSW Blues this evening as they run onto ANZ Stadium in Sydney hoping to win the State of Origin decider and clinch the series for the second year running. Buoyed by their barnstorming performance against the Queensland Maroons in Perth a fortnight ago, the Blues go into tonight’s clash firm favourites with the bookies offering the oddly specific $1.36 for a NSW win compared to $3.30 for a Queensland victory. For extra points around the watercooler today, you should mention how Maroons coach Kevin (‘Kevvie’ to his mates) Walters had to scramble yesterday morning when star back-rower Matt Gillett pulled out due to injury, or how Mitchell Pearce ought to be a more than capable replacement in the Blues side for an injured Nathan Cleary.


It doesn't take an extensive search to find better dancers than us, but a cockatoo? Snowball had already won fans with his routine to a Backstreet Boys’ tune in 2007. Since then, researchers have been hard at work trying to work out whether the hotstepper has picked up his moves from his owner, or if he couldn't stop 'til he got enough all on his own. It turns out he has his own moves, as a report out yesterday documents. Whether other birds can feel the beat like Snowball remains to be seen. Which is a long way of saying the researchers’ video documenting Snowball’s 14 dance moves is a cack. The ‘headbang with lifted foot’ is something we’ll look to implement into our routine.


8.00pm (AEST) - Rugby League’s State of Origin Decider - Sydney

Westpac Consumer Confidence Index update

Bahamas Independence Day

Anniversary of the liberation of Mosul, Iraq from Islamic State (2017)

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