Squiz Today / 17 January 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 17 January


“An accident happened there about five years ago. It stuck in my mind. I thought, ‘I can’t leave him out there without looking.'”

Dad Tony Lethbridge had a hunch his missing son Sam was involved in an accident after he didn’t turn up at a mate’s place on Sunday arvo. After reporting him missing on Monday and being told he'd probably run away, Tony hired a helicopter yesterday to turbo-charge the family's search. Just a few minutes in, Sam was located 20 metres off the Pacific Highway, his car concealed by scrub. He had been trapped for 30 hours with multiple fractures. Sam is in a serious condition in hospital, but the family are counting their lucky stars. Chalk one up for parental intuition.


Thirteen siblings, including six children and seven adults (believed to be 10 females and three males), have been rescued from their parents home in Perris, California where they were found chained to their beds. The alarm was raised when one of the girls escaped from the house on Sunday taking a mobile phone with her to call the police. Police said in a statement; "Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings, but the parents were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.” They are aged from two-to-29yo and were said to be emaciated, dirty and hungry.

Some quick points:

• The parents are David (57yo) and Louise Turpin (49yo). David’s mother Betty said; "This is a very respectable family."

• It’s understood David was listed in 2011 as a principal of a private school run from his home. The school’s profile is still active in the Californian education system.

• They moved to California in 2010 from Texas and had twice been declared bankrupt. Their lawyer said the couple were “just very normal.”

There are photos of the family at the couple's marriage renewal ceremony thought to be from a couple of years ago. Reports say they have renewed their vows several times in recent years.

• Police said the girl who was able to escape was 17yo but appeared to be about 10yo due to her malnourished state.

David and Louise have been arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment, and their bail was set at US$9 million each. All the siblings were admitted to hospitals for treatment. There's a lot more to this story that remains to be told…


Bangladesh says it has struck an agreement with Myanmar to return 1,500 refugees a week with the aim of returning all Rohingya Muslims across the border within two years. More than 740,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine state in Myanmar since 2016 after violence involving the military amounting to what the UN has described as ethnic cleansing. Aid agencies have questioned the scheme, and there are fears for the safety of the returned Rohingya in Myanmar. To make things worse, a deepening of the humanitarian crisis may be on the way with flooding expected across Bangladesh in the coming weeks.

(This is one of those stories where we need to be careful with our language to get past your spam filter so please forgive us…). A video of two 15yos engaging in intimate activity was shared widely via Facebook’s Messenger in Denmark. Recipients of the video aged over 18yo have been asked to report to authorities, and police contacted the parents of those under 18yo. If found guilty of distributing the images, prison time is a possibility, as well as being registered on a list of offenders. Danish authorities say they are cracking down on these sort of incidents.

Bear with us and that headline will make sense, we promise... The Wall Street Journal has reported that Jared Kushner, senior adviser/son-in-law to US President Donald Trump, was warned by counterintelligence agencies that Wendi Deng Murdoch might seek to use her friendship with him and first daughter Ivanka Trump to help China. Specifically, she might seek to help Beijing lobby for a $100 million garden at the National Arboretum in Washington. Deng Murdoch yesterday said “What garden?” And Jared and Ivanka’s people said they’re briefed on stuff like that all the time. No one has accused Deng Murdoch of any wrongdoing. But the other main takeaway from this one: the WSJ is owned by Wendi’s former hubby Rupert Murdoch. Gloves are officially off, people.

We’re talking about the South African-listed company that bought the iconic Australian department store. It released an update earlier this week saying we should expect a writedown in the value of DJs by as much as $2.1 billion and that sales were down 3.3% for the last six months of 2017 (excluding Boxing Day sales). Ouch. Its share price dropped 5.5% on the news. Woolworths also owns a chain of department/food stores in southern Africa and the Country Road Group. On a related matter, Australian Financial Review this morning reports Solomon Lew is preparing for a new assault on Myer. Aussie department stores across the board are struggling with customers choosing online shopping options over poor local in-store experiences.

A Bureau of Stats survey on new car sales has revealed a bit of a tipping point. SUV sales have overtaken classic sedans with Aussie drivers embracing the bigger car. Over the year, passenger car sales were down 11% (a 24 year low) while SUVs were up 19.3%. Utes, vans, trucks and buses did well too recording a 19.8% increase in sales for the year. And yesterday the Honda Accord won North American Car of the Year.

Don’t you reckon this is an awkward time of year? Returning to a routine is hard and the year ahead can seem daunting and long. Unless of course you toil for The Squiz and you live for the early starts… For those who have returned to the office, you need some coping strategies to deal with the more difficult parts of work life – like the shared fridge. “Be brutal and be relentless,” says one expert. Words to live by.


ABS Data Releases - Housing Finance, November; Building Activity, Australia, September; Engineering Construction Activity, September

20th anniversary of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal breaking on the Drudge Report

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