Squiz Today / 23 January 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 23 January


“Having survived the excruciating embarrassment of being driven around in a minibus (BUS, not even a minivan) as a teenager, I can now say that I have nine best friends in my siblings and they are honestly the best people I know.”

Larissa Moore is the latest addition to the Squiz team (there's three of us now - how cool is that?). Fun fact: she has nine siblings, which means she must be good with names… Please welcome Larissa to The Squiz team, and to this week's Three Minute Squiz.


Reports say the United States has told Canada that it will go ahead and request the extradition of Chinese telco Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. She was arrested in Canada at the start of December at the request of the US Government over allegations she defrauded banks to circumvent US sanctions on Iran. For now, Meng is mainly restricted to a home in Vancouver following her release on bail.

Get ready for a whole lotta ongoing three-way angst between China, America and Canada.

• China has arrested a number of Canadians since Meng was pinged, some say as an act of retribution. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig remain in detention on the grounds of "endangering national security".

Nearly 150 former diplomats and academics, including former Aussie foreign minister Gareth Evans, have joined to call on China's President Xi Jinping to immediately release the pair.

• And China imposed a death penalty on a third Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, who was convicted of drugs smuggling charges.

• Reports say Canada’s ambassador to the US has expressed his country’s resentment to Washington about the fallout.

• Meanwhile, Meng’s father, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, has hit the PR circuit to rebuild confidence in the massive telco after a tough year. Given that he’s only given about 10 media interviews since 1987, it’s a big change of course. “My public relations department forced me,” he told state-controlled China Central Television. It seems bossy media advisers exist across the East-West divide....

The US has until Wednesday next week to formally file its extradition request. Once that’s done, Canada has 30 days to decide whether to comply. And then Meng has the right to appeal, so this might take a while. And then there’s the political element: remember US President Donald Trump previously said he “would certainly intervene” if blocking a US prosecution against Meng would help secure a trade deal with China. Hold on to your hats...


There is a big question mark over the imminent release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir after Indonesia President Joko Widodo bowed to pressure from international (including from Australia) and internal protests. The release of the Jemaah Islamiah spiritual adviser, the terror group responsible for the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people including 88 Aussies, was ordered by Widodo in the weekend on ‘humanitarian grounds' with the ageing Bashir serving nine years of a 15-year term. Yesterday, Widodo ordered a review, and last night he put significant obstacles in Bashir's way. Bashir has been asked to sign up to Indonesia's Pancasila (its "five principles" state ideology that encourages religious and political tolerance) to qualify for parole - something Bashir’s lawyers say he won’t do.

A star candidate. That’s what the Liberals have decided they need for the uber marginal (0.7%) seat of Gilmore on NSW’s South Coast. Incumbent Liberal Ann Sudmalis isn’t standing for re-election because of “bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining” in her local branches, she said last year. Yesterday, the endorsed Lib candidate, real estate agent Grant Schultz, was given the flick by HQ at PM Scott Morrison’s behest. It’s expected that former Labor Party president/indigenous businessman Warren Mundine will be announced as the new candidate after he joined the Liberal Party yesterday. Schultz says he’ll now run as an independent. ABC psephologist Antony Green said picking Mundine was “a brave choice”. Wonder if he means that in a Yes, Minister kinda way

And while we have you… Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday outlined the Coalition Government’s new theme song that we can expect to hear on repeat in the coming weeks - the Oz economy is doing well but global headwinds are strong, and the Liberal/National Parties are best placed to navigate those choppy seas, he says. Economic management is one area the Coalition has traditionally maintained a polling lead over Labor.

Emiliano Sala, an Argentinian soccer player who'd just signed with English Premier League club Cardiff City for A$27 million, was on a plane that has gone missing in the English Channel yesterday. Reports say the striker was heading to Cardiff for the first day with his new team after farewelling his former club in France. The weather has been rough which has hampered the search for the single turbine Piper Malibu. His old and new clubs said they are trying to be positive.

You think home prices are bad in your neighbourhood… Pity the people looking to buy in Hong Kong. It's been named the world's least affordable housing market for the ninth year running with it costing 20.9 times median household income to buy a home at the median price. Next is Vancouver, which overtook Sydney. And then Melbourne was next. Which means London, New York and Singapore are more affordable property markets. Sheesh…

It was never going to be easy for Ash Barty in her first ever Grand Slam quarter-final. Her opponent was Petra Kvitova, and she's just a bit credentialled. She's ranked 6th in the world, has won Wimbledon twice and has beaten Barty on all three previous occasions. Last night made it four times with Barty going down in straight sets. While a ‘Kvitova Party’ doesn’t have the same ring, she has a backstory that gets the emotions flowing.

Let’s start with who’s not there - Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie. So let’s put that aside... A Star is Born received eight nominations, although Bradley Cooper missed out on the nomination he probably wanted most for Best Director. The period comedy/drama The Favourite came out on top with 10 nominations (two Aussies got a nod for their work on the film - Tony McNamara for Best Original Screenplay and Fiona Crombie for Best Production Design). Mexican drama Roma equalled that and gave Netflix it's first Best Picture nomination. Other films doing well were Green Book, Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice. The full list of nominations is here.

And the year’s ‘worst of’ films have also been shortlisted. The Razzie Awards have called out John Travolta for the poorly attended Gotti, adult puppet comedy The Happytime Murders, and Will Ferrell for the latest telling of the classic tale of Holmes & Watson, which is surprising if The Guardian’s review is anything to go by... President Trump and Co received nominations for being themselves.


11.00am (AEDT) - Australian Open Tennis - Naomi Osaka v Elina Svitolina

1.00pm (AEDT) - Australian Open Tennis - Serena Williams v Karolína Plíšková

2.15pm (AEDT) - Australian Open Tennis - Milos Raonic v Lucas Pouille

7.30pm (AEDT) - Australian Open Tennis - Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori

Funeral for Aiia Maasarwe, the young woman murdered in Melbourne last week - Israel

ABS Release - the one you've been waiting for - Methodological News, January

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