Squiz Today / 03 July 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 3 July


“It's a little bit bashed up. It has lost its left eye. But that kind of weather-beaten, weary warrior added to its charm."

That's Sotheby's expert Alexander Kader whose surprise appraisal of a family keepsake bought for £5 in 1964 found it to be a rare and quirky chess piece that's considered to be an "important symbol of European civilisation". And it sold for A$1.3 million overnight. Which is a good reminder to go through grandma’s buffet next time you visit…


Three men accused of being Islamic State supporters were arrested in Sydney yesterday over allegations they planned to carry out terrorist attacks on police stations, embassies, government buildings and churches throughout the city's CBD. Police yesterday said one of the men had been monitored for a year and it was time to arrest the men after enough evidence on their activities had been gathered. It is the 16th alleged planned terror attack to have been disrupted by authorities since 2014.

It does. The men - Isaak el Matari (20yo), Radwan Dakkak (23yo) and Ahmed Tebya (30yo), have been charged. Matari, who is also charged with making preparations to enter Afghanistan with the intent of hostile activities, put himself on authorities’ radars when he returned from Lebanon a year ago where he had been detained for his links to Islamic State. On his return, News Corp says (paywall) Matari was part of a deradicalisation program. Police said the men had made enquiries about buying weapons to carry out their Sydney plan. “There are still those within the community who wish us harm,” said Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney. “Their actions are criminal and they represent hatred and terror.”

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the case underlined the need for new laws that would block Australians deemed a terrorist threat from returning from overseas for up to two years. The so-called 'temporary exclusion' laws would give authorities "more time to manage individuals" without them being in Australia, Dutton said. The Law Council of Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission aren't fans, but the government says there are about 100 Aussies who fought with extremists in Syria and Iraq who are yet to return home, and it would like to keep them out of the country while they work out how to handle them. Dutton plans on putting the proposal to the parliament on Thursday.



Yesterday was a record-breaking one for our central bank. Its decision to cut official interest rates from 1.25% to 1% takes them to the lowest level on record. And it’s the first time since 2012 that the Reserve Bank has dropped rates in consecutive months. With our economic growth moving as fast as a teenager stuck to their screen on school holidays, the hope is that lowering interest rates will encourage Aussies and businesses to start spending and investing again, which is good for revving up the economy. But Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe says the government can’t rely on interest rates alone to get the job done. As for how the banks reacted: ANZ will pass on the cut in full, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac not so much.


So this Lawyer X scandal that’s the subject of a Royal Commission in Victoria has already thrown light on the shady world of gangland criminals and their dealings with police. And one question crime-watchers have been keen to know the answer to is what role was played by Nicola Gobbo, the lawyer-turned-police-informant at the centre of the cluster-disaster, in the successful conviction of the murderer, drug trafficker and key crime figure Carl Williams. She was considered by Williams to be one of his crew. Senior police investigator Stuart Bateson told the inquiry yesterday that, yes, she had represented a hitman who spilt the drug-laced beans on Williams, but police would have turned him without her. The court also heard how police removed Gobbo’s name from their investigation notes in an effort to protect her. It's like watching how a sausage is made...


IN HONG KONG - The Chinese Government has called for criminal sanctions for protestors who took over the city’s legislative building on Monday. Some pundits say the episode “could be a catalyst for Beijing to push for tighter control over Hong Kong.”

IN IRAN – Just as it said it would, Iran has started building its enriched uranium stockpile as a response to its troubles with America. The problem is it's done it beyond the limits of an agreement it made with a bunch of powerful countries - the same agreement that US President Donald Trump walked away from last year. Iran’s flouting the deal sets the scene for another round of hostilities.

IN EL SALVADOR - El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele yesterday accepted some responsibility for the deaths of his country’s citizens at the US border, including the father and daughter who drowned late last month. "People don't flee their homes because they want to. They flee their homes because they feel they have to… It is our fault." Poverty, unemployment and violence have seen a steady stream of Central Americans leave to seek a better life.


New Zealand’s Justice Minister Andrew Little says tech giant Google is “flipping the bird” at its laws. The months-long dispute is over suppression orders preventing the identification of the accused killer of British tourist Grace Millane. Little says Google didn't adhere to the order when it published a Kiwi news update that included the name of the accused. Google says the case is unique, and it respects the country's laws. But Little said; "the reality is that we cannot surrender the effective administration of justice to algorithms and machines and say, 'Well, that's it, it's all over for fair trial rights.'"


Longtime and new fans of Ash Barty were frustrated last night with Channel 7 airing the first round Wimbledon game of Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson instead of our world #1's match. With the games on at the same time, the men were featured with short updates on Barty's progress. Barty, who won her match, was asked to weigh in but played a perfectly executed blocking shot saying; "that's up to the broadcaster, that's not up to me." Kyrgios, who goes through to the second round, also ducked the question. Seven and Tennis Australia will be under pressure to respond today.


It’s Paris Couture Week, and oh Celine Dion, don’t go changing


Federal Parliament to record condolences for former PM Bob Hawke

ABS Data Releases - International Trade in Goods and Services, May; Building Approvals, May

Birthdays for Tom Cruise (1962) and Julian Assange (1971)

Read the email every day this week and you'll go into the draw for a $100 Gourmet Traveller gift card to spend on a knock-up bit of grub.


The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.