Squiz Today / 04 October 2017

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 4 October


“We met at a blind date at the Opera in the Park and went on a second date some weeks later. We were engaged 13 days after that and married 4 weeks later.”

Investment banker, patron of the arts, gastronome and raconteur, Simon Mordant’s story about meeting wife Catriona is a classic. Their one-in-a-million blind date is the reason hopeful romantics keep putting themselves out there (unless you’re on Tinder and then you might have other KPIs...). Our Three Minute Squiz with Simon is here.  


US authorities are baffled by the question of how a well-off retiree with no criminal history and no known mental health issues or affiliations with terror groups came to carry out America’s worst mass shooting. Mass murderer Stephen Paddock killed himself after firing on a country music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sunday night, leaving his family and the world to wonder why. Authorities have ruled out any international terror links.

59 are dead, and 527 were injured.  

Paddock stayed in his hotel suite for several days and brought in 23 guns in 10 suitcases. Investigators also found at least 19 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives at his home in Mesquite.

• Gun purchase records indicate Paddock legally bought dozens of weapons over a period of years.

• Paddock shot at police and security guards as they closed in on him in the hotel hitting a guard in the leg. Authorities believe he killed himself as the SWAT team closed in.

• Some of the injured were not hit by gunfire. Local hospitals are treating gunshot and shrapnel injuries as well as people who were trampled and hurt jumping fences.

Seems incomprehensible to us Aussies, right? We re-watched the fantastic Daily Show/John Oliver series on gun control yesterday (they're just a few minutes each). Once you watch that, consider White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ comments yesterday when she was asked about US President Donald Trump’s amenability to gun control laws;

I think one of the things that we don't want to do is try to create laws that won't stop these types of things from happening. I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn't helped there…

You would laugh if it wasn't so sad…


Fairfax Media reports PM Malcolm Turnbull will discuss new terror laws with state and territory leaders at a special meeting on Thursday. The laws would give authorities 14 days to interrogate terror suspects before having place charges and also crackdown on the possession of ‘instructional terrorist material’ and hoax terror threats. The meeting was called in June after an incident in Melbourne saw a man out of prison on parole commit a terror act and leaders will also look at nationally consistent bail and parole laws for terror suspects. 

The Bureau of Statistics yesterday released the first official look at voter turnout for the same-sex marriage postal vote. As of last Friday, 57.5% of the papers have been returned – that’s about 9.2 million times Aussies have reacquainted themselves with a post box. With five weeks left until the close of the survey on 7 November, both Yes and No campaigners said they were encouraged by the turnout. The most recent poll shows we’re on track for a change to the marriage laws to include same-sex couples.

Australia’s top air safety investigators have filed their final report on the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. It agrees it’s “unacceptable” in the modern era of world travel to not know what happened to the plane and its 239 passengers and crew. While the Malaysian government continues to work on the investigation, the Australian search effort ended at the start of the year after almost three years of looking since that fateful night in March 2014 when the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight dropped off the radar.

CATALONIA ON STRIKE - The Catalan regional government called a general strike yesterday over the heavy-handed tactics used by the Spanish government to intervene in a ballot on independence last weekend. Independence campaigners in the wealthy Spanish region (which includes Barcelona) say 90% of Catalans support secession, but just 42% of the population voted on the weekend. Reports say many Catalans didn’t want the vote and instead support a negotiation with the Spanish government to reinstate Catalonia’s autonomy. But many say the push for separation from Spain has received a surge of support over the way Madrid (code for the national government) has handled it. The Catalan parliament will meet and consider next steps.

TRUMP VISITS PUERTO RICO - Two weeks on from being devastated by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is in the midst of a visit from President Trump. He’s made a couple of missteps in what he’s said... Officials acknowledge support hasn’t been provided quickly enough but say food, water, medical help and work to reinstate infrastructure (particularly power) is now getting there. Cynics say the effort has only been upped because of Trump’s visit.

SNOOZY NOBEL WINNERS - The Nobel Prize for medicine was yesterday awarded to three American researchers for their decades-long work on how sleep affects our energy, health, fertility and productivity. ABC’s AM presenter Sabra Lane (and friend of The Squiz) is no stranger to the challenge of getting enough sleep. Yesterday she pointed out this article on the scary downside of not getting enough Zs. Well worth the read.

“Rock iconoclast” was how Rolling Stone described Tom Petty on the news of his death following a heart attack in Malibu yesterday. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers broke through in the 1970s and went on to write and record a huge number of hits (our favourite from this era is Refugee). In the late 1980s, Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne formed the Travelling Wilburys and achieved huge success with songs like End of the Line and Handle with Care. And Petty went on to record more hits like Free Fallin’ and Learning to Fly. Of course, there were drug issues, marriage problems and fights with his record labels along the way. But he leaves a legacy he was said to be rightly proud of.


12.30pm (AEDT) - Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke will launch former Foreign MInister Prof Gareth Evans' book Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir at the National Press Club

World Space Week (until 10 October)

National Amputee Awareness Week 

Cinnamon Bun Day (Sweden) - what a great excuse...

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