Squiz Today / 05 December 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 5 December


"I am one of the few people in the startup community who wasn’t a born entrepreneur. I really enjoyed my corporate job but saw an amazing opportunity, and knew I had to go for it.”

And go for it she did. Katherine McConnell is a finance whizz who had a successful career with Macquarie Bank. But she chucked it all in about three years ago to start her own business, Brighte. With some high-profile investors backing her, you should remember her name because this woman is going places. Please welcome Katherine to the Three Minute Squiz.


Arsalan Khawaja, the older brother of Australian cricket star Usman Khawaja, was arrested yesterday for allegedly trying to frame a colleague and love rival as a potential terrorist – an effort that landed an innocent man in jail.

Yep, this one has it all. A terror threat, wrongful imprisonment, jealousy – plus a touch of sport and celebrity:

• Police yesterday arrested 39yo Arsalan Khawaja whom they allege concocted a notebook filled with extremist threats against leading political figures and iconic Australian sites and planted it in the desk of his colleague, Mohamed Nizamdeen, a 25yo Sri Lankan national and University of New South Wales student. Khawaja was freed on bail but is facing up to 10 years in prison for attempting to pervert the course of justice and forgery if convicted.

• Police allege the plot to frame Nizamdeen was sparked by Khawaja’s jealousy over a female colleague.

• In August, Nizamdeen was arrested and charged with a serious terror offence and sent to Goulburn’s Supermax prison in where he spent four weeks behind bars before the charges against him were suddenly dropped in October.

Police have expressed their regret about what happened to Nizamdeen. Before his arrest, Nizamdeen was (literally) a model PhD student who featured in UNSW promotional material. Since his arrest, he's moved back to Sri Lanka and says his future has been ruined. He’s suing police who, according to reports, have offered to pay his legal costs but declined to comment further citing the ongoing civil suit. Star Australian cricketer and brother of the accused, Usman made a brief statement saying it was “a matter for police to deal with”.


ONE STEP FORWARD – Negotiations on proposed federal laws to give our security agencies access to encrypted apps (think WhatsApp and Wickr) advanced late yesterday when Labor gave its ‘in principle’ support. Reports say counter-terror types have pressed the case for the laws citing the need to keep would-be terrorists at bay over the Christmas period.

A STEP TO THE SIDE – Changes to discrimination laws to protect gay students from being ejected from faith-based schools have been deferred until at least February, much to Labor’s disappointment.

ONE STEP BACKWARDS – PM Scott Morrison’s ‘big stick’ that would allow the federal treasurer to break up energy companies the government felt were manipulating the electricity market has been taken away. That decision would need to be made by the Federal Court. Not that former PM Malcolm Turnbull is pleased with Team Morrison’s approach to energy policy…

The live export of sheep will be suspended during the northern summer. The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) said that no Australian sheep would leave our ports for the Middle East from June next year for three months - a move that will cost the industry $55 million each year. It’s a win for animal rights campaigners and follows the airing on 60 Minutes earlier this year of shocking footage filmed aboard a live export ship on which some 2,000 sheep died from heat exhaustion. Observers have described it as a pre-emptive move by the industry, with Labor pledging to phase out the industry if elected.

MACRON U-TURNS ON FUEL TAX – Actually, it’s more of a deferral than a back-flip. The fuel tax hike that drew the ire of thousands of ‘yellow-vest’ protestors has been delayed for six months.

MAFIA ARREST – Settimo Mineo, an 80yo jeweller and alleged ‘godfather’ of the Sicilian Mafia (known as the Cosa Nostra), has been arrested in Palermo, Italy. Reports say 45 of Mineo’s organised crime buddies were also detained.

‘FORCED HUGGING’ IN THE SPOTLIGHT - Employees at British fashion label Ted Baker have taken action against the ‘forced hugging' practised by their founder Ray Kelvin. The company issued a statement disputing the allegations, adding its founder was affectionate towards everyone, "be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague".

It keeps playing 1.5%. The Reserve Bank yesterday decided to leave the official rate where it's been since August 2016. And it's upbeat about the Oz economy despite falling home prices, weak wages growth and international uncertainty. A new survey out this morning says those factors are just the start of what the business sector is worried about… Throw in the upcoming federal election, the findings of the banking royal commission, as well as keeping up with digital innovation, and you've got a lot of sleepless nights. We'll know more about whether the RBA's punt that the Aussie economy is set to hit 3.5% for this and next year when the national accounts are released today.

One of Norway’s biggest sporting stars has had her crowning career moment overshadowed by a 'twerking' controversy. International soccer's Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best players recognised women for the first time this year. But the inaugural winner Ada Hederberg had her moment marred when ceremony host, French DJ Martin Solveig, asked her to perform the dance move in celebration. “I wanted to end with some words for young girls around the world: believe in yourselves,” she said. She later added was fine about what went down on stage. Hederberg famously refused to play for her country until conditions improved for female soccer players.

Apple's best of 2018 list is out. We’re talking apps, music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts. Oh, and look at that… The Squiz Today Podcast has been named one of the best Aussie podcasts of the year according to Apple’s staff. Yeehaw!


12.30pm (AEDT) - British High Commissioner Menna Rowlings speaks at National Press Club - Canberra

From 6.00pm (AEDT) - Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) Awards - Sydney

ABS Data Release - Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, September 2018.

The International Criminal Court to consider action against The Philippines and Myanmar over human rights abuses

International Volunteers Day

Anniversary of Walt Disney's birthday (1901)

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