Squiz Today / 08 November 2017

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 November


"What a bugger of a disease!”

And Squiz’er Paula Benson would know. At 34yo she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She survived having caught it early and is now contributing her skills and experience (she's a former journo and corporate affairs head) as chair of Ovarian Cancer Australia. Check out Paula’s Three Minute Squiz (and most excellent chocolate cake recipe) here.


Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court yesterday rejected an application to restore services at the decommissioned Manus Island processing centre. The application was made last week by Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani. The Court also said responsibility for the welfare of the 600 men who are refusing to leave the centre rests with the PNG government, not Australia.

It’s now a week into the standoff and concerns are mounting over the men’s access to power, water, food, sanitation and medical services. The hope is they will move to three ‘transit centres', but they are refusing to budge saying they will not be safe in the new accommodation. PM Malcolm Turnbull yesterday said the new facilities are of high quality and urged the men to move. Meanwhile, it’s understood Boochani will appeal the Supreme Court decision as soon as today.

Protestors seeking to draw attention to the situation picked yesterday’s Melbourne Cup as their platform. A car plastered with slogans was parked across the Flemington racecourse train line. Two people were arrested. Meanwhile, two women scaled a crane at the track and unfurled a banner calling for the evacuation of Manus. And over to Europe for a moment, Italian authorities have launched an investigation into the deaths of 26 teenage girls whose bodies were recovered in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday. They are believed to have been part of a larger group fleeing from Niger and Nigeria via Libya.


Exactly how a car crashed into a classroom of Banksia Road Public School in Sydney’s Greenacre hasn’t been confirmed, but reports say a 52yo woman may have been trying to park when something went terribly wrong. Two 8yo boys died in the accident, and three little girls from the Year 3 class are in hospital. A further 17 children were assessed at the scene, as was a female teacher. Parents raced to the school to check on their kids. One paramedic said it was a "scene of carnage". Last night, Maha Al-Shennag was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death and negligent driving - The Daily Telegraph says she is a widowed mother-of-four and has children at the school. Just awful.

Holding Reserve Bank board meetings on Melbourne Cup day has always seemed a bit mean. But there they were, toiling away in service to our economy, bless them. And in a blessing for economists and market analysts, interest rates were left on hold at 1.5% meaning their Melbourne Cup lunches were largely uninterrupted. Not that anyone was expecting a different result given the Reserve Bank’s recent comments about low wages and inflation. But as many punters would have found out yesterday, there’s no such thing as a safe bet.

There was a flurry of excitement yesterday about a possible sale to Disney of the Murdoch-family-led 21st Century Fox. Reports said there had been discussions about Disney taking on the movie and TV studios, distribution operations and cable-TV network leaving Fox with sport and TV news. Now for the cold water: talks are no longer happening but that’s not to say they couldn’t resume. For some perspective - 21st Century Fox is a US$51 billion company. Compare that to Facebook at US$523 billion and Alphabet (aka Google) at US$718 billion and you get a sense of the power shift.

BERLUSCONI COMEBACK? Silvio Berlusconi, former four-time Italian Prime Minister and convicted tax fraud, is positioning for a comeback in next year’s national election. The 81yo billionaire is trying to have overturned a ban on him holding public office. Reports say his ambition to lead again has been spurred on by a good showing in the recent Sicilian elections by a new centre-right alliance of his Forza Italia party and the Northern League and Brothers of Italy parties. Bunga-bunga!

MUGABE  - Zimbabwe’s Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been removed from his post for displaying “traits of disloyalty”. (Perhaps he has an epic eye-roll?) Pundits say it’s about the 93yo President Robert Mugabe making room for his 52yo wife Grace to be installed as his successor.

We thought the statistically-advantaged Johannes Vermeer had the race won only to be out-run in the final few lengths by Rekindling. Both horses are part-owned by racing royalty Lloyd Williams who took out his 6th Melbourne Cup and a share of the winnings of $3.6 million for first and $900,000 for second place. Williams’ horses bookended the field – he had two other horses in the race that came last and second last. And in another neat alignment, both horses are trained by members of the same Irish family – Rekindling by 24yo Joseph O’Brien, and Johannes Vermeer by his father, Aidan. And it’s not the Melbourne Cup without pics of tired and emotional race-goers… Because nothing screams success like walking home barefoot.

It’s the Super Bowl of UK advertising – and no one does a Christmas ad better than the British department stores. First out of the blocks are Marks & Spencer with its Paddington Bear-themed ad. The marmalade-obsessed cutie is voiced by actor Ben Whishaw (think London Spy, The Hour, The Danish Girl). And there’s a commercial tie-up, of course – Paddington 2 hits cinemas this weekend. And M&S will have Paddington themed merch with some of the proceeds going to a children’s charity. The ad we’re waiting on is John Lewis’ – last year’s was a cracker. From here on in, "Everyday is Christmas" – just ask Sia…


11.00am (AEDT) - State Funeral for former Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen - Melbourne

12.30pm (AEDT) - Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive of the CSIRO to address the National Press Club on 'Building tomorrow’s industries from today’s science' - Canberra

Julie Bishop attending APEC Foreign Ministers Meeting - Vietnam

PM Malcolm Turnbull and Labor Leader Bill Shorten meet to discuss MP citizenship checks (note Pauline Hanson's the latest under a cloud...)

ABS Data Releases - Additional Census Data; Preschool Education, 2016; Personal Safety Data; Census of Motor Vehicles, 2017

International Day of Radiology

And remember - open the email every day this week and you go into the draw for a $100 Country Road gift card. Because as Joe Namath said; "If you're not gonna go all the way, why go at all?”

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