A high tech device that Qantas engineers have come up with to scare off rattlesnakes and scorpions making themselves at home around the tyres and landing gear of the airline’s grounded planes being stored in the Californian desert. It’s a repurposed broom handle…
ISRAEL TO TRY LIFE WITHOUT NETANYAHU
Opponents of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu have reached a deal to form a unity government that is set to unseat the country’s longest-serving PM. Opposition leader Yair Lapid has cobbled together an unlikely coalition of parties from the left, right and centre of Israeli politics – with just 35 minutes to spare. And if it goes through Parliament, it will end Netanyahu’s 15 years at the top over the last 25 years.
BACK IT UP A BIT…
So, Israel has seen 4 inconclusive elections in 2 years, leaving it without any political certainty or a budget. The last election in March saw Lapid’s Yesh Atid party come in 2nd to Netanyahu’s Likud party. Netanyahu was tasked with forming a new coalition government but failed. Lapid was invited to give it a go by the nation’s President Reuven Rivlin (whose position is kinda like our Governor-General), and yesterday he succeeded. The deal: Lapid and his main coalition partner Naftali Bennet will take turns at being PM. Bennet, who leads the right-wing Yamina party, will lead the government for the first 2 years. Lapid, a centrist, will serve the final 2. Their coalition would be made up of 8 small and medium parties. And for the first time in Israel’s history, it will include a party that represents the nation’s Arab minority.
SO, IS IT A SURE THING?
Lapid isn’t celebrating just yet… The agreement needs to be approved by the Parliament by a vote, and the new government sworn in. But it won’t be handed over easily… Netanyahu overnight called on right-wing members of Parliament to block the “dangerous” and “left-wing” government from taking office. Political manoeuvring could see the vote delayed until 14 June, experts say. And Netanyahu’s party – which controls almost twice as many seats in Parliament as Lapid’s party – has promised to pile on the pressure. Many parties to the new coalition are said to be uneasy about what they’ve signed up to and have had to make compromises to push Netanyahu out of office. If it all falls apart, it could lead to yet another election. Whatever happens, things are going to be unsettled in Israel for a while. Whether it’s the recent conflict with Gaza, Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial, or the nation’s considerable diplomatic/security/economic challenges, it’s a situation to watch. #SquizShortcut
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DATE SET FOR OZ-UK FREE TRADE DEAL
A free trade deal that would remove tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Aussie and British goods could be signed by mid-June after PM Scott Morrison meets with his British counterpart Boris Johnson at the G7 summit on 11 June. Or it could drag on past that, but that’s the aim, UK officials say. Under the deal, Aussie agricultural exports, including beef and cereals and UK goods including Scotch whiskey and cars, would have their tariffs slashed, putting Oz on the same trade footing as the European Union. Reports say the deal has largely been finalised, with one remaining sore spot being the transition period. Still cranky: UK farmers who worry it’s the start of a wave of nations getting favourable access to UK consumers.
TRUMP GOES BACK TO THE BALLOTS
Standing by his claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, Donald Trump is now hoping a ballot review will help him prove it. With Arizona’s largest county currently undertaking a Republican-commissioned audit of its election results, Trump is said to be eager for similar reviews to be done by other states. And there are concerns the claims are reigniting Trump’s supporters, with former national security adviser Michael Flynn reportedly appearing to support the idea of a Myanmar-style military coup in the US. Trump has been ramping up his election commentary in recent weeks, and a national speaking tour is set to start later this month. One place you won’t hear from him is ‘From the Desk of Donald J Trump’… The Twitter wannabe webpage has been taken down a month after it launched. It has nothing to do with the site’s lack of traction – a senior aide suggested bigger plans were in train…
BARTY BOWS OUT
Ash Barty has been forced to retire from her second-round match in the French Open because of a hip injury. The world number one had struggled through a win against American Bernarda Pera in the first round. And yesterday, after a medical timeout, she chose to abandon the match against Poland’s Magda Linette after losing the first set 6-1. It means that the world number 1 (Barty), world number 2 (Naomi Osaka) and world number 3 (Simona Halep) are not playing in the Open. Someone who is there? Serena Williams – who is chasing the record of 24 Grand Slam titles set by Margaret Court. Barty admitted she had “my fair share of tears this week” but said the injury made it “unsafe” to carry on. “Everything happens for a reason. There will be a silver lining in this eventually,” she said. How do you spell legend? Oh yeah, we just did.
VENUS BACK ON NASA’S RADAR
While everyone seems to be racing to get all over Mars, NASA is planning 2 new missions to Venus. In its first look at our closest planetary neighbour in more than 30 years, the US space agency yesterday said the DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions will be launched between 2028 and 2030 to understand how it became an “inferno-like world”. Last year the planet made headlines when scientists found a gas called phosphine that pointed to the possibility of life there, and that pushed it up the priority list. DAVINCI+ will measure the composition of Venus’ dense atmosphere to understand how it evolved. And VERITAS will map the Venusian surface to know why/how it’s so different to Earth. “These missions will tell us about the planet from the clouds in its sky though the volcanoes on its surface all the way down to its very core,” said NASA’s Discovery Program Scientist Tom Wagner. Mars was so yesterday…
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
After a year off, Oz Fashion Week hit the runway this week, reminding us it’s time to get out of the COVID trackie dacks. The big takeaways? Pink is back, there are pants under dresses, and headscarves are a thing…
And if high fashion isn’t your thing, we have a recommendation for you. This lightweight jumper has got us through a lot of casual and slightly more dressy situations this year. It comes in 3 colours, and who doesn’t like an all-rounder?
It’s hard to go past a sticky date pudding once the mercury drops, and this Jamie Oliver recipe is a cracker. It features Earl Grey tea, dark rum, baked pumpkin, and a lot of yum.
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10.30am (AEST) – Rugby League ‘Immortal’ Bob Fulton’s State Funeral – Sydney
National Cabinet meets
ABS Data Release – Lending Indicators, April
Birthdays for Angelina Jolie (1975), Russell Brand (1975), Evan Spiegel (1990)
• the creation of a stinky cheese in a cave near Roquefort, France (1040)
• the US, Soviet Union, Britain and France agreeing to divide up occupied Germany (1945)
• the patenting of the ATM (1973)
• China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre (1989)
World Environment Day
Birthdays for Mark Wahlberg (1971) and Lara Bingle (1987)
• the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (1968)
• the official beginning of the AIDS epidemic when the US Centre for Disease Control reports on pneumonia affecting five gay men in LA (1981)
• the first article based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden are published by the Guardian (2013)
• the deaths of Ronald Reagan (2004), Alan Bond (2015) and Kate Spade (2018)
Queensland Day marking the day the Sunshine State was established as a separate colony from New South Wales (1859)
Sweden’s National Day
• the patenting of the electric iron by New Yorker Henry Seely (1882)
• the beginning of D-Day as the Allies land in Normandy, France (1944)
• the release of David Bowie’s breakthrough album The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
• the release of video game Tetris by Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov (1984)
• the premiere of TV juggernaut Sex and the City (1998)
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