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Squiz 2018 – Tell ’em all I said hi…

28 December 2018




Geez, that was a big one… With everything going on, it’s hard to remember what happened last week let alone last month. So to refresh your memory, let’s have a Squiz at 2018 – the big stories, and the links you clicked on. 

JANUARY
The big stories:
• Actor Craig McLachlan was accused of abuse, harassment and bullying by three women who worked with him in 2014. McLachlan said he had no recollection of the events, and he’s currently in the process of suing for defamation.

A missile threat alert was accidentally issued in Hawaii when an emergency services worker pressed the wrong button. Residents and holiday-makers sfreaked out. The employee involved was later fired after it was revealed he “had a history of confusing drill and real-world events.” Oops…

• Thirteen siblings were found in a filthy home in Perris, California. Aged between 2-29yo, many were discovered chained to their beds. Parents David and Louise Turpin were charged with false imprisonment and torture, and their trial will start in September 2019.

The most clicked links:
• A New York bookstore proudly displayed books written by authors from ‘sh*thole countries’.

• The curse of the office refrigerator… How passive-aggression, mouldy tuna and theft can make bringing your lunch to work a drama.

• Our Three Minute Squiz with Fiona Dear, the deputy director of news for Nine in Sydney. (Update: Fiona was recently announced as the new executive producer of Nine’s A Current Affair.)

FEBRUARY
The big stories:
• Just when you’d almost erased it from your memory… We found out about Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s relationship with former staffer Vicki Campion, and her pregnancy. He resigned as leader of The Nationals and stepped down from the frontbench.

• Student Nikolas Cruz was accused of killing 17 people in the mass-shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students and parents rallied for gun-control and the ‘March For Our Lives’ protests drew crowds of hundreds-of-thousands across the US.

• The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea was not only a showcase of talent but a stepping stone for improved North-South Korean relations.

The most clicked links:
• A wardrobe malfunction in the Winter Olympics PyeongChang got a lot of clicks. You perves…

• Our Three Minute Squiz with ABC Radio’s AM host Sabra Lane was “cool bananas”.

• And Flynn, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show, was as cute as a button.

MARCH
The big stories:
• The Australian cricket team’s ball-tampering scandal saw captain Steve Smith, deputy David Warner and bowler Cameron Bancroft stood down for lengthy periods. Since then, the team’s coach (Darren Lehmann), and Cricket Australia’s CEO (James Sutherland) and chairman (David Peever) have vacated their roles.

• Former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, UK. Authorities blamed Russian agents for the attack using a Russian-made nerve agent, while Moscow continues to deny any involvement. Three months later, Dawn Sturgess died and her partner Charlie Rowley was hospitalised after being exposed to Novichok, the chemical thought to be used in the Skripal attack.

• Social media giant Facebook was embroiled in a scandal over the ‘sharing’ of +50 million users’ data. Analytics firm Cambridge Analytica used the info for targeted social media campaigns in the 2016 US presidential election and UK Brexit referendum.

The most clicked links:
This photo of Aussie cricket captain Steve Smith looking shattered the morning after the ball-tampering story broke.

• The highlights from Stormy Daniels’ explosive 60 Minutes interview in the US about her alone time with President Donald Trump.

‘Hairy panic’. Not just that feeling you get when you put a skirt on for the first time in ages and remember you haven’t de-haired your legs for a while…

APRIL
The big stories:
A chemical attack on civilians of the Syrian city of Douma was met with retaliatory airstrikes from the US, UK and France. Syrian Government-aligned forces denied launching the attack that killed 70 people and injured more than 500.

• The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard AMP could face criminal penalties over its “fee-for-no-service conduct” and alleged efforts to mislead the regulator. The wealth manager’s chairman Catherine Brenner resigned.

• The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast happened. Prince Charles and Camilla flew out for the event and everything. Criticised: the closing ceremony

Most clicked links:
• Belgrade’s ‘tiny head’ statue – still hilarious.

• We got our first look at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s jogging bodyguards.

• Former US First Lady Barbara Bush died and we remembered her role in placating angry broccoli growers after her husband, former President George HW Bush, revealed how much he disliked the Brassica.

MAY
The big stories:
• Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic, was committed to stand trial on historical child abuse charges.

• We found a new sub-specialty – Malaysian politics. Former PM Mahathir Mohamed was elected prime minister in a historic victory. The 92-year-old ousted the party he had previously led for more than 20 years.

• Harry and Meghan got hitched. Say no more.

Most clicked links:
• Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shares his secret to running successful meetings – include no more people than can be fed by two pizzas. (If pizza’s there, count us in…)

• Balenciaga’s t-shirt-shirt baffled the internet.

Gourmet Traveller’s fragrant chicken noodle soup. It’s a goodie.

JUNE
The big stories:
• Eurydice Dixon, a 22yo up-and-coming comedian from Melbourne, was attacked and murdered while walking home from a gig in the city’s centre. Her death sparked an outcry over women’s safety. Jaymes Todd pleaded guilty in November.

• US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met face-to-face in Singapore. And again with the jogging North Korean bodyguards

• Large swathes of Australia’s farming country were drought declared. The situation only worsened as the year went on with near-record warm temperatures during 2018.

Most clicked links:
• India’s ‘Dancing Uncle’ shot to fame with his smooth moves.

• Dear Donald… A massive letter from Kim to Trump was unusual…

• And French President Emmanuel Macron ripped into a teenager for calling him ‘Manu’ instead of Mr President.

JULY
The big stories:
• Twelve boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand in late June and were evacuated to safety more than two weeks later. Incredible. Aussie cave divers Dr Richard Harris and Craig Challen played a central role in the rescue mission.

• The long-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin happened in Finland. Trump’s comment during the press conference putting him at odds with US intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections forced a rare correction. Of sorts.

• Major supermarkets Coles and Woolies stopped providing single-use plastic bags to customers nationwide. Both retailers said some customers struggled with the transition leading to Coles handing out free reusable bags until the end of August.

Most clicked links:
• France won the soccer World Cup. French President Emmanuel Macron’s celebratory air punch, in front of host Russian President Vladimir Putin, was one of the pics of the year.

• The ‘In My Feelings’ challenge swept across social media with celebrities jumping on board.

• Actress Elizabeth Banks’ fab video on heart disease was popular. You should watch it again.

AUGUST
The big stories:
• It must be time for a new prime minister, yes? Internal Coalition warring on energy and climate change policies brought broader simmering tensions to a head. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton called on a challenge to PM Malcolm Turnbull, and in one of the weirdest weeks in federal politics for a while (and that’s saying something…), Treasurer Scott Morrison emerged the victor. Turnbull resigned as the Member for Wentworth and exited stage left/right (depending on your political tint) from politics.

• The Indonesian island of Lombok was hit by a series of earthquakes and tremors from late July and throughout August. More than 200,000 homes were destroyed and 600 lives lost.

• And Australia’s population hit 25 million.

Most clicked links:
• Foreign Minister Julie Bishop went to the backbench when her leadership credentials got short shrift from her colleagues. Asked if she believed the Liberal Party would ever elect a female leader, she said: “When we find one, I’m sure we will.”

Funny OOOs (aka out-of-office email notification). Which reminds us…

Ten chef hacks from Good Food. Good to know.

SEPTEMBER
The big stories:
• A 7.5-magnitude earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The quake was followed by a tsunami, which killed more than 2,100 people.

• Pins, needles and metallic rods started turning up in punnets of strawberries. The industry was smashed and for a while there you couldn’t walk past a telly without seeing a politician with a strawb in hand/mouth. A disgruntled strawberry packing shed worker was arrested in November.

• The trade war between America and China heated up. Tensions between the two countries have put Australia in a difficult spot because the US is our biggest strategic ally and China is our biggest trade partner. Now, where have we heard that before?

• And a rare fourth dot point – ABC boss Michelle Guthrie was sacked, and chairman Justin Milne resigned. The messy chapter was covered in one of the best episodes of Four Corners this year, so there’s that…

Most clicked links:
• Triple J breakfast hosts Ben and Liam revealed what went down after they were hauled off air for prank calling their boss.

Victoria Beckham – fashion icon/comedian.

• The Insta-fabulous Celeste Barber (and we really meant that) and global fashion icon Tom Ford collaborated. Warning: things got pashy

OCTOBER
The big stories:
Jamal Khashoggi – Saudi national, critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and writer for the Washington Post – was murdered while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Questions about bin Salman’s involvement in the killing remain unanswered.

• An early morning Lion Air flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang nosedived into the Java Sea killing 189 people. Early investigations uncovered the pilot’s losing battle with an automatic safety feature that kept pushing the plane’s nose down.

• Oz went mad for Meghan and Harry. Visiting the colony for the Invictus Games, their announcement after touching down in Sydney that their first baby is on the way was a nice touch. And who could forget 5yo Luke Vincent (aka the gorgeous beard-puller from Dubbo)?

Most clicked links:
• #HimToo: How Pieter Hanson’s mother made him internet famous. Not that he was looking for fame…

• Steve and Terri Irwin’s son Robert was recognised in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for his snap of a spider devouring a frog. (Note: it’s a bit gross…)

• Same competition. Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten won for his magical photo of a couple of critically endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys.

NOVEMBER
The big stories:
• A lone terrorist killed beloved restaurateur Sisto Malaspina and injured two others when he drove into the centre of Melbourne, set fire to a ute loaded with gas cylinders and attacked pedestrians with a knife. Attacker Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was killed by police.

• A big month for US President Donald Trump. The midterm elections saw the Republicans lose the House of Representatives but retain the Senate. And in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, he said “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner” of the Saudis.

Labor’s win in the Victorian election was a smash-hit on the Liberals. And with a federal election expected in May 2019, attention quickly turned to the national implications.

Most clicked links:
• Ryan Reynolds went after Hugh Jackman in a mock political ad.

The Strategist’s top 100 gift ideas. Christmas was coming…

• US First Lady Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations for the White House looked a bit murdery…

DECEMBER
The big stories:
• A volcanic eruption and landslide led to a tsunami hitting the coasts of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia on 22 December. Almost 500 people are dead, more than 1,500 were injured, dozens are missing and 22,000 are displaced. Villagers and holidaymakers did not receive an emergency alert that a tsunami was coming with Indonesia’s warning system breaking down in 2012.

• UK PM Theresa May had a bad case of Brexit blues. Rebels in her party blocked her chance of getting her plan through the UK Parliament in 2018. And then there was a vote to test her party’s confidence in her leadership. Last time we looked, May was still hanging in there…

• Police arrested Chris Dawson for the murder of his wife Lynette almost 37 years ago. The Dawsons are the subjects of the incredibly popular true-crime podcast The Teacher’s Pet. Dawson was released on bail and will likely face trial in late 2019/early 2020.

Most clicked links:
• George HW Bush, US President between 1989 and 1993, died at 94yo. His granddaughter’s tribute was one of the best.

Beyonce and Ed Sheeran’s outfits. Hilariously mismatched or something more serious?

• While promoting her memoir Becoming (which became this year’s best selling US book just 15 days after its publication…), former US First Lady Michelle Obama had some golden advice for Meghan Markle.

And breathe… Thanks for taking a Squiz at 2018 with us. We’ll be back with our weekday morning email and podcast from Monday, 7 January. Bring. It. On. 




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