Squiz Today / 21 April 2017
Squiz Today – Friday, 21 April
FRANCE TO ELECT A NEW PRESIDENT
The next major European election kicks off on Sunday when France goes to the ballot box to start the process of electing a new president. In short, it’s looking like it’s going to be a more chic version (simply because it’s France) of the US presidential election – ‘interesting’ candidates, extreme positions, and a volatile electorate. Why should you care? Well, France has a big voice in European and international fora like the EU, the UN (including a permanent position on the Security Council), NATO and the G8. So a big change in direction will bring more instability. It’s also a critical time. France has been struggling with Islamic terrorism, immigration, and unemployment (currently at 10%). Ça va être énorme!!
SO WHO’S WHO?
There are 11 candidates in total spanning the political range from communist to the far-right. But there are two to focus on:
Marine Le Pen – leader of far-right Front National. She wants to suspend all immigration, get tough on Muslim extremists, pull out of the Euro and renegotiate a new EU. She’s 48yo, a lawyer and her father is Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen who unsuccessfully contested the 2007 presidential election.
Emmanuel Macron – leader of the centrist movement "En Marche" ("On the Move"). He is pro-business, left-leaning on social issues and supports equality and immigration. Macron is a former investment banker and was the economy minister under current President François Hollande. He left that post last year to form his own party and get his campaign together. He is 39yo, and married to Brigitte Trogneux, a chocolate heiress who is 24 years his senior. So French!
Polls are firming for a Macron win, but there is concern that voters will stay away from voting in record numbers, which would favour Le Pen. Note: neither of the front-runners has held elected office. Just sayin’
HOW DOES THE ELECTION WORK?
Vive la démocratie! There will probably be two rounds of voting. The first is this Sunday (23 April) and assuming no one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, there’s a second vote between the two front-runners on Sunday, 7 May. Whatever happens, expect lots of flag-waving, marching in the street and Gallic passion. The Frogs love an election.
SQUIZ THE REST
BREAKING NEWS - POLICE SHOOTING IN PARIS
This is breaking at the time of send - two policemen have been shot and one was killed on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It appears a gunman was shot and killed by police and the area is closed off, reports say there was more than one attacker. Try this link for updates.
DUTTON REVEALS MOTIVATION FOR MANUS GOOD FRIDAY INCIDENT
Immigration minister Peter Dutton revealed last night that an incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre in Papua New Guinea may have been sparked by detainees leading a local five-year-old boy into the centre. This allegedly prompted locals to storm the centre and PNG defence personnel to fire shots in the violent incident. The boy was returned to his parents unharmed, and the incident is being investigated.
POLLING LEAKED TO DAMAGE ABBOTT
On a day that PM Malcolm Turnbull would probably have preferred to be talking about changes to citizenship tests, he found himself addressing a leak about 2016 election polling on Tony Abbott’s Sydney seat. The polling showed Abbott was in a potentially election-losing position, prompting Turnbull to deploy some Prime Ministerial magic (robo-calls and a letter) to assist. Abbott made it clear yesterday he didn’t appreciate the leaking and insisted it stop. Reports this morning say former PM John Howard could be tapped to help smooth relations (we bet he's wondering what he's done to deserve that). Is it just us or do you also have the sinking feeling we’ve been here before?
LABOR TO ANNOUNCE HOUSING AFFORDABILITY PLAN
Reports this morning that Labor leader Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen will announce their plan to tackle housing affordability. This builds on commitments to capital gains tax and negative gearing reform. The policy targets foreign investors, limits on borrowing from self-managed super funds, and penalties for investors who leave properties vacant.
FOX NEWS STAR SACKED OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS
“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.” Bill O’Reilly went out fighting (and with a US$25 million payout according to reports) to the end. Fox News yesterday acknowledged they sacked the man who was the network’s biggest star in its 20-year history over sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour claims. The heat was turned up at the start of this month when it was revealed Fox had paid US$13 million to settle five cases against him over alleged incidents. Since then, more than 50 sponsors pulled out of the show and management had to make a call. O’Reilly’s sacking follows the removal of Fox News founder Roger Ailes last year after several women came forward with sexual harassment claims.
KELLY SLATER SAVES AUSSIE TEEN SURFER DUDE FROM DROWNING
Russell Bierke owes his life to former world surfing champion Kelly Slater after the 19yo was knocked out while surfing at Port Campbell, Victoria. The group was catching 5-metre waves when Bierke was hit by his own board and was under the water for 45 seconds, taking in litres of water. Further cementing his reputation as a modern-day superhero, Slater helped to get him to shore and stabilised him until an ambulance arrived. What a guy!
FRIDAY LITES – THREE THINGS WE’VE LIKED THIS WEEK
“It’s such a shame our friendship had to end” Prince sang in Purple Rain. It sure was, Prince. On the first anniversary of his death we offer two things: 1) a neat clip on the arrangements behind Prince’s Super Bowl performance in 2007 (note the dancing twins are from Byron Bay); and 2) his awesome guitar skills; read this, then watch this. Amazing. Can you tell we’re huge fans? OK. We’ll stop now.
If this week’s story about the talking points provided to employees of the Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority on their impending move to Armidale tickled your fancy, you’ll really like this.
This man puts a lot of time into tracking down marathon cheats. Killjoy or solid citizen? You decide.
SQUIZ THE DAY
World Masters Games kick off in Auckland, NZ, they're on until 30 April
US Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Sydney
First round voting in the French presidential elections
St George's Day
World Book Day
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