Squiz Today / 21 December 2018
Squiz Today – Friday, 21 December
“Santa baby’s billion-dollar Christmas"
AMERICA OUT OF SYRIA
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency." In one fell tweet, US President Donald Trump announced he was ordering the withdrawal of America's 2,000 troops from the messy and devastated war zone. It came as a surprise to his allies and advisers.
• Reports say Trump has overruled his generals by ordering the end to America’s military campaign. It was just a few months ago that the US decided to stay in Syria to ensure “the enduring defeat” of the Islamic State (IS) given intelligence assessments that there were as many as 14,500 IS fighters still there.
• But yesterday Trump prevailed. US ally Britain rejected his assessment that IS has been defeated. “Much remains to be done and we must not lose sight of the threat they pose,” the UK Foreign Office said.
• And critics say Trump has abandoned the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces – America’s key ally in Syria – and ceded control of the terror hotspot to Russia and Iran.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
One factor seems to be Turkey, which is no friend of the Kurds. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has wondered aloud why the US, a NATO ally, has been supporting Kurdish forces (note: Turkey is fighting the Kurds on its border). Reports say the two leaders have been talking in recent days. But Trump has long said he wanted to get out of Syria. (Actually, he said a lot of things this year…) One thing most pundits agree on - the decision will have a lasting impact on the troubled region.
SQUIZ THE REST
MORRISON CURRIES FAVOUR WITH TROOPS IN IRAQ
He's made a visit to say thank you to our troops for the service they give, particularly sacrificing time away from family during Christmas. PM Scott Morrison saw around 800 of our servicemen and women who are in Iraq to train their security forces. While addressing the troops, he gave an inspirational speech - about making curry. “How you blend together all of these wonderful ingredients to produce something which is pretty magnificent is how I’ve experienced seeing what you do here,” he said. The PM also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and committed to continue the fight terror threats posed by the Islamic State. A weird quirk of timing given story #1…
NO ANSWERS YET ON SEAPLANE CRASH
It’s almost been a year since a Sydney Seaplane crashed into Cowan Creek, north of Sydney, killing the pilot, British businessman Richard Cousins, his two adult sons, his fiancée and her 11yo daughter. Yesterday the Transport Safety Bureau delivered an interim report with photos from the cockpit that suggest the plane changed direction suddenly before it plunged into the water. Exactly why it did so remains a mystery. Pilot Gareth Morgan was believed to be in good health before the flight, but investigators have only recently received his medical and autopsy reports. The final report is due in the coming months.
JAPAN (POSSIBLY) BACK IN THE WHALE HUNT
A Japanese news agency set whale-lovers alight with anger yesterday with a report saying Japan is set to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission so it can recommence commercial whaling. Australia is opposed to commercial and ‘scientific’ whaling and has been called on to call on PM Shinzo Abe to call it off. (That's a lot of calling...) Japan has argued that whales are no longer endangered and eating whale meat is a part of its culture.
MORE JOBS, SAME PAY
Unemployment ticked up a smidge to 5.1% for November, but 37,000 new jobs were added for the month. That was quite a bit better than the 20,000 new jobs that were forecast. What put the rate up was an increase in the participation rate – the number of people putting up their hands to say they're ready, willing(ish) and able to work. A key part of the economic debate next year will be wages growth. It remains as flat as the idea that Die Hard is the ‘greatest Christmas story ever told’.
QUICK MOVING PICTURES WRAP
Three videos that are worthy of your consideration:
• Former Aussie cricket captain Steve Smith has delivered his comeback pitch - in advertising form.
• Caroling Kiwi cops. What’s not to like?
• And not to be outdone by our cuzzy bros, the Federal Police’s Love Actually inspired clip is… well… inspired.
FRIDAY LITES – THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Inside the Markle family breakdown - the Vanity Fair exposé. Oh gee…
Want more happy in your 2019? Doing nothing might be the answer.
And if it was important enough for Paul Kelly to sing a song about, it’s important to us. Christmas gravy. Make it in advance and you’ll own the day. And it’s not just for turkey, but any meat and veg can be drowned in this deliciousness. We’re making ours on Sunday.
So, this is our last edition for 2018. Thank you for your support this year. It's been a crazy ride and we've loved every minute of it. We've got big plans for 2019 - all made possible because of your engagement in what we're doing.
We'll be back with you from Monday, 7 January. In the interim, keep an eye out for our 'Year In Review' email on Friday, 28 December - it's a corker.
Wishing you a safe and relaxing Christmas and new year. And don't forget to tell all your family/friends/customer-service-staff-at-the-shops about The Squiz.
SQUIZ THE DAY
30th anniversary of a bomb exploding on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people
Anniversary of Elvis Presley's meeting with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office to discuss fighting drugs (1970). (PS we enjoyed this movie on the encounter if you need something to watch over the break)
Birthdays for Jane Fonda (1937) and French President Emmanuel Macron (1977)
Anniversary of the death of Joe Cocker (2014)
Presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Emperor’s Birthday - Japan
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