Squiz Today / 21 July 2017
Squiz Today – Friday, 21 July
That’s the revised estimate of how long ago scientists think humans first reached Australia – 18,000 years earlier than previously believed. It follows new excavations at the Madjedbebe rock shelter in Kakadu National Park, 300km east of Darwin. This is a yuuuge deal in archaeology circles - the discovery makes the rock shelter one of the most significant sites in the world. How cool is that?
DETAINED TAMIL ASYLUM-SEEKERS IN LIMBO
As negotiations for the resettlement of asylum-seekers detained in Nauru and Manus Island continue, it’s believed 240 Tamils from Sri Lanka will not be given clearance to go to America. It’s because of links detainees might have to the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organisation. And human rights advocates say the Tamils can not return to Sri Lanka where they are at risk of torture and persecution. The government struck a deal with the US pre-Trump times (which will be reluctantly honoured) to resettle the Nauru and Manus detainees in the States. However, they must clear an “extreme vetting” process, which excludes anyone with terror links.
SO WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEM?
The clock is ticking with government plans to shut the Nauru detention centre on 31 October. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop happened to be in Sri Lanka yesterday and said; “Well, we’re continuing to work with Nauru and with Papua New Guinea to find third countries to take them, otherwise they do have opportunities to be resettled in Papua New Guinea.”
SO AUSTRALIA WON’T TAKE THEM?
Nope. No asylum-seeker who attempt to come to Oz illegally will be resettled here under the current arrangements. In a weird fluke of timing, former PM Kevin Rudd had a bit to say about this yesterday. He tweeted; “Refugees should've been resettled in Oz by Abbott/Turnbull 3 yrs ago.” Interestingly, this isn’t what he said four years ago; "From now any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees.” Cue incredulity from Coalition types. #OMG
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JOB CREATION ON A ROLL... YAY US!
Well done employers of Australia – we’ve just clocked the longest run of consecutive monthly job creation since early 2011 with nine months in a row. Employment rose by 14,000 jobs in June according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, however, our unemployment rate edged up to 5.6% (from 5.5% in May) off the back of a decrease in part time roles. More than 175,000 full-time jobs have been created in the last 12 months, and part time jobs are up by 64,800. It’s a very good result, particularly given it isn’t underwritten by a resources boom.
MYER’S NOT YOUR STORE
Myer had a shocker yesterday. Poor sales, a decision to write-off its investment in the Aussie version of Topshop (they owned 20%) and ‘impair’ sass & bide (which means it’s not worth as much as their books said it was), and the loss of a senior manager saw their share price down by more than 10% yesterday. Ouch. Still, CEO Richard Umbers isn’t changing his strategy – he says he doesn’t want to turn Myer into a bargain basement store to move stock because it wouldn’t provide a very nice shopping experience. ‘Bricks and mortar’ clothing retailers are struggling – it was a warmish autumn/start to winter (which means we didn’t buy lots of winter woollies) and online shopping continues to grow in popularity. We wonder what Solomon Lew would be thinking about today’s news– remember the retail legend (and former Myer chairman) bought +10% of their shares earlier this year. One to watch.
OJ SIMPSON GRANTED PAROLE
The Juice is (soon to be) on the loose! OJ Simpson has been granted parole after serving more than nine years in a Nevada prison for armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson maintains he was only trying to recover sporting memorabilia that belonged to him from a hotel room in Las Vegas. But he told the parole hearing he was sorry for the whole episode and had served his time. Simpson was famously acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1995.
MCCAIN DIAGNOSED WITH A BRAIN TUMOUR
“McCain’s significance inside Congress is hard to overstate — and his absence, however long, will reverberate across the Capitol,” the Washington Post said. McCain is a giant of American politics and was a one-time presidential candidate (he was up against Barack Obama in 2008 – Sarah Palin was his running mate). Considered a war hero (he was a POW in Vietnam for five-and-a-half years), he is a strong ally of Australia – in fact, he was here just a few weeks ago to talk regional security with our Defence types. He's 80yo, and reports say he is considering his treatment options with his family. “I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!” he tweeted yesterday.
LISA WILKINSON THE PACKING ROOM FAVOURITE
The Archibald Prize for Australia’s best portrait is back and yesterday’s highlight was the announcement of the Packing Room Prize. The winner was Peter Smeeth’s painting of Nine’s Today show host, Lisa Wilkinson. Smeeth has entered the Archibald's almost every year since 1984, and this is his first gong. Talk about persistence! And it's a beautiful portrait too. "The winning of this award is 99% due to Lisa, and 1% to the likeness," Smeeth said. Smeeth gets $1,500 prize money (compared to the Archibald’s $100,000) - the award is overseen/dictated by the NSW Art Gallery’s head packer Steve Peters (now retired) who gets 51% of the vote. "The criteria for the Packing Room Prize is the work has to be good, which knocks out about 95% of the entrants,” he said. Burn!
AUSTRALIA MISS OUT ON WORLD CUP CRICKET FINALS
We went into last night's match against India as the favourites, but we didn't convert it into a win unfortunately. We lost by 36 runs, mainly it seems because of a brilliant batting performance by India's Harmanpreet Kaur who scored 171 runs from 115 balls. India plays in the final against England on Sunday night Oz time. Oh well, you can't win 'em all...
FRIDAY LITES – THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Friday night’s the night to disco, right? If you need some inspo to get your groove on, check out these kool kids in the World Disco Finals 1979. Our personal favourite is #10. It’s so bad – but she’s so enthusiastic, and that’s what we’re all about.
To change gear just a little - Gone with the Wind. This gallery has inspired us to dust it off over the weekend. They auditioned 1,400 women for the role of Scarlett – geez! And Clark Gable apparently hated the whole process. Still, it’s a Hollywood classic and rates as one of the best films of all time.
Lucy Kellaway is a columnist for the UK’s Financial Times and is one of our all-time favourites for her one-woman war against BS. After a career in finance and journalism, she’s finishing up soon to become a maths teacher, and we’re going to miss her. As she starts to reflect on her time at FT, this week’s column is a classic: ‘How I lost my 25-year battle against corporate clap-trap’.
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12.00pm (AEST) - Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten to address the Melbourne Institute Economic and Social Outlook Conference, Melbourne
75th anniversary of the start of the Kokoda Trail Campaign of WWII
National Pyjama Day - raising awareness and funds for children in foster care
7.25pm (AEST) - AFL Pride Game - Sydney Swans v St Kilda - Sydney Cricket Ground
7.30pm (AEST) Women's World Cup Cricket Final - England v India
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