Squiz Today / 28 June 2019
Squiz Today – Friday, 28 June
Making economy airline travel look like first class…
GRAVE FEARS FOR AUSSIE MISSING IN NORTH KOREA
Alek Sigley, the only Australian believed to be living in North Korea, has been reported missing after a period of radio silence online since Monday. While experts urged caution in jumping to any conclusions, the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that Sigley “has been reported as being detained in North Korea”, but his whereabouts have not been confirmed.
WHAT’S SIGLEY’S STORY?
Good question. A Perth lad, the 29yo studied at ANU in Canberra before moving to China, and then North Korea. He speaks fluent Korean and started a master's degree in Korean literature in Pyongyang last year after setting up a tours business in 2013. Sigley was also married there last year to Japanese national Yuka Morinaga, though it’s understood she does not live with him in Pyongyang. She said she is “very concerned” for his safety. Writing about his experience of life in the diplomatically-isolated country, Sigley highlighted the burgers, smartphones and Western brands.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
There are a lot of details to be filled in. For now, the Department of Foreign Affairs says it’s providing consular assistance to his family, and because we do not have diplomatic representatives there, we’re working with the Swedish Embassy in North Korea. One interesting line in an ABC report said that people who knew Sigley "noticed a change in tone in his social media content in recent months, with suggestions it had become more sympathetic to the North Korean Government." Which means they are worried he was under some pressure. But it's all speculation at the moment.
SQUIZ THE REST
G20 BRINGS THE BIG KAHUNAS TO OSAKA
It’s the forum where 19 countries and the European Union (representing about 90% of the world’s economic activity, two-thirds of its population and half the globe’s land area) come together to talk about the big things. And for this leaders’ summit in Osaka, Japan:
• And there’ll be a bunch of tête-à-tête’s on the sidelines - think Trump and Vladimir Putin, Putin and Xi Jinping, Xi and Trump, Theresa May and… well, no one cares much about a caretaker PM, as Scott Morrison found out last time.
• But Morrison’s back having defied the odds to win the election and kicked off his program with a bang by dining with US President Donald Trump last night. Trump was full of lavish praise for Morrison’s win. Our PM will use the summit to urge calm on trade issues and advocate for stronger rules for the social media giants to stop the spread of live video of terrorist attacks.
DEMOCRATS CALL GAME ON
There’s a US presidential election next year if you can believe it. Which is why the incredibly long process for the vanquished Democrats to pick their candidate from 25 hopefuls started yesterday. Ten candidates fronted up in Miami for a televised debate, and another 10 will gather today. They are the first of 12 debates that will roll into next year, and then voting begins in Iowa in February. So there’s a long way to go. What we know from yesterday’s effort is the Democrats will focus on economic policy, and there are competing roadmaps on how to manage it. Voters will be hoping their maps are better than Google’s…
MERKEL SEEN SHAKING AGAIN
Concerns have been raised again just more than a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visibly shook during an official event. It's happened again during an event overnight. Last time she blamed dehydration, and her spokesman has again said she’s fine and would travel to Japan to join other world leaders. Health pundits say it could be anything from heat stress, to a passing infection, to something more serious. Whatever it is, they hope she is getting it looked at by medicos.
GRIM FINDINGS OF NRL HEAD CLASH RESEARCH
In a finding that could have profound implications for the National Rugby League, a team of Aussie scientists have confirmed for the first time evidence of a degenerative brain condition in retired league players caused by repeated blows to the head. The condition, called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), is the same as the one that forced American football administrators (after a lot of kicking and screaming) to rethink the way that sport is played. According to reports, the NFL has already paid out US$500 million from about 2,000 claims lodged by former players under the code’s so-called ‘concussion settlement’. Former league great/commentator Peter Sterling yesterday said he would donate his brain to science for further study after his death in the hope it would help further research into CTE.
GLEESON (HILARIOUSLY) FIRMS AS LOGIES FAVOURITE
You possibly never expected to see the words 'Logies' and 'existential' in the same sentence – but that’s exactly the threat the annual TV awards ceremony is said to be facing with the momentum comedian Tom Gleeson’s campaign for a Gold Logie has been gathering. The ABC TV Hard Talk/Hard Quiz presenter – who famously (and successfully) led the campaign for game show host Grant Denyer to win last year’s Gold Logie – was yesterday the bookies’ favourite to take home the top prize at this Sunday’s event, despite his admission he finds the entire Logies enterprise ridiculous. A series of tongue-in-cheek ‘attack ads’ against his fellow competitors (the Rodger Corser one is our favourite...) has reportedly put a few heavily powdered noses out of joint, with telly veteran Amanda Keller saying she’d been struggling with Gleeson’s campaign. Online voting is open to the public – and in the age of social media, has proven itself vulnerable to viral campaigns. Stand by to watch the genuine prospect of the Logies – an institution in an industry that takes itself very seriously - handing its top prize to a man who is making no secret of his contempt for it. For fans of subversion – it’s utterly delicious.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
The end-of-financial-year means looking through the internet trying to find some good content to procrastinate over while your to-do-list stacks up, are we right? This New York Times gallery on subway life was just the ticket.
The Washington Post’s people have made a list of book recommendations - with a difference. It’s a specific recommendation for every year of age from 1-100yo.
A mate cooked us this during the week, and it was amazingly good. And you can never have too many roast chook recipes…
SQUIZ THE DAY
G20 kicks off in Japan (on until tomorrow)
Tesla founder Elon Musk's birthday (1971)
Anniversary of the last stand of the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan, Victoria (1880)
SHOUT AWAY ITS CAPS LOCK DAY
10.30pm (AEST) - World Cup Cricket - Australia v New Zealand
Birthday for Bret McKenzie - one-half of “New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo” Flight of the Conchords (1976)
7.30pm (AEST) - The Logies (broadcast on Channel 9)
The world’s first emergency telephone number (999) is introduced in London (1937)
And make sure you've read every Squiz email from this week to be in the draw for a great pack of books.
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