Squiz Today / 31 May 2019
Squiz Today – Friday, 31 May
“The Persistence of Chaos”
No, that’s not a narrative on the state of the world. It’s art. Actually, it's an old laptop hosting six of the world's most dangerous pieces of malware that sold for A$1.95 million yesterday. [Goes searching for our dodgy old MacBook…]
ISRAEL GOES BACK TO THE POLLS
After claiming victory last month, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu is heading back to the polls on 17 September after he was unable to form a governing coalition. He was on track to lead his fourth consecutive (and record fifth overall) term of government as the frontman for the centre-right Likud party. Even though that hasn't gone to plan, Netanyahu remains on course to become Israel's longest-serving prime minister in July.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
• Likud won 35 of the Knesset's (aka the parliament) 120 seats in April's election, meaning it needed to form a coalition to take government. But a clash with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman from the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party dashed any hope of that happening. Lieberman would not bend on wanting potential coalition partners to commit to law changes that would compel ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military - something many would not do.
• Pundits say the election will be fought on similar lines to April's closely-fought vote, with the ongoing conflict with Palestine expected to be a top of mind issue. And there are allegations of corruption against Netanyahu that could also play out between now and September...
• There’s also a lot of interest in whether Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s toughest competitor in years, can increase his vote the second time around.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
The wheels of democracy are turning in other nations after long or difficult episodes. Narendra Modi has been sworn in for his second term as India’s PM. Austria has named Brigitte Bierlein as its first female Chancellor. She is a caretaker until an election can be held in September after the fall of the government over a corruption scandal this week. And Papua New Guinea's former finance minister James Marape has become PM. Former PM Peter O’Neill resigned on Sunday after losing the support of his colleagues. It’s busy in the mopping up business…
SQUIZ THE REST
ALBANESE TAKES CHARGE OF LABOR
Speaking of picking up the pieces, part one of federal Labor’s ‘Operation Regroup’ was completed yesterday. The party’s MPs formally endorsed Anthony Albanese (ABC’s words guru Tiger Webb says we're safe to pronounce his surname al-buh-NEE-zee - so that's another of life’s great questions answered…) as leader and Victoria’s Richard Marles as his deputy in a meeting in Canberra yesterday. And the factions have nominated who they want in the shadow ministry. Now he needs to dole out the portfolios, which is expected to happen over the weekend or early next week. Former leader Bill Shorten addressed the caucus and said “powerful vested interests” were partly responsible for his election loss. He and former deputy Tanya Plibersek were thanked for their contribution.
MINIMUM WAGE UPPED
More than 2.2 million workers will receive a wage bump ahead of the inflation rate of 1.3% after the Fair Work Commission yesterday announced an increase to the minimum wage of 3%. That equates to an increase from $719.20 to $740.80 a week, or $19.49 per hour from 1 July. The unions had called for a 6% increase saying the minimum wage isn’t enough to live on. Meanwhile, business groups supported an increase of about 2% saying anything more was too much for businesses to absorb. So no one’s particularly happy with the outcome.
HIDING GHOSTS OF THE PAST
Reports that the White House requested the US Navy move the USS John S McCain during President Donald Trump’s visit to the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan this week surfaced yesterday before being quickly torpedoed. Rumours that a tarp covered the ship's name during Trump's visit were also kiboshed. At the heart of the issue is Trump's well-known dislike for Senator John McCain who died in August last year. The destroyer is named after McCain's father and grandfather, both distinguished naval leaders. For his part, Trump tweeted he was unaware of any of it. Talk show star Meghan McCain said the episode shows he remains “deeply threatened” by her father’s “incredible life”.
RICH AND RICHER
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the richest of them all? Cardboard king Anthony Pratt, says the Financial Review’s 2019 Rich List. He has more than $15.5 billion to his name. Next up in the top 10 is mining magnate Gina Rinehart ($13.8 billion), followed by property developer Harry Triguboff ($13.5 billion), property developer Hui Wing Mai ($10.3 billion), Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar ($9.75 billion) and Mike Cannon-Brookes ($9.6 billion), shopping centre king Frank Lowy ($8.5 billion), miner/philanthropist Andrew Forrest ($7.99 billion), miner Ivan Glasenberg ($7.1 billion) and property developer John Gandel ($6.6 billion). Celebratory drinks are on them… Speaking of becoming liquid, James Packer has sold half his stake in Crown Resorts for $1.76 billion. It’s been picked up by Lawrence Ho’s Melco, a former joint venture partner of Crown’s. Packer retains 26% of the casino operator.
EIFFEL TOWER TURNS 130YO
For something that was built as a temporary centrepiece for the 1889 World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower has had a remarkable run, and today celebrates 130 years since opening to the public. Standing 300 metres high (not including the antenna), it was built by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the French Revolution and show off his nation’s industrial might. It was meant to be pulled down after the World’s Fair, but Eiffel and others convinced officials to leave it in place, much to the pffft of many Parisians. Capitalising on that sentiment, America’s most notorious con man of the 1930s Victor Lustig sold the Iron Lady for scrap metal. Not once, but deux fois. And still she stands...
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Do you know who your iPhone talks to when you're sleeping? This article from the Washington Post has been widely syndicated in the last couple of days because it’s equally eye-opening and informative.
The last book we fell deep for was Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch*. Now, the movie trailer has been released featuring our Nicole Kidman. Or you could review the lead’s shirtless Instagram selfies. Up to you.
And for some full-on joyful sobs, you can’t go past Kodi Lee’s America’s Got Talent audition. There’s a reason it’s had way more than 100 million views on Facebook since it was posted two days ago. And for reference, this is the original version of A Song For You sung by Donny Hathaway.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Releases - Australian Industry, 2017-18; Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2017-18
10.30pm (AEST) - World Cup Cricket - Australia v Afghanistan
Sydney water restrictions start
Independence Day - Samoa
Anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s birthday (1926)
PM Scott Morrison departs on a trip to visit the Solomon Islands, United Kingdom and Singapore (on until 7 June)
Foundation of the Republic Day - Italy
30th birthday for Steve Smith, former Aussie cricket captain (1989)
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
Get the Squiz Today newsletter
It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.