Squiz Today / 16 September 2019
Squiz Today – Monday, 16 September
"It was rather noisy him making balloon animals so we had to tell him to be quiet from time to time."
Said Kiwi ad executive Joshua Jack of the contribution his support clown made to his redundancy meeting. You heard that right - support clown…
DRONE ATTACKS ESCALATE MID-EAST TENSIONS
Saturday’s drone strikes on Saudi Arabia’s oil empire have knocked out more than half its oil output for days or longer. Two facilities owned by state-run oil giant Aramco in the districts of Khurais and Abqaiq were targeted by explosives in an attack claimed by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But America has blamed Iran for the hostile move that could send the world’s fuel prices higher - an accusation Iran rejects.
REMIND ME WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YEMEN?
The conflict in Yemen has led to what’s considered to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Long story short:
• In 2011, Yemen’s citizens wanted the change they could see in the region’s Arab Spring, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh was booted from office. His deputy Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi took over, but civil war broke out between the factions.
• Saudi Arabia took the government’s (aka President Hadi’s) side and put together a coalition that got involved militarily in 2015 – action that has been supported by the US, UK and other Western nations. They’re fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
• In the meantime, thousands of civilians have died in the fighting and from preventable causes like malnutrition, disease and poor health. Aid agencies say 24 million people - 80% of the population - need humanitarian help. And 3 million people (including 2 million kids) are acutely malnourished.
SO, BACK TO THE WEEKEND’S DRONE STRIKES…
If it was the Houthi rebels, pundits say the attack raises questions about Saudi Arabia’s ability to defend its territory from their missile and drone attacks. But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday said there was no evidence supporting Houthi claims that it was them. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” he said yesterday. Whoever it was, reports say it was the most devastating strike into Saudi territory since it got involved in the war in Yemen, and it was one of the most serious attacks on its oil infrastructure in decades. With claims and counter-claims continuing to fly, global oil prices are likely to rise when markets open this morning.
SQUIZ THE REST
AUSTRALIAN ACADEMIC HELD IN IRAN NAMED
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer and researcher for the Melbourne University's Asia Institute specialising in Middle East politics, is the Australian-British woman who has been sentenced to a 10-year prison term in Iran. Her identity had been kept under wraps for fear that publicising her predicament could harm her prospects of release. However, it was revealed on Saturday in a Persian language blog and was subsequently confirmed by her family. She and travel bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin are being held in the notorious Evin Prison. Moore-Gilbert has been in jail for almost a year, and the charges against her have not been disclosed. Our government is lobbying for the trio’s proper care and safe return, and former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she’s free to assist.
VIOLENCE RETURNS TO HONG KONG'S STREETS
At least eight people were wounded (three seriously) as protestors clashed with police yesterday in what reports say was a day of petrol bombs, water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas. What started as an illegal but peaceful march by tens-of-thousands of Hongkongers descended into chaos and violence when radical protesters took on riot police and China supporters. Pundits said it's a sign that unrest in the city shows no sign of ending despite the city's administrators formally killing off a proposed extradition bill.
IT’S COOL TO BE CURRENT
Keeping you up to date on some recent stories.
HAMZA BIN LADEN DEAD - A favourite son of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead, US President Donald Trump confirmed yesterday. While his death had been reported recently, it had not been made official. For more on the man who was thought to be a future leader of the terrorist group, this New York Times’ The Daily podcast episode is a good listen.
FELICITY HUFFMAN JAILED - The actress will spend two weeks in a low-security Californian facility after pleading guilty to her part in the college admissions scam. She was one of many high-profile parents caught paying to have their children’s entrance scores boosted. Actress Lori Loughlin was also caught up - she’s taking a different route by fighting the charges.
MUGABE'S FUNERAL A FIZZER - Saturday's official service for Zimbabwe's longtime president/despot Robert Mugabe was as well received by his people as the stifling inflation, spirit-breaking unemployment and terrible violence he inflicted on them.
DRUG DEVELOPMENT MORE THAN PEANUTS
There's been an exciting development in the US for people with a severe peanut allergy - its Food and Drug Administration has recommended the approval of the first-ever drug that can reduce life-threatening reactions. Palforzia is an 'oral immunotherapy regimen' that gradually exposes children to small amounts of peanut protein over six months until they can safely eat the equivalent of two peanuts without anaphylaxis. It's an allergic reaction which is just the worst. Many parents and doctors are hopeful. Australia's drug regulators take a keen interest in what the US does, but it’s up to the drug company to make an application for it to be available to Aussie patients. And if you think a lot of drugs have the letter ’z’ in them, you’re right…
SWIFTS SWEEP LIGHTNING OFF THE COURT
The Sunshine Coast Lightning won the first two Suncorp Super Netball titles, and yesterday a third was put out of their reach by the NSW Swifts who made very sure of it winning 64-47 in Brisbane. A young team with a new coach this year and several injuries across the season, the Swifts were far from favourites with the betting markets and most commentators predicting a Sunshine Coast hat trick. MVP was given to Swifts goal shooter Sam Wallace from Trinidad and Tobago whose journey to the top of the world's premier netball league is worth a read.
Teams who didn’t fare as well as the Swifts… The Boomers. Our national men’s basketball team lost their chance to go the final losing to Spain on Friday night. They also lost the run-off for third place against France yesterday, while Spain took the tournament win overnight. On the upside, finishing fourth was their best-ever performance at a World Cup. And our men's cricket team lost the final Ashes test to England overnight to tie the series 2-2. We retain the title having won the last series. So there, England…
LAUGHING AT ANIMALS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
SQUIZ THE DAY
Federal Parliament returns for another week
Independence Days for Mexico and Papua New Guinea
Need something to read? How about a book pack from Allen and Unwin? Read the email every day this week and it literary abundance could be yours.
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.