Squiz Today / 17 June 2019
Squiz Today – Monday, 17 June
"The superstar of rosé."
Is how the pink drop Muse de Miraval was described after a magnum sold for more than $4,300 at a charity auction. So what? It’s from the French vineyard owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt - still together in wine.
GULF TROUBLES ESCALATE
US President Donald Trump and US officials have doubled down on their opinion that Iran was responsible for last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. With the United Nations and others urging calm, the incident has upped the temperature on already boiling tensions. And some are worried it’s heading towards armed conflict.
BACK IT UP A BIT…
What happened in the Gulf last week is one of a number of attacks on tankers in recent months. No one has accepted responsibility for the attacks, but America's finger pointing at Iran comes with some background… Trump is not a fan of Iran’s because of its nuclear capabilities and he believes the regime supports terrorists who target the US. So the US has:
• Removed itself from an agreement over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
• Implemented sanctions in an effort to cut off all Iranian oil exports to the world to cripple its economy; and,
• Designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organisation - the first time the US has labelled the armed forces of a foreign government a terrorist group.
The aim is to apply pressure to force Iran to change its behaviour or come to the table for new talks.
HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT?
Not great… And a month ago the US sent warships to the Gulf without explaining why, which stoked fears there was a crisis brewing. Fast forward to last week and Iran denied having anything to do with the attacks which targeted two ships as they made their way through the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean for about 30% of the world's sea-borne crude oil. That’s despite the US releasing a video that it says pins last week's attacks on Iran. And now Saudi Arabia has joined America’s anti-Iran chorus. This week, all eyes will be on how this progresses with hopes from Europe and the UN that Trump’s declaration that “all options are on the table” prioritises peaceful solutions.
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HONG KONG PROTESTORS RETURN DESPITE PLAN SUSPENSION
A lot has happened since we last spoke... In what has been called an “important democratic moment”, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam said on Saturday that plans to allow the extradition of residents to mainland China, Taiwan and Macau had been suspended because there had been errors of communication. That didn’t stop a crowd of almost 2 million protestors dressed in black (note: police estimated it to be 338,000) returning to the streets late yesterday calling for Lam's resignation. That drew an apology from Lam last night, but demonstrators want a full retraction of the bill with concerns it will be back on the agenda at some point to undermine Hong Kong’s legal independence from China. Some pics are here.
Almost all of Argentina and Uruguay and parts of Paraguay have been without electricity. Trains stopped, and traffic signals were out, but backup generators have been supporting essential services like hospitals and airports with authorities scrambling to restore power. One report says the outage is linked to an interconnector failure in the transmission of electricity from the Yacycretá hydroelectric dam. Just nod… The combined population affected is thought to be more than 40 million people.
BORIS TOP OF UK’s LEADERSHIP RACE
Long story short, former London mayor Boris Johnson and enthusiastic Brexiteer is well in front of his rivals to become the next PM. The party is currently engaged in rounds of voting to get to the final two candidates this week. They will then be put to the party’s membership for a vote with a decision to be announced in late July. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
KNOX RETURNS TO ITALY
Eight years after she left the country, having spent four years in prison there for the murder of her flatmate, American Amanda Knox returned to Italy at the weekend to speak at a crime and justice conference. Sobbing through her speech, Knox left the audience in no doubt as to her low opinion the tabloid media whom she said "contaminated the inquiry". Knox, an exchange student in Perugia, and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of the savage stabbing murder of Brit Meredith Kercher. They were later released on appeal. Local barman Rudy Guede is currently serving a 16-year sentence for Kercher’s murder.
BACK AT NOTRE DAME
Hard hats replaced ceremonial headwear and rubble was still strewn across the floor, but the first mass since Notre Dame was devastated by fire was nevertheless celebrated in Paris yesterday. Clergy donned safety helmets and netting strung high above the nave ensured the sky didn’t fall in as a handful of French faithful turned out to mark the start of the cathedral’s resurrection from the ashes. Meanwhile, church officials pointedly noted that none of the billionaire benefactors who rushed to outbid one another with donations in the days after the blaze have handed over a single centime. Sacre bleu.
PEOPLE WITH SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE ARE…
THE SPICE GIRLS - We’ll tell you what you want, what you really, really want… The Spice Girls reunion tour is heading our way with the announcement yesterday the somewhat melodious foursome will bring their reunion show down under. At the close of the group’s final show at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, Scary Spice Mel B dropped the bombshell saying “we’ll see you in February in Australia”.
DRAKE (AND THE RAPTORS) - The curse besieging singer/songwriter/rapper Drake is on the way out. His Toronto Raptors defeated San Francisco’s Golden State Warriors to take out the NBA Finals on the weekend.
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