Squiz Today / 19 March 2018
Squiz Today – Monday, 19 March
“High speed, in reverse.”
No, not your Monday morning. That’s a description of a Georgian ski lift that malfunctioned on Friday injuring 10 people. Those who didn’t jump off were flung like ragdolls. As if skiing wasn’t hard enough…
HOMES LOST TO FIRES IN NSW AND VICTORIA
In NSW, there are fears for the safety of those who were unable to escape the South Coast town of Tathra late yesterday. At least 35 homes have been lost in the out of control blaze that jumped the Bega River in hot and windy conditions late yesterday. And in Victoria, a dozen homes were lost in fires affecting the south-west region, particularly around Camperdown and Cobden. More will be known about the extent of the damage from these fires today with teams going in to assess the damage. No one is unaccounted for at this point and no deaths have been reported in either disaster.
START WITH TATHRA…
The Rural Fire Service says the fire started in Tarraganda, south-east of Bega, and remains out of control. More than 1,000 hectares have been burnt. A southerly change came through last night easing conditions, but the warning level remains at ‘watch and act'. More than 800 people took shelter in Bega last night, but with the roads to Tathra cut, a plan to evacuate stranded residents by water is being worked on. Bega Valley Mayor Kristy McBain said; “It was a shock at how quickly the conditions changed and how quickly the emergency unfolded.”
AND IN SOUTH-WEST VICTORIA?
More than 40,000 hectares were burnt in the many fires that affected the area. Last night emergency warnings were issued for about 50 towns between Hamilton and Port Campbell, an area of +160km. Roads were cut, including the Princes Highway, and power lines and substations were down affecting supply to thousands of homes. There are reports of some injuries, none serious. Sadly it's expected that there are significant livestock loses.
SQUIZ THE REST
AND IN DARWIN…
Residents are cleaning up after an unwelcome visit from Cyclone Marcus on Saturday. The strongest cyclone to hit the northern capital for more than 30 years with winds of 130km/hour, Marcus left more than 26,000 residents without power. It's also contaminated the water supply and affected telecommunications services. Schools remain closed today. Marcus has moved on to the Kimberly Coast with residents there bunkering down.
CLEAR RESULTS IN WEEKEND ELECTIONS
IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA - Steve Marshall’s Liberal Party won a majority government winning 24 of the lower house’s 47 seats. The fabled baseball bats weren’t out for Labor – they’ve lost just three seats (with some more counting to come). Former Premier Jay Weatherill will remain in parliament but has stepped down as leader. And SA Best misfired spectacularly. It failed to take any lower house seats, including the one contested by leader Nick Xenophon. Maybe he and fellow party founder Jacqui Lambie could lick their state electoral wounds together over some fried chicken?
IN BATMAN - Ged Kearney defied expectations when she beat the Greens to retain the federal seat of Batman for the Labor Party with a 3.61% swing.
AND IN RUSSIA - Surprise! President Vladimir Putin has had an overwhelming win in yesterday’s election. One exit poll shows he commanded +70% of the vote.
ASEAN’S SYDNEY ADVENTURE WRAPS UP
Deals were done on combatting terrorism. And South-East Asian leaders made a ‘Sydney Declaration’ affirming the “importance of non-militarisation”, which is a not so veiled reference the China’s advance in the South China Sea. A commitment to deepen trade links and resist protectionist instincts was also given. Greg Sheridan from The Australian was a bit flat with his assessment; “...it more or less did nothing and made no serious contribution to solving any of the region’s pressing problems.”
TRUMP CHEERS ON MORE SACKINGS
Stick with this – because it’s better than Bold and the Beautiful. This time it was FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe who was fired.
• It’s got to do with accusations that McCabe gave the media info about the FBI's investigation into Hilary Clinton and misled investigators looking into the leaks. McCabe says he’s done nothing wrong.
• After 21 years service with the FBI, he was due to retire on Sunday. His is sacking on Friday denies him a federal pension. Nasty.
• In a plot twist yesterday, it was revealed McCabe has spoken to the Mueller investigation, which is looking into the Trump campaign’s alleged connections to Russia. Mueller would be particularly interested in McCabe's recollections of the contentious sacking of his former boss, former FBI Director James Comey. There’s a view that Trump sacked Comey after he refused to drop the FBI’s investigation into the campaign’s Russian links. And if McCabe's evidence is that Trump interfered with an FBI investigation… whooshka.
WESFARMERS TO SPIN-OFF COLES
After buying the then faltering supermarket chain in 2007, Wesfarmers will ‘demerge’ Coles in a transaction that would see it valued at about $18 billion. And boss John Durkan is leaving the business and will be replaced later this year by Metcash/IGA’s Steve Cain. Wesfarmers shareholders are said to be hungry for better returns that can be realised when its cash isn’t so heavily tied up in the highly competitive supermarket industry. It’s a big call for CEO Rob Scott who has only been in the top job for five months.
SNAP HURTS AFTER STARS SPEAK UP
And they haven’t been little losses either. We’re talking US$800 million last week for Snapchat. Singer Rihanna bagged the social media app for allowing an offensive ad referencing domestic violence and her former partner Chris Brown. The couple famously split after Brown was found guilty of attacking her in 2009. Snap apologised. Just a few weeks ago Kardashian tribe member Kylie Jenner tweeted; "Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” It was a criticism of the platform’s re-design. That one comment took $1.3 billion off the share price in one fell swoop. Ouch. The (very famous) customer is always right…
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SQUIZ THE DAY
Senate resumes parliamentary sittings - Dusty Canberra
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman commences US visit
A Taste of Harmony (on until 28 March)
Bruce Willis' birthday (1955)
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