Squiz Today / 24 April 2017
Squiz Today – Monday, 24 April
US VEEP CONVEYS COMMITMENT TO OZ ALLIANCE
US Vice President Mike Pence leaves Oz this morning after spending three days in Sydney with one purpose in mind – to reassure Australia and PM Malcolm Turnbull of America’s commitment to the US-Australia alliance. It follows tension in January after a cranky phone call between US President Donald Trump and Turnbull, and tweets from Trump about a “dumb deal” (his words) struck by Turnbull’s government with the Obama administration to resettle refugees in the US.
PENCE IS GOING TO BE VERY WELL TRAVELLED IF HE IS TRUMP’S PERSONAL EMISSARY OF PEACE…
Well, the visit comes off the back of a ten-day Asian tour (think South Korea, Japan, Indonesia) as the new Trump administration mends fences: a critical exercise given the uncertainty in North Korea. Pence and the PM also talked trade (important given the US has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership) and regional security. Importantly for the Coalition government, Pence confirmed the US will honour the refugees deal, even though it doesn’t “admire” it. That’s the political version of the relationship staple: ‘I love you but I don’t really like you right now’. Oh, and there were koalas. You can’t forget the koalas.
ANY UPDATE ON NORTH KOREA?
It remains a war of words at this stage. North Korea yesterday said it’s ready to sink the US strike force led by USS Carl Vinson. Two Japanese Navy ships joined the carrier group over the weekend for exercises. North Korea was also a bit ranty about Julie Bishop’s comments last week on their efforts to build nuclear capacity that could reach Australia. Meanwhile, Pence echoed Turnbull’s rhetoric from last week, suggesting China would be key to finding a peaceful solution.
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FRANCE VOTES – ROUND ONE
Well, France did come out to vote despite concerns they might stay home. The projected result has centrist Emmanuel Macron (pro-business, pro-Europe/migration) with 23-24% of the vote and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (anti-immigration, Euro-sceptic) with 21-22%. They look to be the top two from the 11-candidate election and will run off in a two-candidate vote on 7 May. The police shooting on the Champs Elysés on Thursday night was expected to focus voters on the centre-right candidates. This played out through a late challenge from early favourite and former prime minister, right-winger François Fillon, who achieved about 19-20%. Fillon’s campaign was irreparably damaged by corruption allegations involving payments to family members for work not undertaken. Also at the 19-20% mark is far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Hold on to your beret, it’s going to be a big two weeks of hectic campaigning.
RACE TO BE OLYMPIC PRESIDENT HEATS UP
Australia’s sporting bodies are getting ready to vote for an Australian Olympic Committee president on 6 May, but it’s probably it’s going to get more personal and nasty(er) between now and then. Challenger Danni Roche seems to be closing in on current president John Coates, but a lot can happen in the next two weeks. The ABC yesterday aired an interview with a former AOC staff member who outlined how he was bullied by Mike Tancred, the AOC’s media manager who is close to Coates. The claims are on top of reports Tancred bullied former CEO Fiona de Jong last year. It follows news on Saturday that Coates had written to all 40 sporting bodies saying he only wanted one more term (taking him up to 2021), and he would facilitate a hand-over to whoever they wanted.
NEWSPOLL SHOWS SMALL GAIN FOR COALITION
After a big week showcasing their ‘Australia First’ agenda, Turnbull and the Coalition have improved their Newspoll standing by a point to move to 48 in the two party preferred standings against Labor at 52. While the result is an improvement on 45:55 recorded in February, it is the 11th consecutive poll the Coalition has trailed Labor since the 2016 election.
A BIG WEEKEND FOR POTENTIAL PUNCH UPS
“Story about me re-entering the ring is fake news. Utter rubbish. Media should be ashamed of themselves.” No, former PM Tony Abbott isn’t talking about his political ambitions. In an excellent boost to his name recognition, Labor senator and boxing enthusiast Anthony Chisholm (who?) declared himself available to take Abbott on before the Manny Pacquiao v Jeff Horn bout in Brisbane in July. Abbott called BS.
Not to be outdone by United, an American Airlines flight attendant cranked up the agro this weekend. A female passenger with kids in tow was hit in the face when an attendant “forcefully” removed her stroller for storage. As the woman sobbed uncontrollably, a fellow traveller challenged the attendant. “Try it, hit me. Come on, bring it on,” the flight attendant yelled. American did seem one step ahead of United in their PR responses – they responded quickly, apologised properly, and suspended the staff member while the incident is investigated.
LOGIES DONE FOR 2017
Ah, Australian television's night of nights. The one evening where the number of prime time viewing hours dedicated are inversely proportional to the significance of the event. The annual orgy of self-congratulation that is the Lohhhhgies. Hard to pick a single highlight. Was it embattled Seven CEO Tim Worner being the butt of every second joke? Or was it KAK's heartfelt acceptance speech upon admission into the hall of fame? In the end, Samuel Johnson got the gold for the bio-series Molly (and was hijacked by Molly Meldrum during his acceptance speech), visiting international star James Blunt was typically tepid and Australia's fake tan industry was the winner on the night. But let’s be honest, you really want to know what they wore: dusty pink and deep purple were the colours for the ladies, while the men continued to get away with wearing a tux they bought in 2009.
ANZAC DAY 2017
The Squiz is going to the dawn service tomorrow morning, so there won’t be a Squiz Today on Tuesday. But two things to leave you with:
Check out this photo gallery from the Imperial War Museum of the campaign in Gallipoli. It’s interesting to see pictures of other countries’ troops.
And here’s a link to the family Anzac biscuit recipe. We don’t claim it to be special in any way, shape or form. But it's delicious and basically fail-proof unless you’re completely hopeless, and we wouldn't judge you for that.
SQUIZ THE DAY
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games tickets go on sale
International Sculpture Day
Barbara Streisand's 75th birthday
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