Squiz Today / 25 February 2019
Squiz Today – Monday, 25 February
"I defy Cristiano Ronaldo to do just one of my movements."
Said French breakdancer Mounir Biba defending the push to have the discipline included in the 2024 Paris Olympics that would see breakers facing off in dance battles as individuals and teams. Time will tell if the International Olympic Committee will get hip to the idea - a decision is on hold until after the 2020 Tokyo games.
VENEZUELAN CRISIS DEEPENS
It’s now been a month since Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó challenged President Nicolás Maduro when he declared himself the legitimate leader of the country. Despite receiving support from US President Donald Trump and at least 65 other nations, Guaidó and his supporters have not been successful in moving Maduro on. Frustration bubbled over on the weekend with violent clashes between anti-Maduro crowds and pro-government forces at the Colombian border where aid has been blocked. Overnight, the US said Maduro’s days are numbered while Guaidó called on international support to oust the strongman president.
BACK IT UP A BIT…
The country is years deep into an economic crisis:
• Three million people have fled the country in recent times because of the poor standard of living (think serious hyperinflation, power cuts and shortages of food and medicine).
• Around 90% of its citizens are considered to be living below the poverty line by United Nations standards.
• Despite this, Socialist Party President Nicolás Maduro ‘won’ a second six-year term last year in an election that international observers declared to be illegitimate.
• Maduro claimed Guaidó’s challenge on 23 January was an attempt by the US to unseat him.
• Since then, Maduro has blocked tonnes of aid worth tens-of-millions of dollars saying there is no humanitarian crisis and it’s a part of US efforts to destabilise the country. It was this pressing issue - the lack of food and medical supplies - that was the focus of protests on the weekend. (Some pics are here.)
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Guaidó will meet with US Vice President Mike Pence and leaders from the Lima Group (made up of 14 countries from the region) in Bogota, Colombia on Monday (local time) despite a travel ban having been imposed on him. The two big issues - how to resolve the worsening food and medicine shortage, and how to get rid of Maduro. On the latter, ‘radical solutions’ are being canvassed (note: that’s code for additional help from the United States). The Trump administration has already increased sanctions and has said that military options are not off the table.
SQUIZ THE REST
NO NEW NEWS ON NEWSPOLL
If today’s Newspoll was a sound, it would be like the air sputtering from a deflating balloon to Team Morrison supporters’ ears. The Coalition remains behind Labor 47:53 and PM Scott Morrison continues to lead Labor’s Bill Shorten as preferred PM 44:35 - the same result as a fortnight ago. After a bruising fortnight in the parliament and hope from Coalition types that its recommitment to ‘tough on border security’ policies would bolster its polling results, today’s outcome was not what they had in mind. So on we go… On the agenda today: Labor will announce a $640 million ‘fairness fund’ with money raised from financial institutions to help people struggling with debt get access to financial counselling. Meanwhile, PM Scott Morrison is scheduled to outline a $2 billion ‘climate solutions fund’ as part of a $3.5 billion package.
POPE PROMISES ACTION ON CHILD ABUSE
Wrapping up his four-day summit with bishops from around the world, Pope Francis has promised action to prevent the abuse of children by the Church’s clergy and punish perpetrators. He hasn’t outlined specific measures to meet that brief, something victims groups want sooner rather than later. The summit heard from abuse victims and talked about the handling of abuse cases and codes of conduct for priests. The issue is considered the most pressing crisis facing the modern Church.
SAUDI PRINCESS NAMED NEXT AMBASSADOR TO AMERICA
Princess Rima bint Bandar al-Saud will become the first woman from the kingdom to take on an envoy role. She takes over from Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, and follows her father, Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, who was Saudi’s US ambassador from 1983 until 2005. Washington DC is familiar territory for the princess - she spent part of her childhood there. Her CV includes stints in the public and private sector, and reports say she is an advocate of women's rights. She’s taking on a big job in the wake of the Khashoggi scandal that saw President Trump emphasise the importance of America’s relationship with Middle Eastern power. Her appointment also comes as female Saudi asylum seekers, like Rafaq al-Qunun, make headlines around the world.
Updates on some recent stories...
BOURKE ST MURDERER SENTENCED - James Gargasoulas has been given a life sentence with a non-parole period of 46 years for driving his car into pedestrians in the Melbourne CBD two years ago. The 28yo was found guilty of six counts of murder and endangering the lives of 27 others. Gargasoulas’ defence relied on claims about his mental state, however, Judge Mark Weinberg said; "You knew full well what you were doing."
CHOO-CHOO - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is taking the train to Vietnam for episode two of his talks with President Trump. That's coming to a screen near you on Wednesday and Thursday.
OMA GOES COASTAL - Beaches from Queensland's Goldie up to the Sunshine Coast were lashed by the tropical-storm-formally-known-as-Cyclone-Oma. Around 30 people were rescued from the surf over the weekend. The rough conditions are expected to ease over the coming days.
GIVE US A MUFFIN BREAK, SAY GEN Y SUPPORTERS
You know when you're scanning your socials on a Sunday arvo and one article comes up over and over again? For us, it was this news.com.au interview with Muffin Break boss Natalie Brennan who left no crumb unturned in her assessment of Gen Y workers. “There’s just nobody walking in my door asking for an internship, work experience or unpaid work, nobody. You don't see it anymore." Apparently, it used to happen all the time in years gone by. She went on to characterise kids these days as clueless, social media obsessed, and unable to take criticism. "I'm generalising, but it definitely feels like this generation of 20-somethings has to be rewarded even if it’s the most mundane, boring thing, they want to be rewarded for doing their job constantly.” Brennan didn’t find a lot of support yesterday...
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO...
...those of us who can wrangle some telly/internet surfing time from late-morning to keep up with the Academy Awards action. Two Aussies are nominated - Tony McNamara for best screenplay and Fiona Crombie for best production design on English period comedy/drama The Favourite. The full list of nominations is here. There's no need to feel too bad for those who lose out on a gong in the acting and directing categories - they’ll still take home an A$200,000 gift bag. And every nominee and presenter gets an ‘everyone wins’ grab bag worth A$140,000 with everything from ‘cannabis edibles’ to dental floss. And then there’s the competitive after-party scene to navigate…
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.00pm (AEDT) - 91st Academy Awards - Los Angeles
Start of a ban on junk food advertising across London's public transport network
Anniversary of the death of cricket legend Don Bradman (2001)
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