Squiz Today / 25 November 2019
Squiz Today – Monday, 25 November
“Guess we have some improvements to make before production haha.”
Tweeted Tesla boss Elon Musk of the launch mishap that saw his futuristic Cybertruck’s shatter-proof windows... shatter. Inspired by the film Blade Runner, the you beaut ute could become your local tradie’s pride and joy from the end of 2021…
CHINESE SPY CLAIMS DEEPEN
China has labelled Wang ‘William’ Liqiang a ‘fraudster’ after he told Nine’s newspapers and TV that he was a secret Chinese Government operative who is currently seeking asylum in Australia. And last night, claims were aired that a suspected Chinese spy ring tried to install an agent into the Australian Parliament. The revelations about China’s activities to influence elections came just as Hong Kong voters turned out for district council elections yesterday.
WHAT HAS BEEN CLAIMED?
To Wang’s claims first. He says that as a Chinese spy of five-years’ standing, he was involved in operations to interfere in the politics of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia by “organising the cyber army to attack people online”. Plans are also afoot to meddle in the 2020 US presidential election, he says. He is said to be the first Chinese operative ever to blow his cover. "Once I go back, I will be dead," Wang told Nine. China's Embassy in Canberra said the 26yo is a fraud who is wanted by Shanghai’s police. Meanwhile, claims that Chinese operatives tried to pay Liberal Party member Bo ‘Nick’ Zhao $1 million to run for the Melbourne seat of Chisholm ran on 60 Minutes last night. The report said the 32yo spoke to national security agency ASIO before he died earlier this year. The cause of his death is still under investigation. The matters were being taken seriously, ASIO said.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HONG KONG?
Its local elections relate to positions on Hong Kong's 18 district councils - the territory's lowest-tier of government. And its drawn a lot of interest with 3 million people voting - more than double the attendance from last time. Going into the election, pro-Beijing parties held the majority of seats, so it’s seen as a test of support for Chinese-backed chief executive Carrie Lam. Reports say the days running up to polls have been some of the most peaceful in months with protesters calling for calm to ensure it went ahead. Results are expected this morning.
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BLOOMBERG TO RUN
Just as the Democrats were getting to the business end of deciding their candidate in the 2020 presidential election, Michael Bloomberg has officially announced his late-entry to the race. The 77yo former New York mayor said he wants to defeat President Donald Trump. His approach is to lay out a “more moderate vision” for America with himself as "a doer and a problem solver - not a talker." But the billionaire/philanthropist will need to do a lot of talking, and quickly… It’s just three months before Democrats start voting to select their candidate.
MOTHER CHARGED OVER TODDLERS’ DEATHS
Two sisters aged 1yo and 2yo were found dead in a car outside their home in Logan, south of Brisbane, on Saturday. They died from exposure to extreme heat, authorities said. And yesterday their 27yo mother Kerri-Ann Conley was charged with two counts of murder. A neighbour reported seeing the girls in the car early on Saturday morning, but they were not discovered until later in the day. It was not the first time the girls had been seen alone in the car, and police are investigating if drugs were a factor in the tragedy, The Australian reports this morning (paywall). Conley will appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
TRIAL STARTS FOR ALLEGED CLAREMONT KILLER
It is a long-awaited moment for the families and loved ones of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon. The trial of Bradley Edwards, the man accused of kidnapping and killing the three women in ’96 and ’97, starts in Perth today. Its been almost three years since charges were laid against the former Telstra technician. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the killings, although last month he confessed to attacking two other women in 1988 and 2005. The trial is expected to take six months and will hear from hundreds of witnesses, including overseas experts.
WESTPAC SNIFFS THE FOUL WINDS
Since we last spoke, the board of big four bank Westpac has met to discuss accusations of mass breaches of the anti-money laundering and terror financing laws. It decided that 23 million alleged violations of those laws, including transactions facilitating child exploitation, are not a sackable offence for CEO Brian Hartzer. But after a better reading of the bitter tea leaves, the bank yesterday announced its executive team and other senior team members have had their bonuses frozen. The LitePay system that has been at the centre of the claims has also been shut down. "We reiterate our deep sorrow for failings by Westpac," chairman Lindsay Maxsted said. If Westpac's upper echelons didn’t know how serious the matter is, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday said he’s been on the blower to them.
PROTESTERS PUT THE BIGHT ON EXPLORATION PLANS
Environmental activists - as many as 10,000 of them - took to the water on Saturday to protest against the drilling of an exploration well about 370 kilometres off the South Australian coast. Norwegian energy company Equinor wants to look for oil in The Great Australian Bight, and the company is expected to submit more information to the government regulator about its environmental plan this week. If it is approved, work on the Stromlo-1 exploration well could commence towards the end of next year. Industry spokesman Matt Doman said South Australia can have a safe, sustainable and lucrative offshore petroleum industry. But champion surfers Layne Beachley and Mick Fanning are among those voicing their opposition to the plan.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
They might be K-Pop megastars, but South Korea's BTS will have to do two-years’ military service like every other eligible male in their late 20s. Not that they’re trying to get out of it, their management says.
While on a work trip to Hobart, we once saw ferrets being walked on a lead. So surely taking the cat for a wander around the block was never far off. And sure, cats can walk. But this dog can drive… Good boy, Max.
And look - a new Kimmy has arrived in Fountain Lakes...
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Federal Parliament returns for the final sitting fortnight of the year
UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - and the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Statehood Day
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