Squiz Today / 31 July 2017
Squiz Today – Monday, 31 July
“I have never seen anything so superficial. The thing is so totally bland.”
Fair to say artist John Olsen is not a fan of the winning entry in this year’s Archibald’s – Mitch Cairns’ painting of his partner Agatha Gothe-Snape. Prize judge and artist Ben Quilty called Olsen “ungracious”. Fight! Fight! Fight! We reckon the NSW Art Gallery won’t be too upset – all publicity is good publicity…
TERROR RAIDS THWART PLANE BOMB PLOT
Four Lebanese-Australian men (two father/son teams) have been arrested and airports around the country were put on alert following counter-terrorism raids in Sydney on Saturday night. Authorities said they received intel of a plot to bring down a flight, possibly one heading to the Middle East. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said; “At this time we don’t have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date or time. However, we’re investigating information indicating the aviation industry was potentially a target of that attack.” This is the 13th significant terror plot foiled by authorities in Oz in recent times.
WHAT HAVE THE RAIDS UNCOVERED?
Materials that could be used in making an explosive device were found at one of the raided homes in inner-city Surry Hills (the other homes raided are in south-west Sydney). It’s understood the plan was to smuggle an explosive device (possibly disguised as a meat mincer) onto a plane for detonation. And reports this morning say evidence was found that shows the men may have been planning a gas attack against passengers. The men are believed to have been involved with Islamic State militants in Syria. PM Malcolm Turnbull described it as an “elaborate” conspiracy.
SO THAT’S THAT?
Not quite. Operations are continuing with searches expected to last until mid-week as authorities go through documents, computer records and properties with a fine-tooth comb. The men can be held for up to a week without charge. Increased airport security measures have been implemented across our major domestic and international terminals - passengers were told to get the airport two hours before their flights and also to limit their carry-on luggage. Bad news for those who like to bring on board enough clothes for two weeks – you know who you are…
SQUIZ THE REST
US RESPONDS TO NORTH KOREAN MISSILE TEST
As anticipated last week, North Korea tested another intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday. Experts say it showed they have advanced since the last test – there’s even talk that they now have the range to hit the east coast of the US (think Washington DC/New York). One thing that isn’t known is what capacity they have to arm a missile with a nuclear warhead. US President Donald Trump went after China via Twitter; “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet… they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.” The US flew two fighter planes over the Korean Peninsula and tested their anti-missile shield based in South Korea as a show of force.
QUICK POLITICAL NEWS WRAP
LABOR DETAILS TAX APPROACH - Labor leader Bill Shorten unveiled more of his party’s tax policy yesterday taking aim at high-income earners who use trusts to minimise their tax. He also vowed to hold a referendum on Australia becoming a republic in his first term. No response was forthcoming from the Elizabethans.
CITIZENSHIP CLOUD CONTINUES - After many questions and many different responses (our favourite was that he ‘chose’ to believe he’s not a citizen of the UK), One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts looks set to be referred to the High Court for a determination on his citizenship status. If ruled ineligible, it’s likely One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s sister Judy Smith will take up the seat.
HOUSEKEEPING ON THE MURRAY DARLING BASIN – PM Turnbull and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce last night announced support for an inquiry into the Murray Darling Basin Plan. It follows the ABC’s Four Corners report last week alleging water theft and is progress on Joyce’s view that it’s an issue for the states to sort out.
WHITE HOUSE STAFF SHAKE-UP
Look, truth be told we could have dedicated a whole edition to this but here are the highlights:
- Chief-of-staff Reince Priebus was removed by Trump on Friday. Those in the know say it’s part of a push to remove the Republican’s ‘establishment’ players from the White House.
- Priebus will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly – he’s a retired four-star general and his appointment is designed to bring order to the operation (yep, we got the giggles too).
- New communications director Anthony Scaramucci got burned by the New Yorker after calling their politics correspondent to mouth off. So worth the read.
We could go on and on, but we’re sure that’s enough for now.
RUSSIA TO EXPEL 755 US DIPLOMATS
This is a breaking story - it looks like the diplomats will be sent home in retaliation for US Congress approval of new sanctions against Russia last week for their interference in last year’s election. The US embassy in Moscow has more than 1,000 staff.
BLOODSHED IN VENEZUELA’S ELECTIONS
A candidate and opposition protester were killed before voting started in Venezuela's elections yesterday. The country has been bracing for violence after months of clashes between authorities and opposition forces. This election is to replace their legislative body with a new constituent assembly that will have the powers to write a new constitution – something critics say is a power grab for President Nicolás Maduro.
SEEBOHM SAVES OZ FROM A GOLD DROUGHT
Emily Seebohm has had a rough trot of late – after a disappointing Rio Olympics, she had surgery for endometriosis in December and had to fight hard to reclaim her form. And what a race Saturday night’s World Championships 200m backstroke was – turning fourth on the final lap, she gunned it to claim the gold. Without Seebohm’s win we were on track to have the first gold-less World Champs since 1986. The shame!
BALI JAIL ESCAPEE LOOKING FOR SOME PR
With ‘Cocaine Cassie’ in the news last week, we wondered what had happened to Shaun Davidson. Remember him? The bloke on the run from drugs charges in Perth who escaped from jail in Bali a month ago after being banged up for using someone else’s passport? Well, someone claiming to be him took to Facebook on Friday inviting media to bid for an interview. "I've been a free man now for 30 full days I've left fans amazed police and governments dazed who wouldv thought id be on top with my cheeky smartass ways". He’s a poet and probably didn’t know it. Who knows if the account is real, but it says he’s single. Just sayin’... we know it’s hard work finding a soulmate these days…
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - National Health Survey, 2014-15
New Home Sales Data from the Housing Industry Association
DonateLife Week (supporting organ donation awareness)
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
Get the Squiz Today newsletter
It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.