Squiz Today / 12 April 2018
Squiz Today – Thursday, 12 April
PRESENTED BY THE GROWTH FACULTY
“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.”
Hillary Clinton says she's ready to talk. Candidly. In fact, she’s doing it in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland this May. Sounds like something you don’t want to miss? Get tickets to this special event.
THE CHINA PROBLEM
China’s relationship with Australia is chilly. Today’s Australian Financial Review reports (paywall alert) that government ministers have been refused visas and our annual trade and business showcase in Beijing is likely to be abandoned because of strains in the relationship. And no senior Australian government members attended this week’s Boao Forum that featured Chinese President Xi Jinping, which the report says is a sign there is a problem.
WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT?
There have been a few bumps in the road in our relationship with our biggest trade partner of late.
• Australia has been critical of China’s behaviour in the South China Sea.
• The government has raised concerns about foreign interference (read China) in our open society. One high profile case came about when former Labor senator Sam Dastyari’s links to a major Chinese donor were exposed.
• One government minister talked earlier this year about concerns that China was increasing its influence with Pacific nations through infrastructure projects they didn’t need and couldn’t afford.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The government’s critics will jump on the story today and say that they are mishandling one of our most important relationships. But government ministers will likely say that we shouldn’t read too much into the fact that PM Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop have not visited China for a while because we’ve had high-level Chinese officials visit Oz (think Premier Li Keqiang’s visit last year). But with China reframing its strategic outlook, it's going to be a tricky thing for trading partners and regional players like Australia to negotiate.
SQUIZ THE REST
SYRIA AND RUSSIA PUT ON NOTICE
President Trump has tweeted that the US will launch a military strike on Syria in retaliation for last weekend’s chemical attack on Douma. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” he posted to Twitter. Russia, Syria’s main ally, said it would meet any US attack with a response. Reports say a joint US, UK and French strike is expected to happen this coming weekend. Julie Bishop said Oz would support any action that was “targeted, calibrated and proportionate.”
MILITARY PLANE CRASH KILLS 257
This occurred late yesterday in northern Algeria shortly after the plane took off. The plane was carrying soldiers and their families. Reports say while there is no official confirmation that anyone on board survived, one witness said they saw some passengers jump out of the plane before impact. The cause of the crash has not yet been identified.
FBI RAIDS WERE OVER HUSH MONEY
More light has been shed on the extraordinary FBI raids on the office and home of Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.
• Reports say investigators were after records on payment received by two women – adult actress Storm Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both women received payments in 2016 (aka before the presidential election) after alleging affairs with Trump.
• So what does this have to do with the Russia probe? Nothing directly.
• But indirectly, and importantly, the deputy Attorney-General Rob Rosenstein is the guy who oversees the Mueller investigation into allegations of collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russia.
• He’s also the guy who gave the green light to the raids on Cohen’s office. Which makes him a very unpopular figure in Trump’s eyes (to put it mildly), and talk has turned to his sacking.
• That would have big implications for the Mueller investigation.
We live in interesting times.
ZUCKERBERG SURVIVES CONGRESSIONAL GRILLING
The Facebook CEO apologised and said the company was putting fixes in place to address the issues he was there to talk about including foreign interference, hate speech and data harvesting. One interesting exchange occurred around the social media platform’s actions to prevent ‘malicious actors’ from spreading misleading content. On that front, Zuckerberg said Facebook is in an “arms race” against Russia. Some media said the whole affair just highlighted that Congress doesn’t get how Facebook works.
INTERESTS RATES WON’T GO UP UNTIL WAGES DO
That's what Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said yesterday. He added that when rates do edge up, it will be a shock for many members of the mortgage club given they haven't had one for ages. But he said the rate of economic and wages growth is "gradual". Which is about as fast as growing out a haircut you’re sick of.
LOST… AND FOUND
Eight Cameroon athletes have gone missing from the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village. The six men and two women are from the weightlifting and boxing teams. While the group hasn’t broken any laws, Games chairman Peter Beattie said he hoped they would abide by their visa requirements.
Also lost was Alice Springs local Rose who spent a night lost in the desert on Sunday. She was well prepared, and all's well that ends well. She said she was out and about on her self-described "adventure before dementia".
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Releases - Building Approvals, February; Building Activity, December; Livestock and Meat, February
Anniversary of the death of Lionel Logue, the Aussie speech therapist who treated King George VI (1957)
Here's the deal. You read the email every day this week, you go into the draw for a silk shirt from The Fable worth $149. Win-win.
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