Squiz Today / 13 April 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 13 April
CONFLICT GALORE FOR TRUMP
US President Donald Trump sure has his hands full ATM. Let us count the ways - Syria and North Korea, Russia and China, his White House team, and organising an Easter egg roll. That’s quite a lot.
BREAK THAT DOWN
Syria - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow overnight. Tillerson was there to ‘encourage’ the Russians to cease their support (both morally and militarily) of Bashir al-Assad’s government in Syria. Putin is not for turning and said the US-Russia relationship is “degraded”. Later in a joint press conference, both Tillerson and Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov agreed they want to see a unified and stable Syria. But there's plenty the don't agree on including Russia's preference for a resolution that includes Assad. Every good meeting should agree on next steps, right? It's not entirely clear what those are at this stage.
North Korea – Trump is in a war of words with North Korea over their refusal to back down from their program of testing ballistic missiles. Yesterday North Korea warned of a nuclear attack on the US. On the upside, there was a call yesterday between Trump and President Xi Jinping. Xi said China wants a de-nuclearised Korean Peninsula. However, Tillerson said something a bit weird in the press conference in Russia we thought. It was along the lines of: "you know, the US strike force is in the general area, don't read too much into its current location." That language seems a long way from Trump’s “check out my armada, North Korea”. The mysteries of high diplomacy...
Sean Spicer – The White House Press Secretary made big mistakes in his press briefing yesterday. He claimed (but later apologised and retracted) that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing.” Seems the Jewish death camps and gas chambers slipped his mind.
Steve Bannon - Trump didn’t exactly offer a rousing endorsement of his chief strategist when asked by the New York Post about his ongoing role in the White House. Could it be bye-bye Bannon?
White House Easter Egg Roll – One of Trump’s axis of ‘fake news’ evil, the New York Times, put this on the agenda yesterday. Will this annual event, with almost 140 years of history and 38,000 attendees, be a fizzer? I guess we’ll see…
IS CHINA STEPPING UP?
Some experts are hopeful this is a new phase in the US-China relationship. They saw China’s confirmation of details of the conversation on Syria and North Korea between Trump and Xi as a good sign. The call from Xi followed a Trump tweet yesterday that included the line: “If China decides to help, that would be great.” China is key ATM, they have supported Syria's and North Korea's current regimes in the recent past.
SQUIZ THE REST
BUMPY QANTAS FLIGHT INVESTIGATED
A serious mid-air incident injuring 15 people on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong last Friday is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Reports say it relates to a device activation at 22,000 feet that warned crew of an ‘imminent stall’. Those are two words you never want to hear on a plane. The flight also experienced a couple of minutes of heavy turbulence related to the incident. Ambulances met the flight in Honkers, one passenger was hospitalised.
GERMAN POLICE HOLD SUSPECT
German police are holding a suspect with ‘Islamist’ links over the blasts that targeted a bus carrying the Borussia Dortmund football team to a Champions League game yesterday. Police say letters claiming responsibility were found at the site. The game has since been held, opposing side Monaco won 3-2 in case you’re interested…
RENT, DON’T BUY SAYS ECONOMIST
Prominent economist Chris Richardson had some clear advice yesterday for first home buyers – don’t. The partner of Deloitte Access Economics was speaking at the National Press Club yesterday and said renting made more sense than buying in his view. He also warned that the government can’t actually do much for housing affordability given it’s a free market and all. The ray of sunshine also had some apocalyptic predictions for the Australian economy if China falters, something that’s plausible but not predicted.
KNOW ANY SURGEONS FROM POINT PIPER?
If you do, be sure to get them to shout the drinks next time. The Australian Tax Office yesterday released data from 2014-15 with the richest and poorest postcodes, and best paid professions. No surprises that Sydney’s eastern suburbs featured at the top, as did Melbourne’s Toorak and Perth’s Cottesloe. Medical professions made up half the top ten professions and New South Wales was the most charitable state.
MICROSOFT ISSUES URGENT SECURITY PATCH
If you haven’t updated your Microsoft Office software in the last couple of days, do it ASAP. A bug has been detected targeting the users’ bank details if an infected Word document is opened. Microsoft issued an update dated 11 April. All you need to do is open a Word document, select ‘Help’ from the menu at the top of the screen, and select ‘Check for Updates’. You’re welcome.
EASTER LITES – THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
How did the United airlines incident unfold? How did they get themselves in so much trouble? This blow-by-blow rundown on the making of a public relations disaster is fascinating reading.
We’ve been looking for this our whole adult lives – a travel guide with the top ten destinations by month. Marrakech, anyone?
If you love a scathing restaurant review, The Guardian’s review of Paris’ fine dining establishment Le Cinq from last weekend is a doozy.
SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY
We’re having Easter off. The next time you see us we’ll be a bit heavier due to some extreme HXB action (that’s Hot Cross Buns for the uninitiated) but we’ll be alert (4 nights normal sleep in a row!!!). Travel safely if you’re out and about.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS data release - Labour Force (February)
South Australian and Tasmanian schools break for term 1 holidays
And exhale... it's almost the Easter weekend
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