Squiz Today / 22 August 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 22 August
“I’m sick of seeing my face.”
Said internet sensation Brittany Tomlinson after the Texan filmed and TicTok’d her first taste of kombucha. Spoiler alert: it’s an emotional rollercoaster that’s been shared more than 40 million times…
PELL LOSES APPEAL, RETURNS TO JAIL
Former Vatican insider Cardinal George Pell yesterday lost his appealagainst his December conviction for abusing two choirboys in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the 90s. Two of the three judges from Victoria's Court of Appeal dismissed Pell's central argument - that the jury's original verdict was unreasonable. And all three judges rejected his team’s position that errors of law were made during the trial. That means the 78yo will return to prison to serve at least three years and eight months in jail, with a maximum term of six years.
WAS THAT EXPECTED?
It depends on which legal eagle you talk to. But what we know is that Pell gave little away in court yesterday as to his state of mind. He was “obviously disappointed with the decision… Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence,” his legal team said after proceedings. However, the decision brought relief to the victim who gave evidence about what Pell did to him and his friend, who died some years ago. Choosing to remain anonymous, he said through his lawyer yesterday; “The journey has taken me to places that in my darkest moments I feared I would not return from… I am grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in, where everybody is equal before the law, and nobody is above the law."
Pell’s legal team said it would examine the judgment before deciding on whether to apply for special leave to appeal to the High Court. They have four weeks to lodge an appeal. If the High Court denies permission, that's it. If permission is granted, it will later deliver a final judgment. That leaves Pell’s position with the Catholic Church up in the air, and yesterday the Vatican said; “As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.” And while PM Scott Morrison said his sympathies were with the victims of child abuse and that Pell’s Order of Australia honour is likely to be taken from him, Governor-General David Hurley said that won’t happen until legal proceedings are over. Watch this space…
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AUSTRALIA JOINS GULF MISSION
“Modest, meaningful and time limited”. That’s how PM Morrison yesterday described the government’s commitment to the international maritime security mission that's assembling to ensure ships' 'freedom of navigation' in the Persian Gulf. To recap: US President Donald Trump last year removed the US from an international agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear capabilities. Then it ramped up economy-killing sanctions, which angered Iran (and irritated many of America’s allies). That’s led to Iran entering the commercial-tanker-seizure game in the Strait of Hormuz, which isn’t great. The US asked us to join patrols of the area - so Morrison’s sending a navy frigate and a surveillance plane. He said makes sense for us to get involved given 25-30% of our refined oil comes through the Strait. Critics fear we’re getting involved in another unstable situation in the Middle East with an unpredictable partner in President Trump.
And while we have you… America has gone to the United Nations to argue against ending an arms embargo on Iran. Every day until the deal's October 2020 expiration is a "#CountdownToTerror", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. Now, we like ticking off days on a calendar as much as the next person, but really…
HEADS SCRATCHED OVER TRUMP’S DESIGNS ON GREENLAND
This 'President Trump wants to buy Greenland’ thing has given us whiplash. First, it was just a report that he wanted to buy it for the US, but nothing from him directly. Then, he seemed to talk it down and was all “Greenland? Pfft. Whatever.” Then Trump tweeted a joke about it. And yesterday he abruptly cancelled a trip to Denmark next month (note: Greenland is a self-governing country that is part of the kingdom of Denmark) because its PM Mette Frederiksen called the proposal “absurd”. And overnight Trump said America had been disrespected. "I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn't be interested." So what do we make of it? The Washington Post reckons Trump really does want to buy the strategically advantageous island. That, and; “The episode was also a rare window into secret White House national security planning, albeit with a Trumpian dealmaker’s twist and an element of the surreal.” Alrighty then…
WINDS OF CHANGE BLOWING IN MEXICO
A Mexican court yesterday ruled in favour of two people’s request for permission to use cocaine recreationally in the "first ruling of its kind." Under the court order, the pair can "possess, transport and use cocaine", but they can’t sell it. And it’s not a done deal yet - a higher court is required to review the decision. But advocates of drug law reform in Mexico say it’s a positive step towards ending the country's "war on drugs". Cocaine is a big part of Mexico’s drug problem. As well as the domestic health issues, cartel violence has resulted in more than 200,000 murders in the last decade. Supporters of reform hope change will happen under new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador - he’s a left-wing politician who promised a new approach to tackling drug use and related crime.
HIGH ROLLERS ABANDON CROWN
The revenue brought in by foreign VIP gamblers, including Chinese high rollers, was down by more than 26% last financial year, according to Crown Resort’s results released yesterday. Richy rich punters put $38 billion over Crown’s tables in 2018-19. For context, that’s about how much customers of Woolies supermarkets put through their cash registers in 2017-18. But we digress… It’s not revenue the company takes to the bank, it’s their profit, and last financial year that was down 28.1% to $401.8 million. With regulators breathing down its neck over claims criminal elements use its casinos to launder the proceeds of crime, executive chairman John Alexander said; "we view these inquiries as an opportunity to continue our cooperation with regulators and other agencies."
CLOSENESS FROM A DISTANCE
For the latest and greatest in scientific research, today we turn to the Heidelberg University in Germany. It’s found that parents tend to be happier than non-parents in old age with the tin lids turning into a crucial source of social support. But there's a catch... That only holds true if the kids have moved out. For those not willing to risk the eventuality of doing their 30yo child's washing, the results showed older people without children could get similar benefits from other close social connections. And for a double hit of conversation-starting studies: crazy cat ladies - not a thing.
THROWING OUT THE RULE BOOK
That’s what UK broadcaster Channel 4 has done. Convention dictates that complaints processes treat the aggrieved customer with respect. And then there’s Channel 4’s way…
SQUIZ THE DAY
8.00pm (AEST) - Ashes Test Cricket - Start of the Third Test - Headingley
UK PM Boris Johnson to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron - Paris
Company Earnings Results - Coles; Coca-Cola Amatil; Qantas; Santos; Medibank Private; Origin Energy
Anniversary of James Cook’s expedition landing on the east coast of Australia (1770)
Comedian and TV presenter James Corden’s birthday (1978)
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