Squiz Today / 22 March 2018
Squiz Today – Thursday, 22 March
That’s how many viewers tuned in to watch Nine’s Married At First Sight reunion finale on Tuesday night, making it the most watched non-sports program of the year so far. That’s a lot of trash hounds…
A TOUGH DAY IN THE OFFICE
Myer, our largest department store chain, yesterday reported a loss of $476 million for the July-December 2017 period. It's the Aussie retail icon's biggest loss in its +100 year history. The nasty item throwing it into the red was a $524 million write-down in the value of the Myer brand. Ouch. Executive Chairman Garry Hounsell acknowledged it was a highly competitive retail environment, particularly during the lead up to Christmas. But he was critical of the performance of former CEO Richard Umbers.
Indeed. Myer’s share price was down 3.5% yesterday to 42 cents. For context, it was $4.10 when the company relisted on the Australian Stock Exchange in late 2009. Which by our maths is a lot of percents. Big shareholder, Solomon Lew's Premier Investments, said; "Today's result provided further evidence, if any was needed, that the Myer Board should be removed and replaced as soon as possible if the company has any hope of surviving.” Tick tock.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON BIZ WISE?
Billionaire James Packer yesterday stepped down from the board of Crown Resorts and is stepping back from all commitments citing mental health problems. He remains Crown’s biggest shareholder with 47% of the business. Observers said the pressure from Crown’s run-in with Chinese authorities, his involvement in a corruption inquiry into Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his estrangement from his sister Gretel and fall-outs with close friends had taken a toll on Packer. Reports say he will remain at his polo ranch in Argentina to focus on his battle with depression and anxiety.
SQUIZ THE REST
COCAINE-LINKED AUSSIE BROUGHT HOME
Rohan Arnold, the businessman from around Canberra-way who was detained in Serbia for his alleged involvement in Australia's second largest cocaine bust, has been extradited to Sydney. Arnold and two colleagues (also Aussies) were arrested in January. Police seized more than 1.28 tonnes of cocaine concealed in pre-fabricated steel coming from China in April last year. His colleagues remain in Serbia.
PRESSURE ON VICTORIAN PREMIER
In our increasingly “nimble and agile” economy, creativity is rewarded. Except if you’re using taxpayers dollars allocated to fund MPs electorate staff positions to hire political campaigners. The Victorian Ombudsman yesterday released a scathing report into the Labor Government practice that was found to be a misuse of almost $400,000 of public money. And then there’s the $1 million the government spent on fighting it in the courts… The Liberals say responsibility lies with Premier Daniel Andrews and that heads must roll. Andrews apologised and said the $400,000 had been repaid, but no one would lose their job. Something says that’s not the end of it…
TRUMP THROWS OUT THE SCRIPT ON PUTIN CALL
What do you do when someone types in ALL CAPS that you shouldn’t do something? Like, for example, you’re on a call with freshly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian double agent on British soil, and your top-level security briefing note says “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” him on his election win? You congratulate him, of course. And tell him you want to get together soon. Maybe Team Trump need to try some reverse psychology…
Because we like to keep you updated on things that need updating:
• Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix was stood aside yesterday. He has been replaced by an Aussie, Alex Tayler. And this handy outline on how to best protect your data on Facebook is… well… handy.
• Mark Conditt, the 23yo man authorities suspected of being responsible for a series of explosions in Texas, died yesterday. Police had pulled him over in his car when he detonated a device, killing himself.
• 101 of the 110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last month have been returned to their families in Dapchi. Reports say at least five girls died during the ordeal and one girl remains captive.
• The ashes of revered theoretical physicist Steven Hawking, who died last week, will be interred next to the grave of Sir Isaac Newton at Westminster Abbey. Next to Newton is Charles Darwin. Smart neighbourhood.
• Yesterday was Wednesday, not Tuesday. And today is definitely Thursday. We even checked to be sure.
OCEANS CHOKING ON PLASTIC
Picking up on Dr Ginni Mansberg’s excellent Three Minute Squiz yesterday, a report commissioned by the UK government has found the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is set to treble in a decade unless litter is reduced. Penned by eminent experts, one author said that oceans are “out of sight, out of mind” so the impacts of plastics, pollution and commercial operations like oil and mining are not properly regulated.
PRETTY AS A PICTURE
The photos we take are pretty lousy and our geriatric phone doesn’t help. But a love for good photography endures and yesterday's winners of the Sony World Photography Awards Open competition certainly fall into that category. Well worth a scroll when you need to procrastinate today. This is the one we loved.
SQUIZ THE DAY
7.00pm (AEDT) - Cricket - Australia v South Africa Third Test - Cape Town
7.25pm (AEDT) - AFL (first match of the 2018 season) - Richmond v Carlton - MCG
ABS Data Release - Labour Force, February
First anniversary of the terrorist attack in London near the Houses of Parliament
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