Squiz Today / 31 January 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 31 January
“That would have been one of my little people a few years back...and boy was that a massive lecture!”
Chloe Shorten, wife of Labor leader Bill Shorten, cleared up the mystery that was responsible for a dip in Australia’s productivity yesterday - who burned the Shorten kitchen? The things you learn from staged/candid pictures…
HORSE RACING’S STAR TRAINER ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION, CRUELTY
The reputation of Darren Weir, horse racing’s top trainer, is in tatters after he was arrested and questioned yesterday over allegations of animal cruelty and corrupt conduct. Police also arrested two other men and seized four taser-like devices (known as jiggers) from Weir's properties in Victoria's Warrnambool and Ballarat. An unlicensed firearm and what police believe to be cocaine were also seized from his properties. The men were released without charge and Weir has declared business as usual.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
Racing Victoria, the governing body in the state, has been working with police to investigate the conduct of three people suspected of breaching the sport’s rules. Reports this morning say the investigation could also include allegations of the illegal doping of horses. Racing is highly regulated, including the people who work in it (think trainers, jockeys, stable workers), and Racing Victoria yesterday was keen for people to know it takes integrity standards seriously. But what is a ‘jigger’? It’s a small device that delivers an electric shock to the horse to get it to run faster/harder. Its use is banned, and lengthy suspensions have been given to those caught.
SORRY… WHO IS DARREN WEIR?
For racing novices, he’s best known as the bloke who trained the horse (Prince of Penzance) that Michelle Payne rode to glory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. It was the first time a woman had won the prestigious race, and it made Payne and her brother Stevieinstant stars. The story is currently being made into a movie, Ride Like A Girl, with Rachel Griffiths at the helm. But Weir isn't a oncer. He has been Victoria's most successful racing trainer for the last five years, and this season he's ahead of supermare Winx’s trainer Chris Waller by almost 90 wins putting him at the top of the national trainers tally. That makes him the big carrot (because ‘cheese’ won’t do in a horsey context... ) in racing circles.
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BREXIT ‘NOT RENEGOTIABLE’ SAYS EUROPE
UK PM Theresa May’s version of Groundhog Day is mid-movie. You know, the bit where Bill Murray is stuck, and he's not having fun at all… The bottom line from yesterday's vote in the parliament is she needs to head back to Brussels to talk to European Union representatives about making changes to the deal she did with them to avoid a hard border at the Irish border. Yes, she’s done that before. No, the EU hasn’t changed its position and says it’s unlikely to budge. And yes, the date for Brexit currently remains 29 March. Don’t drive angry, Prime Minister...
VENEZUELA TEETERING ON THE EDGE
Update: things remain unstable. Venezuela’s chief prosecutor yesterday moved to freeze opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s bank accounts and ban him from leaving the troubled country. It follows international support for his bid to unseat socialist/strongman President Nicolás Maduro. And yesterday the rumour mill kicked into high gear with a passenger jet flying into Caracas directly from Moscow. One theory is it will ferry Maduro to safety if required. Who knows, but it served to underline the close ties between Russia and the regime of the challenged president.
PRAKASH’S STATUS NOT CHECKED
Maybe they lost their number? That’s one possible explanation for the Home Affairs Department’s admission it didn’t confirm the Fijian citizenship credentials of terrorist Neil Prakash before declaring he’s no longer one of ours. In the silly season between Christmas and new year, it was revealed Prakash would be stripped of his Aussie citizenship with the government satisfied he had a claim to be Fijian. Nope, the Pacific Island nation said, and confusion promptly ensued. Yesterday, officials confirmed they ddin't chat with Fiji prior to the announcement. Oops… The former/maybe Australian is currently in Turkey on charges relating to his time as an Islamic State fighter. It came up in a hearing into a proposal to strip citizenship from all convicted terrorists, regardless of the severity of their sentence.
INFLATION STRONGER THAN EXPECTED, BUT STILL WEAK
Economics wonks were quick to point out that yesterday’s inflation numbers were the first for eight quarters (which our maths-challenged brains thinks is two years…) to exceed expectations. That’s a convoluted way of saying October-December’s inflation rate of 0.5% - taking the annual rate to 1.8% - is stronger than expected. But it’s still below the Reserve Bank’s target of 2-3%. What pushed prices up more than expected? Cigarettes and food. The inflation rate is an important factor for when the central bank looks at the state of our economic growth.
AMERICA CHILLS OUT
A good whack of America is currently freezing. The Midwest is particularly cold with parts of Minnesota bracing for wind chills of -54C (-70F). Thousands of flights have been cancelled into and out of big cities like Chicago which has hit -30C and 90 million Americans are expected to experience sub -17C (0F) temps over the next few days. The Postal Service has cancelled deliveries in affected areas across 10 states. People have been warned of almost instant frostbite, and the National Weather Service said; “Best thing you can do is limit your time outside." You think?
Speaking of extreme conditions… There are currently 1,500km of fire fronts across Tasmania with the main threat in the Huon Valley, south of Hobart. It’s expected to be another tough day.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
REIMAGINING ZARA - The fast-fashion brand's had a rebrand. Font fanatics had strong feelings…
FACE TATTOOS – Why? Just why?
THANK GOODNESS FOR MARIE KONDO - See. Tidying really can spark joy…
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - International Trade Price Indexes, December
Nauru's National Day
Swearing in of Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the new king of Malaysia
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