Squiz Today / 04 May 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 4 May 2017
HELLO WORLD, LET’S CHAT
Lots of chats, lots to say:
1) US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin got on the phone yesterday to discuss finding a peaceful resolution to the Syrian civil war. On North Korea, Russia wants the US to exercise restraint. There was also talk of the two leaders meeting at the upcoming G20 meeting in Germany in July.
2) It was a busy day for Putin: when not chinwagging with Trump, he was hosting a visit from Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. She made a point afterwards of highlighting their discussion on the treatment of gay men in Chechnya and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
3) Trump met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. Trump said he wants the Palestinians and Israelis to resolve their differences by direct negotiations, and he has vowed to act as a mediator. "There's such hatred, but hopefully there won't be such hatred for very long," he said.
4) And it’s also only right to mention our PM Malcolm Turnbull is en route to meet Trump in New York tomorrow.
TALKING’S GOOD I GUESS?
Absolutely. Much better to talk it out now than blow it up later, we say. One thing we think Merkel would have been keen to discuss (maybe off the record) are the accusations of Russia’s interference in recent elections (think US, Netherlands and France this weekend). After all, Germany’s federal election is on 24 September. Hillary Clinton sure can’t stop talking about it… By all accounts, the meeting between Merkel and Putin went better than when they first met when Putin let his dog loose. True story. Apparently the German leader is terrified of pooches and Putin let his Labrador roam the room as they posed for photos. Putin was reportedly grumpy she wanted their advisers present in their meeting.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE TRUMP/TURNBULL MEETING?
Besides the ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea aboard a retired aircraft carrier, they’ll no doubt cover the classics – trade, regional security and reaffirming commitments to a good relationship. Both men are dealmakers in the pre-political lives, so they have a bit in common – and that could be good for Australia, particularly on the trade front. Experts think there could be requests from Trump for more military support given our proximity to Asia. But most importantly: what gift is the PM taking the President? We’ll find out tomorrow.
SQUIZ THE REST
FAIRFAX TO CUT 125 EDITORIAL JOBS
Fairfax Media, publishers of the Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, announced to staff yesterday that 125 editorial jobs would be cut as part of a bid to save $30 million. The union says that's about one in four roles across their newsrooms. Staff have voted to walk off the job for a week in protest. The strike has been timed to coincide with the federal budget - always a yuuuuge day for newspapers. MSM (mainstream media for non-industry types) continues to struggle in the brave new news world. Their revenue model has been shaken by Google and Facebook absorbing more than 40% of advertising revenue. And access to free news on digital platforms (ahem…) has led to declining traditional newspaper distribution while making a buck from online subscriptions has proved difficult.
REACTION TO SCHOOL FUNDING CHANGES
It’s a fairly predictable response; if your school is in line to get more funding, you love the proposed education funding changes; if you’re likely to lose out, you’re not too rapt. There are two categories of ‘losers’: 24 independent/Catholic schools the Department of Education say receive more than they should (most are prominent private schools in the capital cities). Then there are 353 schools who will receive less funding by the end of the decade – (probably) mostly Catholic schools. And then there are 9,048 schools (mostly public) that will receive more funding. The Greens have not ruled out support for the package when it comes before the parliament – which is very encouraging for the government. The government said it would release a calculator to help people see what schools are impacted and to what extent.
BHP INSTRUCTED TO STAY HOME
Treasurer Scott Morrison says the government will intervene if a plan to delist BHP from the Australian Stock Exchange gets momentum. The big miner currently has dual-listing in Australia as well as on the London Stock Exchange. American hedge fund Elliott Management are behind a plan to remove BHP from the ASX (saving $2.5 billion in tax paid here), and wants them to sell some assets/restructure. BHP management has dismissed the plan, but that hasn't stopped Elliott from sending representatives to Oz to try to convince shareholders of the plan. But Morrison says he has the power to block the move, and would do so if required.
TIM MINCHIN AND CATE BLANCHETT UP FOR A TONY AWARD
How clever is that Tim Minchin? Following the yuuuge success of Matilda, Minchin’s new production Groundhog Day (based on the Bill Murray movie) has emerged as a front-runner at this year’s Tony Awards, Broadway’s theatre awards. Cate Blanchett is up for a best actor gong for her performance in Andrew Upton’s (her husband) play The Present, an adaptation of the Anton Chekhov play, Platonov. Three other Aussies have producer noms: they are Sam Levy, Rodney Rigby and Stuart Thompson. The most nominated plays this year are Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and Hello, Dolly!
PRICE WILLIAM SEEKS €1.5 MILLION COMPENSATION FOR TOPLESS PICS OF KATE
That’s a lot of moolah, and a sign of how seriously William and the Royal machine took the breach of Kate’s privacy. The action is against France’s Closer magazine after the pictures were published in 2012. In a statement read in court, Prince William said it “reminded us of the harassment that led to the death of my mother, Diana Princess of Wales". Oh yes, he DID just play the Diana card. The defence said the action was hypocritical as "the public and private lives of the royal couple are so closely linked as to be inseparable". A verdict is due on 4 July.
SQUIZ THE DAY
PM Malcolm Turnbull and US President Donald Trump to attend commemorations for the 75th anniversary of The Battle of the Coral Sea - USS Intrepid Museum, New York
12.30pm - Federal Education Minister Senator Simon Birmingham to address the National Press Club
ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, March
NAB interim profit and Qantas third quarter sales announcements
Star Wars Day - May the 4th be with you
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