Squiz Today / 07 September 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 7 September
“She went to the toilet. Unfortunately, it wouldn't flush and she decided to throw it out the window."
Worst first date ever. Politeness prevents us from outlining all the stinky details, but if toilet humour is your thing, go no further than this. Spoiler alert – the fire brigade had to get involved.
TURNBULL AND TRUMP FIND THEIR TELEPHONIC MOJO OVER NORTH KOREA
PM Malcolm Turnbull and US President Donald Trump’s 30-minute phone call yesterday was dominated by discussions on the North Korean crisis. And while Turnbull would not be drawn on the details of what steps Trump might be considering if Kim Jong Un continues to amp up the agro, they agreed military conflict would be catastrophic and a diplomatic solution remains the best option. “The best avenue to achieve that is continued enforcement of strong economic sanctions and, of course, the country with the biggest lever in that regard is China,” Turnbull said. And how was the telephonic chemistry? “Warm” and “constructive” said the PM.
WHAT ARE OTHER LEADERS SAYING?
Russian President Vladimir Putin agrees that military intervention to end the crisis would be a disaster. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue,” he said. Putin also said that he believed further sanctions would be ineffective but other world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, are lining up in support. This is a tricky area for China, and it's believed it would block any measures that would topple Kim's regime (like cutting off North Korea's oil supply) given the potential for a refugee crisis on its border. The UN Security Council will meet on Monday to consider new sanctions.
WHAT ELSE DID TURNBULL AND TRUMP CHINWAG ABOUT?
1. Islamic State and the Philippines. Both Australia and the US are assisting the Philippines government in their fight against IS terrorists in Marwari. Fighting has been going on for more than three months and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he believes IS will be defeated by December. Disturbing reports this week said that government troops have encountered armed women and children, thought to be family members of IS fighters.
2. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Turnbull said he extended Australia’s sympathy and the two leaders swapped stories about dealing with major natural disasters.
SQUIZ THE REST
POWER PLAYS OVER LIDDELL
The amount of time the PM is spending on this issue is probably a good measure of its importance to voters. Yesterday’s instalment in the ongoing electricity crisis focused on the future of AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station near Newcastle. The experts say we can’t afford to lose any baseload power in the coming years and given AGL’s plans to shut Liddell in 2022, we have a problem. AGL says 2022 really is the end of the station’s life, but it’ll keep the lines of communication open with the government. Meanwhile, Delta Electricity, which has another coal-fired generator in the area, says it could be open to making a bid for Liddell if the price is right. We can see the Coalition’s next three-word campaign slogan now: “Feel the power!” And Labor’s might be: “Flick the switch”…
FIGURES SHOW GOOD ECONOMIC GROWTH
The jump in exports and the good employment numbers we told you about yesterday have led to a 0.8% increase in our gross domestic product for the April-June quarter, up from 0.3% in the January-March period. That means our economy grew by 1.8% in the 2016-17 financial year – a pretty good result overall. However, for the government's budget forecasts to stack up, we'll need to keep improving (particularly when it comes to increasing wages). The Reserve Bank and analysts think that’s very possible.
HURRICANE IRMA BEARING DOWN ON CARIBBEAN & PUERTO RICO
Residents of Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas are preparing to be without electricity for months as ferocious Hurricane Irma gathers strength. Overnight, Irma has ripped through Antigua, Barbuda and the Virgin Islands with sustained winds of 295km/hour. Irma is gearing up to be a Category 5 storm, which would be both historic and devastating. A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, and the US is preparing to deploy a Navy hospital ship and medical personnel to the area. One Leeward Islands resident who wasn't going anywhere was Sir Richard Branson – he elected to stay on his private Caribbean island. "I will be on Necker alongside our team, as I have been on the three times we have had hurricanes over the past 30 years," he said. That’s crazy-brave.
LEGO HOUSE KNOCKED DOWN
Lego, which has defied gravity by increasing its sales despite kids’ growing love of screens, hit the ground with a thud yesterday. The company reported the first sales drop in 13 years. Lego is responding quickly and brutally by laying off 1,400 workers and focusing on getting new products to market quickly. It still made more than $680 million in profit, so it’s not all bad. (Read this next bit in your best Danish accent) “The car has gone off road and landed in a ditch and now we have to pull it out and get it back up to speed again,” said chairman Jørgen Vig Knudstorp.
SUBMARINE OWNER SAYS JOURNALIST’S DEATH AN ACCIDENT
Still in Denmark… Peter Madsen, the inventor/homemade submarine owner, yesterday told a court that Swedish journalist Kim Wall died after accidentally being hit by the sub's 70kg hatch cover. While plausible, it still doesn’t explain how she ended up hacked to bits after Wall’s headless torso was found in late August near Copenhagen. Madsen, who has been accused of murdering Wall, said he tried to bury her at sea and had intended on committing suicide. The court hearing, which has captivated the world’s media, is ongoing.
AFL FINALS START TONIGHT
We’ve recruited two footy experts to guide you through any awkward AFL/NRL finals conversations you might encounter in the coming weeks. Today, we’re pleased to introduce our AFL specialist, Aido.
Your correspondent has little affection for any of the AFL finalists this year, so there will be no flicker of bias. It has been a big year in the AFL with record crowd attendances, the usual on and off-field controversies, and a very open finals season ahead.
This weekend is all about whittling down the final eight teams to six. The first final tonight sees minor premiers Adelaide Crows playing fourth-placed Greater Western Sydney at the Adelaide Oval. The winner gets a bye next week; the loser gets a second chance. If recent form is any guide, the Crows clearly have the edge having won seven of their previous eight encounters against GWS - but this promises to be a cracking finals opener.
MADONNA ON THE MOVE
Some thought she just needed a Holiday. But no, pop perennial Madonna has moved over the Borderline to say hello to some Beautiful Stranger(s) in her new country of residence – Portugal. Many locals have been asking “Who’s That Girl?” including FedEx after it refused to deliver a parcel, despite Madonna telling them; “Give It 2 Me”. The Material Girl says she was looking for a new Ray of Light and somewhere to get Into The Groove creatively. Maybe the move will be for 4 Minutes. Or maybe she’ll find some Hanky Panky that makes her thank her Lucky Star. One thing’s for sure, she’s not Hung Up or one to say Sorry.
SQUIZ THE DAY
2.15pm (AEST) - High Court to rule on validity of the same-sex marriage postal vote - Melbourne
3.20pm (AEST) - 80,000 child care workers to strike over poor pay
Evening - Miles Franklin Literary Award Winner Announcement - Sydney
ABS Data Releases - International Trade in Goods and Services, July; Retail Trade, July; Industrial Disputes, June; Corrective Services, June Quarter
Threatened Species Day (not banking execs, wildlife...)
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