Squiz Today / 09 January 2020
Squiz Today – Thursday, 9 January
“I feel like I hit the twin lottery.”
Said Florida mum Alexzandria Wolliston of the birth of her second set of twins. The second set of twins she’s had in a year… She’s a glass-half-full kinda lady.
IRAN STRIKES BACK
Iran vowed revenge for America’s drone strike that killed its top commander Qasem Soleimani. And yesterday it fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi airbases - in Al Asad and Irbil - where US and Coalition troops are stationed. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the attack was "a slap in the face" for America. US President Donald Trump tweeted that “All is well!” And in an address to the nation overnight, Trump confirmed there was little damage to the bases, and no US or Iraqi casualties.
SO ALL’S WELL?
Look, things aren't great, but there's a sense this morning that it's cooling off a bit. Overnight, Trump has announced that the US would immediately impose additional economic sanctions on Iran. The decision to impose new sanctions rather than launch a military response indicates an easing of tensions, experts say. He’d previously said that the US would hit back in a major way “if Iran does anything they shouldn’t be doing.” Trump also made the point that given Iran’s strike didn’t inflict much damage, "Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world."
AND WHERE IS OZ IN ALL OF THIS?
PM Scott Morrison says he will talk to his colleagues and Defence officials today about what should happen with the 300 Australian troops (who are training the Iraqi military) and diplomatic staff currently in Iraq. He's also confirmed that all our people were safe from these airstrikes. As the ABC’s David Speers says, it’s a tricky one for us, particularly as we continue to talk to Iran about the release from prison of Oz-Brit academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert. And to be careful in this unstable situation, Qantas says its flights to Europe will avoid the airspace around Iran.
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HARRY AND MEGHAN STEP BACK
In breaking news this morning, the Sussexes say they are quitting their roles as 'senior royals'. In an Instagram post, they say; “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen." They also say they will "balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America." More detail about what that means will be outlined "in due course". That'll be a big one today...
176 DEAD IN IRAN CRASH
Ukraine International Airlines’ Boeing 737 jet yesterday crashed minutes after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, Iran killing all 176 people (167 passengers and nine crew) on board. The flight was heading to Kyiv. Overnight, Ukraine confirmed there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes onboard, as well as some Afghans, Germans and Brits. Ukraine has refused to rule out terrorism as a cause of the crash, but officials yesterday said early signs point to an engine malfunction. Reports say some locals believed the explosion they heard was the US launching airstrikes on Iran, such is the state of affairs right now. The tragedy comes as new Boeing CEO David Calhoun gets his feet under the desk following the sacking of Dennis Muilenburg late last year. The company has struggled in the aftermath of two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people.
HAZARD REDUCTION DEBATE LIGHTS UP
Milder conditions again yesterday allowed firefighters in NSW and Victoria to get ready for what's expected to be a difficult end to the week. Which left NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons to defended the authority’s record on managing the fuel on the ground with hazard reduction burns. Fitzsimmons said the RFS has met its targets, but longer, hotter summers have reduced the time to do the work safely. And "really awful" conditions created by the drought have seen fires spread fast and wide, regardless of the preventative measures taken, he says. This digital map from Nine’s newspapers shows just how fast and wide… Fitzsimmons also rejected former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s view that the Greens and its supporters are preventing these burns. And on the donations front, the Paul Ramsay Foundation yesterday committed to giving $30 million for initial relief projects and longer-term recovery projects.
BREAST CANCER TEST BREAKTHROUGH
Women are set to receive a more accurate prediction of their risk of developing breast cancer, thanks to a new international study. Researchers from Cambridge Uni have identified more than 350 DNA ‘errors’ or genetic variants that can increase a woman’s risk of developing the disease. That's five times the number previously known to scientists. It is predicted the test will become widely available in three to four years. If you can believe it, it's been almost seven years since actress Angelina Jolie revealed that she was BRCA-positive and had a preventive double mastectomy - a move that put this sort of genetic testing on the map.
Taking his dance inspo from former UK PM Theresa May, or perhaps former Labor leader Bill Shorten, quirky car king Elon Musk has some daggy moves of his own. Why does he have a pep in his step? He’s been celebrating the launch of Tesla’s Model Y electric sports utility vehicle program at its new Shanghai factory - a significant milestone for the company. Tesla shares have risen 93% in value over the last three months, and yesterday it became the most valuable car company in America’s history. Now that is something to dance about…
SPEAKING OF DANCE ENTHUSIASTS…
Did you like the Masked Singer? Get ready for the Masked Dancer… The spin-off will launch in the US with talk queen Ellen DeGeneres behind the Fox production. No word yet on whether Aussie audiences will be subjected to… sorry… have the opportunity to enjoy a local version.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, November
A birthday for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (1982)
Anniversary of Steve Jobs introducing iTunes (2001) and the original iPhone (2007)
100th anniversary of the formation of the League of Nations, the frontrunner to the United Nations
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