Squiz Today / 10 April 2018
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 10 April
"It looks like they packed it inside that monument, so it's just his head."
Was one reaction to a newly unveiled monument of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. Proportionally speaking, it does look a bit off…
SYRIAN AIRBASE HIT AS WORLD SCRAMBLES TO ACT
Syrian state media has reported an air strike on a military airport near Homs has killed or injured 14 people. It follows a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on the weekend that reports say killed at least 70 people and injured hundreds more. The Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government is thought to be responsible for the chemical attack but has denied anything occurred, as has Russia. No nation has claimed responsibility for yesterday's airbase strike.
NO ONE’S FESSING UP?
Not yet anyway. The US was initially assumed to be responsible because President Donald Trump said on Sunday there would be “a big price to pay” for the as yet unverified chemical attack on Douma. France has also been talking tough so no one was surprised when Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday agreed their countries would "coordinate a strong, joint response” to the chemical attack. But both countries denied responsibility for the air strike. So eyes turned to Israel because it conducted strikes on Syria earlier this year, including on the Homs airbase. It has not yet commented on the strike.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
There was global anger yesterday about the suspected chemical attack. The US, France and seven other members called an emergency UN Security Council meeting to demand an investigation and access to victims of the Douma attack. Russia, which has veto rights, has called for a separate meeting to address “threats to international peace and security”. Pundits said the dual meetings underline the challenge of getting anything done on Syria while Russia is in its corner. And stay tuned for more out of the US with Trump saying America will make up its mind on what action to take in the next couple of days. "We cannot allow atrocities like that. Cannot allow it," Trump said overnight.
SQUIZ THE REST
US-NORTH KOREAN TALKS GETTING CLOSER…
With talks set to occur between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May (date TBC), officials have met to discuss agenda items. Top of the list is a discussion on North Korea committing to denuclearisation. Add to that North Korea’s wish that the US also removes its nuclear protections for South Korea and Japan and we have a ballgame. Just the fact that officials are holding direct talks is pretty wild given the recent tensions. When the leaders meet, it will be the first time a sitting US President has met the leader of North Korea.
CHANGING THE POWER BALANCE
We have three offerings:
• Fairfax Media says China is in talks with Vanuatu to build what could be a full military base there. The move would significantly change the strategic balance in our region. China has become a significant source of foreign aid to Pacific countries in recent years.
• Yesterday's efforts by Turnbull Government ministers to show a united front for their leader ended up drawing Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Josh Frydenberg to confirm they have their own leadership ambitions. Not in a burning kinda way, just one day if it’s an option… Former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce also had his say – he reckons if Turnbull’s appeal doesn’t pick up by Christmas, he should resign.
• Matt Comyn took the reins at the Commonwealth Bank yesterday. Agenda item one was to tell staff it's tough times ahead with the bank facing big legal and regulatory challenges. And as if to prove his point, regulator AUSTRAC got in touch to highlight some accounts it says were set up for the purpose of laundering money, but the bank did not report its suspicions. Who knows what joys day two will bring…
RUSH A RECLUSE AS NEWS SEEKS TO SPREAD THE PAIN
Actor Geoffrey Rush’s lawyer yesterday said he has been “virtually housebound” since it was alleged he behaved inappropriately towards a colleague during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015-16. The allegations were levelled at the Oscar winner via News Corp’s Daily Telegraph late last year, and he is now suing for defamation. Meanwhile, News revealed the identity of one of its four sources on the story - STC executive director Patrick McIntyre – and has filed a ‘cross-claim' against the STC to make it jointly liable for damages in the event Rush is successful in his case against News. Wait, what? A good explainer is here.
CHECK YOUR VULNERABILITIES
Be on the lookout from today for a ‘Protecting Your Information’ notice in your Facebook newsfeed. It will have a link for you to check which Facebook apps you use and what information Facebook has shared with those apps. And if you’re one of the +300,000 Aussies caught up in the Cambridge Analytica data trawl, you’ll get a different message with information on that. Fingers crossed you’re more column A than column B.
BLACK PANTHER SINKS TITANIC
It’s the movie that just keeps on keeping on. Making more than US$1.3 billion at the box office since opening in February, the superhero film (the first to feature predominantly black characters) went past Titanic in earnings on the weekend. You can almost see Leo’s outstretched hand sinking into the ocean. Only two movies remain ahead of it - Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar. Confession time – we’ve not seen either of those.
SQUIZ THE DAY
20th anniversary of the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement
Anniversary of the release of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Anniversary of Paul McCartney announcing his departure from The Beatles (1970)
The Fable does an excellent silk shirt. This week, if you read the email every day you’ll go into the draw to receive a shirt worth $149. So easy and so silky soft.
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