Squiz Today / 17 September 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 17 September
"Lots of inquiries about my diorama in background of Sky interview.”
Tweeted self-proclaimed "history hound" and former Labor leader Bill Shorten of his miniature scene from the 1812 Retreat From Moscow. (Spoiler alert: Shorten-style zinger coming…) There’s no word on whether his own political retreat after May’s election loss is represented in his collection. Boom-tish…
AMERICA OILS THE SQUEAKY WHEELS WITH MILITARY THREATS
US President Donald Trump yesterday upped the ante in the unfolding crisis in the Middle East following Saturday’s devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields tweeting; “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification”. Overnight, the US unveiled some evidence for its belief that the drones came from Iran. On the other side of the fence, Iran has rejected any connection to the attacks while the Iranian-backed Houthis rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Three things come to mind:
• There’s potential for “a serious military response” from the US. But perhaps not immediately given Trump also tweeted that he was waiting to hear from the Saudis on “who they believe was the cause of this attack”.
• It’s another roadblock to the US and Iran working out their differences. Even after the attacks, Trump did not rule out a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, although Rouhani doesn’t seem that keen…
• And it’s more uncertainty for already nervous world markets. In this case, oil prices are up almost 15%. Even though the drone strikes are expected to strip at least 5% from global oil supplies, some analysts predict wholesale barrel prices could increase by 50%.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OZ?
The consensus from economists yesterday was that we should expect petrol prices to rise by 6-10c/litre in the short term. Energy Minister Angus Taylor was out early yesterday to answer questions about our access to fuel, and with 44 days supply on hand and “ample commercial stocks globally,” he believes it’s “manageable”. Labor leader Anthony Albanese has a different view - he believes more needs to be done to meet our global obligation to maintain sufficient reserves to last 90 days.
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ISRAELI ELECTION - THE SEQUEL
No, your memory isn’t playing tricks on you - it was just a few months ago that Israel held its last general election. But today it’s making history and doing it all over again… That’s because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party were unable to form a ruling coalition after April's poll. The centrist Blue and White party, led by the former chief of the army Benny Gantz, is reported to be gaining support, but it's expected to be another close-run thing. One major issue of the campaign has been Netanyahu’s controversial promise to annex a large part of the occupied West Bank. Another continues to be the corruption charges he faces - accusations Netanyahu denies.
NSW PREMIER CHALLENGED OVER ABORTION REFORM
Three rebel NSW Liberal MPs will this morning move on Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership. The party has been unsettled in recent weeks over abortion reforms that cleared the lower house but have stalled while the legislation undergoes review. The trio says Berejiklian has not accommodated their concerns and has moved too quickly with the bill that received support from Labor, some minor parties and independents. Important to note: the majority of Liberals MPs have voted against the bill. Berejiklian has not commented on the revolt in her ranks, but reports say it’s believed she has the numbers to survive.
DISABILITY ROYAL COMMISSION KICKS OFF
Disability advocates have waited a long time, and yesterday the starter gun was fired on the disability Royal Commission with its first public sitting in Brisbane on Monday. Allocated $500 million and given until April 2022 to hand in its final report, the inquiry will cover the exploitation, abuse and neglect of disabled people in residential and home care. But it hasn’t been a trouble-free launch with stakeholders threatening to boycott proceedings over claims that Commissioners John Ryan and Barbara Bennett have conflicts of interest. Hearings will take place in all capital cities and many regional centres.
QUICK RECENT STORY UPDATE
THEO HAYEZ SEARCH OFFICIALLY OVER - The 18yo Belgian backpacker was last seen in Byron Bay late on 31 May, and after extensive land, sea and air searches he has not been found. The case has been referred to the NSW Coroner.
PARLIAMENT HACK BEIJING'S WORK - Reuters yesterday reported the March cyber-attack on the Aussie parliament's computer system - including the hacking of politicians' emails - was the work of China’s Ministry of State Security. According to sources, investigators recommended keeping the findings quiet in the interests of the already strained Australia-China relationship. Sharing’s caring?
OXYCONTIN PRODUCER FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY - After making a US$3 billion deal to settle some of the thousands of lawsuits over its role in the opioid crisis in America, Purdue Pharma has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s expected that the process will be the end of the company “and ensure its assets are dedicated for the public benefit,” its owners said.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT…
Although being the boss isn’t always fun with more responsibility meaning more problems to deal with. But often the pay ain’t bad, as is the case of these company CEOs… A report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has collated the numbers on our highest-paid chief executives in the last financial year, and Qantas boss tops the list taking home an eye-watering $23.87 million. That's made up of a salary of $10 million and then a mix of long and short term bonuses. Qantas said that following its fall in profit, executive pay has been trimmed, but that the airline "remains one of the best-performing airline groups in the world". Others popping the Dom over breakfast are the former boss of Macquarie Group Nicholas Moore ($23.85 million) and Treasury Wine’s Michael Clarke ($19 million).
SCIENCE PRIZE… WITH A DIFFERENCE
Ding ding ding… A prize that recognises trivial achievements in scientific research? We've hit the jackpot. The annual Ig Nobel awards were handed out Harvard University last Thursday, and Japan continued its winning form. After last year’s winning entry from a doctor who devised a do-it-yourself colonoscopy, the pride of the nation this year came from a discovery that the average 5yo child produces 500ml of saliva a day. Eugh. Other winners included a team that studied whether pizza made and eaten in Italy wards off cancer, the inventor of a nappy-changing machine, and a French team who measured the 'downstairs’ temperature of naked and clothed postmen. As Albert Einstein said, the important thing is to never stop questioning. Except about postmen, perhaps…
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