Squiz Today / 19 November 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 19 November
“Oh yeah, absolutely. There’s not many people that doubt it.”
Said a former PM (Malcolm Turnbull) to a former colleague (Christopher Pyne) of his chances of winning an election that’s already been run. 20/20-vision-in-hindsight. It’s a thing...
FLASHPOINT IN HONG KONG
With protestors and police locked in a violent standoff at a major university campus, Hong Kong’s High Court yesterday ruled that a recently mandated ban on masks and face-coverings was unconstitutional. It was a significant win for pro-democracy protestors. One of those seeking to have the law overturned said the measure was an abuse of power by Chinese-backed administrators that only served to fuel the conflict which, you’ll remember, started over concerns about Beijing’s reach into Hong Kong.
DID THAT SETTLE THINGS DOWN?
Not even a little bit. Hundreds of protesters yesterday battled with police who have trapped them inside the Polytechnic University. Reports say arrests were made when about 100 demonstrators tried to leave, and many have landed in hospital with injuries. The stalemate continues with police promising lenient punishments for those who surrender. Thousands came out in support of those stuck inside, and the violence is expected to continue into this week. Some pics of the chaos are here. The escalation in violence means district elections scheduled for Sunday may not be held, which is expected to inflame tensions further.
IS OUR GOVERNMENT OK WITH ALL OF THIS?
Not really, but our great big relationship with China makes it difficult. And on a day for former PMs yesterday, Tony Abbott said Australia has "put too many eggs into the China basket". Meanwhile, Paul Keating outlined his views on the challenge for Australia as it seeks to keep doing business with our biggest trade partner, China, while maintaining the support of our strongest ally, America. Ignore the journos and keep China on our good side, was his advice. With China calling for an end to the unrest in Hong Kong, an unnamed senior US official was quoted as saying that America expects China “to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system and democratic way of life.” As dad used to say, we’ll see…
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MELBOURNE TRAGEDY TO BE LAID BARE
The first day of the coronial inquest into the havoc wreaked by James Gargasoulas as he drove through Melbourne’s CBD in early 2017 was a confronting one. Playing the audio from communications between police officers, they can be heard pleading for someone to "take the vehicle out before he kills someone.'' But Gargasoulas was not stopped until after he’d hit dozens of pedestrians with his car, killing six people. The inquest, which will call more than 60 witnesses, will attempt to “distil from this tragedy lessons that may save lives in future," said the counsel assisting the coroner. Gargasoulas, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, is serving a minimum of 46 years in prison.
And while we’re doing the Melbourne legal rounds… The long-awaited trial of former soap star Craig McLachlan kicked off yesterday. Accused of indecently assaulting or propositioning four women on multiple occasions in 2014, McLachlan has denied the charges. The trial, which will be heard in a closed court, is expected to go for three weeks.
QUICK WORLD NEWS WRAP
SRI LANKA’S NEW PREZ - Wartime defence boss Gotabaya Rajapaksa won Saturday’s election with national security a key issue after April’s Islamic State attacks that killed 320 people. Long story short, he’s the brother of former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Together, they spearheaded the defeat of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.
BOLIVIA IN CRISIS - And that’s led to food and fuel shortages. Supporters of ousted President Evo Morales are blockading major roads. And self-appointed interim leader Jeanine Áñez is herself facing calls to resign. Worried that violence could "spin out of control", the UN wants the key players to take part in crisis talks this week.
ARDERN IN THE DARK - New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern said she didn’t know Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani was coming to New Zealand. The author is there for a literary festival. As for him staying, Ardern said that’s a hypothetical.
PUSH TO CLOSE PAY GAP OUT OF PUFF?
There's been a teeny tiny improvement in the gender pay gap with the latest official figures showing a 0.5% improvement in the 12 months from April 2018. On average, men still take home $25,679 a year more than women. The reason there's not a bigger shift towards pay equality? "Anecdotally, I am hearing there is a bit of diversity and inclusion fatigue and that really concerns me because clearly the business case for gender equality hasn't hit home as it should with employers," said Workplace Gender Equality Agency boss Libby Lyons. The agency's annual gender equality scorecard will be released today.
DISNEY+ CAUSES LOCAL JITTERS
Exactly how many TV streaming services can an Aussie couch potato sustain? That's the multi-million dollar question hovering over the highly-anticipated launch today of the new kid on the streaming block, Disney+. Watching on nervously will be Nine. Its local streaming service Stan looks most vulnerable to the new competition, analysts say. Stan struck a deal last year to carry a whole lotta Disney content which has since been rescinded by Team Mickey. Compounding Stan’s anxiety will be yesterday’s speculation that Disney had already been in talks with local telco providers to bundle its offer with phone plans. Oh, plus the fact that upon launch in the US last week, despite the technical glitches, Disney+ signed up 10 million users in 24 hours.
HAM GLORIOUS HAM
Does anything say Christmas, Boxing Day, and the many many hammylicious days after that than ham? This festive season, putting some pork on your fork is set to cost up to 60% more. You can put that down to the outbreak of African swine fever which has decimated supply in Asia and across Europe. And with Border Force working hard to save local producers' bacon, the increase in demand for our pork from overseas has pushed up local prices, which were already elevated because of the drought.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIME…
An otherwise non-descript outlet of Pizza Express in Woking, UK has reached meme-worthy status following Prince Andrew’s clear recollection that he was at the restaurant - 18 years ago - on the night his accuser Virginia Giuffre alleges he was with her. Media crews have descended on the pizza palace to ask locals if they remember their first time eating there with the same clarity as the Duke. And the restaurant’s listing on Google has been inundated with fake reviews with one wag writing: “It has been 18 years since I visited, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sweating profusely…. It was hot. But one man, one mysterious man, was ice-cool, sweat-free.”
SQUIZ THE DAY
Annual General Meetings - kogan.com; Mirvac; REA Group; a2 Milk Company
Reserve Bank to release the minutes from its last board meeting
Monaco’s National Day
Birthdays for Meg Ryan (1961), Jodie Foster (1962) and Adam Driver (1983)
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