Squiz Today / 23 July 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 23 July
“They participated in the election with hearts full of patriotism, powerfully demonstrating the might of single-minded unity.”
Said North Korean state media about their elections held on Sunday that recorded a 99.98% turnout to vote in one-candidate races where citizens are invited to write ‘yes’ on their ballot paper. With an abstention or ‘no’ vote interpreted as treason, it’s definitely patriotism and unity driving voters...
PNG CALLS FOR MANUS ISLAND CHAPTER TO END
Papua New Guinea’s newly-minted PM James Marape didn’t waste time in getting down to business yesterday during his visit to Canberra to meet with our national political leaders. Agenda item #1: requesting a plan to close the "entire asylum processes" on Manus Island including the resettlement of 300 refugees, some of whom have been there for several years under Australia’s offshore processing regime. The issue is front and centre as The Australian this morning reports (paywall) the interception of a group of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka trying to reach Australia by boat.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
The number of men, women and children who were transferred to the detention centre on Manus Island peaked at 1,353 under the Gillard and Rudd Governments before the 2013 election. PM Scott Morrison yesterday emphasised that the centre is now closed and an ‘accommodation facility’, from which residents can move about the island, houses most of those remaining. That arrangement is not without its critics including Manus Province governor Charlie Benjamin who yesterday pointed to the social problems caused by the presence of the refugees and asylum seekers on the island.
HOW IS THIS GOING TO BE RESOLVED?
If we knew the answer to that, we'd used our predictive powers for a good cause. Like winning the lotto. Morrison's refusal to set a timetable or to resettle the asylum seekers and refugees in Oz doesn't leave a lot of wriggle room for new solutions. ‘Non-refugees' on Manus Island have been given no option but to return to their country of origin. And refugees can permanently settle in PNG (60 already have) or settle in another country, like America. What’s not on the table is New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees. Morrison maintains it would undermine our efforts to stop the people smugglers (and expect the latest case of the group of Sri Lankans to be heavily referenced for the rest of this week). NZ PM Jacinda Ardern disagrees and last week said her government’s offer to accept the refugees on humanitarian grounds remains open.
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FOLBIGG’S GUILT CONFIRMED
Kathleen Folbigg, the NSW woman who was jailed for at least 25 years for her role in the deaths of her four children, will remain in jail after an inquiry into her conviction ‘reinforced her guilt’. A review of the 52yo’s case had been pushed by a group of supporters who believe in her innocence. Last night, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman announced the outcome of the recent inquiry led by former chief judge Reginald Blanch who found he didn’t have "any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Kathleen Megan Folbigg for the offences of which she was convicted". Folbigg’s team said they were "obviously very disappointed".
IRAN CLAIMS US SPIES ARRESTED
In the latest missive from Iran, it says it has arrested 17 CIA spies over 12 months up until March this year and has sentenced some of them to death. It says the spies had been working independently of each other in “sensitive centres” and were collecting information about the nation's nuclear and military sectors, among other things. US President Donald Trump dismissed the allegations, tweeting they are "totally false". He added that "It's getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran."
PUERTO RICANS MOVE TO OUST THEIR LEADER
Big crowds have turned out to call for the resignation of Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló after transcripts of his online chats containing offensive comments were leaked. Not missing anyone in his commentary, the almost 900 pages of messages include sprays against gay people, women, journalists, opponents and supporters. Rosselló and his team were already on the skids with corruption clouds gathering. US President Donald Trump has pulled disaster funding to the US territory citing maladministration - particularly galling to locals given the job that has to be done in the wake of Hurricane Maria. In an attempt to deal with the anger, Rosselló yesterday said he won’t stand for reelection. Singer Ricky Martin and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda are among those calling for his resignation.
HONG KONG v CHINA IN PROTEST CLASH
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have criticised police saying their response to a violent clash with pro-China activists on Sunday night was too slow. Forty-five pro-democracy protesters were hospitalised after being attacked with batons at a metro station on Sunday night. The attackers wore white shirts (ie the same as pro-China protestors from earlier rallies), and are suspected of being involved in Chinese-affiliated organised crime gangs. The targeted attack came as protesters made their way home after hundreds of thousands took to the streets for a seventh consecutive weekend of pro-democracy protests over the now-’dead’ extradition bill that could see Hong Kong residents taken to mainland China to face serious criminal charges. Police say they are following it up.
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF WINE
The world is wising up to the fact that our wine producers make some darn good plonk. Of the $2.86 billion we took from exporting wine last financial year, the fastest growing segment was the $100-$200 a litre category which grew by 102%. And overall, while export volumes fell 6%, the value was up by 4% - so the world is drinking less, but better, Aussie wines. That trend was pronounced with our biggest customer China, which absorbed almost half of the wine we sent offshore. They must have a cracking good cellar…
VALE PETER MCNAMARA
For sports-lovers of a certain age, Peter McNamara is synonymous with Aussie tennis. And not just any old tennis, but tennis from a time when players like Macca would have sooner cleaned the whole Davis Cup team’s Dunlop Volleys with sandshoe whitener than chucked a wobbly and thrown a chair on court. Ok, the 80s were a bit more high-tech than that, but you catch our drift. McNamara reached a career-high #7 in the world in 1983, but it was his doubles partnership with Aussie Paul McNamee for which he is best remembered - together the ‘Super Macs’ won three grand slam titles. He retired from playing at just 28yo with a knee injury and went on to a successful coaching career. Boris Becker yesterday summed it up tweeting he was “one of the good guys in tennis”. Many Aussie tennis stars said they did not know he was ill. He died on Saturday night from prostate cancer at 64yo.
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Revolution Day – Egypt
Anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death (2011)
And for anyone who remembers their 'causes of WWI' high school history… Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb assassin (1914)
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