Squiz Today / 23 March 2021
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 23 March
Is an Indian social media campaign that’s sprung up after a prominent state leader blamed the worn-in denim duds as a source of moral corruption. Plenty of women and their knees had a different point of view…
RAIN AND MORE RAIN
The damage bill already exceeds $2 billion, and a catastrophe has been declared, but more rain is on the way for NSW and almost every other state and territory today. More than 18,000 people have been evacuated from their homes (with 15,000 of them on the Mid North Coast) as 34 local government areas were declared disaster zones. The extensive damage already inflicted on property could see the bill top the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, pundits say.
SO WHERE ARE THINGS AT?
• The Mid North Coast of NSW continues to be the worst affected as it endured the worst flooding conditions since 1929. Kempsey is currently split in two by the floodwaters, and there is no access to the city centre (not that it’s stopped a newlywed couple from celebrating marital bliss…).
• Conditions eased in Western Sydney yesterday, but Weather Bureau forecaster Helen Kirkup said Windsor is “yet to have their peak”. Warragamba Dam, the city's water catchment, continues to overflow, releasing the equivalent of the contents of Sydney Harbour a day. And tensions over its management are rising as quickly as the water levels…
• And in southeast Queensland, things have also eased there too after emergency services responded to 500 calls for assistance since Sunday. The Gold Coast Hinterland has been the hardest hit, and flood warnings remain in place.
ARE WE THERE YET?
No, and that’s the result of 3 weather systems crashing together. NSW continues to be on high alert with more of the wet stuff expected along the entirety of the coast and inland across the northwest of the state today. After today, things should get better. Western Queensland is in for a drop, and Victoria and Tassie can also expect to get in on the precipitation action as we head into Wednesday. As for Sydney, the rain won't be as heavy as it has been, but expect some more of it today.
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FORMER NRL STAR JARRYD HAYNE GUILTY
Former NRL player Jarryd Hayne sexually assaulted a woman on the night of the 2018 NRL grand final, a jury decided yesterday. After the first trial ended in a hung jury last year, the retrial heard the former Parramatta Eels player had organised a $550 taxi fare to Sydney from a buck’s weekend in Newcastle and asked the driver to stop at the woman’s house on the way. Prosecutors said the 33yo sexually assaulted the woman in her bedroom while her mother was also in the house, causing injury to her genitals, before leaving. She’d made a “conscious and definitive decision" against giving her consent after realising the cab was waiting outside, they said. Hayne, who says he will appeal the verdict, was released on bail until his 6 May sentencing hearing. Judge Helen Syme yesterday said a jail term is “inevitable”. If you’re rugby league illiterate, here some background to Hayne’s once-glittering career.
A NEW GROSS CLOUD FORMS OVER PARLIAMENT HOUSE CULTURE
• Allegations that 4 male Liberal Party staffers had committed lewd acts inside the offices of female MPs and other places around Parliament House were aired last night by Network 10 and The Australian. For a couple of years, the men took pics while "pleasuring themselves" and shared them with the group. The man at the centre of the furore was sacked last night with PM Scott Morrison calling the behaviour "disgusting and sickening". It's more fodder for Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins' investigation into the workplace culture around Parliament House…
• Onto Brittany Higgins’ case and the Parliament security guard who discovered the staffer in her office after the alleged rape last night told ABC’s Four Corners that she and her colleagues followed the correct procedure. She said she’s worried about being scapegoated for allowing the pair into the building.
• And the inquiry ordered by PM Scott Morrison into who in his office knew what and when about Higgins' alleged rape has been paused amid concerns it could interfere with the police investigation. The PM’s department boss Phil Gaetjens yesterday said the probe was suspended on 9 March "for the benefit of Ms Higgins” - a comment that sparked fury from Labor Senator Penny Wong, who described the decision as a "cover-up".
MOVES TO SANCTION CHINA OVER UYGHUR PERSECUTION
The European Union, UK, US and Canada have announced sanctions against Chinese officials over the violation of the rights of the Muslim minority group. The senior Chinese officials face travel bans and asset freezes - and China quickly hit back with sanctions of its own, claiming "lies and disinformation". Reports say more than a million Uyghurs have been held in camps in the northwestern Xinjiang province, where they are tortured, forced to work in factories and sexually abused. The Chinese Government denies claims that human rights abuses are being perpetrated, saying the camps are "re-education" facilities. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Uyghurs face "one of the worst human rights crises of our time" and the international community "cannot simply look the other way".
ISRAEL GOES TO THE POLLS. AGAIN…
Today’s vote marks 4 elections in 2 years after previous attempts failed to end the political instability that’s marred Israel. To recap: the two leading parties had a go at unity government after the 3rd election delivered another inconclusive vote in March last year. That arrangement collapsed in late December when leaders PM Benjamin Netanyahu (leader of the conservative Likud party) and Benny Gantz (of the centrist Blue and White party) turned on each other. This time around, Gantz's support has collapsed, and another centrist leader, Yair Lapid from the Yesh Atid party, is seen as the chief challenger. Netanyahu, who is Israel’s longest-serving PM, remains under pressure over multiple corruption charges, with his trial set to start next month. Could it be 4th time lucky for the political stalemate to be resolved?
CROWN RESORTS RECEIVES A TAKEOVER OFFER
An $8 billion takeover offer has been made for Crown Resorts from American private equity group Blackstone. The offer values Crown at $11.85/share - a 19% premium on the company’s recent average share price - and comes as the company reels after the NSW gaming regulator ruled it unfit to hold the licence for its new $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino. Inquiries were then launched in Victoria and Western Oz. Blackstone already owns nearly 10% of Crown, which it bought off Hong Kong casino group Melco Resorts last year, and is an investor in casino properties in Las Vegas and Spain. Crown's board has not assessed the proposal, the company said yesterday. For James Packer, who is Crown’s largest shareholder with a 36% stake, it could be a way for him to offload some or all of his shares. Analysts said the offer was on the low side compared to the $14.75/share bid Wynn Resorts was said to be considering in 2019. #SquizShortcuts
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Going on hols with your BFF is fun - but after hiring a car, buying matching outfits and heading out for lunch, you can sometimes run out of conversation. Or at least that’s what it looks like for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoygu during their boys trip to Siberia on the weekend.
Richie McCaw, the famed All Black’s captain/bagpipes specialist, is now a Wiggle. His wife Gemma said it was his biggest achievement to date. After winning 2 Rugby World Cups and being named the international player of the year 3 times, that's saying something…
And actor Orlando Bloom has told The Times of London about how he’s living his best life. It’s too good to have a favourite part - but he will “sometimes look at a cow and think, that’s the most beautiful thing ever" has to be up there…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Israel’s 4th General Election in 2 years
World Meteorological Day
ABS Data Release - Automotive fuel in the CPI, March
Birthdays for former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (1952), celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (1978) and Eugenie, Princess of York (1990)
• the 1st recorded use of "OK" [oll korrect] in the Boston Morning Post (1839)
• the Battle of Okinawa, the largest battle of the Pacific War in World War II (1945)
• the premiere of soap The Bold and the Beautiful (1987)
• the death of Elizabeth Taylor (2011)
• the divorce of Kris and Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner (2015)
• Syria declaring the last Islamic State-controlled territory had been retaken (2019)
And if you read the email every day this week, you'll go into the draw for a $100 gift card type spend on some new jim-jams from Peter Alexander. Time to snuggle up...
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