Squiz Today / 29 September 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 29 September
“It will be tasteful. They want to give people a glimpse into their lives.”
Said ‘a source’ about Prince Harry and Meghan’s upcoming Netflix reality show. For a title we’re thinking Keeping Up With The Sussexes? Or The Real Royals of LA? Or Gogglethrone? We’re here all week…
DREAMWORLD FINE DOESN’T END THE NIGHTMARE
Almost four years after Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi died at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast in Queensland, park owner Ardent Leisure was yesterday fined $3.6 million for breaches of the state’s safety laws. It follows a coronial inquest in 2018 that uncovered many safety failures at the theme park. Ardent Leisure then pleaded guilty to charges that were laid by Queensland's Office of Industrial Relations, and yesterday the fine was handed out. Magistrate Pamela Dowse yesterday noted it was “the largest fine in the history of [workplace health and safety] prosecution in the country."
BACK IT UP A BIT…
The accident happened on the popular Thunder River Rapids ride. The coronial inquiry heard that a malfunctioning pump led to the water level to drop near the unloading point, and that meant the rafts were sitting on rails. A raft carrying six people became vertical when it bumped into an empty raft that was stuck on the rails, and four people died when they were thrown from the raft onto the conveyor belt mechanism. It’s believed they died instantly. Two children (Low’s 10yo son Kieran and Goodchild’s 12yo daughter Ebony) were thrown free and survived. Kate Goodchild (32yo) and Luke Dorsett (35yo) were siblings, and Roozi Araghi (38yo) was Dorsett’s partner. They were on holiday from Canberra. And Kiwi native/Sydney resident Cindy Low (42yo) and her son had separated from her daughter and husband to ride in the ill-fated raft.
DOES THAT BRING AN END TO THINGS?
Not quite. Ardent Leisure’s head honchos issued a statement saying the company “accepts responsibility for this tragedy without qualification or reservation." The construction of a memorial garden would recommence when coronavirus restrictions are lifted, they said. But family members of the victims yesterday spoke of their unrelenting grief and trauma. And there is still a question of compensation for the “families, first responders and others impacted by the tragedy”. Ardent says a majority of claims have been settled. But yesterday, Ebony's grandfather Shayne Goodchild said Ardent Leisure do not accept liability for her compensation. "We don’t want a garden, we want Ebony compensated," he said.
SQUIZ THE REST
TRUMP’S TAXING TIMES
It’s the question that Democrats and journalists have been asking US President Donald Trump for years - would he do what every president in history has done and release his tax returns? ‘No’ has been the consistent answer. And the info still hasn’t come through formal channels, but the New York Times yesterday published tax data showing some Trump Organisation businesses that are losing money and a pattern of tax avoidance. According to the data, Trump paid US$750 in federal income taxes in '16 and '17 and paid no taxes in previous years. The data also shows more than US$400 million in loans coming due and a US$100 million fight with America's version of the Tax Office. Trump critics say the upshot is that for a guy who brags about his business acumen, he ain’t all that. For Trump’s part, he’s tweeted overnight branding the story “fake news”. He’s paid millions in tax but “like everyone else” he’s entitled to tax offsets, he says. The Democrats' most senior leader in Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said Trump’s finances are “a national security question” because the lender of his loans is unknown. All good fodder for tomorrow’s first presidential debate…
AZERBAIJAN-ARMENIA CONFLICT FLARES
It’s a 100yo fight that is no closer to being resolved after the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan resurfaced on Sunday. About 50 people have died in clashes between the former Soviet republics over the last couple of days. And it’s all over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Long story short, the territory is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but 98% of its population are ethnic Armenians. And both governments are blaming the other for instigating the new round of fighting. When the region broke away in the early '90s, about 30,000 fighters and civilians died in the fighting, and a million people were displaced. It's an emerging conflict the United Nations is keen to avoid, as are nearby nations, not least because it's an important corridor for the international supply of oil and gas.
QUESTIONS OVER VICTORIA’S COVID END-GAME
"We are so, so close, and what's important now is that everyone keeps following the rules," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday. The remark came as the state recorded 5 new coronavirus cases - a huge reduction since the state’s second wave kicked off. But success in flattening the curve brings new challenges - and that’s in the form of criticism that restrictions aren’t being lifted quickly enough. PM Scott Morrison and his team made their views known that they want racing stripes put on the easing of the rules - that is, it should go faster. Others had questions about what the state’s ultimate goal is with former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos yesterday pointing to a strategy of 'eradication' of the virus. Andrews maintains it's about suppression, not eradication.
PELL HEADS BACK TO ROME
Cardinal George Pell, formerly Australia’s most senior Catholic who was convicted and then acquitted of child abuse charges, is heading back to the Vatican today, a church spokeswoman has confirmed. The possible reason - one of Pell’s most powerful opponents, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, was fired last week over accusations he had embezzled €100,000 (A$165,000) from the church. And as Pope Francis’ former finance minister, some are making the link that Pell might have a role in cleaning things up. Pell hasn’t been in Rome since he returned to Australian in 2017 to face charges.
THE COLD COURTS OF PARIS
Ah, the French Open. The tennis Grand Slam is normally enjoyed as Europe starts its summer in May-June. But not in 2020… As the continent slides into autumn, things can get chilly. Like, 8C kinda chilly... Which is a lot for professional players who can do the Australian Open in 40C heat, no sweat. Well, that's not true, but you get the drift. "It's too cold. I live in Florida, I'm used to hot weather," said 10th seed Victoria Azarenka before walking off the court during a rain delay. "The conditions are a little bit extreme to play an outdoor tournament,” said 2nd seed Rafael Nadal, adding that the conditions change the game. Maybe it’s the weather, but the Aussies haven’t had a great start. Alex de Minaur departed in the first round, as did Jordan Thompson. However, Astra Sharma and Daria Gavrilova will get to pull on some thermals in round 2.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Mariah Carey, in an act of defiance towards those managing her pitch-perfect popstar career in 1995, wrote, produced and sang an indie rock album. And 25 years later, the details have emerged…
Pidge, a kererū (aka native pigeon of Kiwiland), has come home to the nature park he went missing from 24 years ago. Aged 29yo, and with an expected lifespan of 25 years, he’s a bit of a marvel.
“The sock has to be crunched low enough so that there is space between the bottom of the calf and the top of the sock. If there is no space, it will make a leg look unshapely and ‘log-like’.” said one fashion guru of mastering the latest footwear trend for blokes - socks and sandals. Because clearly ‘log-like’ legs are the problem with that combo…
SQUIZ THE DAY
• American oil tycoon John D Rockefeller becoming the world's first billionaire (1916)
• the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 777.68 points, its largest single-day point loss after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and doubts over the futures other financial institutions, which sparked the Global Financial Crisis (2008)
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