Squiz Today / 06 August 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 6 August
“It kind of hurts.”
Said one of the animators of 1994’s The Lion King of the new release’s photoreal take on some original's iconic scenes. What’s the opposite of Hakuna Matata?
HONG KONG GRIPPED BY CHAOS
An unprecedented citywide strike crippled Hong Kong yesterday. Up to 200 flights in and out of the international hub were cancelled with just one runway operational. Rail services were suspended as demonstrators blocked the entrances. Shops and restaurants were closed, and roads were blocked with plastic barriers causing congestion before authorities cleared the streets. While the numbers are hard to nail down, it’s believed tens-of-thousands of workers went on strike or chucked a sickie.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
The strike action follows nine consecutive weekends of protests. It started amid concerns about a proposed extradition deal that could see Hong Kong residents sent to mainland China to face serious criminal charges. Since the deal was scotched, pro-democracy advocates have rallied against what they say are moves by the Chinese to impinge on their freedoms. Last week, China warned there would be consequences for those seeking to challenge their ultimate authority over Hong Kong. That sentiment was echoed yesterday by Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam who warned of the "dangerous path" down which the demonstrations are heading.
AND WHAT DOES JOHN HOWARD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT?
Funny you ask… Our second-longest-serving PM was speaking at a mining conference in Kalgoorlie yesterday and said the protests represent a warning to our government not to become “mesmerised” by the “increasingly authoritarian” Chinese Government, despite the country’s economic importance. And in a flashback to a time when democratic nations openly supported those fighting for the same principles, Howard said; “I’m almost inspired by the sight of so many hundreds and thousands of people peacefully demonstrating. When you think of the total population of Hong Kong and the number of people taking part in those demonstrations, it is a remarkable reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.”
SQUIZ THE REST
US GUN REFORM FLOATED… AGAIN
As America reels from the deaths of 31 people from two mass shootings on the weekend, renewed calls for gun law reform flew thick and fast yesterday - including from US President Donald Trump’s favourite newspaper, News Corp’s New York Post. Trump has addressed the nation and blamed video games for the “glorification of violence in our society”. Others, like Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (who hails from El Paso, Texas - the site of 22 deaths allegedly at the hands of accused racist Patrick Crusius), have pointed fingers at Trump saying he’s played a role in inciting white nationalist violence. Some other points to note:
• The founder of 8chan, a website linked to several terrorist attacks including the El Paso attack, has called for the website to be shut down.
• Mexico will take legal action against the US over the shooting in the border town, including eight Mexicans.
• Meanwhile, authorities are still trying to pin down the motive for the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Connor Betts (24yo) killed nine people, including his sister. Authorities do not believe he was political or racial motivated.
IRAN SEIZES ANOTHER TANKER
Iran may have seized its third foreign ship in as many weeks, this time an Iraqi tanker. Unconfirmed reports in Iran’s state media yesterday said authorities detained the tanker last Wednesday for fuel smuggling. Iraq’s oil ministry said the government has no connection to the tanker. If confirmed, tensions in the Gulf are set to rise again - which is a solid segue into America’s formal request that Australia helps out with efforts to keep commercial tankers safe in the Gulf. Reports also say we’re seeking access to US fuel reserves to stock up on supplies if required in an emergency. Australia holds just 28 days’ worth of emergency fuel, well below the 90-day minimum set out under international agreements.
QUICK FINANCIAL NEWS WRAP
CHINA PLAYS HARDBALL - Dominating business news yesterday was China’s passive-aggressive (or maybe just aggressive…) move to let its currency tumble to seven yuan to the US-dollar. President Trump has criticised China during the ongoing trade war for unfairly managing its currency. What that means is China, which centrally controls its currency rate, can drop its value to make it more attractive for other nations to do business with it, which it did yesterday.
CHOPPY CHOPPY? - After back-to-back cuts in June and July, economists say it’s a 50:50 proposition that the Reserve Bank will hold interest rates at a record low 1% today.
CAR SALES DOWN - And while the Reserve Bank hopes that recent rate cuts will stimulate spending, data shows national vehicle sales have dropped to an eight-year low, despite recent income tax cuts and record low-interest rates.
PLAYING NICELY ON FACEBOOK WATCH
Facebook has signed deals with a number of Australian media companies to secure exclusive news content for its new video service, Facebook Watch. The social media giant made deals with Nine, Seven, Network 10 and Sky News amongst others with many kicking off this week. The deal comes a week after the competition and consumer regulator handed down its final report on the negative impact of digital platforms on Australian journalism.
AUSSIES STRIKE FIRST BLOW
A second-innings collapse by England has seen Australia take out the first Ashes test match in Birmingham overnight. We went into the final day’s play needing to dismiss the Poms in order to win having built a 398-run lead thanks to an impressive 144-run stand by former captain Steve Smith on Sunday. Last night, bowlers Nathan Lyon took six wickets and Pat Cummins four to dismiss England for 146 runs. Man of the match - Smith.
And while we have you… Hooray for tantrum-prone Nick Kyrgios who yesterday took out the Washington Open - his second big tournament win this year. Opponent Daniil Medvedev said after the match: “We all know how Nick can play when he wants to... hopefully you can make many more like this.”
A HAIRY FINANCIAL SITUATION
The growing number of blokes/lumberjacks ditching razors has seen Gillette post a A$7.72 billion loss in the latest quarter. While parent company Procter & Gamble attributed the loss to the rising number of men cultivating their three-day growth and full-blown beards, others say the rise of cheaper competitors such as Unilever's Dollar Shave Club has also had an impact. And you know the stereotype of craft-beer-loving-bearded-hipsters? It’s a case of swings-and-roundabouts for them with the money they save on shaving going to the Tax Office. The tax on beer increased yesterday beer - already the fourth-highest in the world.
SQUIZ THE DAY
2.30pm (AEST) - Reserve Bank’s interest rate decision
ABS Data Releases - Building Approvals, June; International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, June; Livestock and Meat, Australia, June
Jamaica’s National Day
Anniversary of the US dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, that instantly killed approximately 66,000 people (1945)
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