Squiz Today / 07 January 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 7 January
It's the Sunday just gone, and it's the biggest day of the year for the matchmaking apps and websites. That's because “a mix of New Year's resolutions, post-holiday breakups and Valentine's Day around the corner" has plenty of people looking for love, Bumble said. You’ve gotta love a new year as hope triumphs over experience…
TRUMP UPS THE ANTE WITH IRAN AND IRAQ
America would impose crippling sanctions on Iraq and destroy Iranian cultural sites if those nations attempt to exact revenge for the assassination of Iranian military chief Qasem Soleimani in a US drone attack last week, President Donald Trump said yesterday. The threats capped off another dangerous day in the Middle Eastern hotspot as huge crowds gathered in Tehran for Soleimani’s funeral.
GET ME UP TO SPEED…
After months of rising tensions between the US and Iran, Team Trump took the surprising/shocking step of targeting the powerful Iranian on Iraqi territory last week. Soleimani, the man who spearheaded Iran’s military operations in the Middle East, was regarded as a terrorist by the US. Claiming he was plotting attacks on Americans, Trump and his officials have not resiled from the decision to kill Soleimani. Iran has vowed retribution and yesterday announced it will walk away from the international deal that restricts its nuclear capabilities, much to the dismay of Western leaders. And the Iraqi parliament yesterday passed a non-binding resolution calling for the expulsion of US and Coalition troops from the country. About 5,000 American troops (and 300 Aussie troops) are currently in Iraq to train local forces and continue the fight against Islamic State. In response, Trump says the US will ensure Iran never has a nuclear weapon. He also reminded Iraq of the billions-of-dollars the US has spent on it in recent years.
WHY ARE US-IRAN TENSIONS PLAYING OUT IN IRAQ?
The Iraqi Government has close ties with Iran - something that's been challenging to balance given its dependence on America. But this time, Iraq is in Iran’s corner and it's angry that the US has conducted this strike on its territory. Some experts say the winner out of it will likely be Islamic State. That’s because Iran and the Iranian-backed Iraqi militias - enemies of IS - are now focusing their attention on the US. And for the time being, American troops have suspended IS-fighting operations to protect themselves and Americans in Iraq. So you can see why world leaders and Middle East watchers are worried that this is going nowhere good…
SQUIZ THE REST
BILLION-DOLLAR BOOST TO BUSHFIRE EFFORT
The Coalition Government’s highly coveted budget surplus is at risk as the bushfire recovery effort gets underway. PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday said $2 billion would go to a fund “to rebuild communities and livelihoods after the devastating fire-front has passed.” And more will be available if required. With the projected surplus recently revised down to $5 billion this financial year, it will burn into the budget. But bushfires are the priority, Morrison said. Cooler conditions and some rain yesterday gave authorities a chance to regroup, but heavy smoke has made it difficult to take full account of the damage wreaked last week. Some details have come to light, like the loss of the Selwyn Snow Resort in NSW’s Snowy Mountains. On the fundraising front, the original Wiggles will get together for an over 18yos concert in Sydney. And cricket great Shane Warne is auctioning off his most prized possession. (And no, it’s not his Playboy jocks…)
AUSSIE STALLION CAUGHT UP IN LIBYAN CRISIS
Speaking of escalating tensions in the world’s hotspots… As the UN Security Council met yesterday to discuss the deteriorating situation in Libya, Turkey said it has started sending troops to support the UN-backed Libyan Government. Tensions have been rising in the North African nation as the Libyan National Army (LNA) - which controls a majority of the country - attempts to capture the capital Tripoli. Neighbouring nations Israel, Greece and Cyprus warned against Turkey’s involvement in the conflict, saying it will further undermine stability in the region. One Aussie victim caught up in the crisis is Churchill Downs, a prized thoroughbred horse bred by adman John Singleton. The stallion was taken with 12 in-foal mares and five other stallions at gunpoint from a stud farm near Tripoli by rebel forces aligned to the LNA.
CRACKING DOWN ON GHOSN-LIKE ESCAPE ROUTES
It's one of the most intriguing business stories of recent times - a global business exec under house arrest is spirited across the country, smuggled onto a private jet inside a black box used for concert equipment, and taken to a country where no extradition agreement is in place. There's some dispute about whether that's what went down when former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon last week to avoid a trial on charges of financial wrongdoing (charges he has steadfastly denied). What's not disputed is he's fled the country to avoid Japan's justice system. Speaking for the first time since the escape came to light, Japan’s Justice Minister Masako Mori has vowed to tighten the rules for departing the country. Which seems fair… Ghosn is expected to give a press conference mid-week.
THERE’S A HAZE OVER THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN...
Tennis champion Novak Djokovic has called on Australian Open officials to consider delaying the tournament over concerns about the effects of bushfire smoke on players as fires continue to burn in Victoria. Djokovic said his team has reached out to Tennis Australia and are monitoring air quality levels ahead of the tournament, which is due to start in Melbourne on 20 January. Women’s #1 Ash Barty says “it doesn’t really matter” if the tournament was delayed, as there are more important issues in Australia right now. The air quality in Melbourne is currently rated as ‘very poor’. Fans are hoping their favourite summer sports aren’t interrupted as smoke lingers across many cities. Canberra’s Brumbies have relocated their Super Rugby training camp to Newcastle, and the Raiders have gone to the Sunshine Coast due to the oppressive smoke that has crippled the capital.
And while we have you... The Aussies have taken a clean sweep of the summer test cricket series beating New Zealand yesterday by 279 runs in Sydney.
...AND THE GOLDEN GLOBES
Australia’s bushfires were also present at yesterday’s Golden Globes as hosts and award winners pointed to/expressed support for Antipodeans suffering through the crisis. With host Ricky Gervais at his acerbic best, it was Quentin Tarantino’s latest blockbuster Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and war pic 1917 that dominated. Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fleabag had another excellent night picking up gongs for best series and best actress in a comedy. Other winners included The Crown’s Olivia Colman, Succession for best television drama, and Joaquin Phoenix for best actor in a drama film for his turn in Joker. But let’s get down to what’s truly important: the red carpet gallery. Something called ‘statement sleeves’ are the thing…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Five year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terror attack - Paris
Birthdays for Christian Louboutin (1963) and Ricky Stuart (1967)
Anniversary of Guy Menzies completing the first solo trans-Tasman flight from Sydney to West Coast of New Zealand (1931)
100th anniversary of the death of Edmund Barton, Australia’s first PM. He shuffled off this mortal coil at the Blue Mountains’ Hydro Majestic Hotel in NSW, as it happens…
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