Squiz Today / 23 August 2017
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 23 August
"I'm not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change."
Geddit? Voted the funniest joke of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, comedian Ken Cheng admits he was surprised to take the win because the joke is a “groaner”. "I'm generally going after laughs, but I'll take the groan," he said.
TRUMP OUTLINES NEW STRATEGY ON AFGHANISTAN
US President Donald Trump yesterday outlined his administration's policy on Afghanistan and it can be summed up thusly: less ‘nation building', more fighting terrorists. As the longest conflict the US has ever been involved in, Trump's speech was highly anticipated. It was light on the how/what/when stuff (eg there was no commitment of more troops or a timeline), but Trump said that was the point; “America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.” The US currently has 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, significantly down from the peak of 100,000. The Afghanistan government and NATO said they think Trump is on the right track.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW TO SOUND LIKE A SQUIZ’PERT?
Three quick things:
1. Trump talked tough on exiting Afghanistan in the election campaign but admitted the view from the Oval Office had changed his mind.
2. On Pakistan; "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time, they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting... that must change immediately."
3. Since going to war with the Taliban in 2001, US agencies have spent $714 billion in war and reconstruction funding. Billions – not millions. Ay caramba! But many dollars have been wasted – cue US citizen outrage. Many Trump voters will be happy that social engineering isn’t on Trump’s priority list.
And a bonus feature - now that this speech is out of the way, proper attention can be given to what people on the periphery of US politics are wearing. Of note are Barron Trump and Louise Linton. These stories are headlining in the US at the moment - seriously. Even white supremacist fashion gets a review.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR OZ?
Well, let’s wait and see. Trump said he’s going to ask allies for more troops and funding. Our Defence Minister Marise Payne yesterday said any increase in the commitment of troops would require a good natter. But she also said we’re already contributing with a recent increase from 270 to 300 troops in Afghanistan – they’re in military training roles. It will be interesting to see what sort of extra commitment the US may seek from us. Remember we withdrew combat troops in 2013.
SQUIZ THE REST
PEE-FOR-THE-DOLE TRIAL A STEP CLOSER
Nick Xenophon, the SA Senator who is under a citizenship cloud, confirmed yesterday he is thinking about supporting the government’s controversial plan to drug test new welfare recipients. Xenophon controls a block of three votes in the Senate and their support is crucial for the Turnbull Government to deliver its agenda. The government wants to drug test 5,000 new job seekers in three separate locations (the only one to be named so far is Canterbury-Bankstown in Sydney) from January. A positive test to cannabis, ecstasy or ice would put the welfare recipient on a ‘Basics Card’ that can be used for buying essentials only. A second positive test would result in a referral for treatment. Critics are, well, critical of the program’s chance of success but its supporters say it will help to break the cycle of drug abuse.
OZ CONCERNED WITH PHILIPPINES DRUG KILLINGS
“Deep concern” is how Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described her view of the killings that have occurred in the Philippines under the banner of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In the last 14 months, about 12,500 people have been killed by authorities. Bishop says she has spoken to Duterte about “the practice of extra-judicial killings” - which some say is a fancy way of saying state-sanctioned murder. A new round of killings has put Duterte under pressure. He has admitted that some police officers may be overstepping the mark and a parliamentary inquiry has been set up to investigate.
J&J LOSE CASE LINKING BABY POWDER TO OVARIAN CANCER
A court in the US has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Eva Echeverria US$417 million after she developed ovarian cancer while using J&J’s Baby Powder. Echeverria’s is the first of hundreds of similar cases in California to be decided. The case hinges on J&J’s obligation to warn consumers of a possible connection between frequent talc use on lady bits and ovarian cancer. J&J maintain it didn’t have to given it’s a cosmetic product, not a drug. And reports say the science on the connection is not settled. Still, Echeverria said she would have stopped using the powder sooner had she known, which may have led to better health. And the court agreed – in fact, $417 million worth of agreement.
REAL LIFE NORDIC NOIR PLAYING OUT IN DENMARK
One of the more unusual stories of the last few days concerning Denmark isn’t Prince Frederik’s denial of entrance to a Brissie bar (which police say is not entirely true BTW) – it’s the disappearance of journalist Kim Wall after boarding the home-made submarine in Copenhagen belonging to inventor Peter Marden. Marden has been charged with Wall’s death after he was rescued from the sinking submarine. After telling police he dropped her off on land, he changed his story to say she died in an accident on board the sub and he buried her at sea. Late yesterday, a headless torso was discovered on the shores of Copenhagen giving rise to speculation Wall met a grizzly end. Stay tuned…
QUICK ODDS AND SODS NEWS WRAP
CASSIE SAINSBURY’S PAST CONTINUES TO HAUNT HER – This time it’s the Coobowie Tennis Club (on the Yorke Peninsula of SA) which says she stole $3,167 of club funds when she was treasurer in 2015. A tennis playing (alleged) drug mule. Of course. Police will have the option of charging her with theft when she returns to Australia, whenever that may be.
ECLIPSE THRILLS MILLIONS – Check out this cool representation of geolocated Instagram pics highlighting the most liked pic per area during the eclipse. The accessory of the day - protective glasses (ahem, Donald Trump). And we liked these tweets for a bit of fun.
SWIFT MOVES – Consider this your pop culture update for the day. The interwebs has been in meltdown since US megastar Taylor Swift cleaned out her social media on the weekend and then posted a mysterious video snippet of a snake early this week. Those in the know linked the snake to a past dispute with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Others reckon she is getting ready to drop some new tracks. See how down we are with the lingo? We say, do what you feel, lady.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association, addresses the National Press Club on 'Beyond the Freeze'
ABS Data Release - Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2015-16
Company Earnings Announcements - Woolworths, Coca-Cola Amatil
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