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Monday, 22 July 2019
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“Sense of humour or diplomatic incident?”
Asked New Zealand’s First Gentleman Clarke Gayford of a provocative menu card placed in his and PM Jacinda Ardern’s Melbourne hotel room inviting them to “indulge in a traditional Australian dessert, the Pavlova”. Given they won the netball this morning, surely they can give us that…
IRAN SEIZES BRITISH TANKER
Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf on Saturday (Aussie time) has significantly upped the stakes in its tit-for-tat exchange with Western powers. Reports this morning say the ship, called the Stena Impero, with its 23 crew was in Omani waters when it was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Foreign Minister (and Conservative Party leadership hopeful) Jeremy Hunt labelled Iran’s move a “hostile act” and warned there would be “serious consequences” if the ship was not released.
DIDN’T THE BRITISH IMPOUND AN IRANIAN TANKER?
Ten points for recall. Earlier this month, Britain became entangled in America’s standoff with Iran when it impounded an Iranian tanker allegedly bound for Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran denied that’s where it was going and said the seizure is “illegal”. Since then, things have been fraught. Iran then attempted to seize a British tanker but was driven off by a Royal Navy ship. Last week, Iran seized the Panamanian-tagged MT Riah with 12 crew members on board for alleged fuel smuggling. And the US says it shot down an Iranian drone late last week because it was flying too close to one of its warships.
WHERE IS THIS GOING?
Nowhere good. Britain and the US say it is Iran that is escalating the situation which started with US President Donald Trump walking away from a deal designed to limit Iran’s nuclear capacity and imposing sanctions. Iran says those sanctions are killing its economy, and pundits say it’s acting up in the strategically important sea-channel to pressure America to back down. These events set up an early test for the incoming UK PM, whether that be Hunt or Boris Johnson. The result of that contest will be known tomorrow. And reports say Australia is in discussions with the US about sending military support to help tankers safely navigate the Gulf. That’s a lot of space to watch…
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AUSTRALIAN KILLED IN CANADA
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Friday that Aussie Lucas Fowler (23yo) and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese (24yo) were found dead last Monday on a remote highway in British Columbia. While labelling their deaths “suspicious”, police haven’t said a lot, but Deese’s mother said the van they were travelling in broke down “and that’s where tragedy happened”. Fowler’s father is a senior NSW police officer, and the force has sent two homicide detectives to Canada to assist with the investigation. Calling the Fowlers family, an unnamed police official said the move was “unusual” but “you do everything you can to support your family.”
And while we have you… Senior police have described a grisly alleged murder in Sydney’s west on Saturday night as the most horrific scene they have had to face. Jessica Camilleri (25yo) was charged with killing her mother Rita Camilleri (57yo) after an argument turned violent.
BACK IN THE HOUSE
Or for the more hip – in da houz… Yep, our federal pollies head back to Canberra for a two-week sprint before heading back to their electorate for another five weeks. That means we should be prepared for a hectic fortnight. First cab off the rank is the Coalition Government’s ‘temporary exclusion’ laws that would block Australians deemed a terrorist threat from returning for up to two years if they have fought with groups like Islamic State. The Law Council of Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission aren’t fans of the proposal, and Labor and some crossbench senators also have questions. And would you fancy that? Just in time for this week’s debate, News Corp’s Sunday papers yesterday revealed (paywall) that 40 fighters have already returned to Australia and could pose a risk to security.
It’s bought our largest brewery, so that seems only fair, right? The beers were flowing on Friday night when Japanese drinks company Asahi announced it had acquired Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) from its Belgian-based owner AB InBev. The price – $16 billion, so feel free to order a Crown Lager… CUB, which includes the Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, Great Northern, Cascade brands, has bounced around in the few years since international interests have owned it. It was first bought out by South Africa’s SABMiller in 2011, then went to the Belgians, and now it’s off to Japan. Which is fine as long as it honours the rules of shouting a round of drinks…
THERE'S GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS...
NETBALL LOSS – Those darn Kiwis have taken out the Netball World Cup overnight by just one goal in an absolute nailbiter. The closeness of the 52-51 score doesn’t represent the battle the Aussie Diamonds had on their hands – they were seven goals behind in the third quarter. The Diamonds and the Silver Ferns have faced off in the last six finals, and while we were looking for our fourth consecutive title, New Zealand were happy to take home their first World Cup since 2003. Rounding out the final standings – England took the bronze medal downing South Africa 58-42.
CRICKET WIN – The good news is that Australia has retained the Women’s Ashes. Ending their test match against England in a draw, their 8-2 game lead means the Poms have no chance of catching us in the final matches of the series. So good.
SWIMMING CONTROVERSY – And Aussie swimmer Mack Horton has made his point about rival Sun Yang’s eligibility to swim at the world championships that are currently on in South Korea by refusing the stand on the podium with the Chinese swimmer. Sun, who won the 400 metres title overnight with Horton in second place, was suspended for doping in 2014. It was a happier occasion for our women’s 100 metres relay team and 18yo Ariarne Titmus who upset American great Katie Ledecky to claim 400 metres gold overnight.
SETTING THE CATS AMONG THE MOVIEGOERS…
No, we’re not talking about a smashing first weekend for the revamped Lion King. Or the hype amongst Top Gun fans feeling a new need for speed. We’re talking about the brouhaha that resulted from the release of the trailer previewing the new Cats movie. The Andrew Lloyd-Webber theatre musical that just won’t quit is coming to our screens for Christmas and features some big names including Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Ian McKellen and Rebel Wilson. But gee the release of the trailer has raised some concerns… The tweet that encapsulated our feelings – “My brain has melted. My eyes are bleeding. There is no god.” Check it out for yourself… if you dare.
SQUIZ THE DAY
Federal Parliament returns
Papua New Guinea’s PM James Marape is making his first official visit to Australia and will receive a ceremonial welcome in Canberra
Anniversary of the 2011 attacks in Norway carried out by far-right extremist Anders Breivik that killed 77 people
Birthday for Prince George of Cambridge (2013)
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