Monday, December 11, 2017

Dastyari warned Plibersek off meeting

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari urged deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek not to meet with a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist in 2015. Fairfax reports that Plibersek met with Joseph Cheng Yu-shek while visiting Hong Kong as Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson, despite warnings by Dastyari that such a meeting would prompt negative publicity in the Chinese-language media in Australia. Cheng, who holds Australian citizenship, founded the Alliance of True Democracy in 2013 to push for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Plibersek was reportedly surprised at Dastyari’s warnings, and met with Cheng despite them. A spokesperson for Dastyari has called Fairfax’s story “complete rubbish”.

News Corporation, Exxon Mobil and Chevron paid no tax in the 2015-16 financial year, despite recording taxable incomes of up to $6.7 billion. The Australian Tax Office’s most recent corporate tax transparency report, which legislation requires the ATO to compile on corporations that report more than $100 million in annual income, found News Corp paid no tax on a domestic income of $2.9 billion. Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Ged Kearney said Australia’s corporate tax system meant that “a worker, who generates all the profit a multi-national company brings in, would pay more tax that that company”. Greens leader Richard Di Natale pointed out that 13 companies that paid no tax made significant donations to the Liberal, Labor and National parties.

The United Nations has called for section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to be strengthened in response to a rise in racist attacks. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination report urged the Australian government to “reverse the burden of proof in civil proceedings involving racial discrimination” and “put an end to racist hate speech expressed in the print and electronic media” in response to an increase in “expressions of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia”. Multicultural affairs minister Zed Seselja said the report’s recommendations constituted “bizarre criticism”, saying that the government’s priority was ensuring “our borders are secure and our nation is safe”.

And China has lodged a “serious complaint” with the federal government after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said “the Australian people” were going to “stand up” to foreign interference in the political system. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Turnbull’s comments “poisoned the atmosphere of the China-Australia relationship and undermined the foundation of mutual trust and bilateral co-operation”. Laws introduced by the government on Thursday would ban foreign donations to political parties, charities and not-for-profit organisations, and compel former politicians and lobbyists working for foreign interests to join a government register.

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Inside Trump’s hour-by-hour battle for self-preservation

“As he ends his first year in office, Mr. Trump is redefining what it means to be president. He sees the highest office in the land much as he did the night of his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton – as a prize he must fight to protect every waking moment, and Twitter is his Excalibur. Despite all his bluster, he views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously, according to interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress.” the new york times

Raising a teenage daughter, with notes from my teenage daughter

“It’s a tough task. How well do you know your child? How well do you know the situations your child is getting into? What makes it all seem so impossible is that you need to allow your child to get hurt because if you don’t, your child won’t be resilient and will definitely be an ass. But we’re not talking about losing at Candy Land. We’re talking about … it’s hard to say out loud.” the california sunday magazine

Cat person

“Robert came to pick her up in a muddy white Civic with candy wrappers spilling out of the cup holders. On the drive, he was quieter than she’d expected, and he didn’t look at her very much. Before five minutes had gone by, she became wildly uncomfortable, and, as they got on the highway, it occurred to her that he could take her someplace and rape and murder her; she hardly knew anything about him, after all.” the new yorker



In Alabama politics, what’s the only thing worse than being accused of serial child molestation?

“It was never going to be afternoon tea, but with the airing of allegations in November that Roy S. Moore, the Republican nominee, had hounded and molested teenage girls when he was in his 30s, the race tightened – and the dialogue went south. Mr. Moore has gone about creating a real-life political science experiment, testing whether last year’s presidential campaign was an anomaly or whether voters remain just as willing to shrug off truth-stretching, multiple charges of sexual misconduct and incendiary speech.”   the new york times


Being a Democrat.

“Things seem to be going Roy Moore’s way. President Trump endorsed him. The Republican National Committee is back to supporting him. And Moore, who has been accused of sexual contact with women when they were underaged, has led by an average of 3 percentage points in polls taken within 21 days of the Dec. 12 special Senate election in Alabama. The betting markets give Moore about an 80 percent chance of victory – roughly the same chance they gave Hillary Clinton just before the 2016 presidential election.”  fivethirtyeight


and finally:

Firefighters free YouTube prankster who cemented head into microwave

“Five firefighters spent an hour working to release a YouTube prankster who had cemented his head inside a microwave oven. The 22-year-old and a group of friends mixed seven bags of Polyfilla before pouring it around his head, which was protected by a plastic bag inside the appliance. Their intention was to use the microwave as a mould. By the time emergency services were called at 1.49pm on Wednesday to the garage of a house in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, the group had already been trying to free him for 90 minutes.” the guardian