Thursday, December 14, 2017

Royal Commission wraps up

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold its final sitting today, marking the end of the five-year inquiry. Since it was set up by former prime minister Julia Gillard in 2012, the commission has heard from more than 8000 survivors of sexual abuse, as well as more than 1300 academics, lawyers, advocates, public servants and community groups. Commission chair Peter McLennan will present Message to Australia, a 1000-page book with collections of testimony from survivors who shared their stories with the commission, to the National Library of Australia before becoming publicly available. The commission’s final report will be delivered to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Friday. The sitting will be webcast live from 9.30am here.

Traditional owners of the land on which the proposed Carmichael coal mine will be developed have spoken out against an Indigenous land use agreement brokered with resource company Adani, saying they feared losing native title rights altogether if they refused to co-operate. A land use agreement registered with the Native Title Tribunal last week is being opposed by some Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners, while spokesperson Patrick Malone told the ABC they had been threatened by the Queensland coordinator-general that the government would “extinguish native title against all Wangan Jagalingou Country” unless they agreed to the ILUA. The Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, which is challenging the agreement in court, has claimed the newly re-elected Palaszczuk Queensland government was moving to extinguish their native title rights before their case is heard.

The Commonwealth Bank has admitted to breaking anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws more than 53,000 times as the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre prepares to file additional breaches. CBA admitted to 91 of 174 allegations that it failed to submit suspicious matter reports on transactions that should have been flagged with authorities. Law firm Maurice Blackburn filed a class action on behalf of CBA shareholders in October, claiming that the bank failed to inform shareholders of the potential breaches for two years. The bank faces millions in potential fines when it faces court in March.

And in the United States, Democratic Party candidate Doug Jones has narrowly won an upset victory in the US Senate election for the state of Alabama. Jones’ unlikely victory, the first for the Democrats in Alabama in more than two decades, was made possible by the Republican candidacy of Roy Moore, a former judge dogged by accusations of child sexual molestation. Jones’ ascension to the Senate will further hamstring President Donald Trump’s stalled legislative agenda, and increases the likelihood that Democrats will take control of the Senate at the 2018 midterm elections. Exit polls showed that while black voters turned out strongly and overwhelmingly backed Jones, Moore attracted more than two-thirds of white voters. Anecdotal evidence suggested Alabama Crimson Tide college football coach Nick Saban, who is beloved in the state, received at least some of the crucial 22,000 write-in votes that were cast, mainly by Republican voters repelled by Moore.

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Salma Hayek: Harvey Weinstein is my monster too

“For the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown: My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I were throwing up tears. Since those around me had no knowledge of my history of Harvey, they were very surprised by my struggle that morning. It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein.” the new york times

The hidden world of ‘private spies’

“The Guardian and the Bureau identified five large companies which have paid corporate intelligence firms, often known as ‘private spies’. These firms were paid to monitor campaigning groups that challenged their businesses, the leaked documents reveal. The monitoring, which included the use of fake activists, who infiltrated campaign groups to spy on them, intelligence gathering and obtaining internal documents, was funded by household names including the Royal Bank of Scotland, British Airways and Porsche.” the bureau of investigative journalism

Inside the secret world of football in North Korea

“The gate for Air Koryo flight JS152 to Pyongyang can be found in the farthest corner of the Beijing Capital International Airport. On any given week, there are only a handful of flights leaving for North Korea, but today, the flight is full. Among the well-connected Koreans returning home, wearing red pin badges of the ‘Great Leader’ Kim Il Sung or his son, the ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong Il, proudly on their breasts, the Lebanon national team is difficult to miss.” bleacher report



Who’s not afraid to take on the might of Australia’s pokies industry?

“Tasmania would become the first state to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs in a major strike against the gambling industry announced by the state Labor opposition. It comes as a report from the left-leaning Australia Institute reveals Australia is home to a stunning 76 per cent of the world’s poker machines in pubs, clubs and non-casino venues ... A parliamentary inquiry showed $110 million was lost to the 2375 gaming machines in pubs and clubs across Tasmania last financial year.”   fairfax


The fearless scone-wielding heroines of the CWA, that’s who.

“The Country Women’s Association says it has no fear of a David and Goliath struggle against the state’s poker machine industry. State CWA chief Lindy Cleeland has backed the power of community pressure as her organisation joins a coalition seeking to make gambling an election issue. ‘We’re not frightened to go up against the big guys, they’re only big until the community shouts them down ... and sometimes you just have to say no’, she said.”  the mercury ($)


and finally:

A winter in Siberia

“Based in Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, the Reuters photographer Ilya Naymushin captures scenes from around the region, portraying everyday life as Russians work, play, and survive in a place infamous for its harsh winters. This collection of photos from the past winter shows some of the ways people are coping, including vehicles modified for the winter, hand-built ice-fishing huts, ice sculptures, traditional festivals, sporting events, and more.” the atlantic