Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Shorten backtracks on Adani

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has left open the possibility that a Labor government would allow the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland to go ahead. Speaking in Townsville yesterday as part of a tour of marginal Queensland electorates, Shorten said “there is a role for coal in Australia” and described the Adani mine as “another project”. Labor’s increasing public opposition to the mine in recent months was challenged last week by Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union president Tony Maher, who said Labor efforts to court progressive voters in the upcoming Batman by-election by opposing the mine would see them “lose in central Queensland”. Batman voters go to the polls on March 17.

An Australian man who travelled to Syria to fight Islamic State has maintained he broke no laws, despite anti-foreign fighter legislation forbidding Australians from “fighting for either side”. In an interview with the ABC’s Four Corners, Melbourne man Jamie Williams detailed how he engaged in active combat against IS in the Syrian city of Raqqa, fighting as part of a band of Westerners attached to the Kurdish YPG. Williams said he travelled to Syria “to try and find and kill any Australian Da'esh that I could”, saying he had “supported the good guys in this fight”. Williams was detained and questioned by Border Force and Australian Federal Police officers when he returned to Australia in January. Watch the program here.

Nationals MP George Christensen has refused to apologise to The Greens over a photo of him on Facebook holding a gun and seemingly threatening “greenie punks”. Greens leader Richard Di Natale reported the post to the Australian Federal Police, saying Christensen had “given licence to people to behave in a way that is violent towards other people”, while Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young published violent correspondence she received after Christensen’s post gained attention from media outlets. Speaking to Melbourne radio station 3AW, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Christensen’s post “was clearly inappropriate” and he would “let the police complete their evaluation”.

And in the United States, students of the Florida high school where 17 people died in a mass shooting last week are organising national marches urging politicians to legislate for gun control. The March For Our Lives rallies, planned for March 24, were organised by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in response to inaction from lawmakers. Several students have assumed ($) national profiles in the wake of the shooting. Speaking at a rally in New York City, student Emma Gonzalez said “they say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call B.S. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call B.S.”

Open Quotemarks

Of course Barnaby’s family situation is regrettable, but which of us hasn’t made regrettable choices in our lives?

Close Quotemarks

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The final, terrible voyage of the Nautilus

“Madsen stuck to his story: Wall had hit her head and died, and he disposed of her body, but he denied killing her or dismembering her. Even after divers found a saw that might have been used to dismember Wall’s body, even after the police searched Madsen’s computer and discovered videos that appeared to show women being strangled, decapitated, and tortured – he stuck to his story.”wired

The playboy who got away with $242 million – using ‘black magic’

“Over dinner, Sissoko made a startling claim. He told the bank manager, Mohammed Ayoub, that he had magic powers. With these powers, he could take a sum of money and double it. He invited his Emirati friend to come again, and to bring some cash. Black magic is condemned by Islam as blasphemous. Even so, there's still a widespread belief in it, and Ayoub was taken in by the colourful and mysterious businessman from a remote village in Mali.” bbc

How a French fraudster climbed the world of international arms dealing

“On a chilly January day in 2012, a Bombardier Challenger 601 took off from Warsaw’s Chopin International Airport. The business jet was the property of the government of the Gambia, an impoverished sliver of a country in West Africa. But there were no government representatives on board. Instead, the jet was filled with an international cohort in search of a major payday. The group had been assembled to travel to the Gambia to negotiate a weapons contract worth up to US$ 350 million with the country’s then-dictator, Yahya Jammeh.” organised crime and corruption reporting project



Has Michael McCormack cruelled his chances of leading the Nationals?

“Leadership pressure on Barnaby Joyce has escalated again after the man touted as his main rival, Michael McCormack, repeatedly refused to rule out a challenge or pledge his support for the deputy prime minister in an awkward live TV interview ... Asked at least seven times by Sky News host Ashley Gillon to pledge his loyalty or rule out a challenge at next Monday's party room meeting, Mr McCormack eventually said ‘of course I support Barnaby Joyce’ but he couldn’t predict what might happen this week.”  fairfax


Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

“In 1993, as the editor of Wagga Wagga’s Fairfax-owned local paper The Daily Advertiser, Mr McCormack penned a shocking, homophobic tirade that has never been forgotten by many members of the community. In his column, he demonised the LGBTI community, describing them as ‘sordid’ and ‘unnatural’ and blaming same-sex attracted people for the AIDS epidemic. ‘A week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society’, he wrote in his vile ‘from the editor’s desk’ column.”  news.com.au


and finally:

The new ‘Queer Eye’ is a delightful antidote to toxic masculinity

“Instead of just coming in to some slobby, straight guy’s horrifying apartment and giving him a button-up shirt and a feature wall, essentially just to better increase their chances at dating, the new Queer Eye guys found unhappy, unfulfilled and lonely men, and tried to fundamentally improve their lives. It’s not only heartwarming and gorgeous television – it’s also a great example of how men can care for their own communities and shape them towards being more progressive.” junkee