Friday, March 02, 2018

NT government accepts youth detention findings

The Northern Territory government said it would accept all 227 recommendations from the royal commission into the territory youth justice system. Territory families minister Dale Wakefield said the government gave “in-principle” support to the recommendations “to make effective, meaningful and generational change to our youth justice and child protection system”. The commission’s final report, released in November, found that the territory’s youth detention centres “were not fit for accommodating, let alone rehabilitating, children and young people”. It recommended the Don Dale youth detention centre be immediately closed, the use of gas on detainees be prohibited, an end to the practice of punishing detainees with prolonged isolation, and introducing a change to the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended jobs and innovation minister Michaelia Cash, saying she was “bullied and provoked” into referencing “rumours” about young women in opposition leader Bill Shorten’s office. Cash “unreservedly” withdrew her comments yesterday, claiming Labor senator Doug Cameron made a “highly inappropriate comment” by asking for the name of her new chief of staff. Cash was shielded from media scrutiny after Parliament House security staff used a whiteboard to block reporters from asking her questions, after Channel Nine captured a text message exchange on Cash’s phone screen discussing how to avoid the media by sneaking out a side door. Speaking to Sydney radio station 2GB, home affairs minister Peter Dutton claimed “there’s a history of problems in Bill Shorten's personal life, Tony Burke's personal life”. In reply, Shorten said “Mr Dutton’s comments reflect on him and no one else”.

Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack has spearheaded a minor ministerial reshuffle, returning several Nationals to the frontbench who had been demoted by predecessor Barnaby Joyce. Nationals Darren Chester and Keith Pitt, who were stripped of their ministries in December after supporting Victorian senator Bridget McKenzie’s candidacy for deputy party leadership against Joyce’s preferred nominee, Queensland senator Matt Canavan, were reinstated to the ministry. Victorian MP Damian Drum and New South Wales MP Luke Hartsuyker, meanwhile, have been sent to the backbench. The new ministers will be sworn in on Monday.

And in the United States, President Donald Trump has stunned Washington by expressing support for gun control measures. In a televised meeting with senior Republican and Democratic lawmakers, Trump suggested legislators draft a bill that would raise the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21, increase mandatory background checks, and allow authorities to seize guns from people they believe pose a risk – all measures strongly opposed by his Republican Party and the National Rifle Association, which spent more than $30 million supporting Trump’s presidential campaign. “Some of you people are petrified of the NRA”, Trump told lawmakers. “They have great power over you people. They have less power over me.” Trump also floated restrictions on gun ownership for some people with mental illnesses, seemingly forgetting that he repealed an Obama-era law to that effect in January 2017. It remains to be seen whether anything more substantive comes from this, or whether the US President gets distracted by something and forgets.


Correction: The headline of yesterday’s Briefing, “Cash apologises for ‘disgraceful’ comments”, was incorrect. Cash has not apologised for her comments. The headline has been amended.

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The ‘exorcism’ that turned into murder

“At dawn, Vilma Trujillo was led out of the Celestial Vision church – a dark wooden cabin where she had been held captive for almost a week – and tied to a guava tree. The 25-year-old had been taken there after starting to hallucinate and talk to herself. It was for her own good, she was told. Prayers were the antidote to the demons that possessed her.”bbc

Scientists want to completely rethink how they make the flu vaccine

“Drug companies and public-health agencies are already grappling with the challenge of next year and beyond. Officials must decide several months ahead of flu season the make-up of the year’s vaccine. Flu shots are typically 40 percent to 60 percent effective in any given season, though this year fell short of that mark. The ultimate goal is a universal vaccine that would operate more like a measles inoculation than a vaccine targeted at a handful of strains of flu. The idea is to offer something closer to 90 percent protection against a disease for years – if not for life – with a single vaccine.” bloomberg

A second city

“Here, in West Garfield Park, the community has the same life expectancy as Iraq. Residents here live on average to 69, according to the most recent census, a full 16 years less than that of residents in the Loop just six miles to the east. It’s a neighborhood that has been plundered for years by housing discrimination, segregation, and police violence. It is struggling with poverty, school closings, drug addiction, and shootings.” chicago magazine



What in God’s name is happening on Clive Palmer’s Facebook page?

“After spending 2017 attempting to completely re-invent himself online, mining mogul and former federal MP Clive Palmer announced last week that he was bringing back the Palmer United Party, contesting the next federal election, and launching a new Facebook-based meme group to help support his campaign. The ‘Palmy Army’, as Palmer dubbed the group, started out innocently enough, but over the past week it’s devolved into a racist, sexist cesspit, with Palmer now attempting to wrest back control.”  junkee


Look, nothing good.

“A Facebook page run by the verified account of multimillionaire businessman and former politician Clive Palmer is currently generating a plethora of racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic memes. Increasingly problematic images have flooded the ‘Palmy Army’ Facebook group, which was set up by someone running Palmer's official account last week, encouraging the mantra ‘fuck off we’re full’ and including photoshop efforts that show the 63-year-old depicted in Nazi uniform while his political opponents sit in a gas chamber.”  buzzfeed australia


and finally:

Inside the bizarre mass wedding where hundreds of couples toting AR-15s and wearing crowns are blessed

“More than 300 couples descended on Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, for a controversial ceremony to marry or renew their vows – and pay homage to AR-15s, which they believe are God’s sacred ‘rod of iron’ on earth. There was standing room only in the large church and followers clapped and cheered as their leader Pastor Hyung Jin Sean Moon and his family walked in a procession, holding up a golden assault rifle ... One couple wore crowns made of gold bullet casings and pearls, while others held photographs of their partners who could not attend so they could still receive the marriage blessing.” the sun



Win a double pass to Bedouine performing in Melbourne and Sydney

Our readers have the chance to win one of two double passes to see folk singer-songwriter Bedouine perform in Sydney, at Cake Wines Cellar Door on Wednesday, March 7, or in Melbourne, at Northcote Social Club on Thursday, March 8. Syrian-born, LA-based Bedouine released her self-titled debut album last year, and these are her first Australian dates following extensive North American touring.
The competition closes at 5pm AEDT on Sunday, March 4 and winners will be notified by 5pm AEDT on Monday, March 5.Enter Here