Thursday, March 08, 2018

Australia and Timor-Leste reach agreement

Australia and Timor-Leste have signed an agreement over a maritime border between the two countries, ending a 14-year dispute over rights to oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. The deal, signed at the United Nations in New York City, grants Timor-Leste the majority of revenue from drilling, but disagreements persist over where gas and oil will be processed. Witness K, the Australian intelligence agent who blew the whistle on Australian government bugging of Timor-Leste cabinet offices in 2004, is still facing sanctions from the Australian government, with lawyer Bernard Collaery claiming the agent was still under “effective house arrest” four years after his passport was seized.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop will speak with United States secretary of state Rex Tillerson this week, as the Australian government grapples with US President Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports. The departure of senior White House economic adviser Gary Cohn yesterday seemingly reduced the likelihood that American allies would be able to seek exemptions from the tariffs, with Trump and US vice-president Mike Pence both reportedly refusing to take calls from friendly leaders. Pro-business Republicans expressed concern ($) at Cohn’s resignation, which heightened fears the Trump White House would embrace protectionist economic policies and spark a trade war with China.

A review by Western Australian Nationals president James Hayward has found an allegation of sexual harassment against former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was compromised by political interference. The review, which began after the identity of Joyce’s accuser was leaked to the media, found an “ever-widening circle of Nationals MPs” being made privy to the complaint’s details “increased the risk of the knowledge of the allegation becoming public and ultimately the public naming of the victim”. It also quotes former WA Nationals leader Terry Redman, who warned Hayward that “there were as many as 10 complaints which ranged from inappropriate behaviour to more serious allegations” against Joyce. Details of the review came to light as the woman who accused Joyce released a statement criticising the Nationals’ handling of her complaint, saying the “stress of having to go through this publicly and with people’s judgment is the exact reason people don’t come forward”.

Workers at fast-food chain Doughnut Time have claimed they were promised weeks in owed backpay shortly before being fired. Founder Damian Griffiths sold Doughnut Time on Monday, with many stores closing at the weekend. Former employees have taken Doughnut Time to the Fair Work Commission, alleging $70,000 in unpaid wages and superannuation, while photos of banners hung over Doughnut Time stores by employees alleging systematic underpayment have gone viral. Workers have also claimed that Dan Strachotta, Doughnut Time’s new owner, promised they would be compensated for unpaid work before announcing mass layoffs in a group email.

And today is International Women's’ Day. For anyone preparing to ask “why isn’t there an International Men’s Day?”, there is. It falls on November 19 – a date also occupied by the United Nations’ official World Toilet Day.

Open Quotemarks

In 1999 when we made this decision, it was a stupid decision. Almost 20 years later, it’s still a dumb thing to be doing.

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The male glance

“Study after study has shown that, no matter how loudly we complain that reality TV is heavily scripted, or that an image is the product of makeup, lighting, and Photoshop, we’re totally unable to disregard the evidence of our own eyes. We are aesthetically fooled by the effects we think we see through intellectively. When we think we’re seeing through a woman’s foundation, then, we’ve done something a hundred times worse than criticise a woman for her appearance. We’ve mistaken noticing that there is makeup for correctly perceiving what’s behind it.” virginia quarterly review

Novelist Charlotte Wood: ‘There’s unresolved grief about the stuff my generation had to put up with’

“I will never, ever understand what it is about women’s bodies that so disgusts and frightens and threatens a certain kind of man. Because of that, women have internalised that hatred of their bodies, so when the girls in my book are away from all the usual methods of controlling and corralling and constraining their bodies, they start to have a sort of bodily return to nature. It freaks a lot of them right out, that they have body hair and have to deal with periods in this horrible place.”the spinoff

Stormy, with a chance of MAGA

“At Gossip NY strip club – or ‘place for gentlemen’, as the purple neon sign outside would have it – you can smoke indoors, something I haven’t done in New York in years. Everywhere there are fat, stubby cigars, and fat, stubby men smoking them. The light is dim; the air is thick; the room is filled with journalists and sex workers, and all of us have been waiting for hours for Stormy Daniels to appear.” the village voice



What exactly is in the nondisclosure agreement Donald Trump wants to keep quiet?

“Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she was paid to keep quiet about her affair with Donald Trump, sued the president Tuesday alleging that her nondisclosure agreement before the 2016 election is void because Trump did not sign it. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Daniels – whose real name is Stephanie Clifford – said she wanted to go public with the story of her decade-old affair with Trump in the weeks leading up to the election.”  the washington post ($)


Hope you haven’t eaten breakfast yet.

“The filing – which includes the original ‘hush agreement’ itself and another related document – focuses not so much on Stormy Daniels staying mum about a sexual relationship with Donald Trump but on ‘certain still images and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to’ Donald Trump ... Daniels is saying out loud for everyone one to hear: not only did I have sex with President Trump but I had compromising text messages and ‘certain still images’ that Trump went to herculean lengths to keep secret.”  talking points memo


and finally:

Intrepid reporters catch ‘snowflake students’ correctly surmising the moral of Frankenstein

“According to notorious British tabloid the Sun, sicko lib ‘snowflake students’ in the UK are reading Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus – widely considered one of the first science fiction novels – and concluding that the titular doctor’s grotesque creation, which ended up killing several people, is in fact a ‘misunderstood’ victim! Some are even asking whether Frankenstein’s monster would be afforded rights in a modern society.” gizmodo