Thursday, October 04, 2018

Hope for Palu survivors fades

The death toll from an earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has climbed to 1407, according to Indonesian emergency response agencies. Six days after disaster struck the city of Palu, authorities and rescue workers conceded the likelihood of more survivors being found by rescuers had diminished. Indonesian president Joko Widodo visited Palu on Wednesday, ordering military and police to join rescue operations. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said rescuers were “racing against time” to find survivors trapped by fallen buildings. More than 70,000 people have been displaced by the disaster, with extensive damage to infrastructure hindering the distribution of food, water and medical supplies. Donate to UNICEF’s Indonesia tsunami appeal here.

One of the architects of the Paris climate agreement has criticised the federal government’s failure to act on reducing carbon emissions. Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation and former French climate change ambassador, was one of the driving forces behind the 2015 global agreement to keep global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Speaking to Fairfax, Tubiana said the government’s lack of a concrete emissions policy “goes against the science, spirit and letter of the Paris agreement”. She disputed prime minister Scott Morrison’s assertion that Australia would meet its Paris targets “in a canter”, saying “the consensus in the scientific community is that Australia is not currently on track to reduce emissions and meet its Paris Agreement commitments”.

Economists have warned the royal commission into the banking and finance sectors could inadvertently lead to a steep fall in house prices. Speaking to the ABC, Capital Economics chief economist Paul Dales said tightened borrowing standards brought on by revelations of irresponsible loan practices by the major banks could trigger “the largest downturn in Australia's modern history” over the next few years. Economist Saul Eslake said the slowdown could prove to be good news for prospective first-home buyers, estimating that “a decline in prices of the order of 10 to 20 per cent over a two or three year period, especially if [that] happens without any significant increase in interest rates, could be the most promising thing that's occurred for more than 25 years”.

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission has reported a record number of public servants seeking protection for blowing the whistle on official misconduct in the last financial year. Queensland public officials made 591 reports of corrupt conduct in 2017-18, while the commission received 368 complaints about police officers from March to May. Queensland Police Accountability Taskforce spokesperson Renee Eaves said the spike in reports was evidence “that corrupt conduct is occurring in Queensland that is not being properly investigated”.


“President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents ... The Times’ investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire”


“Being Korean and being adopted were things I had loved and hated in equal measure. Growing up, I was the only Korean most of my friends and family knew, the only Korean I knew. Sometimes the adoption upset me more; sometimes my differences did; but mostly, it was both at once, race and adoption, linked parts of my identity that set me apart from everyone else in my orbit.”


“On the night of November 4, 2017, Saudi authorities detained Bakr bin Laden in Jeddah along with more than 200 other members of the Saudi elite, in what officials said was a crackdown on corruption. Dozens of Bin Laden family members, including the brothers’ children, had their bank accounts frozen and were banned from travelling abroad, said associates of the family.”


“A $30 million-a-year tax on tampons and other female sanitary products has been abolished by state and federal governments ... The decision comes after more than a decade of campaigning from women’s groups against the GST being applied to tampons and sanitary pads, which they have long argued are essential and should therefore be exempt from the tax.”


“The Senate has rejected a push to get rid of the GST on tampons, pads and other sanitary items ... It failed 15-33. The Greens Party, Nick Xenophon Team, Derryn Hinch, David Leyonhjelm and Lucy Gichuhi voted for it, while the government and the Labor opposition voted against.”


“Day 1. Begin to avoid the kitchen. If the kitchen cannot be avoided, must be passed in order to reach more desirable environs, like the Out Of Doors, avert your eyes from the sink. The kitchen is now formally Unlovely. Do not treat it with love.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.