Thursday, May 02, 2019

Assange sentenced for bail breach

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks’ jail in Britain for absconding while on bail. Assange, who claimed asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012, was arrested and charged by British and US authorities last month after Ecuador withdrew its offer of asylum. In handing down a near-maximum sentence, judge Deborah Taylor said Assange used “your privileged position to flout the law and advertise internationally your disdain for the law of this country”. Assange will appear in court via video link today to contest his extradition to the US, where he is charged with conspiring to gain access to classified material.

Lawyers representing the family of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody have asked the coroner investigating her death to take systemic racism into consideration. Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day, 55, died in a holding cell at Castlemaine police station in 2017 after being arrested for public drunkenness. In a submission to Victorian deputy state coroner Caitlin English, the lawyer representing Day’s family asserted that officers’ unconscious perception of Day as an Aboriginal woman may have influenced their treatment of her. Day’s daughter Apryl Watson told NITV “there’s not been any changes that have been made to make sure that there is an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody or the other disadvantages that we face”.

A group of independent federal MPs and candidates has pledged to oppose the approval of the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland in the event of a hung parliament. Independent MPs Kerryn Phelps, Andrew Wilkie and Julia Banks, as well as candidates Rob Oakeshott, Helen Haines, Oliver Yates and Zali Steggall, signed an Australian Conservation Foundation pledge to oppose the Adani mine, push for Australia to exceed its Paris carbon reduction targets, oppose public funding for fossil fuel projects and restore funding to the Climate Change Authority. Haines, who is seeking to win the rural Victorian seat of Indi won by independent Cathy McGowan in 2013, told Nine newspapers she would demand a “cogent policy around climate” from any party seeking her support, and that “the Labor Party have not gone far enough”.

And in Japan, a new emperor has taken the Chrysanthemum Throne for the first time in 30 years, ushering in a new imperial era. Naruhito, the new emperor, formally assumed the title at midnight on Wednesday, a day after the abdication of his father Akihito, who has ruled since 1989. Akihito’s abdication, the first in more than 200 years, marked the end of the Heisei imperial era, while Naruhito’s ascension beginning the Reiwa era. The world’s oldest continuing hereditary monarchy, Japan’s imperial line claims to stretch back over 2600 years, with 126 monarchs taking the throne since 660 BC, according to legend.


“I have written many times before of how the medical system seduces refugees and makes them dependent. The problem that sick refugees face is not limited to this hospital – the problems are just like those experienced on Manus Island. Self-harm, attempted suicide, chronic depression and paranoia are all rampant, and in a place with almost no medical facilities or resources.”


“It sounds unreal to say that News Corp is not a media organisation. It sounds outré to say that it is instead a political propaganda entity of a kind perhaps not seen since the 19th century, one that has climbed to its pedestal through regulatory capture, governmental favours and menace, and is now applying its energies to the promotion of white nationalism, even as white nationalists commit scores of murders.”


“A great many of the rom-coms she grew up internalising depict women, mostly white women, juggling both careers and relationships, and perhaps letting one fall in hopes of keeping a tighter grip on the other. When it came time to write her own story, both were a given.”


“A Liberal candidate will be disendorsed by the party over an online rant that attacked Muslims as people of ‘bad character’ who were plotting to kill and enslave other Australians. Jeremy Hearn, the Liberal candidate in the Labor-held Melbourne seat of Isaacs, has apologised for the comments, in which he argued Muslims should be prevented from getting Australian citizenship because they were trying to replace Australia's system of government with Islamic sharia law.”


“A Liberal candidate has pulled out of the election race after backlash after it emerged he said the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ carried ‘appalling health risks’. Liberal candidate for the Victorian seat of Wills, Peter Killin resigned on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier, he was forced to apologise after it was revealed he made a submission to the Ruddock review into religious freedom in which he wrote about the ‘dangers’ posed by gay people.”


“One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said she was <saddened/shocked/unaware> of the news. ‘<Insert name> does not reflect the values of One Nation. Quite simply, <he/she> <was the wrong kind of racist/was a little bit too creepy, even for us/did something that’s not appropriate for print>’.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.