In his first public statement since the investigation into Russian election interference, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has announced his resignation and said that President Trump was not absolved by his report. Mueller said, “If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so,” but that charging Trump was “not an option”. According to Justice Department policy, Mueller said, “a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office”, as there could be no court resolution, which he called “unconstitutional”. Trump responded to the statement on Twitter, saying, “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report” and claiming that “the case is closed!”
Boris Johnson is facing a hiccup along the path to become the next British prime minister, as he was summoned to court for allegedly lying to the public about the Brexit campaign in 2016. The former British foreign secretary and London mayor is required to attend a preliminary hearing and then face trial to answer allegations over three offences of misconduct in public office. The application against Johnson claimed that he lied about the cost of European Union membership before and after the referendum held on Britain’s participation in the EU - for which he was a high-profile leave campaigner. Johnson’s lawyers said the application was a political stunt and that “none of the acts” took place.
The Australian reports ($) that the Catholic archdiocese of Melbourne has debts of $180 million and the Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli has warned clergy and staff that there will be a massive overhaul of finances. While the church has paid out millions of dollars in compensation for victims of sexual abuse by its clergy members, it is not thought to be the direct cause of financial difficulty. It is speculated that part of the debt follows the purchase of new administrative quarters in 2014 for $35 million. It is likely that there will be job losses and budget cuts.
Economists predict that the Reserve Bank will slash interest rates to 1.25 per cent when the RBA board meets next Tuesday, and there are suggestions the cash rate could dip as low as 0.5 per cent, to counter the impact of a slowing economy. Australia’s economic growth is currently on par with its performance during the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago. Analysts suggest that the upcoming release of the national accounts for the March quarter could show it has expanded at a “feeble” 0.2 per cent, bringing Australia’s GDP down to 1.5 per cent. At the same time, the election result that saw the Morrison government return to power seems to be helping to “stabilise” the property market. Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn said home loan applications leapt to a 10-month high after the election, and while he cautioned against reading too much into the data, he felt there “was quite a big shift in sentiment”.
A national study of ambulance data has revealed that suicidal behavior among men could be up to three times higher than previously thought. The Beyond the Emergency data project, co-ordinated by mental health organisation Beyond Blue and the Movember Foundation, showed there were 30,197 ambulance attendances for men who had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide between July 2015 and June 2016, compared to 9999 recorded presentations to hospitals during that time. More than 40 per cent of the ambulance attendances involved high alcohol intake and almost 30 per cent involved illicit or pharmaceutical drugs. The report also noted that paramedics felt poorly equipped in responding in these cases. “Findings consistently highlight a service system that is not working – for men or ambulance services,” the report said.
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