Three different investigations in the United States will look into the circumstances of the apparent suicide in prison of wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the US justice department, and the New York City medical examiner’s office will investigate why Epstein was taken off suicide watch. US Attorney-General William Barr said the death “raises serious questions that must be answered”. The investigations come as Democrats criticise US President Donald Trump for retweeting an unsubstantiated claim that the death was related to Epstein’s ties to former president Bill Clinton. Trump was also an associate of Epstein, with the two attending parties together. Alleged victims of Epstein have expressed disappointment that he will not face justice. That includes Australian resident Virginia Giuffre who said she had been groomed as a “sex slave” for Epstein. She told The New York Times: “We’ve worked so hard to get here, and he stole that from us, too,” she said.
Prime minister Scott Morrison will today unveil $500m in funding for Australia’s special forces. The four years of spending includes funding for drones, body armour, weapons, diving technology and communications systems, as part of the first stage of the $3bn Project Greyfin project. The spending arises out of recommendations made in the 2016 Defence White Paper. Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, a former SAS officer, said the funding would allow ($) special forces to deliver “clandestine, discreet strategic effects” to protect the national interest. The announcement comes as trade minister Simon Birmingham and Labor’s shadow defence minister Richard Marles both criticised Hastie over his comment last week that compared the international complacency over China’s economic liberalisation to France’s reliance on the Maginot Line against German aggression in 1940.
Australians over the age of 65 are searching for jobs in record numbers but are struggling to find work. There has been a 39 per cent jump in the number of unemployed over 65s looking for a full time job since last year, with unemployment across that group increasing by almost 28 per cent. “The 65-plus age group is caught between a transition to a new retirement system, a changing labour market and an economy which still values their skills,” said West Australian workplace diversity expert Conrad Liveris. Last month the age at which a person can access the pension was increased to 66 from 65.5 years.
New South Wales water minister Melinda Pavey yesterday revealed plans to boost output at a Sydney desalination plant to deal with “one of the worst droughts in living memory”. She said the Kurnell plant was playing a vital role in maintaining the city’s water supply. “By undertaking this planning work, should the drought worsen and water levels continue to drop, we will be ready to act immediately to increase water supply,” she said. The plans come as WaterNSW and the fisheries unit of the Department of Primary Industries prepare emergency response teams for potential fish kills in waterways that could dwarf the mass die-offs in 2018. The agencies are “preparing early for the carnage”, said one official, who asked to remain anonymous. “It's going to be messy.”