Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Police: no terror links to Sydney stabbing

New South Wales police say the alleged perpetrator of a stabbing rampage in Sydney was arrested carrying a USB drive full of extremist materials, but has a history of mental health issues and no apparent links with terror organisations. The 21-year-old man from western Sydney allegedly stabbed a woman to death in an apartment complex in the city centre before attacking others on a busy street, including a woman who was subsequently hospitalised. He leapt on cars and yelled at onlookers to “shoot me in the fucking head” before members of the public and firefighters restrained him using chairs, a crowbar, and a milk crate. “Three members of the public who can only be described as highest-order heroes, have engaged this 21-year-old man and have placed him essentially under arrest, even though he was brandishing a large butcher’s knife and was clearly dangerous,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said. Police said the suspect acted alone. The man, who reportedly absconded from a mental health facility in recent days, cried “Allahu Akbar” in an indistinct accent that suggested he was not familiar with the phrase. 

The Morrison government is expected to launch an inquiry today into Australia's migration program, according to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The inquiry would examine the migration rate, its impact on infrastructure, the broader economy, and how to encourage migrants to settle outside of Sydney and Melbourne. It comes after an Infrastructure Australia report warned congestion costs would skyrocket as the population grew almost 24 per cent to 31.4 million by 2034. Labor leader Anthony Albanese told Guardian Australia the report showed infrastructure needs to be fast-tracked and the country needed to have a “mature debate” about population growth. In a speech on Tuesday night Immigration Minister David Coleman announced he would prioritise international students and skilled migrants.

Christopher Pyne opened negotiations over a private defence industry job while still serving as defence minister, according to a submission to a parliamentary inquiry lodged by his new employer EY Consulting on Tuesday. EY first contacted Pyne on March 7, five days after he announced he was quitting politics. EY partner Mark Stewart’s submission states he met with Pyne on April 8, 2019 to express interest in “utilising his experience as a politician and minister to assist a professional services firm grow their private sector defence industry business”. Pyne served as defence minister until April 11, when the caretaker period came into effect and he was offered the new role. 

Flights at Hong Kong International Airport have been disrupted for a second consecutive day, with thousands of protesters clashing with police armed with batons and pepper spray. The protesters detained several people, including a mainland Chinese journalist who they claimed was an undercover policeman. The territory’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said violence was pushing Hong Kong “down a path of no return”, with China massing paramilitary police across the border in the city of Shenzhen. US President Donald Trump said: “I hope it works out for everybody, including China.”

Schoolyard bullies
In the past decade, reports of teachers and principals being abused by parents have increased. Jane Caro on accounts that range from intimidation to stalking.

 
 

“It was the perfect vehicle for this investigation, as far as the major parties were concerned. For they have many strong reasons to favour only a limited inquiry. Millions of reasons. Billions of them. For a start, there’s the $2,708,754 donated directly to the parties by Crown during the period from 1998 to 2018, recorded in Australian Electoral Commission returns. This largesse was split fairly evenly between the major parties over the longer term but has significantly favoured the conservatives in recent years. But that is just the tip of a very large iceberg.” 

 

“The majority of Aboriginal players, as sociologists Chris Hallinan and Stella Coram have observed, ‘are assigned roles in non-central playing positions that reflect racial assumptions of black athletic superiority, particularly in terms of speed’. Barely a game goes by without a commentator peddling the stereotype that a ‘mercurial’ Indigenous small forward is ‘born with it’. A 2017 University of Western Sydney–led study found such pigeonholing informs a common perception that ‘Aboriginal athletes are biologically more suited to playing positions characterised by pace, trickery and spontaneity, rather than those that utilise leadership acumen and intellectual skill’.”

 

“In conversation, the band’s members constantly cross-talk, interject with affirmations and sometimes answer questions directed to another. Sentences trail off on one side of the table and continue on the other and it’s easy to imagine this is how their songs evolve, the thoughtful and collective filling of silence – or, as drummer Marty Brown describes it, ‘a collective muscle memory’, born from extensive democratic analysis and long rehearsals.”

 
 

“Academic staff at University of Technology Sydney refused to hand over personal details, including their passport numbers, after China’s Education Ministry demanded the information to continue a course for visiting students. Science faculty associate dean for international partnerships ­Graham Nicholson told 21 UTS academics they were required to disclose their passport numbers and dates of birth ‘as part of the ongoing review of this program’ by the ministry.”

 
 

“The attorney general’s department admonished Channel Nine for broadcasting a story about the One Nation candidate Steve Dickson misbehaving in a strip club because it may have breached foreign influence laws, Nine’s chief executive, Hugh Marks, has told the press freedom inquiry. Marks said the personal letter he received in May had a ‘chilling effect’ and was a perfect example of an authoritarian culture aimed at gagging the media.”

 
 

“Last month, at the annual online-video convention Vidcon, an entire panel was devoted to teaching attendees how to create twin-related content; in the audience, rows and rows of young twins sat like Noah’s animals, all hoping to learn how to get their names in the spotlight. ‘We started a year or two ago. When we started it wasn’t as much of a thing,’ says Jayda Johnston, a 15-year-old who attended the event with her twin sister, Jayna. Together they form the Johnston Twins and have more than 635,000 subscribers on YouTube.”

 

Max Opray
is an Adelaide-based freelance journalist.