Thursday, October 10, 2019

Citizenships stripped as Turkey invades Syria

Reports have emerged that Australia has stripped citizenship from three dual nationals in Syria, as Turkey begins its invasion of the country. The Morrison government is under pressure to evacuate about 80 Australians from Syria held in camps for Daesh-affiliated prisoners, which are guarded by Kurdish forces being redeployed ($) to defend against the Turkish assault. According to The Australian ($), the number of dual nationals to lose their citizenship has increased by three since the Morrison government last reported numbers in September. Among them is Zehra Duman, who was notified of her retroactive loss of citizenship this week, with The New Daily reporting this leaves the citizenship status of two of her infant children unclear. 

Turkey invades: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced via Twitter on Wednesday that the attack aims to "prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border."  The Turkish military is targeting US-allied Kurdish fighters who helped defeat Daesh, but have been left exposed after US President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced the exit of American forces from the region. Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted that Turkish warplanes had begun air raids on civilian areas, triggering “a huge panic among people of the region”. SBS News reports that Kurds on Wednesday protested in Sydney over the situation.

Plans for rising emissions: Planned fossil fuel developments across the north of the country could see Australia linked to 13 per cent of the greenhouse gases that can be emitted if the world is to meet the Paris climate agreement goals, reports The Guardian. Also under the microscope are 20 companies responsible for over one-third of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane emissions worldwide since 1965. The Labor Party is debating whether to scale back carbon emission reduction plans, as moderate Liberals join a crossbench-led climate group. Meanwhile, the Extinction Rebellion protests are prompting intense debate about their effectiveness, new legislation to jail protesters in Queensland, and threats of violence from media personalities. In Britain, where nearly 600 protesters have been arrested, the father of the country’s conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at a climate rally to offer his support. The developments come as new research links the rise in spring bushfires to climate change

NSW corruption inquiry: Former New South Wales Labor boss Jamie Clements has told the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry that billionaire Huang Xiangmo gave him $35,000 in a wine box to cover his legal bills. Clements said he worked as a consultant for the wealthy developer after leaving the party, and was paid $624,000 over three years from February 2016.

Shonky products recognised: Exclusion-riddled pet insurance, an IKEA fridge that doesn’t keep food cold, Medibank Private's "rip-off" basic health cover, and a breakfast cereal that claims “a bag of sugar is healthy" are among the winners of consumer group Choice’s annual Shonky awards. Choice chief executive Alan Kirkland said the winners were chosen for having “ripped off, misled and treated Australians like cash cows to be exploited.”

The Monthly Awards 2019
Each year, The Monthly assembles a panel of critics and artists to decide The Monthly Awards. This episode showcases the winners.


“The apparent unity ticket between the Morrison government, the Labor opposition and the broader labour movement in support of increasing compulsory superannuation contributions must surely rank as one of the stranger recent cases of strange bedfellows. Not only because bipartisanship is increasingly rare in Canberra, but also because each holds a position that appears entirely counterintuitive.” 


“Melbourne Cemetery across the way, Melbourne Zoo behind him, the lions in their enclosure. Nineteen-year-old Jaymes Todd is stalking over the grass of Princes Park, hunting. He has tracked 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon for the past hour, 4.2 kilometres through the city, focusing inwardly on the fantasy in which he has invested so much time and emotion: a fantasy in which he is always in control and in which the other person is always female, raped then killed. Later, Todd will tell his father over the prison telephone system that he was very disappointed at the way the crime took place. That, immediately after, he felt like shit. That he hoped it would be better next time.”


“One Saturday morning in 1971, during a volatile period of street marches, Black Power politics and a burgeoning Indigenous land rights movement, six Aboriginal men convened at the old Clifton Hotel in Redfern to establish a rugby league competition. In the decades that followed, the New South Wales Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout – better known as the Koori Knockout, or simply ‘the Knockout’ – has grown from seven men’s teams in 1971 to 164 men’s, women’s and junior teams in 2019.”


“US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has suggested Australia could increase its global competitiveness and attract direct foreign investment if it replicated Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Speaking to The Australian on Wednesday, Mr Ross — one of Mr Trump’s closest advisers — said the US company tax cuts combined with regulatory reform had worked ‘very, very well.’”


“The legislation, championed by President Trump and then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, was a windfall for the wealthy: It lowered the top income tax bracket and slashed the corporate tax rate. By 2018, according to Saez and Zucman, the rich were already enjoying the fruits of that legislation: The average effective tax rate paid by the top 0.1 percent of households dropped by 2.5 percentage points. The benefits the bill’s supporters promised — higher rates of growth and business investment and a shrinking deficit — have largely failed to materialize.”


“Researchers observed workers at an American insurance company and an Indian IT consulting center and concluded that even seven-to-eight minutes of meditation a day can ‘make people more helpful’ in their work environment. ‘Even with a one-time intervention, you’re getting smoother, pleasant, more helpful workers,’ said Lindsey Cameron, one of the paper’s co-authors ... OK, ‘smooth, pleasant, and helpful’ is a great way to characterize dolphins who rescue people from shipwrecks. But as a description of actual human beings, it rings a little more hollow.”


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.