Friday, October 18, 2019

US announces Turkish ceasefire

US Vice President Mike Pence claims to have reached a deal with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for a ceasefire in northern Syria. The 120-hour pause on the Turkish invasion would allow a pullback of the Kurdish YPG militia. Pence, who met with Erdogen in Ankara for four hours, said the Turkish military operation, which has been linked with war crimes, would end once the withdrawal was complete. The meeting in the wake of the leak of a letter from US President Donald Trump to Erdogan which said: “Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!” Erdogan reportedly threw the letter in the bin. The news comes as the US President’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, announced the country would host next year’s G7 meeting at one of Trump’s own luxury resorts in Miami, prompting further criticism that Trump is enriching himself through the presidency. Mulvaney ruled out any discussion of climate change at the summit.

Racehorse slaughter: An investigation has uncovered inhumane treatment and slaughter of racehorses for pet food and human consumption, in defiance of racing industry rules. The ABC reports that although official data promoted by Racing Australia claims about 34 horses per year go to slaughterhouses, one single abattoir in New South Wales slaughtered more than that number in a single week. Racing NSW policy and rules state that all retired racehorses should be rehomed. A Queensland abattoir was recorded slaughtering about 300 racehorses in 22 days. The investigation also showed Australian racehorses subjected to electric shocks on their bodies and anus, and being lashed, kicked, stomped and terrorised. University of Sydney professor of animal behaviour and welfare science Paul McGreevy said the killing was happening at an industrial scale, with “at least 4,000 horses” killed a year. Racing NSW committed to investigate the issue. The news comes as stewards warn jockeys in Saturday’s The Everest race that they will hand out suspensions and fines for those who break Australian racing's whip rules.

Rightwing extremism: Labor MP Anne Aly has said the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s recognition of the threat of extreme rightwing terror was “a long time coming”, reports Guardian Australia. Aly, a former academic who studied counter-terrorism, said Australia needed to address rhetoric used to “justify and embolden” rightwing extremism, and identify “the kinds of attitudes that could normalise violence”. Responding to the concern on Thursday, Dutton said ASIO’s funding “goes up every year”.

Brexit deal: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Union leaders have agreed to the terms of a Brexit deal. Johnson however faces an uphill battle to get the agreement through the British Parliament, with the Democratic Unionist Party ruling out support for the deal as it allows customs checks at the point of entry into Northern Ireland. Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn described the deal as “a sell-out”. A vote on the arrangement is expected to be held on Saturday in the House of Commons.

That won’t feed one cow
As Scott Morrison attempts to control the message on handling the drought, there is bad news for his claims to strong economic management.


“At best, larrikinism is a cover for the worst aspects of the Australian character. It excuses poor behaviour and indulges second-rate talent. It is a particular kind of unseriousness that avoids difficult questions and laughs at those who try to ask them. Larrikins entrench the status quo by pretending to mock it. They keep in place this country’s fear of difference. It is no accident that all larrikins are men and all of them white. It is only through privilege that a person gets by on lazy jokes and terrycloth.”


“Pullman is a mild-mannered and humorous raconteur, but his contempt for politics remains furious. The former British prime minister David Cameron ‘will never be forgiven’ for calling the referendum on Brexit; the current leader, Boris Johnson, has ‘an airy disdain for the truth’. Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and Jair Bolsonaro are deplorable in equal measure. Pullman expresses a wish to see the British constitution rewritten, the voting system overhauled and the Houses of Parliament bombed. ‘I’d evacuate everyone first,’ he says.”


“The August 1993 edition of Australian Penthouse was possibly a world first, and may yet be a world last. Its centrefold is an authorised, professionally produced selection of celebrity pornography, capturing the marital intimacies of a couple at the apex of their fame. They are Warwick Capper, freshly retired from a storied VFL/AFL football career, and his then wife, Joanne Capper ... Long rumoured to be the best-selling single magazine issue in Australian publishing history, the Capper Penthouse is a unique cultural object and piece of Australiana. Its story has never been told before, and it begins with an unlikely emotion: envy.”


“A former minister in the Berejiklian government is alleged to have told farmers in his north-west rural New South Wales seat that they could clear native vegetation with impunity because the government was planning to change the law and they would not be prosecuted … Much of these newly cleared areas are now vast plains of dirt because farmers have not been able to plant them during the drought.”


“When completed, the Green Great Wall will stretch more than 4,800 kilometres across the north of China, forming a living barrier along the edge of the giant Gobi Desert. The 50-year project involves the planting of more than 88 billion trees and the results so far, says Beiser, have been ‘amazing’. ‘You can drive through areas where they have planted just millions and millions and millions of trees,’ he says.”


“‘Four families will take in a new animal as a pet for three whole weeks and people will watch it all unfold on Channel 4. Once this period is over, they must decide if they are going to stop eating meat or send their pet to slaughter ... in which case they'll be asked to cook and eat it. The goal is to show the reality of what animals go through from farm to table. This all sounds very morbid, but Neumann reassures that the show will have some ‘heart-warming’ themes, too.”

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