Thursday, April 08, 2021

SA police raid extremist homes

Two men have been arrested in Adelaide over possession of an improvised explosive device and extremist material, as a neo-Nazi leader claims members’ homes were raided. South Australia Police told Business Insider Australia that searches had been carried out on the homes as part of an investigation into “ideologically motivated violent extremism”, a term recently preferred by ASIO in favour of labels such as “right-wing extremism”. A 32-year-old man was arrested for possession of an improvised explosive device and instructions for manufacturing explosives and weapons, while a 28-year-old man was arrested for possession of extremist material. Tom Sewell, the head of Australian far-right National Socialist Network, posted on encrypted messaging network Telegram that 15 members had been raided by police who seized electronic devices and “political material”. In March, Sewell was charged with assault after allegedly attacking a Channel Nine security guard. Right-wing extremism recently increased to 40 per cent of ASIO’s priority counter-terrorism caseload.

A new study has revealed that warming oceans have driven thousands of marine species away from the equator, with climate change leaving areas of tropical water too hot for some species to survive. The research, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analysed the changing locations of almost 50,000 marine species between 1955 and 2015. It found that, as predicted, the diversity of free-swimming species such as fish had dropped significantly and further global heating would reduce biodiversity in tropical waters even more.  It comes as concentrations of climate-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 417.14 parts per million, a new record high, despite a dip in emissions during the Covid pandemic. Global levels of carbon dioxide are now 50 per cent above what they were when the Industrial Revolution began.

Australia will hold a National Women's Safety Summit on July 29-30 for leaders to work towards the goal of eliminating violence against women and children, according to Women's Safety Minister Anne Ruston. Federal, state and territory ministers responsible for women’s safety met on Wednesday to discuss the replacement of the nation's first domestic violence national plan, which is due to expire in 2022. The announcement comes as more than 15 organisations have called on the federal, state and territory governments to repeat the $150 million cash injection to address the spike in domestic violence during the pandemic. Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman wrote to Ruston informing her that Queensland has allocated all of the funding and the sector urgently needs more support.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it has found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab and “very rare cases” of blood clots, but that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. The EMA’s probe focused on 62 case reports of an extremely rare clot in the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), among recipients around the world. That includes 44 cases out of 9.2 million people who have received the vaccine in Europe. It comes as under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative Covid vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab, after a review by the UK drugs regulator found that 79 people had suffered rare blood clots after vaccination – 19 of whom had died. The regulator said it had not proven the jab had caused the clots, and that  20 million doses have been administered across the country.

The new 'God power' that will upend the NDIS
The National Disability Insurance Scheme was established to provide people living with a disability high quality and tailored support, but leaked documents have revealed the federal government is proposing radical reforms to the scheme. Today, Rick Morton on the battle for the future of the NDIS.

“It’s a sad state of affairs ... says Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of ACOSS. As difficult as the Covid-19 year was, for a while, the prime minister’s assertions that we were all in this together rang somewhat true. ‘I was really struck by what we’re capable of doing, when we want to,’ Goldie says, reflecting on Australia in mid-2020. At this time, the government had effectively doubled welfare payments and was supporting the jobs of millions of tenuously employed workers. There were moratoriums on the pursuit of distressed debtors and evictions, and childcare was – for four brief months – free.” 

“Now, she worried about the white sneakers of her Parisian guest and how they would be dirtied by the planned walk in the dry riverbed, and the exploration of the Menindee Lakes upstream. She took in his trilby hat and his fashionable, round sunglasses. Strachan was used to welcoming people who wanted to know about the river ... This was just one more, she thought, until halfway through lunch when one of the people accompanying the Parisian said: ‘You don’t know who he is, do you.’ She did not.”

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“It’s a thoughtful examination of the case against Allen, drawing on unseen footage and unprecedented access to the Farrow family. But the documentary’s greatest significance is in its indictment of an entertainment industry and public culture that has celebrated transgressive sexual boundary-pushing as a marker of masculine genius. In many ways, Allen v. Farrow is a story about stories: what they are made of, how they are told, who is listened to and who is believed.”

“Blue-chip consulting firm McKinsey’s good fortune continues to grow. The company has now doubled its lucrative contract with the Department of Health, up $1.4 million to $3 million, for an additional month’s worth of advice. The current contract is set to run until April 30. And it’s not just the health department that is desperately seeking McKinsey’s advice on all things vaccine. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has also handed it a lucrative $2.4 million contract to advise on ‘maximising economic and social opportunities’ as the vaccine rollout progresses.”

“A Queensland doctor said 100 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had to be destroyed due to botched handling during delivery ... Channel 9 reported that a second GP clinic in Brisbane also received a spoiled batch of 100 vaccine doses that were transported at the incorrect temperature. And it reported that another batch of vials was left on a clinic’s doorstep, forcing them to be destroyed … In March, it was revealed that thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine in NSW were wasted. And in February, an aged care home in Victoria revealed it had been forced to destroy 25 vials of the Pfizer vaccine after it was incorrectly stored.”

“It’s a pretty fascinating story in terms of how we got to this point, because it involves a billionaire investor from Bundaberg and his ties to the owner of the steelworks, Sanjeev Gupta. And not only did Gupta's companies employ, you know, 1200 people in Whyalla, they employ 7000 people across the country and the jobs of all of them are currently on the line.”

“At times on Yahoo Answers, the people asking questions of strangers lunged for the hallucinatory limits of human curiosity: What would a heaven for elephants be like? Should scientists give octopi bones? It helped people identify their sense of self: Why do people with baguettes think they are better than me? Is being popular in high school a good skill I can use in a job interview? It sought explanations for the unexplainable: Smoke coming from my belly button?”

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