Friday, April 23, 2021

Morrison last to budge on targets

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to strengthen Australia’s emissions targets at the Earth Day global climate summit, as the United States, Japan and Canada ramped up their 2030 commitments. In his speech, Morrison boasted that Australia had achieved a 36 per cent cut to domestic emissions from 2005 levels, although that excludes Australia’s gas export industry, with government figures indicating emissions have dropped less than 19 per cent. In his opening address, US President Joe Biden pledged a 50 to 52 per cent emissions cut below 2005 levels by the year 2030, warning that “this is the decisive decade” to tackle the climate crisis. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised his country's goal to a cut of 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 below 2005 levels, up from 30 per cent. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced a 46 per cent cut from 2013 levels by 2030, up from 26 per cent. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro brought forward a goal to achieve carbon neutrality from 2060 to 2050. Australia has no target date to achieve net-zero emissions.  

Travel to and from India will soon face tougher restrictions as Australia's leaders declare the nation high-risk due to a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases. The National Cabinet agreed to reduce the number of flights from India from later this week, in a blow to Indian-Australians separated from families. It will also be harder for people to be granted exemptions to travel to India. Covid-19 tests will also be required 72 hours before people return. India on Thursday reported 314,835 cases in a 24-hour period as a “double mutant” strain sweeps the country, surpassing the previous highest one-day record set by the US. Deaths rose by 2104 as the country’s health system begins to buckle under the strain of the rapid growth in cases. Six hospitals in New Delhi had run out of oxygen and the city needed about 5000 more intensive care beds, according to the city government. People are turning to social media to crowdsource oxygen cylinders and other medical supplies.

Queensland Police has promised to review the handling of domestic violence cases after Kelly Wilkinson was allegedly murdered by her estranged partner on the Gold Coast earlier this week. The promise comes after Ms Wilkinson’s charred remains were discovered in the backyard of her Arundel home, with neighbours alleging they saw flames above the fence height and heard a man yelling “get inside”. Wilkinson and her family had previously gone to police on repeated occasions to raise concerns over her estranged partner. Assistant Police Commissioner Brian Codd said “somewhere along the line, she had engaged with the system, with us, and we were unable to prevent this from occurring.” Police said there were 107,000 domestic violence-related incidents in the state last year. National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service: 1800 737 732

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has ordered an all-out effort to find a missing submarine, with defence chiefs warning the 53 crew likely only had enough oxygen until Saturday. Indonesia sent a helicopter and five ships to search waters north of Bali but found no signs of the KRI Nanggala-402. There are fears the submarine is stranded in a trench 700 metres deep, but navy officials said a high-magnetic area had been located at a depth of between 50 metres and 100 metres, which would be further explored with the expected arrival of a hydrographic survey ship. Indonesia said several countries had responded to requests for help, with Malaysia and Singapore sending ships and Australia offering unspecified assistance. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia would “help in any way we can (though) we operate very different submarines from this one”.

Will this verdict change the US?
Over the last three weeks the world watched and waited as one of the most significant trials in recent history took place. On Wednesday, George Floyd’s murderer was found guilty. Mary McGuire on the trial of Derek Chauvin, the verdict, and the future of the movement against police violence.

“‘If the Australian public saw what I saw that day,’ Cherrie said, ‘they would not be buying salmon.’ She watched footage filmed beneath a salmon farm showing piles of faeces full of long white worms – the dorvilleid worms. ‘It looked like it was snowing white worms,’ Cherrie recalled, pointing out that while the public is allowed to see video footage from non-impacted marine farming sites, these videos of badly impacted sites are kept highly secret and the public is not allowed to see them. ‘Unlike any other food industry, consumers don’t see how Tasmanian salmon is made. The community couldn’t handle seeing that vision.’” 

“The ongoing health problems now linked to SARS-CoV-2 six months after first diagnosis include haemorrhages in the brain, strokes in the brain caused by blood clots, nerve disorders and damage to a bundle of interwoven nerve fibres running from the spinal column, known as a plexus. The Oxford study also noted dementia, disorders in the myoneural junctions, where motor neurones chemically speak to the muscle fibres, and encephalitis. But remember, this is a good news story.”

FICTION

“As she handed us the keys, May pointed out the FOR SALE sign across the road and told us the happy family that lived there had not been happy. ‘But he’s in jail now,’ she said, as if that fixed things … Our view of 34A was framed by a large window at the front of our house, and by the drooping pot plants that hung from the verandah. From behind the silhouetted plants, we could watch without being watched.”

The Chaser interns team set up a fake change.org petition to ‘Change the name of Fairy Bread’ because the word ‘fairy’ was apparently ‘outdated and offensive, and has been used to belittle and oppress others’ …  ‘Not a single journalist from our press release the next week got in contact. News Corp just went and ran the story without even the most basic journalistic checks.
We never in our wildest dreams imagined that News Corp would be incompetent enough to run the story as their lead 8am headline across multiple news sites without fact-checking first.”

“In 2019, The Chaser started cancelling subscriptions on behalf of people who were fed up with News Corp … it has cancelled more than 2000 subscriptions since the scheme first started. A bit of back-of-the-envelope maths using the Tele or Herald Sun subscription cost ($260 for a minimum yearly subscription minus promotions) means that losing a single year’s worth of subscription from each of these former subscribers would cost the company more than half a million dollars.”

“McDonald forecasts a new record-low fertility rate of 1.59 for 2021, as people defer childbearing because of the virus … The federal government expects net migration to go backwards this financial year by some 72,000 people. Coupled with the decline in the fertility rate, Australia’s population will barely grow – only 0.2 per cent, the slowest rate in at least 100 years.”

“Microfishing has roots in Japan. It was a logical country of origin: a densely populated nation with an intimate societal connection to fish, yet limited opportunities to pursue large species. Some sources suggest that as far back as the 17th century, Japanese anglers began to target tanago, a group of finger-length fish known in English as bitterling ... In the 21st century, specialised tanago gear began to proliferate: ultralight line, tiny hooks, rods as dainty as chopsticks. Anglers coveted ever-smaller prey, explains the writer Matthew Miller in his book Fishing Through the Apocalypse.

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