News

  • Family Court expert charged with child sex abuse

    An expert used by the Family Court in custody disputes involving allegations of child sexual abuse has been charged with the very same offences. The psychologist, who has been charged with the sexual abuse of three children, was appointed by the Family Court to make recommendations concerning custody in cases where one parent accused the other of sexual abuse. The offences are alleged to have occurred many decades ago. According to family law expert Professor ... ► Read more

  • Pell expected to appeal to High Court

    Convicted child sex offender Cardinal George Pell will appeal his conviction to the High Court, according to reports. Last week the Victorian Court of Appeal upheld the Cardinal’s conviction for five child sex offences, rejecting arguments that the jury could not have found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Cardinal Pell has now reportedly instructed his legal team to seek special leave to appeal to the High Court, the court of final resort in Australia. It ... ► Read more

  • Man confirmed dead after NT mine wall collapse

    A man who was buried under a collapsed wall of dirt and rock at the Bootu Creek mine in the Northern Territory has died, his employer confirmed on Monday. In a statement, Singapore-based OM Holdings Ltd (OMH) — the parent company of OM (Manganese) Ltd (OMM), which runs the Bootu Creek mine — confirmed the death. The man, 59, was fatally injured when a wall failed at the Tourag pit of the mine, some 110 kilometres ... ► Read more

  • ICAC hears Chinese billionaire gave $100K to NSW ALP official, breaching electoral laws

    Chinese billionaire property developer Huang Xiangmo gave $100,000 in cash to a senior NSW Labor Party official in breach of electoral funding laws, an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry has heard. The ICAC has begun six weeks of public hearings to investigate whether NSW Labor received money from illegal sources. The donation was disguised as a series of $5,000 donations made during a “Chinese Friends of Labor” fundraising dinner. Scott Robertson, counsel assisting the ... ► Read more

  • Deputy PM apologies for saying Pacific islanders will survive climate change by picking fruit

    Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has apologised for saying that Pacific Islanders will be able to survive climate change by working as fruit-pickers in Australia. Mr McCormack made the comments last Friday in response to criticism at the Pacific Islanders Forum that Australia is ignoring the threat of climate change to low-lying island nations. On Friday last week the Deputy Prime Minister said he got “a little bit annoyed when we have these sorts of ... ► Read more

  • Trump criticises automakers for failing to support repeal of fuel efficiency rules

    United States President Donald Trump has criticised automakers for failing to support his administration’s plan to repeal fuel efficiency rules. Mr Trump singled out Ford in particular for backing a deal with California for stricter fuel economy standards. The President said company founder Henry Ford would be “very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs ... ► Read more

  • Sudan to form 11-member transitional government

    Sudan will form an 11-member “sovereign council” to govern the country for a three-year transitional period until elections are held. The council will be led by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the transitional military council that has ruled Sudan since a military coup ousted President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April this year. Economist Abdalla Hamdok has been nominated by the opposition to serve as Prime Minister in Sudan’s transitional government. Under a ... ► Read more

  • ADF looking to deploy military tech to Antarctica

    Speaking notes obtained by the ABC have revealed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is seeking to deploy civil and military technology in Antarctica. The notes, which were contained in a briefing document, describe “valuable opportunities to enhance military capability by implementing certain technologies in the Antarctic”. “Australia and other likeminded states need to maintain a collective influence in the Antarctic Treaty System in order to prevent the gradual undermining of its strength,” the documents read. ... ► Read more

  • Chinese State Council calls for greater integration of Shenzhen with Hong Kong and Macau

    China’s State Council has called for greater integration of the city of Shenzhen with the neighbouring special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. The State Council is the executive branch of the Chinese Government, and its directive comes amid protests against Beijing’s perceived interference with Hong Kong’s political and economic autonomy. In a 19-point directive published by the state-run People’s Daily, the State Council called for Shenzhen’s “economic strength and development” to rank among ... ► Read more

  • ASIC promises lawsuits against banks by end of 2019

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will file lawsuits against some of the country’s biggest financial institutions by the end of the year. ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel told the Australian Financial Review on Monday that the regulator has “a very large number of investigations on foot and there will be cases being issued in coming weeks, which are the result of those investigations.” In a report published on Sunday, ASIC said it intends to ... ► Read more

  • IS claims responsibility for Afghan wedding attack that killed 63 people

    Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for an attack at a wedding in Afghanistan on Saturday (local time) which killed 63 people and wounded 182 more. A suicide bomber set off explosives during the celebrations at the Dubai City wedding hall in the Afghan capital of Kabul. As many as 1,000 people were in attendance, a witness estimated. One wounded survivor, Mohammad Aslim, still wore his bloodied clothes the day after the blast late Saturday. ... ► Read more

  • Iranian oil tanker released from Gibraltar

    An Iranian oil supertanker has been released by British authorities and is moving away from Gibraltar, according to local media and shipping data. British Royal Marines seized the Adrian Darya on 4 July over suspicions it was carrying oil to Syria via the Mediterranean Sea, in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran denied the ship was headed for Syria. Two weeks after the tanker was seized, Iran captured the Stena Impero, a British-flagged tanker in the ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 11 August – 17 August 2019

    Trump blames Federal Reserve for slow economic growth, but economists say trade war could cause recession United States President Donald Trump has blamed the Federal Reserve for the country’s “slow” economic growth. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Epstein estate to be sued by sex abuse victims Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein will file civil lawsuits against his estate, following his apparent suicide in New ... ► Read more

  • Donald Trump has ‘repeatedly expressed interest’ in buying Greenland for the U.S.

    United States President Donald Trump is interested in buying Greenland for the US, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Mr Trump had repeatedly expressed interest in buying Greenland, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark, however, Mr Trump listened to his advisers with interest when told of its abundant resources and geopolitical importance. The US military’s northernmost base is also there. According to two people ... ► Read more

  • One woman dead, another injured in Sydney CBD

    The body of a 21-year-old woman has been found a short distance from where civilians restrained a man armed with a knife who stabbed another woman in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday afternoon. Police do not believe the attack is terror-related or that the suspect, 21-year-old Mert Ney, has links to any terrorist organisations. The ABC reported that the suspect is an escapee from a mental health facility, and police have confirmed Mr Ney has a ... ► Read more

  • Qantas, Virgin cancel flights to Hong Kong amid protests

    Qantas and Virgin Australia on Monday cancelled all flights to Hong Kong due to ongoing pro-democracy protests in the Chinese special administrative region. The cancellations were announced after peaceful protesters staged a sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport — one of the world’s busiest airports. The airport was forced to cancel all departing and arriving flights. Virgin Australia said in a statement: “At this stage, all other Virgin Australia flights are operating as expected however ... ► Read more

  • ATO whistleblower launches crowdfunding campaign for legal defence

    Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whistleblower Richard Boyle has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for his legal defence against 66 criminal charges totalling a maximum sentence of 161 years’ imprisonment. The former public servant told ABC News that he will continue his fight against the “excessive and unjust” charges. As part of the GoFundMe campaign launched today, Mr Boyle said his case may be the first to test whistleblower protection laws “and could be ... ► Read more

  • Two rock climbers killed in remote area of Flinders Ranges

    The bodies of two rock climbers have been discovered at a popular but remote rock-climbing location in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. Emergency crews were called to the Moonarie climbing area in Wilpena Pound on Sunday afternoon when two men from Adelaide did not return to their camp. According to police, their bodies were later found dead in the area. Both are believed to have fallen to their deaths. An operation to recover the bodies began ... ► Read more

  • Norwegian mosque shooting investigated as a “possible act of terrorism”

    A shooting at a Norwegian mosque on Saturday is being investigated as a “possible act of terrorism”, police said on Sunday (local time). Shots were fired during the attack on the Al-Noor Islamic Centre near Oslo, but no one was killed or injured and the suspected perpetrator was overpowered by a person inside the mosque before police arrived. The suspect had expressed far-right and anti-immigrant views online, assistant police chief Rune Skjold said during a ... ► Read more

  • Boris Johnson orders review of dangerous offenders’ sentences

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a review of sentencing of offenders in response to concerns that dangerous criminals are being let out of prison too soon. The Prime Minister’s office said on Sunday (local time) that the review would focus on whether violent and sexual offenders are receiving sentences that adequately reflect the seriousness of their crimes. “We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending ... ► Read more

  • Epstein estate to be sued by sex abuse victims

    Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein will file civil lawsuits against his estate, following his apparent suicide in New York on Saturday. Mr Epstein, 66, was found dead at 7:30 am (local time) in his New York federal jail cell, where he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking offences. Los Angeles-based attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two women, said her clients had held off suing while federal ... ► Read more

  • Police and worshipers clash outside Israeli mosque

    Israeli police clashed with Muslim worshipers at a major holy site in Jerusalem during prayers on Sunday to mark the start of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha. Palestinian medics said at least 14 people were wounded in skirmishes with police at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa Compound and Jews call the Temple Mount. Police said at least four officers were wounded and witnesses say at least two people were arrested. Officers ... ► Read more

  • Russia asks Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events”

    Russia’s communications watchdog has asked Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events” on its YouTube video-hosting platform, following a large political protest in Moscow on Saturday. Tens of thousands of people gathered to demand free elections for the legislature of the Russian capital, defying a crackdown on such rallies. Roskomnadzor — the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media — said information about illegal protests was being spread via YouTube’s advertising ... ► Read more

  • Trump blames Federal Reserve for slow economic growth, but economists say trade war could cause recession

    United States President Donald Trump has blamed the Federal Reserve for the country’s “slow” economic growth. During his 2016 election campaign, Mr Trump promised his administration would deliver 3% annual economic growth, but growth has instead continued at a rate of about 2%, consistent with the trends of the last decade. The President has criticised the Federal Reserve for not lowering interest rates, which could boost economic activity by encouraging borrowing, spending and investment. However, ... ► Read more

  • More protests planned as Hong Kong recovers from another weekend of demonstrations

    Hong Kong is recovering from yet another weekend of clashes between anti-government protesters and police, but further protests are expected on Monday. In response to the protests, police blocked multiple roads in key commercial and shopping districts and stormed Metro stations. Metro services resumed on Monday and streets were being cleaned of debris. Shares in the airline Cathay Pacific, which is based in Hong Kong, have dropped almost 4% after the Chinese aviation authority ordered ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 4 August – 10 August 2019

    NSW Lower House passes abortion bill A historic bill to decriminalise abortion has passed the New South Wales Lower House after it was introduced two weeks ago. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Diplomatic row after MP Andrew Hastie warns of Chinese mobilisation Coalition backbench MP Andrew Hastie has sparked a diplomatic row after he compared China’s mobilisation to that of Nazi Germany. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. ASX plunge worst since ... ► Read more

  • NSW Lower House passes abortion bill

    A historic bill to decriminalise abortion has passed the New South Wales Lower House after it was introduced two weeks ago. Members of Parliament were granted a conscience vote on the bill, which aims to remove abortion from the Crimes Act 1900 and define it as a medical procedure in its own legislation. The bill was passed just before 11:00pm on Thursday with 59 in favour and 31 against. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian voted for ... ► Read more

  • Diplomatic row after MP Andrew Hastie warns of Chinese mobilisation

    Coalition backbench MP Andrew Hastie has sparked a diplomatic row after he compared China’s mobilisation to that of Nazi Germany. Mr Hastie, who chairs the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, warned that Australia’s economic and national security will be tested by China’s expanding regional influence. “Right now our greatest vulnerability lies not in our infrastructure but in our thinking. That intellectual failure makes us institutionally weak,” Mr Hastie wrote in an opinion piece ... ► Read more

  • US and Germany accused of meddling in Russian politics

    The Russian Foreign Ministry will submit official notifications to Washington and Berlin over alleged interference of American diplomats and German media in domestic affairs, the Russian news agency TASS reports. Russia claims the United States Embassy was involved in planning unauthorised rallies held in Moscow on 3 August. “[T]he embassy of the United States was most closely involved in [the rallies],” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a televised interview with the Rossiya’1 channel ... ► Read more

  • El Paso shooting “domestic terrorism”, police investigating anti-immigration manifesto

    A shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that left 20 people dead and 26 more injured is being investigated as a domestic terror attack, Texan officials said on Sunday (local time). A 21-year-old male is in custody after the mass shooting, one of the deadliest incidents in the state’s history. Police say a racist, anti-immigrant document was allegedly written by the suspect and posted on 8chan, an online messaging board full of racist, ... ► Read more

  • 75th anniversary of the Cowra breakout

    On 5 August 1944 Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) interned at Cowra staged the largest breakout of the Second World War. At the time, the No 12 POW Compound at Cowra in NSW held 1,104 Japanese prisoners, as well as Koreans, Taiwanese and Italians. In the early hours of 5 August a bugle sounded and more than 1,000 Japanese POWs launched an attack on the guards. Armed with knives and improvised weapons, they began breaking ... ► Read more

  • Five Eyes nations vow to step up efforts to counter online child abuse material

    Security officials from the Five Eyes security alliance have called for tech giants to allow backdoor access to encrypted content on WhatsApp and other communications platforms in order to combat sex offenders and the circulation of child abuse material. The “Five Eyes” nations — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — say urgent action is needed from the companies to combat live-streaming of child sexual abuse. Executives from Google, Facebook, ... ► Read more

  • Clive Palmer settles with largest creditor in Qld Nickel case

    Clive Palmer has reached a settlement with the largest creditor of his failed Queensland Nickel company. Barrister Shane Doyle QC, who acts for the liquidators of the company, told the Queensland Supreme Court that a “resolution” had been reached on the $90 million claim of Aurizon Holdings Ltd. The details of the settlement have not been made public. According to Mr Doyle, talks are also continuing between the liquidators and the billionaire mining magnate to ... ► Read more

  • ASX 200 hits record high

    The ASX 200 share index has soared 0.6% to 6,867 points in early trade, beating a 12-year-old intraday high of 6,851.5. The previous record was made on 1 November 2007 — just before the Global Financial Crisis. This is a developing story. ► Read more

  • Shayna Jack releases in-depth statement following failed drug test

    Australian swimmer Shayna Jack has released an in-depth statement regarding the failed drug test scandal, where she tested positive on both A and B samples to the banned substance Ligandrol — a drug used to aid muscle growth and treat osteoporosis. In the statement, Ms Jack said when she heard the news she had tested positive to a prohibited substance, she felt her heart break “instantaneously.” She said: “I was in complete shock, asking myself how ... ► Read more

  • Bill legalising abortions to be introduced to NSW Parliament this week

    New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said it is “time for change” when it comes to abortion law, ahead of the introduction of a new bill which would see pregnancy terminations regulated as a medical procedure around the state. Currently, abortions in NSW are dealt with under the Crimes Act 1900. The Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 — a private member’s bill — will be introduced to the NSW Parliament this week by the independent ... ► Read more

  • Moscow protest: nearly 1400 detained

    Close to 1400 people were detained by police in Moscow following a mass protest on Saturday (local time), according to monitoring group OVD-Info. OVD-Info, which monitors police arrests, said the number of the detentions from Saturday’s protest reached 1,373 by early Sunday (local time) — making it the largest number of detentions at a rally in the Russian capital this decade. While the majority of people were released shortly after their arrest, 150 remain in custody. ... ► Read more

  • Dutton to push for child abuse material crack down at Five Eyes meeting

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will push for the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries to prioritise preventing online child exploitation material at a meeting in London on Monday. FVEY is an intelligence-sharing network which includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the United States. “There needs to be greater international engagement in the battle against child exploitation,” Mr Dutton told The Australian ahead of flying to London. “Now with the internet, pay-per-view, [offenders] can direct material ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 21 July – 27 July 2019

    Boris Johnson to be Britain’s next prime minister Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has won the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party leadership contest, making him Prime Minister-designate of Britain. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Foreign fighters bill sparks concern over Dutton’s growing power New legislation to prevent foreign fighters from returning home has sparked concern over Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton’s growing powers. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Trump was ... ► Read more

  • Up to 150 people feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Libyan coast

    Up to 150 people are missing and feared drowned after two migrant boats capsized while attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe on Thursday (local time). If confirmed, it would be the highest number of deaths from a maritime incident in the Mediterranean this year. Ayoub Gassin, a spokesperson for Libya’s coastguard, told the Associated Press two boats carrying around 300 people capsized about 75 miles (120km) east of the capital, Tripoli. Around ... ► Read more

  • US Government condemned for reinstating federal death penalty

    The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has reinstated the federal death penalty, 16 years after it was last applied, and has immediately scheduled the execution of five federal death row inmates. Litigation surrounding the drugs used for lethal injections has prevented the Government from carrying out executions, but the Trump Administration has taken steps to eliminate barriers to the practice. “Congress has expressly authorised the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives ... ► Read more

  • UK’s Boris Johnson eyes Australia’s immigration points-based system

    United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed an interest for amnesty for illegal immigrants on Thursday (local time), telling the House of Commons the UK must “continue to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world.” He added he wanted to introduce and Australian-style points-based system for visas for skilled overseas workers. Mr Johnson said he would ask the British Government’s Migration Advisory Committee to review the Australian system “as the first step ... ► Read more

  • Ukraine seizes Russian tanker, frees crew

    The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) seized a Russian oil tanker in the Ukrainian port of Izmail on Thursday (local time). SBU alleges the tanker was involved in an incident in the Kerch Strait near Crimea last year which saw Russian border forces capture a Ukrainian naval ship and its crew, who remain in Russian custody. The Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office told Reuters that 10 of the tanker’s crew members had been interrogated as witnesses. ... ► Read more

  • Medevac repeal bill passes Lower House

    The Government has cleared the first hurdle to repealing the asylum seeker medical evacuation (medevac) provisions attached to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2019. The so called medevac repeal bill sailed through the Lower House on Thursday — courtesy of the Morrison Government’s majority. However, the Coalition now needs to contend with a tougher Senate, where a committee will scrutinise the bill before it is debated in November. With Labor and most of ... ► Read more

  • Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer dies aged 75

    Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, best known for portraying Roy Batty in Blade Runner, passed away at his home in the Netherlands last Friday, aged 75. Mr Hauer starred alongside Harrison Ford as the replicant Roy Batty in Ridley’s Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner in which the actor himself wrote much of the dialogue for his “like tears in rain” speech. He was cast in a number of Dutch television programmes and films from the late 1960s ... ► Read more

  • Trump was not exonerated, Mueller tells Congress

    Former special counsel Robert Mueller has testified to the United States Congress that he did not exonerate US President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice. Mr Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 35 people and three companies on matters related to the election, but did not charge any members of the Trump family. However, Mr Mueller has rejected the President’s assertion that the investigation “totally exonerated” him. Instead, Mr ... ► Read more

  • Ebola fight hindered by “deadly environment” and “political and social” obstacles, UN Security Council hears

    Eradicating Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is being hampered by “a variety of political and social factors”, the head of the United Nations mission to the country told the UN Security Council on Wednesday (local time). Leila Zerrougui, the UN Special Representative and head of the UN’s Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO), said that militants have created a “deadly environment” for aid workers who are “being specifically threatened and killed by armed groups” ... ► Read more

  • All Ordinaries index closes at record high

    Australia’s All Ordinaries index has closed at a record high of 6,862.4 points — about nine points above its previous record from 1 November 2007. The local market has received a boost on the back of strong performances on Wall Street and a lower Australian dollar, which is hovering just below 70 US cents. However, the All Ordinaries stopped shy of breaking its intra-day record of 6,873.2 points, which was also set on 1 November ... ► Read more

  • Boris Johnson to be Britain’s next prime minister

    Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has won the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party leadership contest, making him Prime Minister-designate of Britain. Mr Johnson, who also served as Mayor of London for eight years, beat rival and incumbent British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt by 92,153 votes to 46,656. Mr Johnson will take over from outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday (local time). During his victory speech, the Prime Minister-designate promised to “deliver Brexit, unite ... ► Read more

  • “Wiped off the face of the earth”: Trump says he could win Afghan war “in 10 days”

    United States President Donald Trump says he could win the war in Afghanistan “in 10 days” if he wanted to, but that it would cost millions of lives. During a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday (local time), Mr Trump told reporters he “could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people.” He said: “If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped ... ► Read more

  • Australian tennis great Peter McNamara dies aged 64

    Australian tennis great Peter McNamara has died at age 64, succumbing to his battle with cancer. The former world number seven won five career singles titles and 19 career doubles titles during his 14-year career from 1974 to 1987. Mr McNamara won three grand slam titles in his career. He won the Australian Open doubles title in 1979 with his doubles partner, fellow Australian Paul McNamee, and the Wimbledon doubles title twice, in 1980 and ... ► Read more

  • Foreign fighters bill sparks concern over Dutton’s growing power

    New legislation to prevent foreign fighters from returning home has sparked concern over Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton’s growing powers. Mr Dutton is pushing to have the Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019 passed by Parliament by the end of the week, as national security is high on the Coalition Government’s agenda. The Bill is a redraft of legislation introduced earlier this year, following a review by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security ... ► Read more

  • Hong Kong descends into chaos amid tensions with Beijing

    Protests have once again turned violent in Hong Kong as police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at anti-government demonstrators on Sunday night. Riot police and masked protesters clashed in the finance hub hours after China’s Central Government Offices were defaced with graffiti and eggs in a clear reproof of Beijing’s rule. Masked pro-government supporters armed with sticks also took to the streets, attacking protesters at a train station as well as reporters who live-streamed ... ► Read more

  • PNG Prime Minister to discuss Manus Island with Morrison and Albanese

    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape has arrived in Australia for his first official visit since being elected in late May. Mr Marape wants a deadline for the ending of the offshore detention on Manus Island. “We would like it to end as soon as possible,” Mr Marape said. Mr Marape will receive a ceremonial welcome in Canberra before meeting for talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. However, he ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 July – 20 July 2019

    Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on ... ► Read more

  • NAB appoints Ross McEwan CEO

    Veteran banking executive Ross McEwan has been appointed CEO of National Australia Bank, ending a five month search to fill the bank’s top job after former CEO Andrew Thorburn resigned over the Banking Royal Commission’s findings. NAB’s acting chief executive Phil Chronican praised Mr McEwan’s appointment, saying he “is the ideal leader for NAB as we seek to transform our operations and culture firmly around leading customer service, experience and products”. Mr Chronican said: “Ross ... ► Read more

  • Epstein refused bail while awaiting sex trafficking trial

    Billionaire money man Jeffrey Epstein has been denied bail while awaiting a federal sex trafficking trial in New York. “The Government has established danger to others and to the community by clear and convincing evidence,” the Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Richard Berman said on Thursday (local time). “I doubt that any bail package could can overcome a danger to the community.” The financier has been jailed in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre since his 6 ... ► Read more

  • Yang Hengjun: Australian writer detained in China charged

    Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, has been charged with endangering national security, according to his lawyer. Mr Yang has also been moved to criminal detention in Beijing and is no longer under house arrest. The Chinese Ministry of State Security formally charged Mr Yang through a formal notice at 10:00am Thursday (Chinese local time). The notice says Mr Yang has been detained under section 85 of the Chinese ... ► Read more

  • “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone

    A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday (local time). The USS Boxer was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz when it took “defensive action” after the drone ignored “multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew”. “The drone was immediately destroyed,” Mr ... ► Read more

  • DFAT “formally” requests Beijing let family of Australian Uyghur man leave China

    The Australian Embassy in Beijing has “formally requested” the Chinese Government allow the wife and son of Uyghur Australian man Sadam Abudusalamu to leave China so they can be reunited in Australia, Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said. The request follows Mr Abudusalamu’s appearance on the ABC’s Four Corners programme earlier this week, through which he spoke out against the persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s supposedly autonomous Xinjiang region. According to the ... ► Read more

  • Waterloo excavation unearths ammunition and amputated limbs

    Archaeologists have unearthed amputated limbs, musket balls and a French cannon ball during the first excavation of the main allied field hospital used in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo. It is believed that the limbs were amputated by medics at the former Mont-St-Jean field hospital in present day Belgium. The discovery of used ammunition indicates that there was a previously unrecorded fight on the site of the hospital. Waterloo marked the end of the Napoleonic ... ► Read more

  • Prosecutors drop charges against Kevin Spacey

    Prosecutors have dropped a case accusing Kevin Spacey of groping an 18-year-old man at a Massachusetts resort island bar in 2016. Mr Spacey was accused of getting an 18-year-old man drunk and then groping him at a bar and restaurant in Nantucket where the teen worked as a bus boy. Mr Spacey denied the allegations. Mr Spacey’s accuser used the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution to protect himself from self-incrimination. He also refused ... ► Read more

  • Brisbane: Clem Jones Tunnel shut down as police negotiate with armed man

    Queensland Police are negotiating with a man armed with knives on the roof of the M7 Clem Jones Tunnel (Clem 7) in inner Brisbane. Both the entrance and exit of the Clem 7 tunnel were closed at Shafston Avenue in East Brisbane just before 7:30am, and surrounding roads have also been blocked. The man has reportedly been on the tunnel roof since around 9:30am, while the standoff with police has been ongoing since around 7:00am. ... ► Read more

  • ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to life imprisonment in the US

    Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman has been sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 30 years, after a hearing in a federal court in New York on Wednesday (local time). Guzman, 62, was also ordered to forfeit $US12.6 billion ($AU18 billion). He was found guilty by a jury in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel — infamous for being ... ► Read more

  • Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report

    The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. “The prosecution relates to information contained in Adani’s 2017/2018 annual return for its Carmichael mine,” the Environment Department said in a statement. “The annual return requires information about planned and actual disturbance of land at the mine. “The department alleges that Adani’s annual return contained false and misleading information about the ... ► Read more

  • Ursula von der Leyen becomes first female President of the European Commission

    Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has become the first female President of the European Commission. She is also the first German to get the job for more than 50 years. She replaces Jean-Claude Juncker as President, a position he had held since 2014. 733 votes were cast in a secret ballot, with 383 voting in favour of Ms von der Leyen and 327 voting against. 22 votes were in abstention and one vote was void. ... ► Read more

  • Australian students taught Chinese language and culture by Beijing-vetted staff

    Students in classrooms and universities across Australia are being taught Chinese language and culture by teaching assistants vetted by the Chinese Government, an ABC investigation has revealed. The assistants teach Mandarin alongside Australian teachers as part of a Confucius Institute program overseen by Chinese Government agency Hanban, and are vetted by the Chinese Communist Party for “good political quality” and a love of “the motherland”. According to the ABC, the application criteria was first issued ... ► Read more

  • Game of Thrones receives record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations

    The final season of Game of Thrones has received a record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations — the most of any show in a single year. The previous record was held by NYPD Blue, which had 26 nominations in 1994. HBO earned 137 Emmy nominations, in total, in large part thanks to Game of Thrones’ final season. This was an increase from 108 nominations for HBO in 2018. Game of Thrones was nominated for categories such as Outstanding ... ► Read more

  • Christine Lagarde resigns as IMF head

    Christine Lagarde has announced she will step down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 12 September, following a decision on her nomination to become head of the European Central Bank (ECB). “With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB president and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the fund,” she said. “The executive board will now be taking ... ► Read more

  • Newly released footage shows unarmed UK police, passersby face Borough Market terrorists

    Newly released footage shows unarmed British police and members of the public trying to apprehend perpetrators of the 2017 London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack. On 3 June 2017, the three attackers — Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba — ploughed down pedestrians in a rented van before embarking on a knife attack at Borough Market. The entire attack lasted around 10 minutes and claimed the lives of eight people. A further 48 ... ► Read more

  • Curtin University, UTS announce reviews of surveillance technology used by Chinese Government

    Curtin University and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Tuesday announced they are reviewing funding and research approval procedures due to concerns over links to technology that is being used to carry out mass human rights abuse by the Chinese Government in Xinjiang province. Four Corners revealed on Monday night that UTS was conducting an internal review into its $10 million partnership with CETC, a Chinese state-owned military tech company that developed an app that ... ► Read more

  • Alan Turing honoured as face of new £50 note

    Computer pioneer Alan Turing is the face of the Bank of England’s new £50 note, which will enter circulation by the end of 2021. The celebrated mathematician played key roles in deciphering encoded German messages during the Second World War and in the development of early computers. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said. “As the father ... ► Read more

  • Explainer: Trump, Twitter and four Democrat congresswomen

    United States President Donald Trump is at the centre of yet another firestorm. Mr Trump is no stranger to controversy, usually using it to his own advantage. But this latest presidential scandal, sparked by race-fuelled tweets, is growing out of Mr Trump’s control as he receives condemnation domestically and ire internationally. So, what happened? It all started when the US President told four Democratic Party congresswomen to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime ... ► Read more

  • Over one million people join the satirical ‘Storm Area 51’ event

    Over one million people have joined the satirical Facebook event to “storm Area 51” on 20 September at 3:00am. The Facebook event, which was created by the anonymous administrators of the public meme page Shitposting cause im in shambles and Twitch streamer SmyleeKun, is titled Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us. The description of the event says: “If we naruto run, we can run faster than their bullets. “Lets see them aliens.” ... ► Read more

  • ADF warns of influx of refugees and increased conflict due to climate change

    The Australian Defence Force (ADF) may be forced to increase patrols to deal with increased “sea-borne migration” prompted by rising sea levels, according to internal briefing notes. Documents obtained by the ABC under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 also warn that climate change will “exacerbate the potential conflict” and contribute to “state fragility and the undermining of economic development in our immediate region.” Former Chief of the Defence Force Admiral Chris Barrie (retired) said Australia ... ► Read more

  • More clashes in Hong Kong between police and protesters

    Clashes between police and protesters have continued in Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill that would allow Beijing to extradite Hong Kong residents to mainland China. The latest protest began late on Sunday afternoon (local time) when a small group of protesters threw objects at police, dismantled roadside metal barriers and set up barricades to separate themselves from police, who formed into a line. Protesters put on face masks, helmets and goggles and armed ... ► Read more

  • Rouhani: Iran “ready for talks” with US if sanctions lifted

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is ready to hold talks with Washington if the Trump Administration provides sanctions relief and returns to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a televised speech on Sunday (local time), Mr Rouhani said for talks to take place Iran must be allowed to export the same amount of oil as it did prior to the United States’ controversial withdrawal from the multilateral JCPOA. “We have always ... ► Read more

  • French police fire tear gas at protesters following Bastille Day celebrations

    French police have fired tear gas at Yellow Vest protesters following Bastille Day celebrations near the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Beforehand, Yellow Vest protesters booed French President Emmanuel Macron as he was driven down the avenue. Police say they apprehended more than 150 people, including two Yellow Vest leaders accused of staging an unauthorised demonstration. A few hundred protesters were attempting to occupy the road following the celebrations. They attempted to block the road with metal ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 July – 13 July 2019

    AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18 The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is ... ► Read more

  • Australia has recommitted to keeping Antarctic free of mining and military

    More than 50 countries, including Australia, have renewed their commitment to protect the Antarctic’s environment on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. More than 370 representatives, experts from civil society groups and observers from international organisations have been gathering in Prague to attend meetings on the Antarctic since 2 July, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry. Key topics covered by attendees included the effects of climate change, growing tourism and the ... ► Read more

  • Google says employees listen to people’s conversations through Google Assistant

    Google employees listen to conversations that happen between users and their Google Assistant, such as the Google Home smart speaker, the company has revealed. A report from Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS reveals how contractors are paid to transcribe audio clips that are recorded by the device. The snippets are used to help improve the device’s voice recognition technology, Google said. These audio clips are also used to help further develop the Google Assistant artificial ... ► Read more

  • Iran “tried to intercept a British tanker”, says UK Defence Ministry

    The Strait of Hormuz has once again become the scene of international scandal, with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) accusing Iran of trying to seize a British oil tanker. According to the MoD, the HMS Montrose — a British frigate which was shadowing the BP-owned tanker — was forced to position itself between the tanker and three Iranian boats. The boats, believed to belong to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), then dispersed and the ... ► Read more

  • 2020 US election: Biden leads Democrats in NBC/WSJ poll

    Former United States Vice President Joe Biden is leading the Democratic presidential field, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The poll shows 26% of Democrat voters will back Mr Biden in next year’s Democratic primaries or caucuses, while 19% will support Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders tie in third place at 13%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg scored 7% of Democratic primary voters, with both former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke ... ► Read more

  • “You are the best of us”: UK Ambassador to the US resigns amid Anglo-American tiff

    Britain’s Ambassador to the United States Sir Kim Darroch has resigned amid a tiff between Downing Street and the White House over leaked diplomatic cables that described the Trump Administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”. Sir Darroch, a veteran diplomat with a career spanning four decades, wrote in his resignation letter that the “current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like”. He said that while his posting ... ► Read more

  • 22 countries rebuke China over detention of Uyghurs

    Almost two dozen countries have rebuked China for its mass detentions in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), European countries including Britain, France, Germany and Switzerland as well as Australia, Canada and Japan called on China to halt the detention of ethnic Uyghurs. The Uyghurs are a minority Turkic ethnic group originating from central Asia, most of whom live in Xinjiang. China considers all ... ► Read more

  • Angela Merkel seen visibly shaking for the third time in a month

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been seen visibly shaking for the third time in a month at a military honours ceremony in Berlin on Wednesday (local time), while standing next to Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne. The shaking occurred while Ms Merkel was standing still, and stopped once she started walking. After the event, Ms Merkel told reporters she was “fine” and not to worry about her health. This is the third instance of uncontrollable ... ► Read more

  • Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney warns Australia on press freedom

    Amal Clooney has cautioned Australia on press freedom at the inaugural Defend Media Freedom conference in the United Kingdom, which was attended by Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. “What happens in a country like Australia, or the UK or the US will be looked at by every other leader in the world and potentially used as an excuse to clamp down even further on ... ► Read more

  • Referendum on Indigenous recognition within three years, announces Ken Wyatt

    A referendum will be held within the next three years to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt announced today. Mr Wyatt stressed the importance of ensuring the proposed constitutional amendments are “right” in a speech delivered at the Australian Press Club. “Constitutional recognition is too important to get wrong, and too important to rush,” he said. “We need to design the right model to progress to a point at ... ► Read more

  • Sir David Attenborough slams Australia for lack of action on climate change

    Sir David Attenborough has slammed Australia for inaction on climate change, adding that it is one of the countries worst affected by the issue. Mr Attenborough told members of the British Commons Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy committee about the impact of climate change, including the dangers of not addressing the issue with optimism and immediacy. Regarding Australia’s inaction on climate change, Mr Attenborough told British MPs it is “extraordinary actually because Australia is already ... ► Read more

  • Hunt takes on Trump over “disrespectful” remarks

    British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told United States President Donald Trump to reciprocate the “respect” shown to him by British Prime Minister Theresa May. Mr Hunt took to Twitter to take issue directly with Mr Trump, saying the US President’s recent comments about Prime Minister May and the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the US “are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country”. He urged Mr Trump to treat the UK with ... ► Read more

  • Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea

    Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is a spy. Mr Sigley was studying in the North Korean capital before he went missing on 25 June. He was released last Thursday with the help of Swedish diplomats and left for Tokyo where he was reunited with his wife. He wrote for Western media, such as NK News, during his time in North Korea. ... ► Read more

  • AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. Under amendments made to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act in 2015, all telecommunications service providers are required to store detailed phone and Internet records for their customers for a minimum of two years. Government agencies, including the AFP, can access that information by obtaining ... ► Read more

  • Hong Kong: Controversial extradition bill “dead”, says Lam

    Hong Kong’s head of government Carrie Lam has said a controversial bill that would have allowed extradition to the Chinese mainland is “dead”. In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Lam declared the Government’s work on the bill a “total failure”, but again stopped short of announcing its complete withdrawal, as protesters have demanded. The proposed legislation sparked weeks of demonstrations across the city, prompting the Government to previously announce that progress on the bill ... ► Read more

  • Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking

    Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. Mr Epstein was arrested over the weekend after returning to the United States from Paris. Mr Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls”, prosecutors allege in a newly unsealed 13-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment. Some of the victims were 14 years old, prosecutors claim. Mr Epstein is accused of recruiting underage girls ... ► Read more

  • Trump lashes out at May on Twitter

    United States President Donald Trump has attacked British Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter, criticising her for not heeding his advice on Brexit and saying it was “good news for the wonderful United Kingdom that they will soon have a new Prime Minister”. Mr Trump also took aim at the UK Ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch, who described Mr Trump and his administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional” in leaked diplomatic cables. The leak ... ► Read more

  • British Airways faces $328m fine for breaching European privacy rule

    British Airways faces a A$328 million fine after their website was hacked last year, compromising the personal details of 500,000 customers. The penalty is the largest imposed yet under the General Data Protection Regulation, which was implemented last year in the European Union. The airline, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), revealed last September they had been hacked and customers’ addresses, emails, names, credit card numbers, expiration and three-digit security codes were all ... ► Read more

  • “Inept Trump”: UK Government launches inquiry into leaked ambassador’s emails

    The British Government has launched an inquiry into an emails leak that made public criticisms from the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States regarding the Trump Administration and the US President. The British Ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch said the White House was “uniquely dysfunctional” and “divided” under Donald Trump. He said: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.” ... ► Read more

  • Australia to become one of the “world’s worst” contributors to climate crisis

    Australia is set to become one of the “world’s worst” contributors to the climate disaster, according to new research from Berlin-based science and policy institute Climate Analytics. According to the research, Australia could be responsible for 17% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Australia’s current global climate footprint is around 5%, which includes emissions from Australia’s coal, gas and oil emissions (3.6% of global total) and domestic emissions (1.4% of global total). The ... ► Read more

  • Lawyers for Australian writer detained in China urge Government to intervene

    Lawyers for Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, are urging Canberra to intervene. The calls come after Mr Yang’s wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, was prevented from leaving China to return to Australia by officers from the Ministry of State Security on Sunday. Ms Yuan was not detained but has been questioned by Chinese authorities and is subject to an exit ban. She was interrogated for two hours on Sunday, according ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 30 June – 6 July 2019

    North Korea releases Australian detainee Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australian man Alek Sigley has been released from detention in North Korea and has left the country. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Senate passes Coalition tax cuts, Labor backs down The Senate has voted to pass the Coalition Government’s tax cuts, with Labor backing down after failing to secure changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More ... ► Read more