TURNBULL AT G20
Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull faces a series of potential difficult discussions at today’s G20 summit in Hamburg. The Australian Financial Review reports that Turnbull will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and new South Korean President Moon Jae-In to discuss recent developments with North Korea. Arriving in Hamburg for the summit, Turnbull expressed a desire for China to use its leverage over North Korea, saying “we urge China to bring more economic pressure to bear on North Korea to bring that nation to its senses”. The discussion might be that bit tenser thanks to statements yesterday on Radio National yesterday from his deputy (and acting Prime Minster) Barnaby Joyce that he had “sympathy” for the argument for imposing sanctions on China if the Chinese supported North Korea. Joyce seemed to retreat from the statement on Sky later in the day, and talk of sanctions was swiftly shot down by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.
Meanwhile, the Fin reports Turnbull can expect “a tussle” from tech giants in Silicon Valley on another of his G20 agenda items, his desire for security services to have greater access to encrypted social media messaging services. On a point he’ll surely be a lot happier to discuss, The Australian tells us Australia’s submission will be filled with boasts about Australia’s economy, citing 26 consecutive years of positive growth and a forecast return above average real GDP growth rates.
TODAY IN TRUMP
President Donald Trump has kicked off a visit to Europe as part of the G20 summit with a fiery speech in Warsaw. Trump was met by a supportive crowd in Poland and said: “The West will never ever be broken. Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilisation will triumph.”
On a busy day, the US president also met with rival Angela Merkel, and the leaders of Japan and South Korea. On the question of North Korea, Trump told a news conference: “I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about.”
Back home, Trump was criticised, even by some of his defenders, for boosting Poland’s right-wing government and failing to visit the Jewish Ghetto Uprising in Warsaw, a traditional stop for US presidents. He also suffered a devastating handshake misunderstanding with the Polish first lady.
The real show is still to come, however. Tomorrow, Trump meets face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, after criticising Moscow for its aggression in his speech today. Moscow has also objected to a UN Security Council resolution condemning North Korea, with diplomats arguing the country had not yet confirmed whether an inter-continental missile was used in the launch, as claimed by the resolution.
SMOG SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Fairfax papers are reporting that the government is sitting Australia’s pollution figures, despite the fact they were due to be released in May of this year. The last quarterly figures were released in December of last year, and according to the article, independent estimates suggest Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since then.
Documents access by Australian Conservation Foundation under freedom of information show the government has the figures — compiled by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory — but has failed to release them. A spokeswoman for Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Fairfax the data would be released, but that “no publication date [had] been set”.
ASHES UNDER CLOUD
The highlight of the Australia cricket calendar, the Ashes, could be under threat as the ugly pay dispute between players and administrators continues. The Australia A team — which contains potential Test players such as Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell — confirmed that, in absence of a resolution, they would not travel to South Africa as planned.
“It is with great frustration that with no progress towards resolving the current dispute, Australia A players confirm they will not tour South Africa,” the Australian Cricketers Association said in a statement yesterday.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Melbourne: Hearings for the Inquiry into the restructuring of Victoria’s fire services to be held at Parliament House.
Perth: Tony Overheu, who shoved a lemon meringue pie into the face of Qantas boss Alan Joyce in a protest against the airline’s support for same-sex marriage, faces court.
Malcolm Turnbull’s life in parallel universes — Andrew Clark (Australian Financial Review $): “The longer-term question gnawing at the minds of participants [of the G20 summit], including Turnbull, remains this: Does the summit represent a tipping point for China’s power in the world?”
Firing blanks on gun reform — David Leyonhjelm (The Australian $): “Notwithstanding some high-profile mass murders, the rate of US gun deaths during the past three decades has declined faster (albeit from a higher starting point) than in Australia.”
Despite the rhetoric, here’s why Islamophobes don’t want Yassmin to go — Randa Abdel-Fattah (Sydney Morning Herald): “Abdel-Magied has come to represent everything that Islamophobia hates – but actually loves– about “the Muslim problem”. It’s a game of seeing how far “the Muslim” can be controlled and disciplined.”
Sri Lankan Buddhist leaders are raising their opposition to a proposed new constitution, intended to help put the country’s ethnic conflict in the past. Championed by President Maithripala Sirisena, the constitution would devolve more power to the states. It has worried some monks, who could lose their influence as a result of any changes. — Reuters
A meeting of the leaders of the world’s largest 20 economies has had its unofficial opening ceremony: the spraying of the protesters. Anti-capitalist demonstrators hit the streets of Hamburg today and were rushed by police. Protesters hurled bottles; police responded with pepper spray and water cannons. Far larger protests are expected when the G20 forum opens tomorrow. — BBC
WHAT WE’RE READING
What are they so afraid of? I’m just a young brown Muslim woman speaking my mind (Guardian Australia): “Given that I am now the most publicly hated Muslim in Australia, people have been asking me how I am. What do I say? That life has been great and I can’t wait to start my new adventure in London? That I’ve been overwhelmed with messages of support? Or do I tell them that it’s been thoroughly rubbish? That it is humiliating to have almost 90,000 twisted words written about me in the three months since Anzac Day, words that are largely laced with hate.”
The alt-right branding war has torn the movement in two (The New Yorker): “Spencer and his allies have won the branding war. They own the alt-right label; their right-wing opponents are aligning themselves against it, working to establish a parallel brand. It has become increasingly clear that this is not a mere rhetorical ploy but a distinction with a difference.”
Why Australian won’t face up to a problem like Chris Lilley (Junkee): “Yes, Lilley was a genius minstrel, but a minstrel nonetheless.”
A toxic cocktail on the surface of Mars (Air & Space): “If the surface of Mars is toxic, we might expect any indigenous life to thrive in the subsurface, where UV radiation does not reach. The new experiments may motivate us to look a bit deeper below the surface than we had planned to, or focus more on possible niche habitats such as within salt rocks.”
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