STATES JOIN REDRESS SCHEME
The country’s two largest states have signed on to a federal redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse. New South Wales and Victoria will reportedly join the program today, which caps compensation payouts at $150,000. It’s expected other states will follow, with the exception of South Australia, which has its own scheme.
Those states that do sign on will agree to cover the cost of compensation for abuse in state-based institutions like public schools. Church groups are also being pushed to join the scheme.
CHINA SEES LIGHT ON NORTH KOREA
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has rejected the suggestion his country’s “long march to modernisation” represents a strategic threat to the Unites States. At a rare press conference, Wang also encouraged the US to enter into talks with North Korea.
“Despite the light at the end of the tunnel, the journey ahead will not be smooth,” he said.
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A former journalist who was jailed in Iran before fleeing by boat with a forged passport and being held in Australia’s immigration detention system has been nominated for one of Australia’s top literary prizes.
Shokoofeh Azar survived a perilous journey before being released into the community and completing her Farsi novel The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree. Translated into English, the text has been shortlisted for the Stella Prize.
“Always when I close my eyes and remember that I feel we have been in a small matchbox in the ocean,” Azar told Fairfax.
The novel will compete against offerings from Claire G. Coleman, Michelle de Kretser, Krissy Kneen, Mirandi Riwoe, and Alexis Wright.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
“I remember telling him that if Franklin Roosevelt could work with Josef Stalin to defeat Nazi fascism, then certainly Donald Trump could work with Vladimir Putin to defeat Islamic fascism.”
That’s what Erik Prince told the United States House Intelligence Committee last year, as he tried to explain away a meeting with a Russian businessman in the Seychelles.
Prince founded the infamous private mercenary firm Blackwater, employees of which were found to have killed innocent civilians in Iraq.
But Prince has re-emerged in the Trump years as a key player once again, with a number of ties to the administration and, reportedly, a plan to develop a private global spy network to help the White House circumvent US national security bodies.
It’s Prince’s Seychelles meeting that is garnering the most attention, however, thanks to a witness telling Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe that the meeting’s aim was to set up a back-door channel between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Prince insists it was a chance, harmless encounter full of the kind of good-natured banter about minerals deals and murderous dictators we all find ourselves engaging in while on a beach holiday.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Hobart: Former state attorney-general Vanessa Goodwin will be given a state funeral. Goodwin died on the day of the state’s election on March 3.
Sydney: A funeral will be held to remember Matthew Leveson, who disappeared at the age of 20 in 2007. His partner Michael Atkins was acquitted of the murder though was later able to lead police to Leveson’s body.
Sydney: The second day of the Wharton Global Forum includes former prime minister Paul Keating and Lucy Turnbull as speakers.
Canberra: Exiled Cambodian MP Mu Sochua will speak at the Australian National University alongside former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.
Chile: 11 countries, including Australia, will sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The nations signing on account for 13% of the global economy.
New York: Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop delivers a statement on Afghanistan to the United Nations Security Council.
Washington, D.C.: US President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on steel and aluminium tariffs. It is now expected Canada and Mexico will be exempt, and possibly other US allies.
Port Elizabeth: The second cricket Test between Australia and South Africa begins.
Free trade has been building our nation’s wealth — Steven Ciobo (The Australian $): “Protectionism — often confused with patriotism — is emerging around the globe, a dangerous trend that could lead to economic ruin. Protectionism and patriotism are hardly kindred principles and should not be treated as such.”
Turnbull needs every day until May next year — David Crowe (Sydney Morning Herald): “Mark your diaries: an election on Saturday, May 18, 2019, is quite feasible. There are early ideas within the government about how to make it work, such as navigating key obstacles like the NSW state election early next year and the recent tradition of releasing the federal budget on the second Tuesday in May.”
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
‘The UN has to be better, and I think it is struggling’: Helen Clark — Meg Watson: “Clark argues that the five permanent members of the Security Council (Russia, the US, the UK, France and China) have “acquired an enormous amount of power” that would best be limited. She also suggests the SG should be restricted to one term in office to deliver action quickly.”
Debate Club: can pop culture be a force for feminist good? — Helen Razer v Lauren Rosewarne: “The presumption that audiences just watch reality TV, zombie-like, simply because it’s produced overestimates the powers of producers and the passivity of audiences.”
A real downer: Alexander Downer’s career bottoms out with alt-right trolling — Bernard Keane: “While it’s amusing that Australia’s own Boy Mulcaster is now, in the bug-eyes of MAGA cap-wearing keyboard warriors, a left-wing agent of the evil Clintons, who would have ever guessed during his long and indistinguished years in diplomacy, that it would be Downer who might, in the end, be the one who started the process of killing off the Trump presidency?”
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