RUSSIA VS THE WORLD
The US Justice Department has charged seven Russian military intelligence officers who, on top of multiple other accusations, allegedly hacked athlete drug test data in an attempt to undermine Olympic doping investigations.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that of the seven officers, four were also charged with targeting groups probing Russia’s alleged use of chemical weapons, including the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain, and that three were also indicted in July for allegedly conspiring to interfere with the 2016 US election.
Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld also alleged at a Hague press conference last night that the four men hacking Skripal’s poisoning also attempted to access files relating to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
LAST DAY OF CHRISTMAS (ISLAND)
The Coalition has closed the Christmas Island detention centre, a decade after it was commissioned by John Howard and opened by Kevin Rudd.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the final planeload of 30 detainees left the island last Sunday and have been relocated to onshore facilities. The closure comes as part of a 2016 election pledge from the Coalition to close 17 detention centres, which Immigration Minister David Coleman says has saved over $500 million and, in the case of Christmas Island, demonstrates “another example of the Coalition government cleaning up Labor’s mess”.
As of July 29, there are still 1534 people seeking asylum detained on Manus Island and Nauru.
FBI REPORT DROPS
The White House has knocked back criticism from the Democrats over a week-long FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged history of sexual misconduct, arguing the report was not micromanaged and addresses “all the Senate’s questions”.
The ABC reports that, while Donald Trump continues to dismiss “uncorroborated allegations” against Kavanaugh, the Democrats remain concerned the FBI did not interview enough people. Senators are currently poring over the document following its release Wednesday night (local time).
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
WTF are you doing in the Greens, the rest of us are fighting against racism and here you are standing side-by-side with Hanson?
The Young Greens’ national co-convenor calls on leader of the Tasmanian Greens Cassy O’Connor to resign after linking alleged Chinese government interference in a council election to an Australian-Chinese candidate.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Among the journalists with a combined 150 years’ experience made redundant by News Corp in Victoria last month were four reporters at the troubled Weekly Times. The agricultural paper, produced out of News Corp’s Herald and Weekly Times building in Melbourne, has been rocked in the past year by the departures of experienced and award-winning staff amid bullying allegations against former editor Natalee Ward.”
“For years, as evidence of misconduct in the banking sector mounted, the defence of our biggest banks was that each scandal was just the result of a few rotten apples, or human error, or internal processes that had now been overhauled. We’re very sorry, banking executives would say, but there were no systemic issues involved.”
“Yesterday, treasurers of all Australian states and territories agreed to exempt unmentionables from GST. Today, all of Feminist Twitter celebrates. Or, so I will suppose. I refuse to risk any contact with any sort of Van Badham thing. All that empowerment is likely to bring on my menopause, which is unlikely to bring on my Best Self. I will become the anti-Oprah. I will tell all the bleating ladies to do a thing or three about this regressive tax.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
This week from the New York Times
Sign up for the Australia Letter from The New York Times, a free weekly dispatch with global perspective from bureau chief, Damien Cave.
Bellicose China is popping up everywhere ($) — Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (The Australian): “In January I made frank and forthright comments raising concerns about communist China’s actions in the Pacific. My comments have been vindicated. Months on, and many revelations later, thanks to the work of a few dedicated journalists and commentators, the extent of China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ and the strategic importance of the Pacific to Australia have morphed into recent headlines in The Australian such as ‘Top threat now lies in the Pacific’ (22/9) and yesterday’s ‘US warns on China’s debt-trap diplomacy’.”
Australians the frog in the saucepan as world warms up — Peter Hannam (The Sydney Morning Herald): “In decades to come, historians wondering how Australians found themselves with dangerous climate change may well be puzzled. How was it that inhabitants of a continent prone to wild swings in annual rainfall, severe heatwaves and bushfires weren’t more wary of greater climate chaos? Hadn’t we led successful global action to ban ozone-depleting chemicals after a big hole was discovered in the 1980s over Antarctica, leaving southern Australia facing a surge in cancer-causing ultraviolet light?”
New calls for wider implementation of Birthing on Country — Janine Mohamed (IndigenousX): “In my presentation, I asked all MPs present to support the [Congress of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives’] call for a Senate Select Committee to investigate the barriers to wider implementation of Birthing on Country. This inquiry should make recommendations for all who need to be involved in filling this gap in services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families. This included governments, health and medical professionals and organisation, educators and training organisations.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will give the keynote address at the launch of the Meridian 180 “Trust and distrust: new thinking for our times” forum at NSW.
Hearings will be held by the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; and the inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force.
Police will address the media in a renewed appeal for information ahead of the 25th anniversary of 17-year-old Allison Newstead’s death.
Labor senator Kristina Keneally, journalist Sandra Sully, reconstructive plastic surgeon Dr Neela Janakiramanan and others will speak at the sixth annual Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards.
Journalist Laura Tingle will speak on her new Quarterly Essay “Follow the Leader: Democracy and the Rise of the Strongman” in conversation with writer Fleur Anderson for an ANU/Canberra Times event.
Protesters will rally against LGBTIQ conversion therapy at the State Library of Victoria.
Social theorist Boris Frankel will launch his new book Fictions of Sustainability: The Politics of Growth and Post-Capitalist Futures at the University of Melbourne.
QueensPlaza, the Myer Centre, Wintergarden, and shops along Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall will host the 2018 Shop Brisbane City festival.
The QMCA 2018 Innovation & Excellence Awards will feature MC Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and keynote speaker and futurist Michael McQueen.
The Royal Institution of Australia will host a panel event “Artificial Intelligence – gift from the gods or a Pandora’s box?” with Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, machine learning expert Professor Anton van den Hengel, and data policy expert Ellen Broad.
Day one of the Angelman Syndrome Association Australia’s three-day national conference “From Strength to Strength”.
Vice-Chancellor of Portsmouth University Professor Graham Galbraith will present “Universities are central to societies’ future success – but only if we learn some lessons” at Edith Cowan University.
The Leukaemia Foundation will launch the 11th “Light the Night” event, with lantern ceremonies set to be held at sunset around the country. Diabetes Australia will likewise host events for their Walk to Work Day.
Today marks the centenary of the Battle of Montbrehain, the last action involving Australia on the Western Front.