US President Donald Trump says Turkey is making its ceasefire in northern Syria permanent, prompting the US to lift sanctions, Nine reports.
In a televised address, Trump said the Turkish government had informed his administration they would be stopping their offensive, and that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to lift the sanctions “unless something happens that we are not happy with”. Trump also flagged a change of course in Middle East strategy, saying the US would “let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand”, with a “small number” of US troops to remain in Syria. It comes as Russian troops expand their presence in Syria following an agreement with Ankara, The Guardian reports.
Former Australian intelligence official Roger Uren has been charged with breaching secrecy laws after ASIO discovered classified files during a 2015 raid on his home, Nine reports.
Uren is married to Chinese-Australian lobbyist and suspected influence agent Sheri Yan, who was previously charged by the FBI with bribing the former president of the United Nations General Assembly John Ashe. It was Yan’s links to Chinese intelligence that led ASIO to raid their Canberra home, where a cache of “highly classified Australian government files” was discovered, reportedly detailing what Western intelligence agencies knew of their Chinese counterparts in the early 2000s.
ASYLUM SEEKER TRAGEDY
Thirty nine asylum seekers found dead in a truck in the UK early Wednesday were in a refrigerated container, where temperatures could be as low as -25 degrees, suggesting they likely froze to death ($).
The driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, with an investigation now underway. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called it an “unimaginable tragedy”, saying “all such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice”. The BBC notes that people smugglers have increasingly moved to other routes in the three years since migrant camps were shut down in Calais, France, the most common method being hiding people in the back of a truck, with migrants paying £10,000 or more for a space.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Ask me about the rats.
The former Labor deputy leader tries to turn the conversation to rats, when asked by the ABC’s Michael Rowland if former leader Bill Shorten was getting a bad rap (apparently, she meant these car-driving rats).
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Devine’s columns are clearly in-step with Allan’s editorial strategy, borrowing typically progressive rhetoric to defend conservative arguments when it suits. She responded to Thunberg’s UN speech by accusing ‘eco-catastrophists’ of child abuse for ‘terrifying children with exaggerated stories about the threat of climate change’, and is a clear fan of first lady Melania Trump. She criticised the book Melania & Michelle: First Ladies of a New Era for ‘pitting two women against each other’, but didn’t hesitate to do the exact same thing a few paragraphs later.”
“His lawyer told the press his arrest set a ‘dangerous precedent for all media and journalists in Europe and around the world’. The two biggest employers of journalists in Australia responded by publishing pieces which insisted the man is ‘not a journalist’. His health deteriorated. At a court hearing to try and delay his extradition to the US, he appeared querulous and confused, struggling to recall his name and age. His application was dismissed. That same week, the Australian media united to launch a public campaign decrying attacks on journalists and whistleblowers. The name of the campaign: ‘Right To Know’.
He has received no assistance from his government.”
“You can create economic growth for a nation by growing its population — a policy Australia has pursued with vigour. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The benefits of a rising population are real and the costs can be managed if you build sufficient new homes and infrastructure. But rising house prices in Melbourne and Sydney tell us that the number of new homes built may not have kept pace. And, as anyone who has tried to commute in an Australian city knows, higher population growth is straining transport infrastructure too.”
Australia needs effective Labor Party ($) – Richard Marles (The Australian): “We need to change. Part of that is resetting the reflex muscle that led us to believe that our fortunes were pegged to winning the daily cycle, which ultimately proved to be a false economy. There is a stark difference between holding the government to account and simply seeking victory in the pursuit of a good headline. An approach that aims for a longer-term vision that spans beyond 140 characters may seem boring for some commentators. But our focus will be developing a compelling argument that speaks to the aspirations of working men and women across Australia so they put a “1” in the Labor square at the next election.”
This reckless government and its business and media mates are determined to damage superannuation – Paul Keating (The Guardian): “Ordinary working men and women have been jammed by the Liberal party at 9.5% of wages going to super, while parliamentarians, without a hint of reflection or embarrassment, pocket 15.4% into their own super accounts. And even though the parliament, and I emphasise the parliament, has legislated to compulsorily provide 12% of wages to the super accounts of the great body of the Australian workforce, the Liberal party wants to take it away. They want to kill the last two-and-a-half percentage points. So the case Willox is effectively arguing is 15.4% for the pollies, just 9.5% for workers and a mean clawback of the extra 2.5% which the parliament has otherwise legislated. The meanness and avarice of it has to be seen to be believed.”
Journalism’s role must be protected ($) – Peter Greste (The Daily Telegraph): “In the debates around press freedom, a lot of the media’s critics tend to dismiss journalists as pleading for special privileges. “No one is above (the law), including me or anyone else, any journalist or anyone else,” the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said on Sunday, anticipating the campaign by the Australian Right To Know coalition, which is calling for legislative changes to protect press freedom. The language is a form of misdirection. It seeks to portray journalists as some kind of self-appointed elite who consider themselves to be above ordinary citizens. The comments also invite scorn from everybody else. They focus our attention on the individuals rather than the issue at stake. The danger of that approach is that it undermines the watchdog role that a free press plays in our democracy — a role that assumes that there are times when exposing wrongdoing trumps the secrecy used to cover it up.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Health Minister Greg Hunt will attend the ‘Save Your Bacon’ event held by Victorian grassroots suicide prevention organisation HALT to raise awareness of suicide.
The Crown Resorts board will attend the company’s AGM with shareholders, with management expected to rail against recent media coverage.
The finals of the 2019 Australasian Auctioneering Championships will be held, with the winner to be presentation at the REIV Awards for Excellence Gala.
Protesters will rally after the death of transgender Filipino woman Mhelody Polan Bruno, who was allegedly murdered in Wagga Wagga while on holiday.
The inaugural Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) will be held, dedicated exclusively to servicing the thousands of festival industry professionals that produce quality music, arts and culture.
A hearing will be held in ATO v Huang Xiangmo, with the ATO pursuing the Chinese donor over a $140 million tax bill he allegedly owes.
Sculpture by the Sea 2019 will see the Bondi coastline transformed into a 2km long sculpture park.
Miner South32 will hold its AGM, following an August announcement that its was in talks to sell its South Africa energy-coal business to Seriti Resources.
Flinders University Museum of Art will launch exhibition “Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurna-kanha, Itla Itla Nurna-kanha” (“Our Family, Our Country, Our Legacy”), with guest speaker Dennis Stokes, CEO of the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.