THREE MORE DIE WHILE FIGHTING FIRES
Tributes have flown for the three US firefighters killed while water-bombing fires in southern New South Wales, as the Australian Transport Safety Bureau works to understand the cause of the crash.
The ABC and Sydney Morning Herald report that politicians, firefighters and community members have expressed their gratitude for the as-yet-unnamed firefighters, while more than 1,500 firefighters have worked through the night, taking advantage of easing conditions to battle NSW and ACT’s 80-plus ongoing fires.
The news comes as, among the ceaseless horrors, Nine papers report that a combination of fires, dust and thunderstorms has killed fish across the Murray-Darling Basin and dumped sludge across the Yarra River.
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AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
Nationals leader Michael McCormack continues to resist pressure to sack his deputy, Bridget McKenzie, even as Scott Morrison pledges not to “pre-empt” a PM&C review and Nationals colleagues privately describe her position as untenable.
Of 10 Nationals contacted last night, only McCormack actively endorsed the former sports minister remaining in cabinet, according to The Australian ($), reporting elsewhere ($) that McCormack’s support in the party-room has dwindled and, without his ally McKenzie, he would face the promotion of David Littleproud and Matt Canavan.
As PM&C’s ministerial standards inquiry continues, The Age reports that McKenzie’s current register of interests does not disclose patronage to the Australian Clay Target Association — a role the club announced she accepted in 2015 and listed as recently as December 2019. However, a spokesperson for the agriculture minister says she never “formally” accepted.
ICJ RULES AGAINST MYANMAR GENOCIDE
The International Court of Justice has ordered measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya people in Myanmar, siding with the predominantly Muslim African nation The Gambia’s call for emergency measures against the Buddhist state’s military until a fuller investigation can be launched.
The ABC reports that, although the world court has no measures of enforcement, the Hague’s panel of 17 judges voted unanimously to order Myanmar to take “all measures within its power” to prevent genocide and report back in four months on implementation.
The ruling follows Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s justification of the 2017 massacre as “internal armed conflict” against militant attacks — a defence that, arguably, sheds any remaining pretence of political opposition between her and the military. It now remains to be seen whether she abides by the ruling.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Your referral provided details of a number of allegations of fraud by Professor Pascoe. Based on the information provided and inquiries undertaken no Commonwealth offences have been identified.
[REDACTED, REDACTED] Australian Federal Police commander
Turns out pursuing Indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe over what a single critic thinks of his identity is a bridge even the AFP won’t cross.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“The world is talking about us. A summer of unprecedented bushfires has given our little old antipodean politics and policies the kind of global media attention normally reserved for knifing sitting prime ministers.”
“The trial to acquit President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges against him is well underway, with the US Senate sitting until Saturday night, and then resuming next week. The full solemnity of the occasion is measured in the silly rules that are applied to the 100 senators during their more than 12-hour days: no talking to each other, no electronics, no food.”
“Absent in the timeline are events between the years 2013 and 2016, when, among other things, the BCA celebrated the repeal of the carbon tax, and called for the abolishment of the Renewable Energy Target.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Should we be worried about the new Wuhan coronavirus? — Ian M. Mackay and Katherine Ardern (The Conversation): “China was extraordinarily efficient and open in identifying the virus, a new strain of coronavirus, within just over a week. Chinese scientists sequenced the virus’s genetic code and, within days, shared that information with the world.”
Traditional charities risk being replaced by crowd-funding ($) — Gary Nunn (The Daily Telegraph): “It pains me to join the current backlash against traditional disaster relief charities. But join it I must. It’s happening because three major charities – the Red Cross, Vinnies and The Salvation Army – are squirrelling away funds donated for the bushfire crisis for future disasters.”
Transforming Australia’s Coal Country — Georgina Woods (Earth Island Journal): “The Hunter Valley’s history and its contested future are written in piles of coal buried since the swampy Permian period, when giant conifers fell and were pressed for hundreds of millions of years in layers of hard dark pages. Coal drew the English to Newcastle, but even before the English came, coal was part of the lives and stories of the Awabakal people of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Celebrating the Year of the Rat, the Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival 2020 will hold its opening ceremony in Southbank.
Pasta maker San Remo will donate $500,000 in produce to bushfire victims.
A former chief executive of Logan City Council will give evidence on the third day of the corruption committal hearing of former mayor Luke Smith.