JOVENEL MOïSE ASSASSINATED
The president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, has been assassinated. The news was confirmed by the country’s prime minister, Claude Joseph, who said Moïse was attacked by a group of armed men at his home, the BBC reports. Moïse’s wife Martine was seriously injured in the attack.
Joseph has addressed the Caribbean nation on television to declare a state of emergency. Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to Washington called the assassination a “well-orchestrated commando attack”, telling The Guardian the perpetrators presented themselves as “DEA agents”. It is not yet known who they really were.
Moïse had been facing growing resistance in the country over the expiry of his term, amid several years of political unrest and violence. Moïse had been ruling by decree for more than a year (which means he was able to edit law without legislative approval), and was trying to push through controversial constitutional changes, The New York Times explains.
World leaders have condemned the attack. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that it was an “abhorrent act”, US President Joe Biden released a statement calling it a “horrific assassination” while Colombian president, Iván Duque called on the US to send an urgent mission to “protect the democratic order in Haiti”, Al Jazeera says.
Mask restrictions in Victoria are set to wind back from midnight tonight, when the wearing of masks in offices and schools settings will be no longer required, the ABC says.
The move clears the way for some 48,000 public servants to return to the city’s offices — but the question is whether or not they want to. The Age is reporting that Lord Mayor Sally Capp is banding together with the state opposition and business groups in calling for the Victorian government to force workers back at least three days a week. The Australian ($) cites Property Council figures that report just 26% of people were back in the office in June compared to pre-pandemic levels. Many popular Melbourne haunts are struggling as a result — Treviso on Bank Place has gone from serving an average of 200 people to just 32 on Monday, the owner told The Oz.
Tonight’s eased restrictions come as a large group of people without masks were photographed on Monday at the Generations Restaurant on Station Pier, a popular Port Melbourne venue, the Herald Sun ($) reports. The venue said a small group may have “momentarily breached COVID-19 requirements”, while the department of health is investigating further. It comes just days after Riva nightclub in St Kilda was fined $10,000 for holding a dance party in breach of the restrictions, news.com.au says. There were no new cases recorded in Victoria yesterday for the seventh day in a row.
NSW SET TO SPIKE
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned her state that daily COVID-19 figures will spike today. In her press conference yesterday, she said the cases were mostly concentrated in Sydney’s southwest: specifically Liverpool, Fairfield, and Bankstown-Canterbury, the ABC reports. There were 27 new cases yesterday, and Berejiklian warned further tightening of restrictions — like limiting travel — was not out of the question, the ABC says. It spells bad news for NSW people with holidays booked — consumer group Choice says just one in five Australians received a full refund when their travel was cancelled due to other lockdowns, The New Daily reports.
Unfortunately, testing numbers are low in Sydney’s developing hotspots. In the Bondi Beach area, where the outbreak began, 14,468 tests were recorded in the past 14 days, compared with Fairfield’s 1922 tests over that period, the SMH says. Remember: COVID-19 testing is completely free, generally quick, and should be sought out if any symptoms — like a sore throat, fever, or fatigue — show up.
There are now 70,000 signatures on a petition to stop Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk from travelling overseas to deliver the final pitch for Brisbane’s Olympic bid, the Brisbane Times reports. The petition says the premier “should not be allowed to steal a precious hotel quarantine space from a more deserving stranded Australian trying to return home”.
The cross-party delegation of local, state, and federal elected representatives bound for Tokyo this month would be pushed to the front of the queue amid slashed international arrival figures — something the premier threw her support behind, along with several of her counterparts. Interestingly, almost 1500 interactions with the petition came from a post by Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen, the Brisbane Times continued.
If the petition were successful, it could mean the kiss of death for Brisvegas’ hopes to be the pick for the 2032 Olympics. There are currently no other bids that have board approval for the IOC to consider, SBS says.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
To finish on a positive note — Guardian Australia asked comedian Montaigne: what are the funniest things you’ve ever seen (on the internet)? Her answers are wholesome, heartwarming, quirky, and a bit cheeky.
Hoping you find a way to smile, wherever you are, today.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.
Donald Trump (reportedly)
The Wall Street Journal‘s Michael Bender quotes the gaffe-prone former US president in a new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election. Trump was reportedly talking to his chief of staff, John Kelly, in 2018 when he made the remark. Trump’s people deny he said it, saying it was “fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired”.
‘The idea that you have to resort to military command to impose efficient administration is unquestionably pre-anti-democratic’
“I’ve tapped into the radio of its national broadcaster, El ABC, and the leader of the unions is on, telling Sister Francisca Kelly that they welcome the move, even though they have been excluded from any role in the workplace rollout. Must be a right-wing Peronist union outfit tucked neatly into the armpit of the junta…
“Yes, yes, it’s not a junta. And our side of politics has a habit of predicting nine out of the last three coups. But really, when you have a military leader charged with responding to a disease which required steady application, rather than suspension-of-democracy crisis management, and is now drawing on that old pre-coup standby — the roundtable of concerned businessmen (and women too — viva la diversitia!) forming a de facto committee of the national interest — then if you can’t hear the mariachi band, you have no ear for war music.”
“For the mass vaccination to happen, the school had to apply for vaccine access via NSW Health. The boys’ parents would have had to sign permission slips before the boys were bussed away to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital to get the jab. They’re set to get their second dose next week.
“It’s an example of privilege like no other. The vaccine is currently only available to people aged over 40, workers in the healthcare and aged care sectors, people with other health risks, and Indigenous Australians. The school said it had asked for the vaccinations for the benefit of Indigenous students — who make up just 4% of its overall student base — though the whole year level was invited.”
Saying the quiet bits loud: meet the media company delivering ‘news’ to more viewers than 7News, SBS and Ten combined
“[Giordano] Nanni says Juice Media’s videos have drawn the attention of a few people in politics. In 2017, the National Symbols Officer of Australia wrote to the company to say that their use of the official Australian Government coat of arms broke the law. A week later, the government introduced legislation that criminalised impersonation of a government agency with up to two years imprisonment, something that Nanni worried Juice Media could fall afoul of. It has subsequently received a complaint from the Department of Prime Minister for using a real screenshot of a government website containing the coat of arms.
““I nearly choked on my coffee. If that’s all it takes to confuse our satirical videos with your policies, what does it say about your policies?” Nanni said.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Data reveals Australia’s new international arrivals cap is harshest yet (Guardian Australia)
Telstra fails again: Telco cops $25m refund bill over NBN plans (The New Daily)
Marion Cotillard, Jodie Foster lead Cannes film festival return (The New Daily)
In this pandemic, we’re also infected by contradictions — Greg Sheridan (The Australian) ($): “Heartlessness is in the eye of the beholder, it seems. The one area where the federal government is most at fault is not having purpose-built quarantine facilities with outdoor ventilation in all the states. Before the Delta virus these were less necessary. And the Delta virus was never on anyone’s road map.
“Our metaphors for this virus have been misleading and contradictory themselves. Everyone wants a road map to get out of the virus. But road maps are for navigating static topography. No road map can show you how to win a tennis match. That’s because the guy on the other side of the net — in this case the virus – gets a say on what happens.”
Should we revive an archaic law after the Eastern Freeway incident? — Stephen Gray (The Age): “In Australia, the offence has very rarely been used. Until the [Richard] Pusey case, few lawyers would have known of its existence. The judge commented that the charge was so rare that there were only six reported examples of its use in Australia between 1899 and 1978.
“In the wake of the Pusey case, we might consider enacting a failure to rescue offence. However, outraging public decency is vague, archaic and uncertain. Tempting as it may be, the offence is not the solution to Pusey’s crime.”
The Bezos-Branson-Musk space race is a huge waste of money and scientifically useless – Michael Hiltzik (The SMH): “The real danger of thrill-seeking via spaceship is that it distracts from problems here on the ground. It’s become a bit of a cliche to say that we should be spending more on the fight against global warming, but NASA projects have contributed immeasurably to Earth science — at least until congressional conservatives steered the agency away from those projects so it could spend more on interplanetary exploration.
“One underlying theme of space travel enthusiasts like [Elon] Musk and [Jeff] Bezos is that humans need a plan B. The assumption is we’ve screwed up Earth so badly that there’s little point in trying to fix what we broke. They have the wrong end of the stick. Answers to global warming and disease are still much more accessible than fleeing Earth for space. The dream of interplanetary travel and colonisation is the dream of schoolchildren, and it’s time that the billionaires grew up.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Former MP Julia Banks is in conversation with Virginia Haussegger about her groundbreaking new book, Power Play. Breaking Through Bias, Barriers and Boys’ Club.
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe is addressing the Economic Society of Australia business lunch at the Hilton Brisbane.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, is in conversation with the Director of Public Health Services in Israel, Sharon Alroy-Preis, via webinar to explore how the pandemic is shaping the future of health services.
As part of NAIDOC Week, Wadawurrung artist Deanne Gilson is hosting an artist talk and screening her film Wadawurrung Walking with Waa at the National Wool Museum. An ochre art workshop will follow.
Member for Curtin Celia Hammond discusses ways to improve the culture of the Federal Parliament at the Mount Claremont Community Centre.
As part of NAIDOC Week, a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers called Facing Up will scrutinise the Federal Government’s treatment of Australia’s First Peoples.