Morning mail: Macron calls for unity, 'grave' coal warning, Trump and Biden in Florida

Imogen Dewey
·8-min read

Good morning, this is Imogen Dewey bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 30 October.

Top stories

France will not give in to terror, Emmanuel Macron said in a call for unity after the country’s latest terrorist attack left three dead in a church in Nice. The “vision of horror”, as police described the scene of the Thursday attack, is a serious challenge for France’s president, his hardline interior minister speaking of extremists as “the enemy within”. Macron promised a crackdown on mosques and other organisations accused of fomenting radicalism and violence, and said France is engaged in an “existential” battle against radical Islamic ideologies and separatism. The identification of the attacker as 21-year-old Tunisian Brahim Aouissaoui, a migrant who arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa in late September, has also sparked tensions in the Italian parliament.

A centre-right thinktank has warned the Morrison government of a “grave future for coal exports”, saying failing to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 will diminish Australia’s international standing and harm our economic competitiveness. The decision by Australia’s major trading partners to sign up to net zero has renewed the domestic debate about the adequacy of the government’s climate and energy policies. The ALP meanwhile agreed to support new gas projects, subject to environmental approvals and reaching net zero emissions by 2050, after a public brawl over Labor’s language on the issue.

Billionaire Gerry Harvey has apologised after one of his studs sent ex-racehorses to a pet food factory for slaughter, a practice banned in New South Wales, vowing “it will never happen again”. Allegations aired in Victorian parliament just days before the Melbourne Cup suggest the slaughter of unwanted thoroughbreds is continuing in NSW, despite public revelations last year and the NSW racing industry introducing rules in 2017 to stop retired horses being sent to knackeries or abattoirs. Slaughtering racehorses is not illegal in Australia but is against the rules of Racing NSW.

Australia

Victoria’s casino regulator did not attempt to interview Crown Resorts staff who were arrested and imprisoned in China for illegally promoting gambling until after one of them appeared on television two years into the watchdog’s investigation.

Australians are more likely to trust government advice on Covid-19 than other nations, according to a new study, whereas a strong majority say they don’t have similar confidence in what they see on social media.

A lead in the two-party-preferred vote should have Labor feeling confident, but polling failure in the 2019 federal election continues to haunt forecasters ahead of tomorrow’s election in Queensland.

2020 is likely to be one of the warmest years on record, despite La Niña heralding a colder and stormier winter than usual across the northern hemisphere. Experts say the climate crisis is exacerbating extreme weather during natural events.

The world

There has not been a single week without an incidence of police brutality against a civilian or a journalist at a protest in the US since the end of May.
There has not been a single week without an incidence of police brutality against a civilian or a journalist at a protest in the US since the end of May. Photograph: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

The US is currently experiencing one of the longest continued periods of civil unrest in generations, after demonstrations sparked by George Floyd’s death expanded to protests against systemic racism in the country.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump have held duelling rallies in the vital swing state of Florida. While Biden’s event was a drive-in rally, Trump’s was outdoors, where multiple attendees passed out due to the intense heat.

UK Labour has suspended Jeremy Corbyn after he said antisemitism in the party was “overstated” following a damning report from the equality watchdog. Current leader Keir Starmer called it a “day of shame”.

Search teams in the central Mexico state of Guanajuato have found 59 bodies in clandestine graves in the past week – not in a desolate area far out in the countryside, but a town, raising suspicions locals must have known.

Britain has formally complained to Qatar after two British women were among a group of travellers subjected to compulsory intimate medical examinations while flying through Qatar in early October.

Recommended reads

Australia has a less overtly political process for appointing high court justices, but it’s not a power any prime minister would give away, notes one expert with personal experience.
Australia has a less overtly political process for appointing high court justices, but it’s not a power any prime minister would give away, notes one expert with personal experience. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

“The US and Australia have just finalised new appointments to their respective nations’ most important court, but the contrast between the two processes could not be starker,” writes former attorney general Michael Lavarch. “The US appointment was unashamedly political, with the judicial nominee subjected to a Senate confirmation hearing and accompanying public debate made even more acrimonious by a bitter presidential election campaign. The Australian appointments occurred quietly and out of the public gaze, with the process attracting little attention beyond legal circles.” On an issue of such public importance, why do our leaders choose not to raise the curtain?

“As love letters to Melbourne go, Christos Tsiolkas’s 1995 debut novel Loaded was a bloody and brutal one,” writes Tim Byrne. “Twenty-five years on, the hyper-masculine, aggressively sexual gay hedonist is back, and he hasn’t mellowed one bit.” Malthouse Theatre had planned to adapt the book to a stage play, but Covid had other ideas. So it’s been given the audio treatment, now a downloadable recording that “recalls the raging self-abjuration of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground or Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell … As a reminder of the pulsing heartbeat of the city, its dingy and dangerous crevices, it’s strangely exhilarating”.

“The most frustrating show on television is the ABC’s Escape from the City, where hopeful rural transplants view four houses in their dream location and then hopefully, you know, move there,” writes Brigid Delaney. “Don’t the participants realise the easy part is buying the house? When you get there is where the real work begins. Like figuring out why this nice town has such a toxic community Facebook page. Or why, if you know too many people, every trip to the supermarket takes two hours. Post-pandemic, there’s been an uptick in people looking to rent or buy property in the regions. Here’s what you need to know before you go.”

Listen

The race in Ohio has long been a reliable guide to the US election: the state’s winner usually goes on to win the presidency. In 2016, it broke decisively for Trump, but this year there are signs that its voters are turning away from him. In this episode of Full Story, the Guardian’s Oliver Laughland and author John Russo examine evidence that working-class voters are deserting the president, and ask if the Democrats can win back Ohio’s trust.

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.

Sport

A new study has come as a boon to Racing Victoria, which is calling for whips to be phased out.
A new study has come as a boon to Racing Victoria, which is calling for whips to be phased out. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

There is no benefit to jockeys using a whip in horse racing, according to a world-first study that found there was no difference in race times and rider safety between races where whipping is permitted and apprentice races that ban the use of whips.

It has taken two Tests for Dave Rennie to reveal himself as a careful, perhaps even conservative, coach, writes Bret Harris. But it’s time for him to be a little more adventurous: Wallabies selections for tomorrow’s Bledisloe Test must scare the All Blacks.

Media roundup

The head of a NSW government agency allegedly told a whistleblower not to act after he uncovered a major rort in the building industry, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Iron ore, tech and e-commerce rule the AFR Rich list 2020. And WA is standing by for premier Mark McGowan to relax the state’s hard border this morning, according to the West Australian.

Coming up

The final report on the royal commission into the bushfires is due to be tabled and released publicly.

Asio boss Mike Burgess will give evidence at a parliamentary inquiry into national security law changes.

And if you’ve read this far …

Double-check Amazon’s new Sweden site. The tech giant has asked customers who “spot any issues” to get in touch after its first Nordic launch got off to a rocky start. A series of errors saw confusing, nonsensical and occasionally lewd product listings scattered across the catalogue. Matters can’t have been helped when someone chose the wrong flag, the Argentine flag appearing where the Swedish one should have been. “It is unclear how the error happened,” our UK tech editor mused. “Aside from copious use of blue, the two flags are not similar.”

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