Morning mail: Russians flee military draft, more rain on way in NSW, Optus data breach

·6-min read
<span>Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. Russia’s security forces have detained more than 1,300 people at protests after the president, Vladimir Putin, ordered the nation’s partial mobilisation, while traffic at border crossings with neighbouring Finland and Georgia has surged as Russians flee amid fears they will be called to the frontline against Ukraine. New South Wales faces a “very long” flood season as the third consecutive La Niña strikes, with predictions a rain band will inundate some areas. And Optus has suffered a massive data breach, with the personal information of potentially millions of customers at risk.

The UN secretary general has issued a strongly worded rebuke to Russia for “totally unacceptable” nuclear threats and denounced its plans to annex parts of Ukraine as a “violation of the UN charter and of international law”. António Guterres was speaking at the start of a UN security council meeting the day after Putin raised the stakes in his invasion of Ukraine, announcing a partial mobilisation and threatening the use of nuclear weapons. It comes as security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia at protests denouncing the mobilisation, a rights group said, and an “exceptional” number of people attempt to flee the country.

Severe weather threatening inland NSW marks “the start of a very long season” as the state faces a third consecutive La Niña, the emergency services minister, Steph Cooke, says. Emergency services rescued almost 50 people from flooding on Thursday. A widespread rain band has seen more than 100mm dumped on some areas in 24 hours, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning that some centres, which it described as “bullseyes”, would be harder hit on Friday.

Australia’s second-largest telco, Optus, has suffered a massive data breach, with the personal information of potentially millions of customers compromised by a malicious cyber-attack. It is believed the attackers were working for a criminal or state-sponsored organisation. The government’s Scamwatch is advising people whose data may have been breached on what to do next.

Australia

Pilot whales beached on Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania in 2020. Decomposing carcasses left onshore can pose a biohazard risk.
Pilot whales beached on Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania in 2020. Decomposing carcasses left onshore can pose a biohazard risk. Photograph: AP

Two mass strandings in Tasmanian waters in a week have left about 200 pilot whales and 14 sperm whales dead. Tasmanian authorities said they would be transitioning to “carcass recovery and disposal operations” in the coming days. But how do you safely dispose of the massive beasts?

The world-renowned concussion expert Dr Paul McCrory has been accused of 10 more cases of plagiarism, prompting experts to question how much original research the neurologist has produced and whether he deserved the hundreds of thousands of dollars in research grants he has received.

Victoria will struggle to meet its obligations under the $13bn Murray-Darling Basin plan by the legislated deadline, and could join NSW in pushing for concessions when ministers meet in October.

Multiple passengers say they have had nightmare experiences with Qantas trying to retrieve lost baggage – including Emma Bradley, who was forced to wait three months for the airline to return her lost bag but the airline maintains its service is back to pre-Covid levels.

The ACT government has urged the federal environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, to reject a defence housing development that would destroy critically endangered grasslands in Canberra’s north-west.

The federal Greens will push to scrap all forms of income management in proposed amendments to the government’s abolition of the cashless debit card.

The world

A bridge after Hurricane Fiona hit Villa Esperanza in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
A bridge after Hurricane Fiona hit Villa Esperanza in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Photograph: Alejandro Granadillo/AP

Hurricane Fiona has left hundreds stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, with authorities struggling to reach people four days after the storm smacked the US territory, causing historic flooding.

Iran has shut off the internet in parts of Tehran and Kurdistan and blocked access to platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp in an attempt to curb a growing protest movement that has relied on social media to document dissent. The protests, which were sparked on 16 September after the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in police custody, show no sign of subsiding.

The five Britons released from Russia overnight are meeting their families after several months of captivity in which it was feared they would be executed for fighting for Ukraine.

UK prime minister Liz Truss has said she is considering relocating the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial move that would break with decades of UK foreign policy.

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After the critical success of his first novel, The Town, Shaun Prescott is revisiting some of the same territory in his second. The Town was published at the end of 2017, when the catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20 had not yet raged and the global pandemic was still two years in the future. Prescott’s latest offering, Bon and Lesley, is also set in a small regional town but in unimaginably different Australia.

Connection is the cornerstone of Melbourne duo Big Scary’s fifth album. In their explorations of love found and lost, longtime collaborators Tom Iansek and Jo Syme paint the varied textures of human relationships: grief, loneliness, hope and always, always love. It’s in the very title of the album, too; leading up to the creation of this record, Syme asked Iansek, “What is Big Scary?” He responded simply: “It is the music made by me and you.”

Listen

Extraordinary allegations have been aired in the coronial inquest into the death of Warlpiri teenager Kumanjayi Walker at the hands of Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe. The inquest has unearthed police texts described in court as “racist and disgusting”. Indigenous affairs editor Lorena Allam steps through what the inquest has uncovered, and how it’s raised wider issues for the NT and its police force.

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

Sport

AFL Players’ Association president Patrick Dangerfield, left, and CEO Paul Marsh want to see a club-by-club review of treatment of Indigenous players.
AFL Players’ Association president Patrick Dangerfield, left, and CEO Paul Marsh want to see a club-by-club review of treatment of Indigenous players. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

The AFL Players’ Association has thrown its weight behind calls for a club-by-club review after the Hawthorn racism allegations, saying the industry clearly “has an issue with the treatment of First Nations and multicultural players”. The AFL chief executive, Gillon McLachlan, on Thursday left the door open to a wider review of the treatment of First Nations players.

Media roundup

Spiralling inflation has ramped up public hospital costs and the states say the $28bn allocated in the March budget for 2022-2023 is not enough, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Pacific Islands are bracing for prolonged droughts and more flooding as La Niña continues for third year in a row, the ABC reports.

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