Morning mail: extreme weather warning, welfare card ineffective, Obama memoir | Australia news

Good morning, this is Imogen Dewey bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 13 November.

Top stories

Rising average temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide are increasing extreme weather events in Australia, a new report by the nation’s two government climate science agencies has found. We’ve entered a new era of sustained extreme events such as dangerous bushfires and heatwaves. While the current decade is the warmest in the last century, it’s likely to be the coolest of the century ahead. The director of CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre says the report’s findings may be “confronting” but show “now is the time to act”.

The cashless debit card has had “no substantive impact” on crime, gambling and drug and alcohol abuse in one of the trial sites the government wants to make permanent, according to a new study. Other research has found that the card, which has been predominantly trialled in areas with high Indigenous populations, caused “stigma, shame and frustration”, as well as practical issues, such as cardholders simply not having enough cash for essential items. This latest independent study to cast doubt on the scheme is likely to only further fuel debate about the evidence behind it.

Donald Trump still refuses to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win. But while some experts say there isn’t a constitutional path forward for him to remain president, others say Trump’s attacks on the credibility of the election could undermine trust and pose an immediate threat to US security. The Senate’s longest-serving Republican has joined calls for Biden to receive the daily intelligence briefings that should be accessible to the president-elect. But as Facebook extends its political ad ban in the US for at least a month amid an ongoing wave of election misinformation, David Sirota wonders if the Democrats are bringing a knife to a gun fight. Meanwhile two of Trump’s billionaire donors have contracted Covid-19 after downplaying the risk of the disease to their employees, as the country faces its worst month of the pandemic so far.


A Fortescue mine in the Pilbara

A Fortescue mine in the Pilbara. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Aboriginal traditional owners in the Pilbara have accused Fortescue Metals Group of “bullying, dismissive, disrespectful behaviour”, a claim the company denies. Letters submitted to the Juukan Gorge inquiry show that the mining giant threatened legal action if it was not allowed to destroy Eastern Guruma sites.

A special investigator will be appointed to consider criminal cases against Australian special forces in Afghanistan after Scott Morrison declared that a report to be released next week would contain “very difficult” and “disturbing” findings.

NBN Co has blamed the pandemic in part for a $6.7bn blowout in funding after executives raked in almost $3m in bonuses last financial year for “significantly” overachieving targets.

The government has called on Beijing to help resolve a “deeply troubling” standoff involving an Indian ship carrying Australian coal that has been stranded for five months at a Chinese port.

The world

Uğur Şahin.

‘Pharmaceutical research should never be politicised’: BioNTech’s chief executive Uğur Şahin. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The scientist behind the first Covid-19 vaccine to clear interim clinical trials says he is confident his product can “bash the virus over the head” and put an end to the pandemic – right as a surge in Swedish cases appears to be dashing hopes of herd immunity.

Dutch police have arrested a man after multiple shots were fired at the Saudi embassy in The Hague, causing damage but no injuries – the day after a bomb exploded at a first world war commemoration attended by foreign diplomats in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

The bodies of more than 70 people have washed up on the beach of al-Khums, in western Libya, after yet another devastating shipwreck in the Mediterranean.

Donald Trump “promised an elixir for the racial anxiety” of “millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House”, Barack Obama writes in his eagerly awaited memoir.

UK poultry keepers are facing tough new lockdown-style measures to control the spread of bird flu. The speed of the outbreaks in Europe in past weeks has caught the industry by surprise, with hundreds of thousands of birds culled after multiple outbreaks across Germany and the Netherlands.

Recommended reads

Archie Roach

It wasn’t hard to find people who wanted to talk about Archie Roach: everyone approached by the Guardian said yes, and all of them spoke from the heart. Photograph: Bob King/Redferns

Archie Roach’s Took the Children Away galvanised a nation. On the heartbreaking song’s 30th anniversary, Roach, Paul Kelly, Mick Dodson, Briggs and Emma Donovan reflect on the “anthem for the stolen generations” – and the legacy it left behind.

Australia is in for a shock when a long-awaited report into the alleged war crimes of Australian special forces soldiers is released next week. “It will expose the gaping chasm between the myth of the exceptional, idealised Anzac troop and the dirty realities of war,” writes Paul Daley, who says blame should be shared with officers, generals and ministers and not just “those whose boots were on the ground”. “The rest of us should think hard about what soldiering involves and how heavily the unfair burden of our fairytale Anzac myth weighs upon those we entrust to kill in the wars of our politicians.”

There’s a growing movement to turn the often-neglected strip of grass between a property and the road – known as the verge – into a garden. Since she started her verge garden in Brisbane, local “crazy plant lady” Kate Nightingale can usually find ingredients for dinner, and often finds herself dispensing tips to passersby who stop for a wine or a cuppa and a chat. If that’s got you wistfully thinking about your own, here are a few things to consider before you start.


After the deaths of several delivery drivers, Naaman Zhou examines the risks facing those in this growing line of work. Ordering food delivery via the convenience of an app became a regular feature in our locked-down cities. But at the heart of this industry lies a tale of insecure work. The gauntlet run by drivers with dangerous employment conditions and few rights is under the spotlight in this episode of Full Story.

Full Story

Dying to work: the dangers facing Australia’s food delivery drivers

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


Jade North

‘Sport is a connector,’ Jade North says. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Jade North, the first Indigenous player to captain the Socceroos, feels that football is falling behind other sports when it comes to engaging with Australia’s Indigenous communities. Despite being the sport with the highest participation numbers in the country, the lack of representation of First Nations people at football’s highest levels remains concerning. “It’s been hard because we just haven’t had the right framework, we haven’t had the right plan or strategies behind it,” he said.

Cricketing young guns Will Pucovski and Cameron Green “demanded selection” and have been included alongside Joe Burns in an enlarged 17-man squad for Australia’s four-Test series against India.

Media roundup

The Andrews government was warned redesigns were driving a multibillion-dollar Metro Tunnel blowout, according to the Age. The ormer ACTU secretary Bill Kelty has told the Australian that the Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon is “half right and half wrong’’ in calling for the party to take a more moderate approach to climate policy. Australia has urged Chinese authorities to free dozens of Indian sailors marooned at sea for five months after an Australian coal shipment was blocked from entering China, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Coming up

The national cabinet will meet again today.

An inquiry is taking place into new counter-terrorism laws.

And if you’ve read this far …

The dog statue

The alabai is a large, stocky breed known for its prowess in protecting sheep and goats from wolves. Photograph: Vyacheslav Sarkisyan/Reuters

Turkmenistan’s longtime president has unveiled a truly enormous golden dog statue, towering over cars at an intersection in the capital. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is so enamoured of the alabai (or Central Asian shepherd dog), he’s written a book about the breed, and once gave a puppy to Putin as a sort of cultural emissary.

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