2021-02-10 20:06:49 | Morning mail: Europe targets Australia on climate, new US riot vision, ‘Instagram-worthy’ universities | Australia news

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Story by: Richard Parkin The Guardian

It’s day two of the second Trump impeachment trial and it promises to be a big one; Australia is firmly in Europe’s climate change spotlight; and US health experts state the case for “double-masking”. I’m Richard Parkin, bringing you all that and more ahead, in today’s morning mail.

Europe wants Australia “to become a bit more ambitious” on its climate targets, the EU’s ambassador in Canberra has told Guardian Australia, with an extensive lobbying campaign expected ahead of this year’s Glasgow climate conference. The election of the Biden administration has spurred momentum towards a global commitment of net zero emissions by 2050, Dr Michael Pulch explained, saying climate change was “probably the top priority” for the current European Commission. A new analysis has also suggested that major Australian businesses exporting to Europe could face carbon levies of more than $70 a tonne unless the federal government introduced more significant gas emission legislation.

Donald Trump has been accused of committing “the most heinous constitutional crime possible”, as Democratic House managers prepare to show previously unseen security footage of the 6 January storming of the Capitol building as part of the former president’s second impeachment trial. Trump, who was apparently frustrated with his lawyers’ performances, also faces an investigation into his demands for the Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. At least 17 Republicans will need to vote against the 45th president to see a successful conviction, an outcome still considered unlikely despite some bipartisan support.

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The Productivity Commission has called for a substantial overhaul of Australia’s outdated water policies, urging state and territory leaders to explicitly acknowledge climate change and set “triggers for rapid policy responses. Commissioner Dr Jane Doolan says it’s time state and federal governments work out how to meet the challenge of more people and less water resources. “We can expect an estimated additional 11 million people living in capital cities by 2050, and climate change is likely to mean significant reductions in water availability for most of the country and an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods across the nation. She also says there should be much more meaningful recognition of Indigenous rights to water.

Australia

A tent city in Fremantle, Western Australia, in January.
A tent city in Fremantle, Western Australia, in January. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Tens of thousands of homeless people housed in emergency accommodation during Covid-19 are now without shelter again, according to a new Acoss report that suggests as few as one-third of a reported 40,000 people have successfully found long-term tenancies.

McDonald’s has asked the Fair Work Commission to consider food given to staff on breaks as part of their remuneration, as a “non-monetary benefit” that contributes to their “overall” welfare.

Covid-19 is expected to fundamentally change Australian university campuses, with administrators cost-cutting from building and face-to-face lecture budgets, instead prioritising “Instagram-worthy” experiences to continue to attract students.

Youth-focused travel company Topdeck is facing censure once again, with Australian customers reporting they’ve been arbitrarily booked on new overseas trips without knowledge or consent. Legal representatives have called the behaviour “alarming and unscrupulous”.

The world

Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul
Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been released after 1,001 days in prison. Photograph: Reuters

Women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been released from a Saudi prison after 1,001 days in custody. Al-Hathloul had previously campaigned for women’s right to drive, but the terms of her release include a gag order and overseas travel ban.

A leading US medical body has presented research suggesting “double-masking” significantly enhances protection against Covid-19. The practice, involving wearing a close-fitting surgical mask underneath a cloth mask, can increase protection from airborne droplets by 90% or more.

The Australian government has refused to heed calls to ban military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, after US president Joe Biden declared the war in Yemen “had to end”, with Italy also announcing a halt to sales to the Arab coalition.

Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse has declared he’s “not a dictator”, hours after the arrest of 23 people, including a senior police official and a supreme court judge. Moïse has alleged a coup attempt against him, but critics accuse the 52-year-old of governing unconstitutionally.

Turkey has announced an ambitious 10-year space program, with president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declaring the west Asian republic’s intention to reach the moon by 2023, and to join the “top league in the global space race”.

Recommended reads

Meal preparation involving red onions
‘Instead of ordering food on a whim from delivery apps, now I either cook something good, fix up something crap, or get takeaway from a place in walking or driving distance, or one that has its own delivery drivers (they still exist!).’ Photograph: fotostorm/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getting hot meals delivered straight to your door used to be the kind of luxury reserved for the ultra wealthy, but while apps like Uber Eats has democratised this for “middle-class nobodies”, writes Josephine Tovey, there are hidden costs. With five delivery riders killed in three months in Australia, and countless restaurants going under, can those of us without mobility impairment still justify ultra-convenience?

After more than a decade of obstruction and doing the least possible, the Australian government has become utterly hamstrung on climate change. “The cost of climate change clearly and vastly outweighs the costs of reducing emissions, but that doesn’t mean doing so is easy,” explains Greg Jericho. And while politicians continue to try and find loopholes to exploit, the burden of change will only become more onerous.

Smack-bang in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image has enjoyed a $40m facelift. Opening again after a two-year transformation, Luke Buckmaster explores the new-look “door into many other worlds and experiences and creations”.

It’s Thursday, AKA time for the funniest things on the internet. This week, it’s video editor Dylan Behan behind the controls – and he guarantees you’ll never look at Billy Joel’s The Piano Man or Jack Nicholson in (the) Shining the same way.

Listen

The Crown inquiry. On Tuesday, Crown Resorts was deemed unsuitable to hold a casino licence in NSW. But what does this finding mean for Crown’s operations in other states? On this episode of Full Story, investigative reporter Anne Davies explores what the report could mean for the Australian casino industry.

Full Story

Will the Crown inquiry lead to a shakeup of Australia’s casino industry?

Sorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download here and listen https://audio.guim.co.uk/2020/05/05-61553-gnl.fw.200505.jf.ch7DW.mp3

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

Sport

Nick Kyrgios in action during the Australian Open
Nick Kyrgios plays a backhand in his second round match against Ugo Humbert. Photograph: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

“Win or lose, the Nick Kyrgios show never fails to entertain.” Like the Wu-Tang Clan he adores, Australian tennis’ enfant terrible can often be “up to nine characters battling for attention during his matches”, writes Jonathan Howcroft. But for a tournament struggling to get going, he’s the entertainment the game craves.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has paid an emotional tribute to his mother, after he was prevented from returning to Germany for her funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Media roundup

Covid-19 support payments have led to an influx of money flowing into isolated communities, leading to an increase in gambling among Indigenous children, the Courier Mail reports. Australia’s fuel supply has become vulnerable following the closure of a second oil refinery in the space of four months, according to the ABC. Booming mega-refineries in the Middle East and Asia have made Melbourne’s Altona refinery no longer viable, according to owners, ExxonMobil. And the coronavirus pandemic may have battered the global film industry, but it could spell good news for the domestic scene, claims the Australian, as low infection rates lure Hollywood A-lister projects Down Under.

Coming up

Lord Howe Island, off Australia’s east coast, is on alert after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake near New Caledonia sparked a tsunami alert.

And if you’ve read this far …

Desperate times call for desperate measures. But for one innovative UK restaurant, struggling to fight a lockdown-induced downturn, their “outside the box” solution has been stymied by police. Varanasi Indian, in Birmingham, had announced “a luxury three-course in-car dining experience” to get round Covid-19 restrictions. The service was set to begin from Valentine’s Day but local authorities have informed them to desist.

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Source References: The Guardian

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