“I was just looking for a way to up the ante and get everyone excited and involved.”
Said Jenna Karvunidis, the woman credited with throwing the first gender-reveal party. Regrets? She’s had a few…
CHINA’S REACH INTO HONGKONGERS FREEDOMS
The scene is set for big changes in Hong Kong with China yesterday passing a security law that gives it new powers over the semi-autonomous territory. And the law came into effect last night with the release of the details about what it covers. In short, “the acts of protest that have rocked Hong Kong over the past year could now be classed as subversion or secession… and punished with up to life in prison,” said one commentator. Collusion with foreign forces is also outlawed. It’s already led some pro-democracy activists to quit their posts for fear they will be punished under the new law, but China says the law will not apply retrospectively.
IS THAT THE END OF HONG KONG AS WE KNOW IT?
Critics of the law say it’s the end of the ‘one country two systems’ arrangement. Hongkongers were set to enjoy freedoms other Chinese don’t have access to until 2047 following the handover of the territory from the UK to China. But that’s now changed, experts say. China says that it doesn’t change anything for citizens who are doing ‘the right thing’, and that the law is needed to tackle the violence and instability inflicted by last year’s demonstrations (who were protesting Beijing’s increasing reach into Hong Kong, mind you…). Asian and Western leaders have expressed concerns about the law, but China has rejected the criticism as interference in its affairs. Veteran activists say they will march today despite the risk of arrest under the new law – that’s expected to be met with a heavy response from authorities.
WHAT ELSE IS CHINA REACHING INTO?
The reproductive rights of a repressed minority, according to an investigation into China’s treatment of Uyghurs Muslims by America’s Associated Press. It found evidence that the Chinese Government has pursued policies to cut birth rates among Uyghurs and other minorities “as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population” in the far west region of Xinjiang. That includes the use of forced birth control, sterilisation and abortion in what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide.” The measures add to the detention of up to a million Uyghurs in indoctrination camps. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday called on China “to immediately end these horrific practices.” But China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the story was “fake news.” #SquizShortcut
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MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR UNSETTLED TIMES
Our world will be “poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly” after COVID-19, PM Morrison will say in a speech today. And so he’s committing the government to spend $270 billion over the next decade on building our defence capabilities. Yikes… Part of the plan is to acquire long-range missiles and research hypersonic weapons systems to give our country “stronger deterrence capabilities“. That’s because the PM says our the Indo-Pacific region will be “the focus of the dominant global contest of our age”. Double yikes… The new financial commitment is an increase on the $195 billion committed in the 10 years from 2016. Plenty of experts will have plenty to say about this today, so watch this space.
OZ JOURNO APPEARS BEFORE US CONGRESSIONAL HEARING
As the US Congress launches its investigation into police officers’ use of force during a Black Lives Matter rally in Washington in early June, Network Seven reporter Amelia Brace yesterday testified before the committee. Brace said she was standing outside the White House reporting live on the demonstration when authorities began clearing the area for US President Donald Trump to be able to walk through. Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were hit with batons and shot at with rubber bullets, despite identifying themselves as media, she says. Some have defended the use of force, others said it was way OTT. And while we’re talking US protests, a Missouri couple has gone viral thanks to a retweet from President Trump. The video captures them pulling guns on protesters as they walked by their property. It’s quite something…
GOLDEN STATE KILLER PLEADS GUILTY
The former police officer accused of being the ‘Golden State Killer’, who terrorised California in the 70s and 80s, yesterday pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder, as well as dozens of charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. The change of plea means 74yo Joseph James DeAngelo – who formerly claimed he was driven by an uncontrollable force – will escape the death penalty, but will spend the rest of his life in prison. The four-decade search for the Golden State Killer finally ended in 2018 after detectives used DNA evidence taken from the crime scenes to track him down, painstakingly creating dozens of family trees using open-source genealogy website GEDMatch.
NSW KOALAS ON TRACK TO EXTINCTION
A year-long NSW Parliamentary inquiry has got to the bottom of how much a koala can bear… It’s concluded that koalas are heading towards extinction in the state by 2050 unless urgent action is undertaken. NSW’s koala population, which is already listed as endangered, has been whacked by land clearing, climate change, and the Black Summer bushfires. The fires are estimated to have burned through almost a quarter of the state’s koala habitat. Forty-two recommendations include the creation of new parks, an end to logging in old-growth forests, and the creation of “a well-resourced network of wildlife hospitals”. The state has already committed $44 million towards protecting koalas, and state minister Matt Kean said the government “will do everything we can” to protect the Aussie icons for future generations.
IN THE MARKET FOR A CREEPY PET?
Can’t fetch, can’t play. Spot the robotic dog is the Scott Muller of the mutt world. Actually, that’s not true. It probably could, but that’s not the point of the Boston Dynamics creation. The idea is it can replace humans in dangerous roles to keep workers safe. But if a headless canine-like bot is your jam – and you have a cool $110,000 going spare – you too could make Spot your faithful companion. At least you don’t have to pick up after it…
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12.30pm (AEST) – NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Chair of the Federal Financial Relations Review David Thodey & former Secretary at the Department of Finance Jane Halton to address the National Press Club
Russia to vote on reforms that could extend Vladimir Putin’s rule until 2036
ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, May
Birthdays for Debbie Harry (1945), John Farnham (1949) and Daniel Ricciardo (1989)
• the anniversary of the foundation of Canada (1867)
• the “SOS” morse code signal becoming the worldwide standard for help (1908)
• the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, one of the biggest battles of WWI (1916)
• the founding of the Communist Party of China (1921)
• the Northern Territory becoming self-governing (1978)
• the release of the Sony Walkman (1979)
• the United Kingdom returning Hong Kong and the New Territories to the People’s Republic of China (1997)
• the establishment of The International Criminal Court (2002)
• the birthdays of Estée Lauder (1906) and Princess Diana (1961)
• the death of Marlon Brando (2004)
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