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“Instead of a bunch of haystacks, we’re down to maybe one haystack.”
Said the International Space Station’s deputy program manager Kenny Todd of efforts to find a small air leak that’s vexed them for weeks. Don’t worry, NASA’s sending up more air next week…
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE SHOCKER
“A hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.” “An immoral swamp of misbehaviour.” “Wildly out of control and incoherent.” Those were some of the rave reviews from the first US presidential brawl, sorry, debate from yesterday. Meant to allow the candidates – Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden – to showcase what they offer the voters of America, it turned into something described as “totally incomprehensible”.
WHAT WENT DOWN?
Well, it wasn’t a debate. Let’s be kind and call it unstructured trash-talkin’… And it was meant to be very structured with the 1.5 hours carved into 6 segments covering the important issues of the day including the coronavirus crisis, the economy, and racism. But both Trump and Biden chucked the rules, turning it into the “most chaotic presidential debate in modern American history”. Not a lot of policy was discussed, but many insults were exchanged with debate moderator Chris Wallace unable to gain control over proceedings. On what was said, Trump’s statement about the far-right/anti-immigration group the ‘Proud Boys’ – calling on them to “stand back and stand by” – outraged critics. He gave the response when asked by Wallace to denounce white supremacists, and civil right groups have asked Trump to clarify what he means ASAP.
DID ANYTHING STICK?
Each candidate had a strong line. For Trump: “I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years.” And for Biden: “Under this president, we’ve become weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided and more violent.” As for a winner? Shrugging lady emoji… But this observation took some beating: “This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.” The authority the oversees presidential debates said it would deploy new “tools to maintain order” for the next one in a couple of weeks. Let’s regroup then, shall we?
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A COUNTRY THAT MAKES STUFF
To a much more sedate encounter with our national leader, PM Scott Morrison will address the National Press Club today to set the stage for the Federal Budget that will be announced next Tuesday. And according to reports this morning, he will today announce a $1.5 billion plan to build global scale in six parts of the manufacturing sector, including food/drinks, clean energy and space. Reports say the funding would help create 80,000 direct jobs and about 300,000 more indirect jobs, and is designed to boost our ‘sovereign capability’ (aka make us less reliant on other nations when times get tough). Channelling former PM Kevin Rudd’s statement that “I never want to be prime minister of a country that doesn’t make things any more,” Morrison is expected to say “We make things in Australia. We do it well. We need to keep making things in Australia.” Labor has already criticised the plan saying too many manufacturers have folded since the Coalition came to office in 2013, and this is too little too late. Morrison’s speech will be televised on the ABC News channel from 12.30pm.
AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS VISIT DETAINED AUSSIE
Cheng Lei is the Australian journalist who was working in China as an anchor for a state-run English news service when she was detained in August. Chinese authorities said she was “endangering national security”, but some experts believe it’s connected to the amped-up political discord between our countries. She was allowed to see officials from our Department of Foreign Affairs on 14 August – the date the Australian Government was informed of her detention. And yesterday, the department said; “We were granted consular access to Ms Cheng on 28 September via video at a detention centre where she is being held.” They didn’t offer anything further citing a request for privacy (a principle that wasn’t extended to 1,000 Aussies stuck overseas…). Cheng’s being held under “residential surveillance at a designated location”, which means Chinese authorities could isolate her from lawyers, family and other assistance for up to 6 months before an arrest is made. It’s an arrangement that human rights campaigners have long railed against.
A KIWI BY ANY OTHER NAME…
Would still claim the pavlova is theirs… But you knew that already. This is about a push to change New Zealand’s official name to Aotearoa. That’s the te reo (aka Māori language) name that means ‘long white cloud’. It became an election issue when the Māori Party said it would change the country’s official name to Aotearoa within six years if it won power on 17 October. And it has other policies to elevate te reo, like requirements for it to be taught at school. And now the corporate world is catching on with telco Vodafone NZ changing its name to ‘VF Aotearoa’. Not a fan is Deputy PM Winston Peters – a Māori man – who said the idea was “headline-hunting”, but PM Jacinda Ardern, who is favourite to win the election, hasn’t committed either way.
FIRST PERSON CURED OF HIV DIES
Timothy Ray Brown, known as ‘the Berlin patient’, has died from cancer. His HIV, which he contracted while living in the German city in 1995, was cured when he underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2007 after he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. The donor was naturally resistant to HIV through a rare mutation in part of their DNA called the CCR5 gene. “I quit taking my medication on the day that I got the transplant, after 3 months there was no HIV any more in my body,” he once said. And Brown remained HIV free for the rest of his life, giving hope to the world that a cure was possible. Tim Hoeffgen, Brown’s partner, confirmed that he’d died after a relapse of leukaemia in the past year. The International AIDS Society said it owed Timothy “a great deal of gratitude”.
VALE HELEN REDDY
The Australian music trailblazer who gave the feminist movement its anthem was remembered yesterday after her family confirmed that she had died in Los Angeles at 78yo. Born in Melbourne into a showbiz family, she took off to the US after winning a talent show in her mid-20s where she struggled as a single mother in New York. But success found her in California where her career took off. She became the first Australian to top the US charts with I Don’t Know How To Love Him in 1971. But it was the song she co-wrote – I Am Woman – that made her an international star. And it won her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance beating out Aretha Franklin and Barbara Streisand. Accepting her award, she said; “I’d like to thank God because She makes everything possible.” Reddy also had a successful acting career with her role in Airport 1975 earning her a Golden Globe nomination. Her family said “Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.” Reddy had been diagnosed with dementia some years ago, reports say.
WHAT A BUNCH OF LOUDMOUTHS…
No, not the presidential candidates… We’re talking about 5 African grey parrots who have been removed from public view at a British wildlife park after they stirred each other up and started swearing at visitors. “I get called a fat t**t every time I walk past,” said the park’s boss. Which we think means ‘fat tart’?
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12.30pm (AEST) – PM Scott Morrison to deliver a pre-Budget address to the National Press Club – Canberra
ABS Data Release – Job Vacancies, August
National days for China, Cyprus, Tuvalu, Nigeria, Palau and Guinea
Birthdays for actor Julie Andrews (1935), former British PM Theresa May (1956) and actor Brie Larson (1989),
• the publication of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital (1867), Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1868) and the Little Golden Books series (1942)
• the first publication of National Geographic magazine (1888)
Henry Ford introducing the Model T car (1908)
• The Beach Boys recording their debut single Surfin’ USA, introducing a new musical style (1961)
• the start of the Howard government’s gun buy back scheme, following the Port Arthur Massacre (1996)
• the deadliest mass shooting in US history when a gunman kills 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas (2017)
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