“I don’t want the press conference to go on for too long.”
Said a dosed up Labor leader Anthony Albanese as he left hospital on Saturday after he was involved in a car accident on Friday. He knows you shouldn’t operate heavy equipment or speak to the media after taking painkillers…
EXPRESS IMPEACHMENT ON THE CARDS
With just a week and a half left in office, US President Donald Trump faces impeachment proceedings for the second time as the Democrats demand he be held accountable for last week’s assault on the Capitol by his supporters. Reports say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a senior Democrat, has not decided to move forward yet, but the documents have been drafted citing one article of ‘incitement of insurrection’. Pressure remains on Trump to resign, but that’s unlikely so the wheels to pursue him via impeachment could start turning as soon as Monday (local time), reports say.
IS THERE TIME?
There is for the House of Representatives, but not for the Senate on the current timetable. For that to change, every senator has to agree to change the schedule, which is unlikely. So, three questions:
• Why the rush? We’re in uncharted waters, but these are processes that are usually held (albeit rarely…) while the official is still in office, although some legal eagles say the Senate can deal with a trial after Trump ends his term on 20 January.
• Why not just let him leave and be done with it? Well, Pelosi says “he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.” And if Trump is found guilty in the Senate, he would be banned from seeking public office again.
DID TRUMP RSVP VIA TWITTER?
He did actually… Not that there’s any record of that now with the social media platform that he used to significant effect for many years deciding to permanently suspend his account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”. That’s led to a serious discussion about the freedom of speech – and inspired some excellent memes… Meanwhile, Parler, an app popular with people banned from Twitter, has come under scrutiny with Apple and Google removing it from their app stores. Amazon will also remove it from its web hosting service meaning it’s set to go offline unless another provider is found. Trump is not a user of Parler, but it’s popular with groups of his support base, and the thinking is he could show up there given other platforms have banned or suspended him.
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NO ANSWERS ON JAKARTA PLANE CRASH
Plane debris and body parts were found in the sea near Jakarta yesterday after a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 crashed on its way to the city of Pontianak on the Indonesian island of Borneo on Saturday afternoon. It dived into the sea shortly after takeoff with 62 people on board. Local fishermen said they heard an explosion and “thought it was a bomb or a tsunami”. The aircraft’s black boxes have been located, and it’s hoped they will reveal a reason for the crash as distressed families await news. The jet that crashed, which reports say was 26 years old, is not the same model as the Lion Air 737 MAX jet that crashed close by in October 2018 killing 189 people. Indonesia has a checkered history in air safety, but it has been taken off international blacklists in recent times. Sriwijaya Air is a low-cost airline and the country’s 3rd-largest carrier.
BRISSIE LOCKDOWN TO LINGER?
Greater Brisbane residents will today find out if the surprise 3-day lockdown will extend past 6pm tonight after no new cases of coronavirus were reported over the weekend. Worried about the spread of the highly transmissible UK variant, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had PM Scott Morrison’s backing for the snap lockdown. An investigation into how the virus was transmitted from hotel quarantine is underway. In NSW, 3 new locally-acquired cases didn’t delay the end of the 3-week lockdown of the north of Sydney’s Northern Beaches yesterday. Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the next fortnight will be critical to see if the chains of transmission that led to 2 Sydney clusters have been broken. It will also play into decisions about ending the border ban between NSW and Victoria. Fingers crossed…
CONDEMNATION OF HONG KONG ARRESTS
Last week’s arrests of 55 politicians and activists in Hong Kong on charges of subversion under Beijing’s new security law have been condemned in a joint statement by Australia, the US, UK and Canada. It’s “clear” the national security law “is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing political views” in Hong Kong, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her counterparts said. “We call on the Hong Kong and Chinese central authorities to respect the legally guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong without fear of arrest and detention,” they said. China says other nations should stay out of its affairs. Most of those arrested have been released from detention but face potential life sentences in prison if they are found guilty.
RACIAL ABUSE ‘NOT ACCEPTABLE IN THIS DAY AND AGE’
Said India Test cricketer Ravi Ashwin as he called on authorities to deal with claims fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was yesterday targeted by fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Six men were ejected after Siraj complained to the umpire yesterday. It follows complaints of racist abuse by crowd members on Saturday. The allegations are being investigated by the International Cricket Council, Cricket Australia and police with ground officials making CCTV footage of the crowd available. Calling on authorities to take action, Ashwin said “we’ve evolved as a society and … this must be dealt [with] with an iron fist and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Aussie coach Justin Langer said the reports were “upsetting and disappointing”. As for the game – Australia is in a good position to take out this third Test today to take a 2-1 series lead.
The digital currency is off to a cracking start to the year. After hitting a low in March with a severe case of the pandemic blues, it’s value has boomed by 1,000% to hit a record high of more than US$40,000 on Friday (A$52,673.72). It’s been a monster ride in recent weeks after it reached US$30,000 for the first time on 2 January after it passed US$20,000 on 16 December. It’s attractive to investors right now because of low interest rates around the world and scarcity of high growth investment opportunities. But to take a step back – what is bitcoin? No one knows. Ok, a few people do…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Identical twins – not so identical. Differences were previously thought to be the result of nurture rather than nature. But new research shows genetic differences are more influential than first thought.
Joining a multi-billion bid for a big private aviation operator is climate change warrior Bill Gates. He has called his carbon-emissions-heavy ownership of private planes his “guilty pleasure” while his friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett calls his plane ‘The Indefensible’.
President Trump isn’t the only one on a social media detox… Reports say Prince Harry and Meghan will continue to give it a wide berth after her “almost unsurvivable” experience of online trolling. How they’ll find out that there are life-sized cakes made in their likeness in the future is uncertain.
SQUIZ THE DAY
US House of Representatives to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump as early as today
Start of the virtual CES consumer electronics show (on until 14 January)
ABS Data Release – Retail Trade, November
International Parity at Work Day and International Thank You Day
Birthdays for Daryl Braithwaite (1949) and Cody Simpson (1997)
• the US Surgeon General Dr Luther Terry publishing a landmark report saying smoking caused lung cancer (1964)
• the death of New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (2004)
• author J.K. Rowling completing the final Harry Potter book in an Edinburgh hotel room (2007)
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