Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Tuesday 14 November.
Donald Trump has hailed his “great relationship” with the Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte, who stands accused of acting with impunity in a brutal war on drugs that has left thousands dead. The US president made no mention of human rights during brief remarks to reporters, and both leaders ignored shouted questions about the drug crackdown. According to a spokesman for Duterte, human rights issues were not raised during the meeting, although the pair did discuss their mutual distaste for Barack Obama. Trump is in the country with leaders of 18 other countries for two days of summits on the final leg of a headline-grabbing tour of Asia dominated by the North Korean nuclear crisis. Trump has generally avoided publicly admonishing foreign leaders for rights abuses and has even shown an affinity for rulers with autocratic tendencies, including the Egyptian president, Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Rights groups and US politicians had strongly urged Trump to confront Duterte on the drug war. Duterte, a former prosecutor, has taken an indignant stance to criticism, warning the Catholic church “don’t fuck with me” and accusing the UN of issuing “shitting” statements about his policies. On Friday he boasted that he had once stabbed a person to death, his latest apparent admission of murder. Relations between the US and the Philippines, its former colony and allies since the second world war, reached a low point during Obama’s tenure, and Duterte has since pushed for better ties with Russia and China.
The Nick Xenophon Team will refuse to support the government’s plans to drug test welfare recipients, throwing a broader overhaul of the welfare system into doubt. A spokeswoman for the MP Rebekha Sharkie confirmed that the NXT, which holds crucial crossbench votes in the Senate, will oppose the controversial drug-testing measure. The government wants to drug test 5,000 welfare recipients at three trial locations; Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in south-western Sydney, and Mandurah in Western Australia. The NXT’s decision to oppose the measure makes the bill’s passage through the Senate extremely difficult in its current form.
Most dedicated sports fans agree that governing bodies were right to support the marriage equality campaign, a survey has found. The study by Monash University’s behavioural science laboratory and YouGov found 58% of those heavily engaged in sport (dubbed “superfans”) approved of sporting organisations’ involvement in the same-sex marriage survey debate – in which the AFL, NRL, ARU, FFA and Cricket Australia all came out in support of marriage equality. The position of the sporting bodies during the campaign faced a chorus of criticism, including from the NRL Footy Show host Erin Nolan, her Melbourne AFL counterpart Sam Newman and News Corp journalists who persisted with the line that sport should stay out of politics.
After a rocky start to the Queensland election campaign which saw Annastacia Palaszczuk ambushed by anti-Adani protesters, the premier has regained some of her mojo – and remembered her own best attack lines. While the Liberal National party, led by Tim Nicholls, seemed content to take a leaf from Palaszczuk’s 2015’s campaign and make himself, and his party, the smallest possible target, the LNP’s decision on Saturday to preference One Nation in all but eight of the 61 seats it’s running in has only served to strengthen Labor’s attack that a vote for One Nation will deliver a LNP-led One Nation coalition. Nicholls is sticking to the line that the only way to ensure stability is to vote 1 LNP. But Labor has seen a weakness it is hoping to capitalise on, and is using federal government discontent and Pauline Hanson’s support of Turnbull policies in the Senate, to strengthen its case.
The photographer who altered the hair of the Oscar-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o for the cover of Grazia magazine has apologised for an “incredibly monumental mistake”. An Le smoothed and erased of parts of Nyong’o’s hair, in what the actor said was an attempt to make her “fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like”. She posted images on social media of the cover of the magazine and the original photo. Le said he recognised his mistake was an “unbelievably damaging and hurtful act” and was born not out of hate but “out of my own ignorance and insensitivity to the constant slighting of women of colour throughout the different media platforms”. Read Yasmin Jones-Henry’s analysis of the episode here.
The second leg of Australia’s World Cup qualifying tie against Honduras is set up for the Socceroos to attack, writes Ante Jukic. Given the unfavourable conditions and key injuries, Australia’s goalless draw in San Pedro Sula was as good a performance as could have been expected. But on Wednesday Ange Postecoglou and his players must be brave, assertive and decisive – and the outcome may define the coach’s tenure.
An extraordinary exhibition of provocative photographs interrogating and celebrating the male figure is on show in a regional New South Wales art gallery. With a defiantly queer eye, The Unflinching Gaze takes as its subject the male body in photography, from the erotic and explicit to the subtle and profound, celebrating the male figure and privileging the perspective of same-sex attraction. In an era in which queer relationships are once again under scrutiny, this exhibition is more relevant than ever, and despite many of the works being explicit, there has been no substantial criticism of the exhibition among locals in the conservative town of Bathurst – but the Australian Border Force did intercept one image on loan from a New York gallery.
“Bang! That was a moment when things jumped – the moment when the story of the occupation of Australia suddenly changed.” So says 87-year-old geologist Jim Bowler, who describes the impact of his 1974 discovery of Mungo Man, the ancient skeletal remains of a human male which confirmed that Indigenous Australians belonged to the world’s oldest continuing culture. As Mungo Man is finally returned to his resting place in the desert of western New South Wales this week, Paul Daley interviews the last surviving member of the discovery party who reflects on an extraordinary moment in human history, and what it meant for his understanding of humanity and the cosmos.
Greg Jericho says the call by some some economists for the Reserve Bank to raise rates is surprising, given there is “weak retail trade growth, record low wages growth and overall sluggishness in the economy”. “It’s a bit odd to be wanting interest rates to move back to normal before key parts of the economy do the same,” he writes. “This is especially curious given the latest housing finance figures show that measures put in place to allow the bank to keep rates at record lows while also limiting risky borrowing are working.”
What’s he done now?
Donald Trump has used Twitter to announce his nomination of Alex Azar as the next secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, promising he’ll slash drug prices – one of Trump’s key campaign promises.
“Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” Trump tweeted overnight.
Azar was formerly president of Eli Lily’s US division – the world’s 15 largest drug company and supplier of Prozac. If his appointment his successful, Azar will now be charged with going after the industry he helped lead for the last decade.
The Australian Financial Review reports that 500 Australian retailers met with the internet shopping giant Amazon yesterday to learn how they could potentially work with the monolith as local suppliers. The company kept up its air of mystery regarding its expansion in Australia, banning press photographers from attending the Sydney event and refusing to release an agenda. The Sydney Morning Herald splashes with a jobs scam that has left dozens of people up to $50,000 out of pocket, while the plan’s architect drives a Porsche and lives in a mansion. The ABC has an intriguing interactive feature telling the stories of migrants who have moved to Australia.
Michelle Guthrie is due to announce the details of the restructuring of the ABC. The plan is likely to remove divisions between TV, radio and digital, reorganising content in four streams.
The former prime minister Paul Keating will address the annual dinner of Ceda, the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, tonight.
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