The Guardian 2024-02-06 00:01:27


Coalition votes to back Labor’s changes to stage-three tax cuts

The Coalition will seek to amend but ultimately not oppose Labor’s changes to stage three tax cuts that redistribute benefits to low and middle income earners.

The Coalition party room met on Tuesday, endorsing a decision of the shadow cabinet not to vote against the Labor tax plan despite weeks of arguing Anthony Albanese had lied and reneged on his commitment to stage three tax cuts before the 2022 election.

We’ve confirmed this decision with several Coalition sources, but we’re not yet clear on what the amendments to Labor’s bill will be.

This clears the way for the $359bn 10 year tax cut package to pass parliament in February ahead of the changes taking effect in July. The Labor plan delivers bigger savings to all taxpayers earning less than $146,486 and doubles tax relief for those on the average income.

Senior Coalition shadow ministers have been repositioning on Labor’s tax plan since last week, insisting that it is the party of lower tax and promising not to seek to repeal the changes.

The decision not to oppose Labor’s plan creates a wider dilemma over whether to recommit to remove the 37% tax bracket, the centrepiece of stage three tax cuts, or propose an alternative to redistribute the $28bn more tax raised by Labor’s plan over 10 years.

The Coalition’s decision also sidelines the Greens, who had attempted to use their Senate voting bloc to lobby for an increase to jobseeker payments and raising the tax free threshold from $18,200.

NSWMega-councils to foot the bill if they want to reverse forced mergers

NSW mega-councils to foot the bill if they want to reverse forced mergers

Labor to create legal pathway for council demergers after forced amalgamations by former Coalition government

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New South Wales mega-councils will be forced to pay for their own demergers, in a move likely to anger local governments that have long been advocating for the state government to stump up cash and allow forced amalgamations to be reversed.

The Minns government will on Tuesday introduce legislation to parliament to create a legal pathway to demergers for councils, including Sydney’s Inner West, that wish to split – but it has made it clear it won’t be footing the bill.

Last year the local government minister, Ron Hoenig, revealed during a budget estimates hearing that the process under which the council was attempting to demerge was “unconstitutional”, according to legal advice.

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More than 60% of residents in the Inner West council voted for the council to be reverted to separate, smaller local government areas more than two years ago and the council has been making its case before the local government Boundaries Commission.

Under the proposed changes, the council would need to create a business case to be handed to the commission who would then make a report for the minister.

The minister would then need to approve the demerger before it was taken to the people for a vote.

“These amendments the government has introduced provide a clear path forward for councils wishing to de-amalgamate, providing much more clarity for current and future proposals,” Hoenig said.

“However, it’s essential that local democracy is enshrined in the decision-making process so that councils and communities are fully informed of the financial and other implications of de-amalgamation.

He said the forced amalgamation of councils had been a “failed and expensive experiment” but that he needed to be “realistic about some of the challenges” involved in untangling the large councils.

The move is expected to be met with disappointment and anger from councils that want to demerge because some had hoped the government would pay and their plans are likely to be scuppered if they can’t afford it.

The former Coalition government’s decision to merge 44 councils across the state in 2016 prompted widespread community anger, particularly in regional areas where opponents said the changes resulted in animosity and a loss of local identity.

Critics also argue the amalgamations have badly affected many councils’ finances and meant issues important to residents of former smaller council areas have been sidelined in favour of the larger councils they were forced to merge with.

The Greens MP Amanda Cohn introduced her own private member’s bill to parliament late last year that would give councils a right to hold demerger plebiscites.

“The forced amalgamations of 2016 were promised to offer huge savings and efficiency,” she told parliament in November. “Instead, they delivered rate hikes, shrinking services and a loss of local representation.”

The government’s legislation will be introduced to parliament on the first sitting day of the year, which is expected to be dominated by housing and planning reforms.

The treasurer, Daniel Mookhey, on Monday warned Sydney was at risk of a San Francisco-style homelessness issue if more was not done to curb the crisis.

“We still have an opportunity to act,” he told a summit focused on the future of the city. “We have to make sure that kids starting school this week will be able to own a home if they work hard.”

The Committee of Sydney chief executive, Eamon Waterford, told the forum the “exquisitely expensive” city was losing $10bn a year in productivity and talent and was becoming a less fair place to live.

“If we can’t keep young people here and migrants don’t feel welcome here, our economy will grind to a juddering stop,” he said.

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WALive export ship returns with 15,000 livestock after regulator blocks voyage to Jordan

Live export ship returns to Western Australia with 15,000 livestock after regulator blocks voyage to Jordan

Government says plan for MV Bahijah to sail around Africa to avoid Houthi attacks in Red Sea mean it’s not safe for the animals

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The controversial live export industry has been dealt a blow after the federal government denied an application to re-export more than 15,000 sheep and cattle stranded off the coast of Western Australia.

The Israeli-owned MV Bahijah was ordered by government officials on 20 January to return to Western Australia 15 days into a live export voyage to Jordan because of fears about attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels.

With the animals held off the coast for a week, the live export company Bassem Dabbah has been vying for approval to return to the Middle East on a 33-day voyage around southern Africa.

But the federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry issued a statement at 5pm on Monday stating it was not satisfied the requirements of the Export Control Act would be met.

The department said it was unable to be sure “the arrangements for the transport of the livestock to their final overseas destination are appropriate to ensure their health and welfare”.

“The next steps for the livestock onboard the vessel are commercial decisions for the exporter to make,” the statement said.

The livestock have already been on the ship for a month, including during a heatwave.

The new proposed route, which would avoid the conflict-stricken Red Sea, would have turned a 17-day journey into a passage of well over two months – making it the third-longest live export voyage in Australian history.

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The saga had attracted the ire of animal welfare groups who warned the trip would be cruel.

Despite the future for the animals remaining in doubt, specialist veterinarian and spokeswoman for Vets Against Live Export, Sue Foster, said she was delighted with the outcome.

“This is the best possible outcome for these animals,” Foster said. “The most likely outcome now will be that the animals will go off to slaughter in Australia.

“They will be held under the Australian Animal Welfare Act, they won’t be overseas where there are no animal welfare rules and they won’t have that terrible voyage.

“It’s the best news ever.”

Foster said there was a chance exporters could find another way to export the animals.

While there are media reports that some of the animals have died, the agriculture department did not respond to questions on the issue.

In a statement on Sunday, the department’s secretary, Adam Fennessy, said it was a complex situation where export legislation, biosecurity requirements and animal welfare had to be balanced.

The unfolding drama comes as a larger live export ship carrying 60,000 sheep, the Jawan, was given the green light to make the same perilous Red Sea journey from Fremantle Port.

It departed from an adjacent berth to the Bahijah last Thursday.

Before the announcement, John Hassell, president of the lobby group WAFarmers, said the department was taking an “appalling” amount of time to process re-exporting Bahijah livestock.

“They have had 14 days to make a decision about the best course of action and it is complete indecision by them,” Hassell said.

He said the Jawan was less likely to be targeted because it was destined for a Muslim market.

Since Houthis began attacking shipping in November in solidarity with Hamas in its fight against Israel, a cargo vessel crew has been held by its commandos in Yemen and more than 29 ships have been attacked in the area.

The Jawan was approved to sail with a contingency plan not to enter the Red Sea unless approved by the department 72 hours prior.

Before the 2019 federal election, Labor promised to phase out live export.

An independent panel report has yet to be released on how and when that could happen, despite being submitted months ago.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, referred questions about the delay in ending Australian live export or concerns about the welfare of the animals onboard the Bahijah to his department.

The regulator said it would publish more about its decision “as soon as practicable” .

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First Dog on the MoonThe first week of parliament! The fog of existential dread shrouding Canberra lifts

It’s the first week of the parliamentary year! The fog of existential dread shrouding Canberra lifts

Democracy made manifest!

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Boy, 16, charged with murder of 70-year-old woman at shopping centre

Boy, 16, charged with murder of 70-year-old woman at Queensland shopping centre

Vyleen White was stabbed to death in Redbank Plains car park in front of her six-year-old granddaughter

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Queensland police have charged a teenage boy with the murder of Ipswich woman Vyleen White in a shopping centre car park on Saturday.

The 16-year-old Bellbird Park boy has been charged with one count of murder, one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and three counts of stealing.

He will appear at Ipswich children’s court on Tuesday.

Four other boys have been charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle in relation to the incident at Town Square Redbank Plains shopping centre.

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Police allege White was stabbed to death in front of her six-year-old granddaughter after going shopping late on Saturday afternoon.

Det Acting Supt Heath McQueen said on Monday that police would allege the motive behind the alleged murder was to steal White’s car, a 2009 Hyundai Getz.

“So I stand before you today to talk to you about [an alleged] murder of a grandmother in front of her six-year-old granddaughter, and the result was a Hyundai Getz,” he said. “That’s the motive – that is the motive.”

The 16-year-old accused of murder was arrested on Monday about 2.45pm at a unit complex in Bellbird Park.

Two of the others charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle are aged 15 and two are 16.

One of the 15-year-olds, from Bellbird Park, was also charged with possessing tainted property.

The other 15-year-old boy, from Ripley, handed himself in on Sunday night and appeared in Ipswich children’s court on Monday.

One 16-year-old is from Goodna and was arrested in Riverview about 11am on Monday.

The other 16-year-old Bellbird Park boy was arrested in the suburb before 3pm the same day. He will appear at Beenleigh children’s court on Tuesday.

The alleged offenders cannot be named for legal reasons.

The Queensland police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, said on Monday that more than 40 detectives had been assigned to investigate the attack.

“I’m extraordinarily confident in the resources that have been allocated to this, and we will be relentless in pursuing the offenders to make sure that we bring them to justice,” she said. “We have thrown everything at this.”

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Charles’s cancer diagnosis will cast doubt on his future role

Analysis

Charles’s cancer diagnosis will cast doubt on his future role

Rajeev Syal

The king’s illness comes just as he was making a mark and as his popularity was growing, and means postponing public duties

  • King Charles: latest updates

Last Monday, King Charles emerged from a private clinic alongside Queen Camilla to smile and wave to a small crowd.

The message that Buckingham Palace wished to convey was obvious – the monarch is strong and will carry on his duties, despite the health setback.

Hours earlier, his daughter-in-law Catherine, the Princess of Wales, was driven away from the same hospital after planned abdominal surgery.

For several days, the global media speculation over their health – and that of the monarchy as a whole – died down.

But Monday’s surprise announcement that Charles has been diagnosed with a form of cancer inevitably provoked another frenzy – and will once again raise questions about whether it is fair to expect a man in his mid-70s to fulfil a rota of public duties.

He started his new job a decade after most men retire. For many, it will seem as if fate has placed another challenge before a reign that has been so long in the waiting.

Seventy-two years ago, when his grandfather died and his mother became queen, Charles became heir apparent at the age of three. He held that title for 70 years – longer than anyone else.

Since taking over, he has been a fairly cautious king, working within the new restraints but still finding ways to focus on the issues that matter to him, such as the environment.

So far, the public seems to have taken to him, with a recent poll finding that more than 50% of people who were surveyed said he was doing a good job, with only 9% saying he was doing a bad job.

He has slowly but surely been making his own mark as king but the treatment last month on his enlarged prostate, and now this announcement, will raise questions about how he will fashion the role in the future.

As ever, the palace has been keen to show that business goes on as usual, insisting the monarchy can continue to work and thrive without Charles and Kate doing ceremonial duties.

Camilla has continued with her diary commitments and when well-wishers inquired about the king’s health during the week, she gave polite reassurances that he was “doing well” and getting on with his recovery.

The palace statement certainly gave the impression the king hoped to be back soon. It said the king “remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible”.

And he has bounced back before, though none of his previous injuries and ailments have been as potentially serious as this.

Charles has kept active with hill-walking and gardening, but has suffered from back pain, attributed to numerous falls from horses.

His passion for polo was the source of many of his previous injuries. He retired from the sport after more than 40 years of playing, having broken several bones.

In June 2001, he fractured a small bone in his shoulder after falling off his horse during a fox hunt.

While tending to his gardens he once accidentally hit his thumb with a mallet and broke his finger, almost severing the tip.

In 2008, he had a non-cancerous growth removed from the bridge of his nose in a minor, routine procedure and in 2003 had a hernia operation at the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, the hospital favoured by the royal family.

In March 2020, Charles, then 71, caught Covid-19 before vaccinations were available, but only had mild symptoms. He caught Covid for a second time in February 2022, but was triple-vaccinated.

For now, the palace says, he has postponed public-facing duties, but will continue undertaking state business and official duties.

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Full reportKing Charles diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace announces

King Charles diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace announces

Monarch has started schedule of treatments after diagnosis made recently when he was treated for benign enlarged prostate

  • King Charles diagnosed with cancer – latest updates

King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer and is already receiving treatment that will prevent him from undertaking public duties for the immediate future, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Although no further details about what type of cancer he has are being released at this stage, Buckingham Palace said it was not prostate cancer. It was discovered when the 75-year-old monarch recently underwent treatment at the London Clinic for a benign enlarged prostate.

Buckingham Palace said the king “remains wholly positive about his treatment”.

He began regular outpatient treatments on Monday, and although he has been forced to postpone public-facing engagements, he will continue with his constitutional role as head of state, including paperwork, his red boxes and private meetings.

The king personally informed both his sons, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex, of his diagnosis, as well as his three siblings, the Princess Royal, Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Sussex.

Prince Harry had spoken with his father about his cancer diagnosis and would be travelling to the UK to see him in the coming days, the Office of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed. It is believed he will travel alone with Meghan staying in the US with the couple’s two children – Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “During the king’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.

“Throughout this period, his majesty will continue to undertake state business and official paperwork as usual. The king is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.

“His majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

The king returned to London from Sandringham on Monday morning to begin treatment as an outpatient.

It is understood there are no plans to appoint counsellors of state, who can be appointed to stand in if the monarch is incapacitated. At present, these include Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, with Prince Harry and Prince Andrew no longer to be called on as non-working royals.

It is expected that Charles will continue to be available for Privy Council meetings, but details of how they will take place are still being worked through. It is also expected that alternative arrangements will be made for his weekly audience with the prime minister should doctors advise him to minimise any in-person contact.

He was last seen in public at Sandringham in Norfolk on Sunday, where he attended a church service with the queen, which was the first time he had been seen since he was discharged from the London Clinic. He smiled and waved to wellwishers as he walked to St Mary Magdalene church in the village.

Charles apologised for the medical decision to postpone his forthcoming public duties after his cancer diagnosis. A palace spokesperson said: “Regrettably, a number of the king’s forthcoming public engagements will have to be rearranged or postponed. His Majesty would like to apologise to all those who may be disappointed or inconvenienced as a consequence.”

It is understood details of the king’s diary are still being worked on and it is not yet known when a full programme of engagements will begin. The palace said the queen would continue with a full programme of public duties.

The postponement of his public-facing engagements comes as Catherine, Princess of Wales, recovers at home after planned abdominal surgery, also at the London Clinic. She has determined to keep her medical details private, although her condition was said to be non-cancerous.

But with her also out of action – she is not expected to return to public duties until after Easter – it presents problems for the monarchy, which is significantly diminished in the number of working royals because of the departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Kensington Palace announced earlier on Monday that the Prince of Wales, who took time off while his wife was in hospital, would resume public duties this week by conducting an investiture on Wednesday at Windsor Castle, followed by a gala fundraising event for the London air ambulance in the evening.

The announcement brought a stream of messages from wellwishers.

The prime minister, Rishi Sunak, reacted to the news by tweeting: “Wishing his majesty a full and speedy recovery. I have no doubt he’ll be back to full strength in no time and I know the whole country will be wishing him well.”

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, wished the king “all the very best for his recovery”.

He tweeted: “On behalf of the Labour party, I wish his majesty all the very best for his recovery. We look forward to seeing him back to swift full health.”

Joe Biden said he was “concerned” about the king and planned to call him later. He told reporters: “I’m concerned about him. Just heard about his diagnosis. I’ll be talking to him, God willing.” The US president, whose son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, later tweeted: “Navigating a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship takes hope and absolute courage. [My wife] Jill and I join the people of the United Kingdom in praying that His Majesty experiences a swift and full recovery.”

Former US president Donald Trump wrote on social media : “He is a wonderful man, who I got to know well during my presidency, and we all pray that he has a fast and full recovery!”

The Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, told MPs: “I know the whole house will wish to join me in expressing our sympathies with his majesty the king following the news announcement this evening.

“Our thoughts are, of course, with his majesty and his family, and we’d all wish to send him our very best wishes for the successful treatment and a speedy recovery following tonight’s news.”

Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, posted on X: “The Liberal Democrats join the rest of the nation in wishing a full and quick recovery to His Majesty.”

Former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss also sent their best wishes. Johnson posted on X: “The whole country will be rooting for the King today. Best wishes to Charles III for a full and speedy recovery.”

Truss posted: “Sending every best wish to His Majesty The King and the Royal Family as he undergoes his treatment for cancer. He will be in our thoughts and prayers. God Save The King!”

Scottish first minister, Humza Yousaf, said: “My thoughts and prayers are with His Majesty the king and I hope for a speedy recovery and return to public life. My thoughts are also with Her Majesty the queen and other members of the royal family at what I know will be a worrying time.”

Mark Drakeford , the first minister of Wales, wished him a “full and swift recovery”. In a post on X, he said: “I’m saddened to hear the news that HM King Charles III is facing further health challenges. My thoughts and those of people across Wales will be with him and his family this evening. I send my very best wishes as he starts treatment for a full and swift recovery. Gwellhad buan.”

Northern Ireland’s first minister, Michelle O’Neill, wished him a speedy recovery. “I am very sorry to hear of King Charles’ illness and I want to wish him well for his treatment, and a full and speedy recovery,” she posted on X.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson posted: “Sending His Majesty the King every good wish as he commences his treatment. We pray for a full and speedy recovery.”

The king has largely enjoyed good health throughout his life. The first signs of any significant concern came with Buckingham Palace’s surprise announcement on 17 January that he had sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. The palace stressed that his condition was benign and that he would attend hospital the following week for a corrective procedure.

Charles had checked in to the London Clinic on Friday 26 January, and was discharged three days later on Monday 29 January, the same day that Kate was also discharged. The queen told wellwishers at an engagement at a Maggie’s cancer support centre at the Royal Free hospital in London on Wednesday that Charles was “getting on, doing his best.”

He was said to be personally keen to share details of his benign prostate diagnosis to encourage other men who may be experiencing symptoms to get themselves checked.

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Prince Harry to travel to UK in coming days to see father after cancer diagnosis

The Duke of Sussex has spoken with the king about his cancer diagnosis and will travel to the UK to see him soon, a source close to Harry told the Press Association.

“The duke did speak with his father about his diagnosis. He will be travelling to UK to see His Majesty in the coming days,” the source close to Harry said.

King’s healthDespite many mishaps, Charles had good health until cancer diagnosis

Despite many mishaps, Charles had good health until cancer diagnosis

King has sustained many sporting injuries and caught Covid twice but had remained in overall good health

  • King Charles: live updates

The king, who has been diagnosed with cancer, has generally enjoyed good health, although he has been injured during sporting pursuits.

In a statement on Monday, Buckingham Palace said the king “is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure”. He had begun a schedule of regular treatments, during which he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties, the Palace said.

Previous health issues have included contracting coronavirus and being knocked unconscious after being thrown from his horse while playing polo. He also narrowly escaped an avalanche that killed a close friend.

Concern has been expressed over the years at his “sausage fingers” amid fears they might be due to fluid build-up or other conditions. But Charles had been aware of his puffy fingers for decades. “He really does look surprisingly appetising and has sausage fingers just like mine,” he wrote to a friend after the birth of his first son, William, in 1982.

In March 2020, Charles, then 71, caught Covid-19 before vaccinations were available but only had mild symptoms. He isolated at Birkhall, Aberdeenshire, away from the then Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative, and carried on working at his desk. He lost his sense of taste and smell for a time, and later spoke of the “strange, frustrating and often distressing” experience of being without friends and relatives during lockdown.

He caught Covid for a second time in February 2022 though he was triple-vaccinated.

Charles has kept active with hill-walking and gardening but has had back pain, attributed to numerous falls from horses over the years. A devotee of organic food, he launched his own food brand, Duchy Originals, in 1990, which is now run as Waitrose Duchy Organic.

In March 2019, as Charles and Camilla began an official tour to the Caribbean, they were photographed by the paparazzi relaxing on a beach in Barbados in their swimming costumes. Charles won praise for his lithe figure and his on-trend 12-year-old floral trunks.

In 2008 he had a non-cancerous growth removed from the bridge of his nose in a routine procedure and in 2003 had a hernia operation at the private King Edward VII’s hospital in London, the hospital favoured by the royal family. He joked “hernia today, gone tomorrow” to waiting media after being discharged the next day.

Charles never travelled on royal tours without a special cushion, usually a tartan one, which he used to ease back pain. A red velvet one is always placed on the king’s chair during state banquets at Buckingham Palace.

In 2003, during an engagement at a Sikh temple in Southall, west London, he told the congregation he would need a little of their expert care as he sat on the hard floor. “I don’t think I have ever needed an osteopath so much as I have today,” he joked. “My back is not altogether geared to sitting on the floor, so I may need some help on my way out.”

Charles has been an advocate of alternative and complementary medicines, including homeopathy, and has urged health ministers to adopt a more holistic approach to tackling health problems. He was patron of the regulatory body the General Osteopathic Council.

Charles retired after more than 40 years of playing polo in 2005, having notched up an impressive array of injuries. In 1980 he was thrown and kicked by his pony during a polo match at Windsor and needed six stitches. A two-inch crescent scar on his left cheek bore witness to the incident. On another occasion he was hit in the throat, causing him to lose his voice for 10 days.

Charles resisted pressure to give up polo after he collapsed in 1980 at the end of a game in Florida and had to be put on a saline drip.

In 1988, skiing off-piste at Klosters on one of Europe’s most dangerous runs, he narrowly escaped the avalanche that killed his friend Maj Hugh Lindsay, a former equerry to Queen Elizabeth II. Charles managed to jump out of the way to reach a ledge and helped save the life of another friend, Patti Palmer-Tomkinson, by digging her out of the snow and talking to her to keep her conscious until a helicopter arrived. He later recalled the horror of the avalanche, saying he had never seen anything so terrifying.

In 1990 he broke his right arm in a fall during a polo match. A second operation on it was necessary three months after the tumble because one of the fractures failed to heal. In 1992 he had an operation to repair torn cartilage in his left knee – again after a polo injury. In 1993 he was hurt again during a game at Windsor, aggravating an old back injury.

He also broke a rib when he tumbled from his horse in a hunting accident in 1998. Despite the discomfort, the prince insisted on trekking in the Himalayas a few weeks afterwards during an official visit to Nepal and Bhutan. Three months later in October 1998, he was back in hospital undergoing laser keyhole surgery on his right knee cartilage due to wear and tear from years of sport and exercise.

In June 2001, he fractured a small bone in his shoulder after falling off his horse during a fox hunt. A few months later, in August, he was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital when his horse threw him during a polo match. He was stretchered off and taken by ambulance to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Charles has also strained tendons in his wrist while salmon fishing in Scotland and while tending to his gardens he once accidentally hit his thumb with a mallet and broke his finger, almost severing the tip.

Charles has said that as a child he was taken to Great Ormond Street hospital to stop his appendix “exploding”. He declared on a later visit: “I got here just in time before the thing exploded and was happily operated on and looked after by the nurses.”

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Man who scaled 55-storey Melbourne tower without harness questioned by police

Man who scaled 55-storey Melbourne tower without harness taken for questioning by police

Climber, identified by police as a 29-year-old Newry man, believed to have reached top of 163m-tall residential building about 7.30am

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Police say they have spoken to a man who scaled a 163m-tall residential tower in Melbourne’s city centre without a harness, while another person filmed him using a drone.

According to Victorian police, the man was seen climbing the side of 60 A’Beckett Street about 7.30am. He did not appear to be using any safety equipment.

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Officers found the 29-year-old Newry man at the top of the 55-storey building at 8.20am and escorted him down to safety.

“He is currently assisting police with their enquiries,” police said.

Police said they had also spoken to a second man who was believed to have filmed the free climber using a drone. He was expected to be interviewed at a later date, police said.

No one was injured.

The Melbourne radio station 3AW reported that the man had been wearing a backpack.

A tradesperson named Trent, who called the station, said a crowd had formed to watch the man while police waited at the top of the building.

“All the neighbours are out looking out over the balcony, looking up, can’t believe [he] has passed their window while they had their Weet-Bix and their Vegemite toast,” he told 3AW as the climber approached the top floors of the building.

“All us construction workers will give him a big cheer once he reaches the top. Hopefully Melbourne’s finest will take him in for questioning.”

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Man who scaled 55-storey Melbourne tower without harness questioned by police

Man who scaled 55-storey Melbourne tower without harness taken for questioning by police

Climber, identified by police as a 29-year-old Newry man, believed to have reached top of 163m-tall residential building about 7.30am

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Police say they have spoken to a man who scaled a 163m-tall residential tower in Melbourne’s city centre without a harness, while another person filmed him using a drone.

According to Victorian police, the man was seen climbing the side of 60 A’Beckett Street about 7.30am. He did not appear to be using any safety equipment.

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Officers found the 29-year-old Newry man at the top of the 55-storey building at 8.20am and escorted him down to safety.

“He is currently assisting police with their enquiries,” police said.

Police said they had also spoken to a second man who was believed to have filmed the free climber using a drone. He was expected to be interviewed at a later date, police said.

No one was injured.

The Melbourne radio station 3AW reported that the man had been wearing a backpack.

A tradesperson named Trent, who called the station, said a crowd had formed to watch the man while police waited at the top of the building.

“All the neighbours are out looking out over the balcony, looking up, can’t believe [he] has passed their window while they had their Weet-Bix and their Vegemite toast,” he told 3AW as the climber approached the top floors of the building.

“All us construction workers will give him a big cheer once he reaches the top. Hopefully Melbourne’s finest will take him in for questioning.”

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Former tropical cyclone Kirrily brings wet weather to NSW

Former tropical cyclone Kirrily brings torrential rain and flash floods to NSW

The SES rescued three people from flood waters as the tropical low moved south over the Queensland border

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New South Wales was lashed with torrential rain in the early hours of Tuesday, and three people were rescued from flood waters in their cars, as ex-tropical cyclone Kirrily moved across the state.

After wreaking havoc in Queensland, the ex-tropical cyclone crossed the border into western NSW on Monday afternoon, bringing heavy rainfall and flash flooding to inland communities, before reaching Sydney around 5am and bringing 21mm of rain and localised flash flooding.

Rural inland communities recorded some huge rainfall totals such as 100mm at Fort Grey near the border, 79mm at Tibooburra and more than 85mm at White Cliffs.

The State Emergency Service (SES) rescued three people from flood waters in their cars early Tuesday morning, including two people in Albion Park and one person in Campbelltown.

Campbelltown saw more than 37mm of rain between 4.30am and 5am alone, as Sydney’s suburbs were hit with the downpour.

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Emily Barton, a spokesperson for the SES, said each person was a sole occupant in separate vehicles, rescued safely without injury.

The SES responded to 74 jobs in Sydney, and 134 across the state, mostly related to trees down and leaking roofs, with 270 volunteers out in the field on Tuesday morning.

“Flash flooding can occur quickly and without warning, which is what we’ve seen this morning as that rainfall hit quite intensely for a short period of time,” Barton said.

“If you come across a flooded road, stop, turn around and find an alternate route.”

The torrential downpour in Sydney followed a hot, humid Monday that reached a dew point of 25C. That had dropped to 21C by Tuesday morning and Jiwon Park, a meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology, said a southerly wind would cause a drop in humidity and temperatures throughout this week.

While relative humidity would still feel high today, it would feel “less muggy than yesterday”, Park said.

The torrential rain of Tuesday morning had also passed, he said, with the trough moving offshore and showers forecast for the city over the coming days.

“We may see [a further] 10mm in the form of showers, but it’s not going to be as intense as what we saw early this morning,” Park said. Temperatures were expected to drop to 27C in Sydney today, and by tomorrow must of the eastern temperatures would drop to the low- to mid-20s.

A severe weather warning for rain over the state had been cancelled, with a marine wind warning put in place.

Gale fore winds were possible along the Sydney coast, as well as the Illawarra, Batemans and Eden coasts. Strong winds were possible for Sydney enclosed waters, and the Coffs, Macquarie and Hunter coasts.

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Focus on school finishing as report shows attendance and retention rates in long-term decline

Australian school attendance and retention rates in long-term decline, report shows

New data casts doubt on viability of Labor government’s goal to boost university admissions by tackling education gap

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Engagement in education and training is going backwards, new data reveals, as governments grapple to reverse poor school attendance rates in an effort to reach ambitious tertiary targets.

The Productivity Commission’s report on government services, released on Monday night, showed school attendance and retention rates were continuing to decline, alongside a drop-off in further studies.

The proportion of people between 15 and 24 who were enrolled in education or training in 2023 was 61.1%, the latest figures showed, compared with 62.8% the previous year.

The highest decline, at almost two percentage points, was among 15- to 19-year-olds (81% compared with 82.8% last year). 42.9% of people aged 20-24 were enrolled in studies, a minor fall on the previous year (43.4%).

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The rates throw into doubt the viability of the Labor government fulfilling its goal to ramp up university admissions, particularly among priority cohorts.

The education minister, Jason Clare, has set an ambitious target for 55% of young people to have a university degree in the next decade, requiring an additional 900,000 people to be enrolled at university.

But the Productivity Commission report suggests enrolments are continuing to trend downwards.

Nationally in 2023, 65.7% of people between 20 and 64 had a qualification at certificate III level or above, the data shows, down from 66.2% in 2022.

Speaking on ABC last week, Clare said Australia had to “do more as a country” to make sure more people were finishing school and going on to university.

“In the years ahead more people are going to need a university degree because more and more jobs will require university qualifications,” he said.

Across all demographics, participation in tertiary studies has declined, the commission’s report said. In total, 19% of 15- to 19-year-olds were not enrolled in any education or training in 2023, a two percentage point increase on the previous year.

Of those enrolled, 13.4% were completing bachelor degrees or above, a slight decrease on the previous year (13.8%).

29.5% of 20- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in a bachelors degree or above, compared with 31.1% the previous year. More than half (57.2%) weren’t completing any education or training.

The report also showed school attendance and retention rates remained on their trajectory of long-term decline.

In 2023 86.4% of students from year seven to 10 regularly attended school, down from 91.2% in 2015.

By year 12 the retention rate for full-time students was just 79% – the lowest in the past 10 years of data being reported. At government schools, the retention rate was even lower, at 73.5%, almost 15% below non-government schools (87.2%). Retention rates refer to the proportion of students who have continued their studies after their first year.

There were also significant geographical disparities. While 89.6% of students regularly attended school in major cities from year one to 10, the rates fell to 81.1% in remote areas and 66.1% in very remote areas – including just 51.8% in very remote areas of the Northern Territory.

The Albanese government argues that fixing the education gap via early intervention programs is key to improving retention rates.

“Only 20% of those kids who fall behind … catch up by the time they’re in high school, which helps to explain why we’re now seeing a drop in the number of kids finishing high school,” Clare told the ABC last week.

“We’re seeing a drop in the percentage of kids finishing high school in public schools and kids from the bush, kids from poor families, and this is happening … at a time where it’s more important to finish school than it was when we went to school.”

Disparities also remained among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, with an attendance gap across all year levels in all jurisdictions.

66.9% of Indigenous students regularly attended school in year 10 – an 18.8% gap compared with their peers – with even lower rates in the NT. Just over half of Indigenous year 10s in the NT attended school regularly, a 35.2% gap compared with their counterparts.

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Global bite deaths doubled in 2023, with Australia high on the list

Global shark bite deaths doubled in 2023, with Australia high on the list

Study finds ‘unprovoked’ attacks were more common for surfers than swimmers

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Australia is home to a disproportionate number of deadly shark attacks, with isolated areas carrying a greater risk of fatalities, international research has found.

The 10 fatal attacks globally in 2023 doubled the five in the previous year, with four of last year’s deaths occurring in Australia.

Surfers were slightly more prevalent in the data than people swimming or wading, experiencing 42% of the 69 “unprovoked” bites around the world, 22% of which were in Australia.

Spearfishing was the most common activity in 22 attacks which were left out of the study after being considered “provoked”.

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The study focused on bites occurring in a shark’s natural habitat without human provocation, the most useful for studying shark behaviour according to researchers compiling the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.

Florida Museum of Natural History shark research director Gavin Naylor said the number of bites was consistent with long-term trends.

“Though the number of fatalities is a bit unnerving this year,” he said.

Three fatalities occurred in 2023 off South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, a remote area with a high population of white sharks and the seals they feed on.

“Seals are really agile, so the only ones that get caught are the ones that are goofing off and flopping around on the surface … and that’s kind of what a surfer looks like,” Naylor said.

A bull shark also killed a teenage girl in Western Australia’s Swan River.

The four fatal attacks in Australian waters in 2023 remained below the decade’s peak of six deaths in 2020.

While population density was linked to shark attacks by bringing increased interactions between people and sharks, swimming or surfing in more populated areas reduced the likelihood of fatalities when attacks occurred.

Australia’s beach safety was “second to none” at popular patrolled beaches, but remote and regional beaches were dangerous due to their isolation, according to Florida Program for Shark Research doctoral student Joe Miguez.

“This is because when an attack happens and there is beach safety, you can get a tourniquet on sooner and save the person’s life,” he said.

Sydneysider Lauren O’Neill survived being bitten by what is believed to be a bull shark while swimming near a jetty in the city’s densely populated eastern suburbs in January, the first recorded attack in Sydney Harbour for over a decade.

She thanked her “heroic and very kind neighbours” for the critical assistance they quickly provided.

The attack prompted debate over anti-shark measures amid concerns warmer waters are attracting more bull sharks to the harbour, but is not included in the report focusing on 2023 bites.

The United States had two confirmed shark attack fatalities, while four other peopled died in the Bahamas, Egypt, Mexico and New Caledonia.

The majority of attacks were “test bites” from sharks mistaking people for their preferred prey, the researchers said.

While sharks typically swim away following such bites, unusual incidents had occurred among tiger, bull and white sharks repeatedly biting their victims, and some were so large a single bite proved fatal.

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Global bite deaths doubled in 2023, with Australia high on the list

Global shark bite deaths doubled in 2023, with Australia high on the list

Study finds ‘unprovoked’ attacks were more common for surfers than swimmers

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  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Australia is home to a disproportionate number of deadly shark attacks, with isolated areas carrying a greater risk of fatalities, international research has found.

The 10 fatal attacks globally in 2023 doubled the five in the previous year, with four of last year’s deaths occurring in Australia.

Surfers were slightly more prevalent in the data than people swimming or wading, experiencing 42% of the 69 “unprovoked” bites around the world, 22% of which were in Australia.

Spearfishing was the most common activity in 22 attacks which were left out of the study after being considered “provoked”.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

The study focused on bites occurring in a shark’s natural habitat without human provocation, the most useful for studying shark behaviour according to researchers compiling the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.

Florida Museum of Natural History shark research director Gavin Naylor said the number of bites was consistent with long-term trends.

“Though the number of fatalities is a bit unnerving this year,” he said.

Three fatalities occurred in 2023 off South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, a remote area with a high population of white sharks and the seals they feed on.

“Seals are really agile, so the only ones that get caught are the ones that are goofing off and flopping around on the surface … and that’s kind of what a surfer looks like,” Naylor said.

A bull shark also killed a teenage girl in Western Australia’s Swan River.

The four fatal attacks in Australian waters in 2023 remained below the decade’s peak of six deaths in 2020.

While population density was linked to shark attacks by bringing increased interactions between people and sharks, swimming or surfing in more populated areas reduced the likelihood of fatalities when attacks occurred.

Australia’s beach safety was “second to none” at popular patrolled beaches, but remote and regional beaches were dangerous due to their isolation, according to Florida Program for Shark Research doctoral student Joe Miguez.

“This is because when an attack happens and there is beach safety, you can get a tourniquet on sooner and save the person’s life,” he said.

Sydneysider Lauren O’Neill survived being bitten by what is believed to be a bull shark while swimming near a jetty in the city’s densely populated eastern suburbs in January, the first recorded attack in Sydney Harbour for over a decade.

She thanked her “heroic and very kind neighbours” for the critical assistance they quickly provided.

The attack prompted debate over anti-shark measures amid concerns warmer waters are attracting more bull sharks to the harbour, but is not included in the report focusing on 2023 bites.

The United States had two confirmed shark attack fatalities, while four other peopled died in the Bahamas, Egypt, Mexico and New Caledonia.

The majority of attacks were “test bites” from sharks mistaking people for their preferred prey, the researchers said.

While sharks typically swim away following such bites, unusual incidents had occurred among tiger, bull and white sharks repeatedly biting their victims, and some were so large a single bite proved fatal.

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Anglicare refused to assess Aboriginal baby’s aunt as carer because she was in same-sex relationship, court hears

Anglicare refused to assess Aboriginal baby’s aunt as carer because she was in same-sex relationship, court hears

Magistrate says orders ‘would have robbed’ the nine-month-old girl, who has complex needs, of being raised by her family

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Anglicare refused to assess the Aboriginal aunt of an Aboriginal baby as a long-term carer because she was in a same-sex relationship and, with the knowledge of the New South Wales government, sought to have the baby adopted to a non-Indigenous couple, a court has heard.

The nine-month-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons and is known to the court by the pseudonym Daisy, has complex needs. At four days old Daisy was discharged to the Anglicare adoption agency and placed with a non-Indigenous couple as “authorised pre-adoptive carers”, court documents show.

The court heard Daisy’s mother, known by the pseudonym Paula, who struggled with addiction and an acquired brain injury, and experienced unstable housing and domestic violence, had entered a voluntary agreement with Anglicare.

Daisy was diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome after being exposed to illicit substances in utero and spent several weeks in hospital, where doctors found she has “atypical neurological function”, according to court documents. She is being assessed for cerebral palsy.

The children’s court magistrate Tracy Sheedy said in a decision in December that there was “no doubt” the child’s foster parents, known by pseudonyms Greta and Peter, have “done a wonderful job of looking after Daisy”, but was “alarmed” and “disturbed” by the conduct of Anglicare and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) in her case.

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According to court documents, in May last year Daisy’s mother contacted Anglicare, indicating she was strongly considering requesting Daisy be returned to her care. The agency sought and was granted an order by the children’s court, who gave parental responsibility for Daisy to DCJ. Anglicare remained responsible for her day-to-day care.

In September, Daisy’s mother said she was happy for the baby to remain there until a suitable long-term placement was found. In an affidavit, Paula expressed concern that the carers are not Aboriginal and they are not family. She suggested her cousin as an appropriate long-term carer.

In October, the DCJ filed a care plan with the court, as required by law. In it, DCJ recommended the baby be adopted. It did not tell the court it was aware there were other family members who could be assessed and had applied to care for Daisy.

“It is proposed that Daisy remain placed with her Anglicare carers as permanent placement with a view to adoption in the future,” the DCJ care plan said.

“The placement principles for Aboriginal children are that long-term care should be considered before adoption. However, given that Daisy has significant health needs that will most likely be for the remainder of her life, adoption should be strongly considered to reduce the likelihood of placement breakdowns and to provide stability for Daisy.”

But the same day, a DCJ caseworker filed an affidavit in which she claimed Anglicare did not even assess the cousin and would not assess the aunt because she was in a same-sex relationship.

“On 11 October 2023 the Anglicare adoptions and foster carer recruitment team emailed me to advise that Anglicare were not able to contact [the cousin] to discuss whether she was interested in being assessed as a relative carer for Daisy,” the caseworker said.

“They also advised that Anglicare are not able to proceed with [Daisy’s maternal aunt] and her partner’s application to be a relative carer as per the agency’s policy on same-sex couples.”

Sheedy said she had “not been provided with a copy” of Anglicare’s policy on same-sex couples, but was scathing of their conduct and that of the DCJ.

“No explanation was offered as to why DCJ had filed the care plan proposing the Anglicare carers as the permanent placement for the child knowing that a close family member had not been assessed, for the sole reason that she was in a same-sex relationship,” Sheedy said.

The magistrate said she was “alarmed and confounded” that DCJ had filed the care plan despite being obliged to apply the principles of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act.

The magistrate said the act “requires that Daisy, because she cannot be restored to the care of a parent, should be placed with a relative, kin or other suitable person in accordance with a guardianship order”.

If potential family placements are not appropriately considered, then the requirements of the Care Act cannot be met, she said.

“[DCJ] was not able to explain why Anglicare was being paid to case manage … when seemingly not willing to make decisions in accordance with the Care Act,” Sheedy said.

“Instead, according to the evidence filed by DCJ, Anglicare were making decisions in accordance with its own policy to refuse to assess same-sex couples to be carers.”

DCJ told the court that Anglicare is approved by the Office of the Children’s Guardian to provide out-of-home care in NSW.

But Sheedy said the DCJ must have known about the policy and “must have known that the application of this policy could lead to decisions being made that are contrary to the best interests of children”.

“It is disturbing that DCJ filed a care plan ignoring the possibility of the potential of a kinship placement,” she said.

“It is incredibly disturbing that the court could have approved the care plan and made final orders. Those orders would have robbed baby Daisy of the opportunity of being raised within her Aboriginal family, had the DCJ caseworker not found and filed an affidavit stating that Anglicare had refused to assess a close family relative because of her being in a same-sex relationship,” Sheedy said.

At a follow-up hearing in December, DCJ told the court it had “undertaken probity checks” of the maternal aunt and ruled her out as a suitable carer for Daisy.

The matter returns to court in March for further evidence to be filed and for submissions.

A spokesperson for Anglicare Sydney said it would be inappropriate to comment on an active court case.

The spokesperson did not respond to specific questions about Anglicare’s out-of-home care policy in relation to same-sex couples but said “Anglicare Sydney is a Christian not-for-profit that serves in accordance with the doctrines of the Anglican diocese of Sydney, which believe the best interests of the child are best served by giving access to both mothering and fathering, wherever possible”.

“Anglicare Sydney remains committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and young person placement principles,” the spokesperson said.

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UK professor suffered discrimination due to anti-Zionist beliefs, tribunal rules

UK professor suffered discrimination due to anti-Zionist beliefs, tribunal rules

University of Bristol academic who was sacked after being accused of antisemitic comments wins ‘landmark’ decision

A sociology professor sacked by the University of Bristol after being accused of antisemitic comments has won a “landmark” decision that he was discriminated against because of his anti-Zionist beliefs.

An employment tribunal ruled that Prof David Miller was unfairly dismissed, and that his “anti-Zionist beliefs qualified as a philosophical belief and as a protected characteristic pursuant to section 10 Equality Act 2010”.

Rahman Lowe, the legal firm that represented Miller, hailed it as “a landmark decision”. It said: “This judgment establishes for the first time ever that anti-Zionist beliefs are protected in the workplace.”

The Union of Jewish Students said Monday’s judgment “may set a dangerous precedent about what can be lawfully said on campus about Jewish students and the societies at the centre of their social life. This will ultimately make Jewish students less safe.”

Miller initially caused controversy in 2019 when in a lecture he cited Zionism as one of five sources of Islamophobia, and showed a diagram linking Jewish charities to Zionist lobbying. Complaints that this resembled the antisemitic trope that Jews wield secretive influence on political affairs were dismissed by the university on academic freedom grounds.

Since then, comments by Miller in online lectures describing Israel as “the enemy of world peace” and a description of the Jewish Society as an “Israel lobby group” that had “manufactured hysteria” about his teaching further inflamed tensions.

Academics across the world signed rival letters. One described Miller’s views on Zionism as a “morally reprehensible” conspiracy theory that jeopardised community relations on campus, while another warned that the investigation into him was fomenting a “culture of self-censorship and fear”, and urged the university to defend freedom of speech.

Miller’s case contended that he was subject to an organised campaign by groups and individuals opposed to his anti-Zionist views, which was aimed at securing his dismissal. The university subjected him to “discriminatory and unfair misconduct proceedings which culminated eventually in his summary dismissal”, he said.

At the time, the university said that although legal counsel had found that Miller’s alleged comments “did not constitute unlawful speech”, a disciplinary hearing had concluded that he “did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff”.

In the 108-page judgment delivered on Monday, the Bristol employment tribunal ruled Miller had experienced discrimination based on his philosophical belief and had succeeded in his claim for wrongful dismissal.

Zillur Rahman, Miller’s lawyer, said the case “marks a pivotal moment in the history of our country for those who believe in upholding the rights of Palestinians”.

The ruling would be “welcomed by many who at present are facing persecution in their workplaces for speaking out against the crimes of the Israeli state, and the genocide taking place in Gaza”.

Miller would be seeking “maximum compensation”, he said.

The tribunal ruled any award would be reduced by half “because the claimant’s dismissal was caused or contributed to by his own actions”.

Miller said he was “very proud that we have managed to establish that anti-Zionist views qualify as a protected belief under the UK Equality Act. This was the most important reason for taking the case and I hope it will become a touchstone precedent in all the future battles that we face with the racist and genocidal ideology of Zionism and the movement to which it is attached.”

The University of Bristol said it was “disappointed”, adding: “We recognise that these matters have caused deep concern for many, and that members of our community hold very different views from one another. We would, therefore, encourage everyone to respond in a responsible and sensitive way in the current climate.”

The tribunal hearing took place in October, just days after Hamas committed atrocities against Israelis living close to the Gaza border, and triggered a war that has devastated Gaza and left more than 27,000 people dead. The past four months have seen bitter divisions around the world on the issues.

But a longer backdrop to the Miller tribunal has played out on university campuses in particular, in the UK, US and elsewhere, centring on freedom of speech, the definition of antisemitism and whether anti-Zionism equates with being anti-Jewish.

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Samples ruined after freezer fails at Swedish university

Decades of research destroyed after freezer fails at Swedish university

Estimated value of the samples thought to be in the millions as incident reported to police

Research samples collected over decades at a Swedish medical university were destroyed when a freezer malfunctioned during the Christmas holidays, the institute has said.

The samples were stored in tanks cooled with liquid nitrogen, at a temperature of -190C, at Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm.

KI is home to the Nobel Assembly, which is tasked with selecting a winner for the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.

Sometime between 22 and 23 December there was an interruption in the supply of liquid nitrogen to 16 cryogenic tanks, and while the tanks can go for four days without additional liquid nitrogen, they were left without it for five, leading to the destruction of samples from multiple institutions.

Matti Sällberg, dean of KI’s southern campus, said on Monday: “It happened at possibly the absolute worst time imaginable in Sweden, just one day before Christmas Eve.”

The incident has been reported to police, the university added.

Some media outlets reported that the estimated value of the samples lost was about 500m kronor (£37m).

Sällberg said no official estimate of the value of the samples lost had been made, but said it was easily in the millions.

“Those worst affected are those researching leukaemia, they have gathered samples from patients over as much as 30 years,” he added.

An internal investigation has been launched at the university and despite there being no indication of sabotage, the incident has also been reported to police.

Sällberg said: “Currently there is no indication that it was due to outside influence but the police report was done to cover all bases.”

The samples were all strictly for research so it would not affect the care of any current patients, but had been intended to be used in future research.

“These are samples that have been the subject of extensive studies and there were plans for more studies,” said Sällberg.

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Nearly half of US wants election subversion verdict before November, poll says

Nearly half of US wants Trump election subversion verdict before November, poll says

CNN survey shows 48% of those polled believe it ‘essential’ case is resolved before voting as judge orders delay

Nearly half of those in the US want to see Donald Trump’s 2020 election subversion case resolved before the former president runs for the White House again in November, according to a poll published on Monday.

Meanwhile, a quarter of Americans do not think Trump will ever concede if he loses a second time to Joe Biden, said the survey, commissioned by CNN.

The survey in question found that 48% of those polled believed it was “essential” for there to be a verdict before November’s election. Another 16% said that they would at least prefer to see one.

CNN’s poll also showed that expectations Trump would concede if he loses have dropped from 37% to 25% since October – and more than three-quarters (78%) think the former president would try to pardon himself of federal charges stemming from his presidency if he wins another stint in the Oval Office.

Trump has been performing strongly in polls as compared with Biden. A survey by NBC News released on Sunday found that Biden is beset by a deficit of 20 percentage points against Trump in his handling of the economy, despite signs that the US may have achieved an almost unique “soft-landing” after a government and consumer spending boom during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The poll also found that fewer than three in 10 voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war. And Biden lags Trump by 16 points on the perception of competence and effectiveness, a reversal from 2020.

But the question of Trump’s legal quagmire hangs over Biden’s unfavorable polling. The former president is facing more than 90 criminal charges accusing him of trying to illegally nullify his defeat by Biden, illicitly retaining government secrets after leaving the White House and making illegal hush-money payments to an adult film actor who has claimed an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump.

If Trump is convicted of a felony, the poll found, a five-point lead for Trump flips to a two-point lead for Biden.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Friday, the US district judge Tanya Chutkan formally postponed the federal election interference case against Trump over which she is presiding. It was scheduled to begin in March, but that date has been pushed back while a Washington DC appeals court weighs arguments from the Trump legal team that he is immune from prosecution for actions taken while he was president.

If the DC appeals court rejects Trump’s appeal, it will probably advance to the US supreme court, meaning further trial delays.

Public desire for a resolution to that case before the November election comes as recent polling by Bloomberg found majorities of voters in seven key swing states would be unwilling to vote for Trump if he is convicted of a crime (53%) or sentenced to prison (55%) in one of the four cases against him overall.

But, according to CNN, views of Trump’s efforts to stay in office despite his 2020 defeat in effect remain unchanged from the summer of 2022, with 45% of US adults saying he acted illegally, 32% unethically, and 23% that he did nothing wrong at all.

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