The Guardian 2024-02-19 04:30:53


Bob Brown arrested at Tasmania logging protest; PM calls Dutton’s border policy arguments ‘absurd’

Despite another arrest, former Greens leader Bob Brown feels “very strong”, he tells me from Bridgewater police station.

Brown was calling for “an end to native forest logging in Australia”, protesting along the edge of the Tasmanian wilderness world heritage area, when he was arrested for trespass with activists Colette Harmsen and Ali Alishah.

Brown said:

We slept out in the forest overnight and got arrested at 9 o’clock this morning, when the loggers turned up to start work.

He describes hearing the owls calling and wind blowing overnight, and a fantail bird darting around his hair just before being arrested in the morning.

Nearby was a stump over three metres across, which is one of the world’s tallest flowering trees, and it had been there for centuries, and in half an hour on Friday it was brought down.

I think Australia’s heritage deserved better than that.

The forest is “right up against the world heritage area” and Brown says “should be in the world heritage area”.

The governments are failing to uphold international laws which protect world heritage for us … But secondly, we are in an age of environmental and global warming crisis and extinction crisis. The United Nations says the best thing to do there is to stop logging native forests. On both counts it is the best and the cheapest option.

This is the fourth time Brown has been arrested in recent years. “In the meantime, hundreds of other people have been arrested and charged,” he says.

I think it’s appalling. It is a bit like the suffragettes, being arrested for calling for votes for women.

Four people ‘knocked unconscious’ at Sydney botanic gardens

Four people ‘knocked unconscious’ by lightning at botanic gardens as wild storm hits Sydney

NSW Ambulance says a teenager and three others in their 20s and 30s were sheltering under a tree when hit by lightning amid heavy rain

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Four people have been taken to hospital with burns after being struck by lightning in Sydney’s botanic gardens.

A spokesperson for New South Wales Ambulance said a tree with four people standing underneath it was struck by lightning at about 12.45pm on Monday.

Multiple crews treated the patients including a teenage boy, a woman in her 20s and a man and woman both in their 30s.

The four were “knocked unconscious” when struck by the lightning but regained consciousness shortly afterwards, the ambulance spokesperson said.

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The teenager and the woman in her 20s were taken to the Royal Prince Alfred hospital while the older man and woman were taken to St Vincent’s hospital.

The four patients were all transported in a stable condition after they sustained “some burns” from the lightning. They were being monitored for cardiac issues.

On Monday afternoon, there had been about 75,000 lightning strikes detected within a 100km radius of Sydney, Weatherzone’s meteorologist Ben Domensino reported.

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) urged people in the eastern parts of the state to stay across weather warnings amid severe thunderstorms and heavy rain forecasts, which could bring on flash flooding in low-lying areas.

People in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, the Hunter and on the mid north coast should monitor conditions over the next few hours, the SES said.

Areas such as Taree, Newcastle, Penrith, and Armidale could also be affected by heavy rain.

The NSW SES assistant commissioner Sean Kearns said there was potential for isolated heavy falls of 50 to 100mm.

“The NSW SES has prepositioned personnel throughout the region, and we are well-resourced to respond to any calls for assistance,” Kearns said.

“I would encourage the public to follow the advice of emergency service personnel on the ground and not to drive through floodwater.”

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Hotel owner forced to sell business after gambling watchdog finds payout error cover-up by staff

Mornington Peninsula hotel owner forced to sell business after gambling watchdog finds payout error cover-up by staff

Owner of Rye hotel hit with $80,000 fine and required to sell business after staff falsified records to cover up an erroneous cash payout

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The owner of a Victorian hotel has been fined $80,000 and will be forced to sell the business after staff tried to cover up an illegal gambling payout.

Senior staff at the Rye hotel on the Mornington Peninsula falsified records to cover up an erroneous cash payment of $2,039 to a patron, Victoria’s gambling watchdog has said.

The venue also issued a cheque to a non-winning pokie player who did not produce identification, in a separate integrity breach.

An investigation was launched by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission after it received a complaint from a member of the public.

Under Victorian law, venues must pay any winnings above $2,000 by cheque or eftpos and can only process payments to a pokies player after an identity check.

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As well as the hefty fine, the commission has required an undertaking from the owner to sell the hotel and exit the gambling industry.

The hotel has 30 pokies and wagering facilities such as TAB and Keno.

The penalty sends a clear messages to venue operators and owners on the consequences of falsifying records and concealing misconduct, the watchdog’s chief executive, Annette Kimmitt, said.

“We know that honest mistakes happen,” she said.

“However, venue operators that attempt to cover up breaches will be caught and face serious repercussions.”

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It’s true, Kelly Wilkinson was cop shopping. She was looking for a Queensland cop who cared

It’s true, Kelly Wilkinson was cop shopping. She was looking for a Queensland cop who cared

Lucy Clark

There is absolutely nothing anyone in the police force can say now to make this OK. It’s time for action

The shocking details of the death of Kelly Wilkinson were not new to us. In 2021 they horrified us all after her estranged husband, Brian Earl Johnston, was charged with the 27-year-old’s murder and the facts became known.

While out on bail for domestic violence offences, he went with a jerry can of petrol to her home in Arundel near the Gold Coast, tied her to a clothes line and, while her three children, then aged between two and nine, played nearby, he set her alight and she burned to death.

The sights, the sounds, the sensory trauma now irrevocably lodged deep inside those children is unthinkable.

Likewise, it’s appalling to imagine the fear Wilkinson felt in the weeks leading up to her death. According to her family she called or visited police every day. She knew she was not safe, she knew her children were not safe.

Yet on Sunday, more enragement. In her “frantic” last days, according to Guardian Australia’s Ben Smee, she went to one police station on the Gold Coast, received no help, and then drove to another one and again received no help.

And as she sought protection from the very officers we pay to protect us, she was described as “cop shopping”.

What does this even mean? It’s worth dwelling on for a moment so we can think about what this particular iceberg tip says about the danger lurking underneath for women in abusive relationships.

Cop shopping. What do we think was going on in the head of the officer who said that’s what Wilkinson was doing? Did they have too much paperwork to do? Did they dismiss her because they didn’t believe her? Because they thought she was being vexatious?

How often does this enduring myth – that women make up lies about abuse because they have got it in for men – turn out to be true? We know the answer to that. Just about never.

How often do we hear of women desperately trying to get help, of being known to the system as victims of violent abuse, of then turning up as the next statistic? All too often.

Cop shopping. Cop shopping for what? Cop shopping for someone to take her seriously? To help her, to protect her? To believe her?

Well then it’s true, isn’t it? Wilkinson was cop shopping. She was looking for a Queensland cop who cared.

This is not just about one officer though, and yes, yes, of course there are Queensland cops who care, maybe even the ones who didn’t do anything to help Wilkinson. Please, we’re smart enough to know the difference between individual culpability and rotten systems. As in, yes sir, I know, you personally are not a misogynist, but you work in a system that reeks of it.

There is absolutely nothing anyone in the Queensland police force can say now to make this OK. You can’t mollify this disgraceful scenario by saying the words “wouldn’t you love to turn back the clock?” and “this case represents a failure”.

You think?

Enough words now. The Queensland force must do something about its rotten misogynistic core, and then do something concretely and manifestly helpful to the abused women of Queensland. Conduct the review Wilkinson’s family is calling for? Definitely. Consider women-only police stations? Why not charge women with the protection of women?

For how many women will not come forward and report abuse to police now? One next week, one the week after? One more each and every week until we reach our annual national average of women killed by an intimate partner?

Reporting to police is already terrifying and dangerous for abused women; knowing they may be ruthlessly dismissed by those charged with their protection may be the final nail in their coffin. And police will again have blood on their hands, having failed to prevent something that was so very predictable, and so very preventable.

  • Lucy Clark is features and membership editor of Guardian Australia

  • In Australia, the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. Other international helplines may be found via www.befrienders.org.

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Perth breaks records with seven February days above 40C

WA heatwave: Perth breaks records with seven February days above 40C

Extreme temperatures see WA have top 15 hottest places in world over past 24 hours with heatwave expected to peak on Tuesday with 47C weather forecast

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Perth is baking through a record-breaking seventh 40C-plus February day as Western Australia’s extreme heatwave sees the state lock up the top 15 hottest places in the world over the past 24 hours.

Perth was forecast to hit 43C on Monday, bringing the number of days above 40C this month to seven – well beyond the previous record of four days, set in February 2016. The Pilbara was expected to reach 47C and Geraldton 46C.

The state has suffered severe heatwaves for three weeks, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issuing an extreme heatwave warning on Friday and extending it until Wednesday. Parts of WA’s west and north are worst affected.

The heat has prompted bushfire warnings along WA’s south-west coast, with Cervantes primary school and Jurien Bay District high school closed on Monday due to the increased bushfire risk. No major bushfires were burning as of mid-morning on Monday, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

“It’s been a long, hot slog for the folks in the western part of the state,” Jess Lingard, of the weather bureau, said.

Heatwave conditions have been driven by three “relentless” west coast troughs which deliver warm and dry air, she said. The consecutive troughs have been prevented from moving east and making way for cooler conditions as usual.

“The troughs sat on the coast for close to a week each, as opposed to the normal one day. I liken it to an atmospheric traffic jam,” Lingard said.

The heat is expected to peak on Tuesday when much of the western part of the state will reach 46C and 47C. Agricultural areas inland from Perth will top 45C, the bureau forecast.

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With consistently high temperatures around the clock, the heatwaves are taking their toll, Lingard said.

“It’s rough. We’re seeing very, very warm temperatures at night – we really need the nighttimes to be cool in order to allow the body to recover. These super warm nights make it really tricky,” she said.

The El Niño weather pattern, climate change and the Indian Ocean dipole all play a part in the heatwaves, she said. Record-breaking weather – from sweltering heat to extreme rainfall – across Australia has been caused by a “perfect storm” of events, climate scientists say.

On Sunday, Carnarvon, close to mainland Australia’s most westerly point, reached 49.9C, becoming the second highest temperature ever recorded in Australia in February and the country’s equal eighth highest temperature on record, according to Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino.

Carnarvon’s new record is 2.1C above the town’s old record, set on 20 Jan 2015. The same day set a record for Shark Bay which was also toppled on Sunday when the temperature hit 49.8C – a full 2.5C higher than the record.

“When you take into account the geography of Shark Bay – it is on a peninsula, surrounded by water – to get to nearly 50C is incredible,” Lingard said. “Usually, records are broken by small amounts. To smash the old record by 2.5C – it is outstanding.”

The highest temperature ever recorded in Australia in February was 50.5C in Mardie in WA on 19 February 1998. Lingard said the state’s interior temperature would have exceeded 50C “without a doubt” on Sunday, but that data is limited by the locations of recording stations.

A total fire ban covers a stretch of coastal WA from the south of Margaret River to the north of Geraldton and inland to the east of Mount Palmer.

A storm warning has been issued in the Ord River region with severe weather forecast for parts of the Kimberley.

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Perth breaks records with seven February days above 40C

WA heatwave: Perth breaks records with seven February days above 40C

Extreme temperatures see WA have top 15 hottest places in world over past 24 hours with heatwave expected to peak on Tuesday with 47C weather forecast

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Perth is baking through a record-breaking seventh 40C-plus February day as Western Australia’s extreme heatwave sees the state lock up the top 15 hottest places in the world over the past 24 hours.

Perth was forecast to hit 43C on Monday, bringing the number of days above 40C this month to seven – well beyond the previous record of four days, set in February 2016. The Pilbara was expected to reach 47C and Geraldton 46C.

The state has suffered severe heatwaves for three weeks, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issuing an extreme heatwave warning on Friday and extending it until Wednesday. Parts of WA’s west and north are worst affected.

The heat has prompted bushfire warnings along WA’s south-west coast, with Cervantes primary school and Jurien Bay District high school closed on Monday due to the increased bushfire risk. No major bushfires were burning as of mid-morning on Monday, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

“It’s been a long, hot slog for the folks in the western part of the state,” Jess Lingard, of the weather bureau, said.

Heatwave conditions have been driven by three “relentless” west coast troughs which deliver warm and dry air, she said. The consecutive troughs have been prevented from moving east and making way for cooler conditions as usual.

“The troughs sat on the coast for close to a week each, as opposed to the normal one day. I liken it to an atmospheric traffic jam,” Lingard said.

The heat is expected to peak on Tuesday when much of the western part of the state will reach 46C and 47C. Agricultural areas inland from Perth will top 45C, the bureau forecast.

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With consistently high temperatures around the clock, the heatwaves are taking their toll, Lingard said.

“It’s rough. We’re seeing very, very warm temperatures at night – we really need the nighttimes to be cool in order to allow the body to recover. These super warm nights make it really tricky,” she said.

The El Niño weather pattern, climate change and the Indian Ocean dipole all play a part in the heatwaves, she said. Record-breaking weather – from sweltering heat to extreme rainfall – across Australia has been caused by a “perfect storm” of events, climate scientists say.

On Sunday, Carnarvon, close to mainland Australia’s most westerly point, reached 49.9C, becoming the second highest temperature ever recorded in Australia in February and the country’s equal eighth highest temperature on record, according to Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino.

Carnarvon’s new record is 2.1C above the town’s old record, set on 20 Jan 2015. The same day set a record for Shark Bay which was also toppled on Sunday when the temperature hit 49.8C – a full 2.5C higher than the record.

“When you take into account the geography of Shark Bay – it is on a peninsula, surrounded by water – to get to nearly 50C is incredible,” Lingard said. “Usually, records are broken by small amounts. To smash the old record by 2.5C – it is outstanding.”

The highest temperature ever recorded in Australia in February was 50.5C in Mardie in WA on 19 February 1998. Lingard said the state’s interior temperature would have exceeded 50C “without a doubt” on Sunday, but that data is limited by the locations of recording stations.

A total fire ban covers a stretch of coastal WA from the south of Margaret River to the north of Geraldton and inland to the east of Mount Palmer.

A storm warning has been issued in the Ord River region with severe weather forecast for parts of the Kimberley.

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Woman committed to stand trial charged with murder of her baby

Woman committed to stand trial in Queensland charged with murder of her baby

Both Noemi Kondacs and the baby’s father, Reinhardt Bosch, have been charged over son Rhuan’s death in Yugar, near Brisbane, in 2022

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A woman accused of murdering her seven-month-old baby boy has been committed to stand trial in a Brisbane court.

Noemi Kondacs was charged with murder and torture after her arrest on the day Rhuan Immanuel Bosch died in November 2022.

The torture charge against the 23-year-old was withdrawn by crown prosecutor Elise Adams in Brisbane magistrates court on Monday.

The charge was replaced with one count of failing to supply the necessities of life for the boy between 11 April and 3 November, 2022.

The baby’s father Reinhardt (Ryan) Albert Bosch was committed in October to stand trial on one count each of murder, torture and assault occasioning bodily harm.

Prosecutors allege the pair murdered Rhuan on 2 November in the small rural town of Yugar, about 30km northwest of Brisbane.

After adjourning to read statements and a witness and exhibit list submitted by the crown, magistrate Ross Mack committed Kondacs to stand trial in the Brisbane supreme court.

“I am of the opinion that the evidence adduced is sufficient to put you on trial for an indictable offence,” he said.

Mack told Kondacs, who was self-represented, that he encouraged her to at least investigate the availability of a lawyer funded by Legal Aid.

Bosch was born in Pretoria, South Africa and worked as a youth carer, while Kondacs is from Stuttgart in Germany, court documents show.

Paramedics called officers to the Yugar home about 6.45am on 2 November in relation to an unresponsive boy, police said at the time.

“The investigations uncovered injuries to the child that are enough for us to charge with murder,” Det Insp David Jackman said.

An indictment is yet to be presented for Bosch, with both accused due to appear in the Brisbane Supreme Court on a date yet to be set.

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Barnaby Joyce says he has given up alcohol for Lent as Perin Davey admits having two drinks before Senate hearing

Barnaby Joyce says he has given up alcohol for Lent as Perin Davey admits having two drinks before Senate hearing

New England MP accuses opponents of exploiting issue for political gain, while footage emerges of deputy Nationals leader appearing to slur her words

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Barnaby Joyce has said he has given up drinking for Lent and accused political opponents of seeking to exploit the issue of parliamentarians’ consumption of alcohol.

The shadow veterans affairs minister made the comments on Monday after the deputy Nationals leader, Perin Davey, admitted she had two drinks before a Senate committee hearing in which she appeared to slur and stumble over words.

Politicians’ consumption of alcohol has been in the spotlight since Daily Mail Australia published night-time footage of Joyce in Canberra lying face up on the pavement with his feet on a planter box, having a phone conversation and uttering profanities.

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Last week Joyce stared down calls from the Nationals leader, David Littleproud, to take personal leave after the episode.

On Monday Joyce was asked on Channel Seven’s Sunrise about Davey and a possible booze ban in parliament.

“I’ve given up two things for Lent, one is drinking, the other one’s talking about other people in regards to that,” Joyce replied.

“I’ll let other people deal with the issues that are personal to them, and I won’t be adding commentary to it, and sometimes I do get a sense of, ‘Let’s exploit this issue politically for all the purpose we can get.’ That’s an issue for the parties to decide, I’ll let them have that discussion.”

Joyce was criticised in the Nationals party room over the footage.

On Thursday the independent MP Zali Steggall questioned why parliament does not have a random alcohol and drug testing policy.

It was unclear whether Joyce’s comments about exploiting the issue were directed at internal or external critics.

The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, said: “People shouldn’t be drunk at work.

“And I really think adults need to think very hard about their consumption of alcohol in the workplace. I don’t really see any cause for it at all.”

But Plibersek, also on Sunrise, said she wasn’t sure if “a booze ban is the way to fix that” and noted that “the truth is most parliamentarians don’t drink at work”.

“What you see is a few high‑profile cases that I suppose give the impression that we’re all out there, you know, on the turps every night. It’s simply not the case.”

Davey had told Sky News she “did have a drink” before speaking at a Senate environment and communications committee hearing last Tuesday.

But Davey denied being drunk, saying she had only had two glasses of red wine at a staff function.

“I wouldn’t say I was under the weather,” she reportedly said. “I stumbled over my words. If you want to pick on people who stumble over their words, there are plenty of Labor MPs [who do that].”

The Coalition spokesperson Simon Birmingham told the ABC on Monday that “every member of parliament is responsible for themselves” and defended Davey.

“I know Perin works very hard in agitating for her communities in New South Wales and there are many different functions hosted in the parliament, and everyone needs to make sure in attending those functions and then going back into parliamentary duty they are mindful of being at their best performance and capacity in how they conduct themselves,” he said.

Asked whether it was a good look, Birmingham said he had not seen the footage.

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, said he understood voters “hold those of us in public life to a higher standard, and that’s appropriately so” and also defended the Nationals senator.

“I know Perin well, she’s a very decent person,” he said.

“She has a real burning desire to help people, particularly in regional areas. She’s made a mistake in this instance, she’s owned up to it and her other colleagues should learn from it as well. People can have a drink in moderation, you can catch up with friends, you can attend social functions.”

On Sunday the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, told reporters in Nowra that “people will look at that footage, or other footage that went around recently, and make up their own mind”.

Asked about a potential booze ban, Albanese said that parliamentarians were “accountable for their actions” because “they’re up for election every three years”.

“But I think that when you are a member of parliament, you’re by definition an adult.

“You’re someone who has a great deal of responsibility, and it’s important that we show respect for the people that sent us to parliament.”

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Former PM accuses UN of antisemitism and applying double standards against Israel

Scott Morrison accuses UN of antisemitism and applying double standards against Israel

Former Australian PM addresses rally against antisemitism in Sydney organised by a Christian pastor in support of the Jewish community

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Former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has accused the United Nations of antisemitism and applying double standards against Israel “not expected of any other democratic nation”.

At a Sydney rally against antisemitism, Morrison went through a list of what he considered to be covered by the term.

“Denying the Jewish people their right of self-determination by claiming the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour – that’s antisemitism,” he told the crowd of a few thousand people at the Never Again Is Now event on Sunday.

“Applying double standards by requiring of … Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation – that is antisemitism.

“And we have seen that in the United Nations.”

Antisemitism also included “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” and “holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel”, Morrison said.

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He said he was standing in solidarity with Jewish people “to remove the cloak of sentiment, self-declared respectability, and asserted moral superiority and reveal the dark heart of antisemitism that continues to linger below the surface, both here in Australia and elsewhere”.

The Coalition’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Simon Birmingham, said on Monday the opposition continued to support Israel’s “aims” in Gaza, while adding “significant care needs to be undertaken [in] any military actions that do occur within that region”.

Asked about Morrison’s comments, Birmingham raised questions over the aid agency UNRWA. The Albanese government paused $6m in additional funding to the UN agency after Israel raised claims UNRWA staff had been involved in the 7 October attacks. The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, has since admitted Australia did not have “all the facts” on Israel’s allegations.

“I think, sadly, tragically, we have seen, of course, in the instance of UNRWA the identification of individuals who were involved in the October 7 attacks, [and] more who appear to have supported those attacks,” Birmingham said.

He said there was a “longer history of questions being asked about the way in which that organisation, that UN body, has operated in its teaching practices … which appears to have led to extremist views and really antisemitic views within that as well,” he said.

“The UN is subject to the votes and wishes … of its member states, and sadly, all too often we do see often, autocracies, dictatorships and other countries with little values in common with Australia, who take very anti-Israel and antisemitic positions.

“We need to be ever-vigilant in seeking to push back against that in our society, in Australia where we’ve seen the rise in antisemitism all too much and in the international institution against those countries who would seek to advance those views.”

Morrison last year told worshippers in Perth “don’t trust in the United Nations” and has accused the UN of pursuing “negative globalism” while prime minister.

During a visit to Israel in November with former UK prime minister Boris Johnston, he argued against the world getting “sucked into a ceasefire”.

In an interim judgment handed down last month, the UN’s international court of justice ordered Israel to ensure its forces did not commit acts of genocide. At least 30,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed since 7 October when Israel launched an offensive against the Gaza Strip in response to a Hamas attack.

Morrison, who has resigned from parliament to take up roles with American security firms, also told the Sydney rally – which had been organised by a Christian pastor in support of the Jewish community – that he believed the phrase “from the river to the sea” to be antisemitic.

Islamophobic and antisemitic incidents have risen substantially in Australia since 7 October, with the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, continuing to plead for social cohesion.

Rallies calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have been held each week in major Australian capital cities since October, in what is thought to be Australia’s longest-running consecutive protest marches.

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Retailer’s fair trade suppliers left with ‘more than $1m’ of ingredients

The Body Shop’s fair trade suppliers left with ‘more than $1m’ of ingredients

Vulnerable people from the Amazon to Africa say stock may never be paid for by ethical beauty chain after it called in administrators

The Body Shop’s fair trade suppliers who work with vulnerable people from the Amazon to Africa say they have been left with more than $1m worth of beauty ingredients that may now never be ordered or paid for by the ethical beauty chain.

The retailer, which called in administrators to its UK arm last week, has partnerships with 18 community fair trade partnerships around the world via its own scheme. Many of the relationships have been in place for more than 20 years.

Several told the Guardian they could be left with hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock – a figure that may not be large by corporate standards, but suppliers said it was very meaningful to families living on low incomes in often remote areas.

The Body Shop’s UK arm continues to trade as usual, administrators from the accounting firm FRP said, and creditors will be kept informed as the process moves forward.

However, any supplier debts will be lined up behind many other creditors – and orders could shrink if the stores are closed.

Aurelius, the restructuring specialist that bought Body Shop for £207m in a deal finalised last month, is understood to be the main creditor with a secured debt which will ensure it gets paid. It is expected to take back the chain, but only after many shops have closed.

The future of the group’s Irish, mainland European and Japanese divisions also hangs in the balance. The German business was put into insolvency last week.

Several community suppliers told the Guardian they had no written contract with The Body Shop, but had produced an agreed amount of product for the business for many years.

Gaston Vizcarra, president of Candela Peru – which has been providing Brazilian nut oil for The Body Shop since 1998 from nuts collected by 400 local families in the Amazon – said there was a $0.5m inventory of oil on hold for the retailer. “We don’t have any debt, but for more than two years we have manufactured this oil ready to go. There is no contract. It is based on trust.

“We usually sell a certain volume but The Body Shop has not been buying for at least a year. It has affected our capacity to work with producers and buy nuts from them.”

Most of the fair trade community projects do not supply The Body Shop directly. They sell their ingredients to intermediaries such as oil refiners or one of the group’s 20-plus cosmetics and beauty product manufacturers.

The producers are concerned that if manufacturers are not paid by administrators to The Body Shop, they in turn will not be paid.

“It’s a worry,” said the head of one community producer group based in Africa which works of thousands of individuals. “We are all affected, whatever the changes coming up. It is going to affect the whole supply chain.”

Mayk Arruda from CoppalJ, a Brazilian cooperative working with local communities that produces oil from the Babassu palm which grows in the Amazon, said it had just received an order for 30 tonnes of oil worth more than €300,000 and was concerned that it may not be paid.

“We work with 258 families directly and can impact more than 1,000,” he said. “If we are not paid, we are going to face a big problem. It is very important for us to generate a good quality of life.”

He said the higher price paid for the oil by The Body Shop had generated a “revolution in families’ lives” and there was a concern “that we will lose [that].”

Nick Hoskyns has supplied The Body Shop with sesame oil from the Juan Francisco Paz Silva cooperative in Nicaragua since 1993. The group works with 270 families. It has about $300,000 of sesame oil in stock that was produced without a contract.

“We have a relationship of trust and exclusivity of over 30 years which has been more than a contract. A break in trust has happened with Aurelius. There has been a sort of cultural bucket of water being poured over us.

“How can this happen to such an amazing company that has done so much?”

Some fair trade suppliers deal directly with The Body Shop and so may miss out on payments as they will be in line behind secured creditors, such as Aurelius, in the UK arm’s administration.

Milan Dev Bhattarai is the founder of Get Paper Industries in Nepal, which has been providing handmade recycled paper packaging to The Body Shop since 1989 via a partnership brokered by The Body Shop’s founder, Anita Roddick.

Dev Bhattarai said the company was not owed money but he added: “If there are closures of The Body Shop UK, not only more than 500 producers will have negative impact in their lives, but hundreds of girls will lose the opportunity for education, thousands of children will miss the opportunities for improved school. People of local communities will lose health support and many girls might be trafficked for difficult life. Tree plantation will be disturbed.”

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Man sues Powerball lottery after being told his apparent $340m win was error

Man sues Powerball lottery after being told his apparent $340m win was error

Game’s administrators said their website only showed John Cheeks’s numbers as the winning combination by mistake

A man who thought he had won a $340m Powerball jackpot is suing the lottery after the game’s administrators said their website only showed his numbers as the winning combination by mistake.

Washington DC resident John Cheeks purchased a Powerball lottery ticket at the center of the dispute on 6 January 2023. Although Cheeks did not see the Powerball drawing the following day, he saw his numbers posted on the DC lottery’s website two days later.

The digits on his ticket were a combination of family birthdays and other numbers of personal significance. Speaking to NBC Washington, Cheeks said, “I got a little excited, but I didn’t shout, I didn’t scream. I just politely called a friend. I took a picture as he recommended, and that was it. I went to sleep.”

But then things for Cheeks took a turn for the worse when he went to the office of lottery and gaming (OLG) to redeem his ticket. Court documents allege that administrators denied Cheeks’ jackpot claim, saying in a letter to him: “Petitioner’s prize claim was denied … because the ticket did not validate as a winner by the OLG’s gaming system as required by OLG regulations.”

Cheeks also said that he received an odd request from a claims staffer who allegedly told him, “Hey, this ticket is no good. Just throw it in the trash can.”

Cheeks recalled, “I gave him a stern look. I said, ‘In the trash can?’

‘Oh yeah, just throw it away. You’re not going to get paid. There’s a trash can right there.’”

Cheeks did not discard his ticket. Instead, he put it in a safe deposit box, reached out to an attorney and sued Powerball. Other defendants named in Cheeks’s lawsuit include the Multi-State Lottery Association and game contractor Taoti Enterprises.

In a court declaration, Taoti project manager Brittany Bailey said that on 6 January 2023, the company’s quality assurance team was conducting testing of a task involving a changing of time zones for the Powerball website from Coordinated Universal Time to Eastern Standard Time.

At 12.09pm that day, the Taoti quality assurance team accidentally posted test Powerball numbers on the game’s live website rather than a development environment which mimicked the site but was not viewable to the public, according to Bailey.

Bailey added that the test numbers were not the numbers drawn for the 7 January 2023 Powerball drawing. They also could not have been the numbers drawn because the incorrect ones were posted on 6 January, a day prior to the drawing.

On 8 January, the incorrect lottery numbers were listed next to the actual winning numbers on the DC Lottery website. Upon realizing the error on 9 January, the Taoti development team took down the numbers, Bailey said.

Despite Taoti’s claims, Cheeks’s attorney Richard Evans told NBC Washington: “They have said that one of their contractors made a mistake. … I haven’t seen the evidence to support that yet.”

He went on to add, “Even if a mistake was made, the question becomes: What do you do about that?”

Evans argued that there is precedent for such a situation. Last November, the Iowa Lottery posted the wrong Powerball numbers, citing a “human reporting error”. However, the Iowa Lottery said that the temporary winners – people who had the numbers at issue – could keep their prizes, which ranged from $4 to $200.

“A mistake was admitted to by a contractor and they paid the winnings out,” Evans said.

Powerball is played in 45 states as well as DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. A Powerball ticket costs $2 in most states, and players can pick their own numbers or have a computer make the selection.

The odds of winning the jackpot are staggeringly small, at one in 292.2m.

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