The Guardian 2024-03-10 16:03:30


NSW lagging on rollout of renewables meaning Australia could miss 2030 clean energy target

State less than halfway to goal, report suggests, adding to challenges for federal government’s 82% renewable energy target for grid by end of decade

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New South Wales has the largest gap between its 2030 emissions reduction goals and the present pace of renewables rollout among the states, a performance that will make it harder for Australia to meet national goals unless addressed, a new report argues.

The report, by Green Energy Markets, said NSW’s legislated electricity infrastructure roadmap indicates the state would need to generate 33,600 gigawatt hours of renewable energy from projects in place by the end of 2029.

On this score, NSW was less than halfway to its goal with forecast output from projects already committed or contracted at about 12,911GWh as of the end of 2023. Those projects amounted to just over 6GW of capacity, leaving the state with almost 7.5GW more in wind and solar farms needed to hit the target.

For Queensland, the capacity shortfall was about 2.6GW given a “remarkable” recent pace of approvals, with South Australia’s at 2.445GW. Victoria was now less than 1GW shy of the needed capacity to meet its own target of 60% renewables by 2030, while Western Australia already had enough projects either under construction, contracted or government-funded to meet its goal.

The Albanese government’s 82% renewable energy target for the grid by 2030 was already going to be a stretch as the federal goal was greater than what the states themselves were aiming for, the report said.

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Still, as the biggest electricity generator, NSW was “the chokepoint” for the national transition off fossil fuels, said Tristan Edis, a senior Green Energy Markets analyst and an author of the report. It was time for planners “to take their foot off the pedal”, he said.

NSW largely dodged major strains on its power grid this summer with heatwaves for main population centres, including Sydney, mostly limited to single-day events.

But the state’s challenges may worsen in the near term. Australia’s largest power station – the 2.88GW Eraring coal-fired plant – is slated to shut by August 2025. Talks over an extension continue between NSW and owner Origin, with its exit to remove about a quarter of the NSW’s so-called baseload generation capacity.

The Minns Labor government said it was stepping up the pace of approvals with 18 “significant” wind, solar and battery projects getting the nod in 2023. A planning department spokesperson told Guardian Australia the state government was presently assessing 29 renewable energy projects.

“It is also awaiting development applications and [environmental statements] for more than 70 new projects from industry,” the spokesperson said, adding the department aimed “to determine up to 50 new energy projects in 2024 with a combined generation and storage capacity of up to 25 gigawatts”.

The NSW planning minister, Paul Scully, told the Smart Energy Council’s conference in Sydney last week that average approval time for projects had fallen to just 67 days.

His estimate, though, was at odds with a Clean Energy Investment Group report that found solar farms over the past five years were taking 705 days on average to secure approval, battery projects 540 days and windfarms almost 3,500 days.

A senior executive in the renewables industry, who requested anonymity, said NSW was by the worst among the states and territories for planning approvals.

The executive cited changes to conditions once approvals had been granted that could deter future investment. These included draft wind energy guidelines that could trigger retrospective alterations, even within the state’s renewable energy zones that were originally set up to streamline developments.

In the case of the Central West-Orana zone, the initial target for the amount of power that would be in excess of transmission capacity was put at 0.3% in December 2021. By 2022, however, the target for curtailment had been lifted 14-fold to 4.37%, even before limits outside the zone, such as in Sydney, were added.

“The value proposition of the CWO REZ has been seriously eroded from what was proposed in 2021,” the executive said. “Intending generators are being asked to pay huge amounts to access a new network with local curtailment levels worse than the vast majority of the national electricity market [NEM] with very little protection it will not get worse over time.”

A spokesperson for EnergyCo, the agency charged with implementing NSW’s electricity plan, said the revised curtailment figure of 4.37% “better reflects typical curtailment in economic modelling across the NEM and optimises network efficiency, in the interests of electricity consumers”.

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How many cattle are there in Australia? We may be out by 10 million

Official estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics put the national herd at 26 million, but a CSIRO study says there could be up to 35 million

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Australia has underestimated how many cattle it has by about 10 million, with significant implications for tracking greenhouse gas emissions, a Queensland researcher has said.

Cows’ methane-laden burps are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the red meat sector, which has an aspirational goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Official estimates, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, state there are 26 million beef and dairy cattle in Australia in 2024.

But a 2021 report published by the CSIRO concluded the real number could be around 35 million – 56-75% higher than the figures published by the ABS and widely-accepted by government and the red meat industry. The ABS estimate is also what is used to calculate emissions from the red meat industry.

Geoffry Fordyce is a former veterinary scientist from the University of Queensland and lead author of the report. He said the findings further challenges the assumption that there has been a 65% reduction in emissions from Australia’s red meat industry on 2005 levels.

That reduction was calculated in another report by the CSIRO, commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), and has already been called into question by scientists who say it is also based on unreliable land clearing data.

“They’re working with faulty data,” Fordyce said. “If they admit there’s 10 million more cattle than they originally thought, they’ve got a real problem.”

The ABS figures are based on surveys completed by farmers, which are then extrapolated into national figures. Fordyce, who has spent more than 40 years working on cattle stations across Queensland and south-east Asia, said farmers “openly admit they underreport what they’ve got”.

“There’s all sorts of sentiment associated with big brother, the taxation office and all the rest of it,” he said. “They just don’t want anyone to know what they’re really doing.”

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The ABS’s head of agriculture statistics, Rob Walter, said while he had “a lot of confidence” in the farm surveys, they were never designed to measure Australia’s total cattle population because they excluded small-scale producers.

“They are clearly a lower estimate than the actual number of cattle,” Walter said.

Walter said there was “probably a level” of underreporting in ABS surveys, particularly in Northern Australia. “Some of those properties in Northern Australia are the size of small European countries,” he said. “For them to know how many cattle they have [on reporting day] can be very difficult.”

The underreporting effects the total greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the Australian beef sector. Australia’s beef cattle herd is estimated to have released the equivalent of 57 metric tonnes of C02 annually in methane between 2015-2020.

If Fordyce’s estimates on total cattle numbers are used, that figure could be as high as 90 metric tonnes.

‘There wouldn’t be enough cattle’

Farmers in Australia are required to register cattle, sheep and goats through the national livestock identification system (NLIS). Livestock must be fitted with an electronic ear tag before it is moved between properties or taken to a saleyard.

But that requirement only kicks in when the animal leaves the property. Walter said because herd fertility rates and the portion of cattle that leave the farm are highly variable year on year, the number of cattle on farms can be hard to determine.

Fordyce said his team arrived at the shortfall of 10 million cattle by working back from slaughter, export and mortality data, which is accurately tracked through the NLIS.

“We figured out that, roughly speaking, there are about 10 million cattle exiting the industry each year.” he said. “If you believe the industry’s data, the herd would disappear in a few years. There wouldn’t be enough cattle [on farms] to support that kind of output each year.”

The ABS discontinued its farm surveys in July 2023 due to declining response rates and to reduce reporting burden on farmers, Walter said.

He said the ABS is working with government, industry groups and academics, including Fordyce, to produce new figures using a range of data sources that better reflect the actual number of cows in Australia.

Walter expects the new data, to be released in May, to be higher than previous survey-based reporting.

“We’ve made a commitment to making things easier for farmers, as well as to increase the availability of quality data,” he said.

A spokesperson for MLA said the unaware of underreporting of cattle numbers, but that it can be difficult to estimate how many cattle there are on remote properties on reporting day. The association conducts its own online survey to gather data on the national herd.

“MLA will continue to support activities to ensure the most accurate data is available to inform the red meat industry’s progress in terms of emissions,” they said. “If improved data sets become available, these will be incorporated.”

The chief executive of the Northern Territory Cattle Association, Will Evans, said there was “no advantage” to producers in underreporting cattle, but that “we don’t currently have a tool … to accurately estimate the size of the national herd.

“We’ve got a lot less people working in the regions than we used to who are able to verify and accurately collect data,” Evans said. “You need people driving around in utes talking to people.”

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School shopping: the inner-city schools next to public housing towers that middle class families avoid

A group of primary schools are struggling to attract enrolments. It’s a different story for those in neighbouring zones

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When Koreena Carlton sees a parent pushing a pram from her office window, she often grabs a brochure, rushes outside and introduces herself. “I will ask them how old their kids are, if they want to come check out the school,” says the principal of Debney Meadows primary school, in Melbourne’s inner north.

“The other staff do laugh at me quite a bit. I’m outside every single day – before school, after school. Any community event, someone from the school will be there. We are very active in trying to show people what we do.”

Carlton, who joined the public school in 2021, is on a mission to encourage parents in the Flemington community to send their children to it.

When it first opened in the mid-1970s, Debney Meadows had 575 students. During the pandemic, enrolments were as low as 64.

According to the Victorian education department’s “enrolment pressure index”, which measures demand across state schools, Debney Meadows was at 14% capacity in 2022 – when the most recent data was compiled.

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Debney Meadows’ situation is in stark contrast with other primary schools in the increasingly gentrifying inner north of Melbourne.

Less than a kilometre away, the Flemington primary school was at 66% capacity in 2022. The Ascot Vale and Kensington primary schools, each a five minute’s drive from Debney Meadows, were at 77% and 85% respectively..

Experts suggest Debney Meadow’s predicament is likely due to its location. Its wedged between four public housing towers, two of which are slated for demolition by the state government by 2031.

The majority of its students are children of recent migrants and refugees, and 80% are from the most disadvantaged quarter of the Australian community, according to the My School website.

Yet Flemington public school has 344 students, of which 60% are from the most advantaged quarter.

Christina Ho, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, suggests this is a result of “school shopping”, and says its become more prevalent among middle-class parents in gentrified suburbs across Australia.

“The middle class families are trying to essentially avoid people from lower income backgrounds,” she says.

“Perhaps they think that these kids will be more disruptive in class or they’ll be a bad influence on the kids. Sometimes, there is also a racial component if there are a lot of non-Anglo Australian kids, that could be seen as a negative influence.

“There’s often a lot of euphemisms that people will use. They might say a certain school looks very rough. That’s often code for ‘there’s a lot of kids who look like they might be from poor backgrounds’ or from certain ethnic backgrounds.”

It’s a similar story five kilometres away in Carlton.

Carlton Gardens primary school was bursting at the seams at 119% of capacity in 2022, while Carlton North primary school was at 96%.

Yet Carlton primary school – located next to the public housing towers on Drummond and Lygon Street – was at only 23% capacity.

Further east, Richmond primary school was at 89% capacity – in contrast to the nearby Richmond West school, which sits between towers on Highett Street and Lennox Street, which was at 63%.

Tom Greenwell, a Canberra-based teacher and author of ‘Waiting for Gonski: How Australia failed its schools’, says the country has one of the most segregated school systems in the OECD.

“It overwhelmingly means a concentration of disadvantaged students in public schools,” he says.

School shopping

In Victoria, parents can seek enrolments at a school outside their designated zone. But if that school has limited spaces available, applications are considered using the “priority order of placement”, which prioritises students “who live within the school zone and out of zone siblings”.

Ho says the policy, which is similar in other states, encourages school shopping.

“This has created a culture really of going school shopping. You’re looking around at all the nearby schools, and then sometimes further afield,” Ho says.

Carlton says she’s aware of several local families who have chosen to send their children to schools outside the zone.

“The way the policy is, they have a right to do that,” she says.

“I don’t know what it is. I’m not sure why people aren’t choosing the school. It would be lovely to see people come through the doors and see the school, see the work that we do, the level of community engagement that we have.

“It’s a beautiful school with a beautiful culture.”

An education department spokesperson says all Victorian schools “do a fantastic job catering for unique and diverse student demographics” and “sit at the heart of their communities”.

“We’re continuing to invest in inner-city schools to ensure all students have the best facilities and opportunities for success,” they say.

“Debney Meadows is just one fantastic example of many schools going above and beyond to deliver outcomes for every student, no matter their background.”

When Carlton started at Debney Meadows, the state was in the grips of Covid-19. A year earlier, the towers of Flemington and North Melbourne were placed into a hard lockdown with no warning.

Many families, who were offered alternative housing by the Victorian government, had left the school.

“When I came, we saw the number of students enrolled drop to its lowest number of around 64,” she says.

“My job was to start to build back not just enrolments but a school community.”

With a grant from the William Buckland Foundation, the school transformed an empty space into a community hub, which offers playgroups, adult education, as well as dance, homework and sports clubs.

Carlton also set up a school readiness program that prepares preps for school from term two of the previous year. She says program is more comprehensive than what other schools offer, and also begins about six months earlier.

It’s seen enrolments bounce back – there are now 118 students at the school, with half either in prep or grade 1.

Other schools are also taking a creative approach to increase enrolments. Fitzroy primary school attracted students and lifted its “disadvantage” profile when it adopted a French bilingual program several years ago.

Since adopting the program, enrolments have doubled to 200 students and is projected to reach 300 in coming years.

Resourcing disparities

But Carlton says at Debney Meadows it is still a struggle to get prospective parents through the doors. She suggests it’s concrete and brick exterior could be to blame.

“It is a harsh building, when you look at it, Richmond West is the same,” she says.

“But with some funding, we could soften it up, make it more inviting.”

The school is part of the Victorian government’s Flemington Education Plan but unlike Ascot Vale and Flemington, which received $3.87m and $1.15m for upgrades in 2020/21, it hasn’t received any funding for capital works beyond $400,000 for planning.

According to Greenwell, segregation between schools is occurring due to resourcing disparities.

He points to a recent federal government-commissioned report, which showed that disadvantaged students who were concentrated with other disadvantaged students at school had worse outcomes compared to being in a classroom with a lot of advantaged students.

“The peers [who] you learn with have a big effect on your student outcomes,” Greenwell says.

“Social cohesion doesn’t just grow on trees. You need to foster it and support it and encourage parents to enrol their children in their local public school and be confident that that school is appropriately resourced.”

Ho points to broader consequences of schools becoming segregated.

“If students are only dealing with people who are like them, then that is a real lost opportunity for them to learn the kinds of skills to gain an understanding about how all sorts of different people live their lives,” she says.

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Australian students struggling to put food on the table in unpaid training, but this could be a thing of the past

Federal government’s University Accord report recommends financial support for nurse, teacher and social work trainees

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By the time Marni Tavener graduates, she’ll have spent 1,200 hours working for Queensland’s hospitals – but without a dollar to show for it.

The 29-year-old must undertake multiple full-time, on-call training placements to get her nursing and midwifery degree.

“At the drop of a hat, we have to go into the hospital,” she says. “If one of your women that you’re following through [pregnancy] calls you, then you go.”

The constant, uncertain hours wouldn’t be a problem if Tavener was being paid. But placements are always unpaid, and she’s had to cut back on her paid work as a nanny to fit them in.

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That means less food on the table.

“I have to pick and choose between being able to afford fruit and vegetables,” she says. “I can live Centrelink payment to Centrelink payment – just.”

Tavener is one of thousands of students around Australia who has to sacrifice their studies, income and health to take on compulsory placements.

A proposal in the federal government’s University Accord report to pay students on placement is welcome news to aspiring nurses, teachers and social workers, who are all required to complete hundreds of hours of intense workplace training to get their degree.

“Providing financial support for placements is essential to ensure that enough students can meet their … requirements without falling into poverty,” the report said.

“Mandatory placements can involve onerous hours and can financially disadvantage students who are unable to participate in paid work.”

Social work student Tyler Robb had to move out of Sydney when taking on a placement forced her to give up her weekday income.

“Even if I worked every day on the weekend, I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in Sydney and do my placement,” she says.

Robb’s only option was to move back in with her mum in Toukley on the NSW Central Coast, a two-hour commute from her placement and her classes. But she counts herself lucky.

“There’s definitely a lot of students I know who aren’t in the same boat as me, and they’ve had to postpone placements or even drop out of the degree,” she says.

Prof Christine Morley, head of the social work and human services disciplines at Queensland University of Technology, says Robb’s experience is all too common.

“Students are worried about money or having to work excessive hours, or impoverished because they don’t have enough money to make ends meet,” she says.

Morley’s research indicates students avoid or drop out of degrees with high unpaid work requirements due to the uncompensated financial and mental burden.

Without change, “we would continue to see a downturn in the people who are putting their hands up to become teachers and nurses and social workers and that would be devastating for our community”, she says.

Sandra Kallarakkal studies teaching. While on placement, she worked eight-hour days at a school followed by four hours each night preparing for the next day’s classes.

“I still wouldn’t be done by 10.30pm,” she says. “I just couldn’t handle it … so I stopped working.”

Placement students not only face heavy hours but also the full intensity and responsibility of the job. Just two days into Kallarakkal’s teacher training placement, a student in her class assaulted one of the teachers.

“I was just really scared because I don’t know what I would have done if that was me,” she says. “I’m not there to fight off students who are physically assaulting me. I’m there to teach them.”

But despite the long days and heavy responsibilities of placements, the students still say the experience is invaluable.

“You can do your classes at uni and your simulated rooms and stuff, but you are learning when you are in the workplace,” Tavener says.

The real problem, according to Robb, is the lack of pay.

“It was probably the hardest I was working in my whole life, but it was the poorest I’d ever been,” she says.

“The role that we provide on placement is the equivalent of an undergraduate student in nursing [working as an employee],” Tavener says. “So why are we not getting some kind of compensation when we’re doing that role on placement?”

Kallarakkal doesn’t expect paid placements to cover her costs or compensate for the heavy responsibilities of her work, but she’s hopeful for a bit of extra support.

“Some amount of money would be better than the nothing we currently get.”

Other students are more strident in their demands, with Robb among those demanding minimum wages for placement workers. Some have organised an advocacy group, Students Against Placement Poverty, to campaign for wage rates in line with industry standards.

“Students’ health, wellbeing, capacity to learn, would all benefit from paid placements,” Morley says. “It would be absolutely a gamechanger.”

While the education minister, Jason Clare, wants placements to be paid, he has not committed to funding them, saying the federal government will spend the coming months considering reform.

The University Accord report only recommends employers make “reasonable contributions” to the costs of providing placements, with the government to provide support for key industries including nursing, care and teaching. It doesn’t say what form the financial support should take.

State governments and some private employers are sympathetic, but say they won’t foot the bill, suggesting Clare might struggle to split responsibility for funding the payments.

Without the urgent introduction of support, Tavener says workforce shortages will continue to worsen.

“Even if it was like a token amount, like if it was $50 a day,” she says.

“We need something to be able to continue, to not burn out.”

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Australian students struggling to put food on the table in unpaid training, but this could be a thing of the past

Federal government’s University Accord report recommends financial support for nurse, teacher and social work trainees

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

By the time Marni Tavener graduates, she’ll have spent 1,200 hours working for Queensland’s hospitals – but without a dollar to show for it.

The 29-year-old must undertake multiple full-time, on-call training placements to get her nursing and midwifery degree.

“At the drop of a hat, we have to go into the hospital,” she says. “If one of your women that you’re following through [pregnancy] calls you, then you go.”

The constant, uncertain hours wouldn’t be a problem if Tavener was being paid. But placements are always unpaid, and she’s had to cut back on her paid work as a nanny to fit them in.

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

That means less food on the table.

“I have to pick and choose between being able to afford fruit and vegetables,” she says. “I can live Centrelink payment to Centrelink payment – just.”

Tavener is one of thousands of students around Australia who has to sacrifice their studies, income and health to take on compulsory placements.

A proposal in the federal government’s University Accord report to pay students on placement is welcome news to aspiring nurses, teachers and social workers, who are all required to complete hundreds of hours of intense workplace training to get their degree.

“Providing financial support for placements is essential to ensure that enough students can meet their … requirements without falling into poverty,” the report said.

“Mandatory placements can involve onerous hours and can financially disadvantage students who are unable to participate in paid work.”

Social work student Tyler Robb had to move out of Sydney when taking on a placement forced her to give up her weekday income.

“Even if I worked every day on the weekend, I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in Sydney and do my placement,” she says.

Robb’s only option was to move back in with her mum in Toukley on the NSW Central Coast, a two-hour commute from her placement and her classes. But she counts herself lucky.

“There’s definitely a lot of students I know who aren’t in the same boat as me, and they’ve had to postpone placements or even drop out of the degree,” she says.

Prof Christine Morley, head of the social work and human services disciplines at Queensland University of Technology, says Robb’s experience is all too common.

“Students are worried about money or having to work excessive hours, or impoverished because they don’t have enough money to make ends meet,” she says.

Morley’s research indicates students avoid or drop out of degrees with high unpaid work requirements due to the uncompensated financial and mental burden.

Without change, “we would continue to see a downturn in the people who are putting their hands up to become teachers and nurses and social workers and that would be devastating for our community”, she says.

Sandra Kallarakkal studies teaching. While on placement, she worked eight-hour days at a school followed by four hours each night preparing for the next day’s classes.

“I still wouldn’t be done by 10.30pm,” she says. “I just couldn’t handle it … so I stopped working.”

Placement students not only face heavy hours but also the full intensity and responsibility of the job. Just two days into Kallarakkal’s teacher training placement, a student in her class assaulted one of the teachers.

“I was just really scared because I don’t know what I would have done if that was me,” she says. “I’m not there to fight off students who are physically assaulting me. I’m there to teach them.”

But despite the long days and heavy responsibilities of placements, the students still say the experience is invaluable.

“You can do your classes at uni and your simulated rooms and stuff, but you are learning when you are in the workplace,” Tavener says.

The real problem, according to Robb, is the lack of pay.

“It was probably the hardest I was working in my whole life, but it was the poorest I’d ever been,” she says.

“The role that we provide on placement is the equivalent of an undergraduate student in nursing [working as an employee],” Tavener says. “So why are we not getting some kind of compensation when we’re doing that role on placement?”

Kallarakkal doesn’t expect paid placements to cover her costs or compensate for the heavy responsibilities of her work, but she’s hopeful for a bit of extra support.

“Some amount of money would be better than the nothing we currently get.”

Other students are more strident in their demands, with Robb among those demanding minimum wages for placement workers. Some have organised an advocacy group, Students Against Placement Poverty, to campaign for wage rates in line with industry standards.

“Students’ health, wellbeing, capacity to learn, would all benefit from paid placements,” Morley says. “It would be absolutely a gamechanger.”

While the education minister, Jason Clare, wants placements to be paid, he has not committed to funding them, saying the federal government will spend the coming months considering reform.

The University Accord report only recommends employers make “reasonable contributions” to the costs of providing placements, with the government to provide support for key industries including nursing, care and teaching. It doesn’t say what form the financial support should take.

State governments and some private employers are sympathetic, but say they won’t foot the bill, suggesting Clare might struggle to split responsibility for funding the payments.

Without the urgent introduction of support, Tavener says workforce shortages will continue to worsen.

“Even if it was like a token amount, like if it was $50 a day,” she says.

“We need something to be able to continue, to not burn out.”

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Hobart endures hottest night in 112 years as severe heatwave hits south-eastern Australia

Extreme heat forecast to continue across Victoria, Tasmania, SA and NSW for several days, as record temperatures cause cancellation of long weekend events

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Hobart residents sweated through the city’s hottest night in 112 years as a severe heatwave continues to affect large parts of south-east Australia.

Extreme heat is forecast to continue across South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and southern New South Wales for several days, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Sunday after record temperatures caused the cancellation of long weekend events.

Saturday was the hottest March day on record for Edithburgh on South Australia’s Yorke peninsula (41.7C) and Kanagulk (40.6C) in western Victoria.

The overnight low temperature in Hobart was 24.3C – the warmest night in the Tasmanian capital since 1912, according to the bureau’s records.

Sarah Scully, a senior meteorologist at the bureau, said hot nights were “really unusual” for Hobart, where the mean minimum overnight temperature for March is 11C. She said maximum temperatures were about 10 to 16 degrees above the March average across the heatwave-affected areas.

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“It was very hot last night,” Scully said.

“There’s been observed or forecast greater than 37C days for Melbourne for the entire long weekend. [The extreme heat] started [on Saturday] and is expected to continue right through the early hours of Tuesday morning.”

Temperatures should ease when a southerly change hits Melbourne and southern Victoria on Tuesday, but the state’s north and parts of South Australia will continue to swelter until Thursday when a “blocking” high-pressure system moves away.

Scully said the blocking high was causing northerly winds and dragging hot air over Australia’s south-east.

“It is unusual to have such intense heatwaves at this time of year, but it’s not unprecedented,” Scully said.

“Autumn is typically the transition season from the heat to the cooler months, so to have heatwaves during the early parts of Autumn [isn’t] unusual.”

Melbourne peaked at 36.9C late on Sunday with Avalon recording 40C and Geelong 39.6C. Temperatures were much cooler in Tasmania as a cold front pushed across the state with Hobart’s maximum temperature of 25.7C recorded before 8am.

Event organisers across south-eastern Australia were sweating over safety concerns and cancellations as the heatwave settled in.

One of the stages at Adelaide’s Womad was closed on Sunday due to the heat while a handful of other events were postponed until night or cancelled as temperatures climbed to almost 40C.

The conditions also prompted the cancellation of the Pitch music and arts festival in regional Victoria.

“Through consultation with authorities, we have been directed to cancel the remainder of Pitch Music & Arts 2024 in light of an updated extreme fire danger warning issued this afternoon for tomorrow,” the organisers said on Sunday afternoon.

“We have consistently followed the guidance of relevant authorities throughout the entire process. Nobody is in immediate danger. We encourage everyone on site not to rush [but] calmly pack up and depart either this evening or early tomorrow.”

Melbourne’s Moomba parade was cancelled on Saturday due to concerns for performers and spectators as temperatures soared in Victoria, but the infamous Birdman rally went ahead on Sunday.

“This is a very difficult decision, particularly in Moomba’s 70th year, but we must prioritise people’s health in these extreme conditions,” Melbourne’s lord mayor, Sally Capp, said of the parade being cancelled.

“Participants are required to spend several hours outdoors in hot, heavy costumes – putting them at greater risk.”

Melbourne was tipped to reach a maximum of 37C on Monday, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s predicted across most of the state. Adelaide was forecast to hit 38C with hot conditions in the high 30s and low 40s predicted for most regional areas in South Australia.

While the south-east sweltered, people at the opposite end of the country were being confronted by different weather extremes.

In Western Australia, the Eucla, Goldfields and southern interior regions were warned about the possibility of flash flooding and intense rainfall from a rain system that was likely to remain almost stationary for days.

– Additional reporting by Australian Associated Press

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Craig Foster apologises to Sam Kerr after arguing her alleged remark to UK police officer was racist

Former Socceroo says he made a mistake and is ‘very pleased to be able to learn’ that ‘racism can only be perpetrated against a marginalised person or group’

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Former Socceroo Craig Foster has apologised to Sam Kerr for criticising the Matildas captain after it was revealed she allegedly called a police officer in the UK a “stupid white bastard”.

Foster in a lengthy explanation on X stated he had been mistaken in thinking that any “discriminatory, demeaning or hostile” comment made referring to “any colour” was racism.

Kerr allegedly called a police officer a “stupid white bastard” or a “stupid white cop” after a night out in London in January 2023. She has pleaded not guilty in court to a charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Foster last week urged Football Australia to strip Kerr of the Matildas captaincy if the allegation was proven, to make a stand against racism. He said: “Interpersonal racism against a white person … is still racism.”

But on Saturday he explained that he had changed his mind.

“Like many, I mistakenly thought that comments that referenced any colour and were discriminatory, demeaning or hostile were a form of racism. I apologise to Sam for that mistake,” Foster wrote on X.

“Judging from the coverage, comments and conversations we’re all having, every day, there were major gaps in knowledge about how to deal with situations where the descriptor ‘white’ is used in a derogatory way.

“As many experts and leading anti-racism groups have pointed out, interpersonal comments can be offensive, abusive or inappropriate, however, racism can only be perpetrated against a marginalised person or group, which anti-racism frameworks are specifically designed to protect.”

Foster cited the Diversity Council of Australia’s definition of racism as being when someone “with race-based societal power discriminates, excludes or disadvantages a racially based person” because of their race, colour or descent.

The football commentator said in Australia, definitions of racism “were not designed to protect me as a white, Anglo, Australian male nor a white police officer who has even greater legal and racial power”.

He said he was “not at all surpised at having made a mistake and am very pleased to be able to learn”. Foster said no one should be scared, embarrassed or reticent “about doing our best to understand and confront racism”.

Foster has been an outspoken advocate against racism and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for his work on multiculturalism, human rights and refugee advocacy.

In his apology, Foster directed readers to a Guardian Australia opinion piece by Alana Lentin and Francis Awaritefe who argued that racism in the context of Kerr’s case was “no longer the ideology that accompanies racial capitalist systems of colonialism, slavery and imperialism; it becomes a matter of individual morality”.

“Race, best understood as a technology that produces and maintains white supremacy as a global system of power, is reduced to bad behaviour,” Lentin and Awaritefe wrote.

Kerr, who is of Indian background, has been backed by various figures in Australian sport and politics, including the premier of her home state Western Australia.

Football Australia and Chelsea, the club Kerr plays for in the Women’s Super League, have supported the 30-year-old.

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US reportedly airlifts embassy staff out of Haiti as gangs besiege political area

Officials say marines deployed for night-time evacuation amid intense fighting in Port-au-Prince

The US has reportedly started airlifting embassy staff out of Haiti under the cover of darkness after dozens of heavily armed gang fighters tried to seize the political quarter of its capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti’s gangs began an offensive to topple the government on 29 February, storming and ransacking police stations, prisons and hospitals and laying siege to strategic locations, including the port and airport.

The prime minister, Ariel Henry, who was out of the country when the rebellion began, has found himself stranded in Puerto Rico, with one US official warning last week that his unpopular government could fall “at any time”.

The gang insurrection intensified late on Friday as dozens of criminals converged on Champ de Mars, a palm-dotted downtown area of Port-au-Prince that is home to government ministries, embassies, consulates, banks and hotels, as well as Haiti’s supreme court and official presidential residence.

Gang members reportedly torched the interior ministry, which was built after the 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the capital, and opened fire on the presidential palace before being pushed back by troops.

“If the Champ de Mars falls … it’s the end,” one police officer warned in an interview with the AyiboPost news website.

The newspaper Le Nouvelliste said the gangs had launched a “systematic operation” to drive police from the strategic heart of Port-au-Prince. “Downtown Port-au-Prince has fallen; there is no doubt about it any more,” the newspaper reported on Saturday morning alongside a photograph of a burnt-out police station.

Lionel Lazarre, the head of the national union of Haitian police officers, told the AyiboPost his colleagues were struggling to withstand the onslaught. “The police are on their knees,” he said.

Police appeared to still control the Champ de Mars area on Sunday, but foreign governments have urged their citizens to leave Haiti amid fears that Henry’s embattled administration could be days or even hours from collapse.

On Sunday, the Miami Herald said US marines had been flown into Port-au-Prince to reinforce embassy security and evacuate non-essential staff. US defence officials told the newspaper that the middle-of-the-night operation had been conducted via helicopter at the request of the state department.

Haiti’s security situation has progressively deteriorated since Henry became prime minister and acting president after the 2021 assassination of Jovenel Moïse. Since then, politically connected gangs who make their money from kidnapping, drug smuggling and extortion have taken control of more than 80% of Port-au-Prince, with such groups gaining further ground in recent days.

Daniel Foote, the former US special envoy to Haiti, predicted the gangs would “simmer down” if their demand for Henry’s resignation was met.

However, Foote believed the security situation had become so acute that a large international intervention was now the only way to restore order. He said such a mission would need to involve between 5,000 and 10,000 police officers and be led by a major economy with experience in police-capacity building, such as the US, Canada, Britain, France or another EU country.

Foote said the planned UN-backed deployment of 2,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti would be woefully insufficient. “That’s just a suicide mission, worst case, and a waste of money, best case,” he said.

As the violence intensified over the weekend and Henry’s would-be successors jockeyed for position, the authoritarian leader of El Salvador presented himself as an unlikely saviour. Nayib Bukele has thrown tens of thousands of Salvadorians in jail as part of a hardline crackdown on his country’s gangs that has led to plaudits from members of Latin America’s populist right and Republican politicians in the US.

“We can fix it,” Bukele tweeted on Sunday in response to a post about Haiti by a rightwing blogger. “But we’ll need a UNSC [UN security council] resolution, the consent of the host country, and all the mission expenses to be covered,” Bukele added.

Caribbean leaders will meet in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, on Monday to discuss the crisis. Last week, the chair of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) group, Guyana’s president, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said its leaders were determined to help their Haitian counterparts find a political solution.

“The fact that more people have died in Haiti in the early part of this year than in Ukraine must give everyone in Haiti and in the international community serious pause,” Ali said.

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US reportedly airlifts embassy staff out of Haiti as gangs besiege political area

Officials say marines deployed for night-time evacuation amid intense fighting in Port-au-Prince

The US has reportedly started airlifting embassy staff out of Haiti under the cover of darkness after dozens of heavily armed gang fighters tried to seize the political quarter of its capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti’s gangs began an offensive to topple the government on 29 February, storming and ransacking police stations, prisons and hospitals and laying siege to strategic locations, including the port and airport.

The prime minister, Ariel Henry, who was out of the country when the rebellion began, has found himself stranded in Puerto Rico, with one US official warning last week that his unpopular government could fall “at any time”.

The gang insurrection intensified late on Friday as dozens of criminals converged on Champ de Mars, a palm-dotted downtown area of Port-au-Prince that is home to government ministries, embassies, consulates, banks and hotels, as well as Haiti’s supreme court and official presidential residence.

Gang members reportedly torched the interior ministry, which was built after the 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the capital, and opened fire on the presidential palace before being pushed back by troops.

“If the Champ de Mars falls … it’s the end,” one police officer warned in an interview with the AyiboPost news website.

The newspaper Le Nouvelliste said the gangs had launched a “systematic operation” to drive police from the strategic heart of Port-au-Prince. “Downtown Port-au-Prince has fallen; there is no doubt about it any more,” the newspaper reported on Saturday morning alongside a photograph of a burnt-out police station.

Lionel Lazarre, the head of the national union of Haitian police officers, told the AyiboPost his colleagues were struggling to withstand the onslaught. “The police are on their knees,” he said.

Police appeared to still control the Champ de Mars area on Sunday, but foreign governments have urged their citizens to leave Haiti amid fears that Henry’s embattled administration could be days or even hours from collapse.

On Sunday, the Miami Herald said US marines had been flown into Port-au-Prince to reinforce embassy security and evacuate non-essential staff. US defence officials told the newspaper that the middle-of-the-night operation had been conducted via helicopter at the request of the state department.

Haiti’s security situation has progressively deteriorated since Henry became prime minister and acting president after the 2021 assassination of Jovenel Moïse. Since then, politically connected gangs who make their money from kidnapping, drug smuggling and extortion have taken control of more than 80% of Port-au-Prince, with such groups gaining further ground in recent days.

Daniel Foote, the former US special envoy to Haiti, predicted the gangs would “simmer down” if their demand for Henry’s resignation was met.

However, Foote believed the security situation had become so acute that a large international intervention was now the only way to restore order. He said such a mission would need to involve between 5,000 and 10,000 police officers and be led by a major economy with experience in police-capacity building, such as the US, Canada, Britain, France or another EU country.

Foote said the planned UN-backed deployment of 2,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti would be woefully insufficient. “That’s just a suicide mission, worst case, and a waste of money, best case,” he said.

As the violence intensified over the weekend and Henry’s would-be successors jockeyed for position, the authoritarian leader of El Salvador presented himself as an unlikely saviour. Nayib Bukele has thrown tens of thousands of Salvadorians in jail as part of a hardline crackdown on his country’s gangs that has led to plaudits from members of Latin America’s populist right and Republican politicians in the US.

“We can fix it,” Bukele tweeted on Sunday in response to a post about Haiti by a rightwing blogger. “But we’ll need a UNSC [UN security council] resolution, the consent of the host country, and all the mission expenses to be covered,” Bukele added.

Caribbean leaders will meet in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, on Monday to discuss the crisis. Last week, the chair of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) group, Guyana’s president, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said its leaders were determined to help their Haitian counterparts find a political solution.

“The fact that more people have died in Haiti in the early part of this year than in Ukraine must give everyone in Haiti and in the international community serious pause,” Ali said.

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New Zealand close in on drought-breaking Test victory against Australia

  • New Zealand 162 and 372; Australia 256 and 77-4 at Hagley Oval
  • Black Caps eye first Test win over rivals on home soil since 1993

New Zealand are in the box seat to claim a drought-busting Test win over their arch-rivals after Australia wilted on day three of the second Test.

Chasing 279 for victory, Matt Henry and debutant Ben Sears ripped through the Australian top order at Hagley Oval on Sunday, leaving Australia dazed at 34-4.

Travis Head and Mitch Marsh survived a mighty onslaught through to stumps, but at 77-4 and with 203 remaining for victory, Australia have it all to do.

New Zealand flipped the script on decades of Australian Trans-Tasman Test dominance on day three in Christchurch, cashing in on a day that held rich promise.

Resuming at 134-2 and just 40 ahead, the Black Caps knew a strong second innings total would set them up for a first home Test win over Australia in 31 years.

Rachin Ravindra (82) and Daryl Mitchell (58) tallied half-centuries to set the tone, joining Tom Latham (73) and Kane Williamson (51) who compiled fifties on Saturday.

Even Scott Kuggeleijn made a contribution with the bat, slogging 44 off 49 to frustrate the Australian attack.

New Zealand’s final total of 372 was more than double their previous efforts with the bat through the two-Test series.

Australia bowled without penetration on a wicket which improved session by session through the Test.

Pat Cummins offered eight of the Aussie XI the chance to bowl, including Marnus Labuschagne who earned a bronx cheer when he offered up a rank short-pitched wide with his first ball.

Cummins led the way with 4-62, including the wickets of half-centurions Williamson, Ravindra and Latham.

Nathan Lyon joined the party late, taking three of the final four wickets to finish with 3-49.

Most of Australia’s wickets came from edges, with Alex Carey levelling an Australian all-time record with ten catches behind the stumps.

Ravindra drove New Zealand forward, beginning on 11 and ticking the Kiwi lead into triple figures by dancing down the wicket and slogging Lyon to the long-on boundary.

Upping his scoring rate, the 24-year-old notched his half-century with a straight drive off Mitch Marsh.

Ravindra faced criticism for two ordinary first-innings dismissals this series, but in both Tests has rebounded with second-innings 50s.

He combined with Mitchell for a series-best 123-run stand which had New Zealand sitting pretty at 278-3.

Both were caught behind soon after Australia took the new ball.

Tom Blundell (9) followed when Marnus Labuschagne dived well at cover, only for the Australian No 3 to drop Kuggeleijn in the slips cordon when he was on two.

Kuggeleijn and Glenn Phillips added another half-century partnership, making Australia’s fourth-innings ask all the more difficult.

If the flattened pitch offered hope to the Australian bats, Henry and Sears soon extinguished it.

Henry, picking up from a first innings haul of 7-67, was unplayable at times in a nine-over spell from the Botanical Gardens end, claiming both openers.

The 32-year-old trapped Steve Smith (9) plumb in front, while Usman Khawaja (11) was brilliantly caught by Southee at third slip.

On his first Test outing, Sears had Labuschagne (6) caught and bowled off a leading edge, just two balls after Mitchell dropped a sharp chance at second slip.

Cameron Green (5) was beaten for pace by Sears and played on.

While Marsh and Head steadied the ship in the final half-hour, Australia remain a long way from home.

Lyon said Australia still had belief given their depth of batting.

“We’ve got all confidence and all belief,” he said. “Anything is possible.”

Defeat for Australia would mean a second-straight drawn series, after their home disappointment against the West Indies.

For New Zealand, it would salvage the series at 1-1, and bring a home victory a generation of Kiwis are yet to taste.

“It would be a great feat,” Latham said.

“If that comes tomorrow, fantastic, but … for us it’s about taking each ball at a time tomorrow.”

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Pure imagination: Tasmanian premier vows to build world’s largest chocolate fountain if re-elected

Liberal Jeremy Rockliff commits $12m and says ‘chocolate experience’ at Claremont would be ‘the greatest thing to happen to tourism since Mona’

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Dubai is home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. Nepal boasts Mount Everest. Soon, if Jeremy Rockliff gets his way, Tasmania could be home to the world’s largest chocolate fountain.

The Tasmanian premier on Sunday appeared to take inspiration from Willy Wonka by pitching himself to voters as the dreamer of dreams during a visit to the Cadbury chocolate factory – the largest in the southern hemisphere – near Hobart.

Channeling his inner Wonka, Rockliff said that if re-elected his Liberal government would deliver “the greatest thing to happen to tourism since Mona”.

What could rival the Museum of Old and New Art? The world’s largest chocolate fountain, which would “rewrite the ‘must-see’ list for every visitor that comes to Tasmania”, the premier enthused.

The new “chocolate experience” would include the chocolate fountain, a premium chocolate studio, a chocolate lab with a make-your-own chocolate bar, a chocolate emporium, a café, a playground “and so much more”, the premier said.

It would sit alongside the Cadbury factory on the River Derwent but would be a separate enitity backed by the government and “tourism pioneer” Simon Currant.

“Two hundred million chocolate bars are produced right here at Cadbury’s at Claremont employing some 450 Tasmanians. We want to build on that, add value,” Rockliff said alongside Currant.

“You can imagine some glass windows looking out over the beautiful waters and you would experience, as you come through here, the new building, the world’s largest chocolate fountain, for example, a chocolate lab – an opportunity where Tasmanians can make their own Tasmanian chocolate with Tasmanian ingredients.

“Once again we will reignite the wonderful tours that many thousands of Tasmanians can well remember with great fondness and with great affection.”

Adding to the sense of wonder, he said a returned Rockliff government would kick in $12m to make the “chocolate experience” a reality, including $2m to help with design and planning, another $2m for early site work and then $8m for unspecified activities if “agreed milestones” were met.

According to Currant, the project – the result of “15 years of research and collaboration in conjunction with Cadbury” – would cost $100m and “bring a world of chocolate delights, wonder and excitement” to the Apple Isle.

The Guinness World Records says the world’s tallest chocolate fountain is owned by Austrian chocolatiers Confiserie Wenschitz GmbH. It opened in 2019. The chocolate waterfall stands at 12.27 metres with 1,000kg of liquid chocolate cascading down its panels.

It is unclear whether the public would be able to taste Tasmania’s proposed chocolate fountain or what sort of food safety regulations the proposal would have to meet.

Guardian Australia contacted the Tasmanian premier’s office for further details but did not receive a response before publication.

The Cadbury factory is a place of nostalgia for many Tasmanians – particularly since the company ended public tours in 2008 due to more stringent health and food safety regulations. Cadbury owners Mondelez International were contacted for comment on Sunday.

The state’s Labor opposition leader, Rebecca White, said it would be “really exciting to see new experiences come to life” and her party would “love to see the visitor experience happen again”.

But she said the government had questions to answer regarding transparency and decision-making.

“The Labor party has already announced a $50m no-interest loans program that would be eligible for operators in the visitors economy to apply to and I would welcome the proponents of the Cadbury visitor experience to make an application under our program,” she said.

“It’s really important that when a government is handing out taxpayer money, they do it transparently. We don’t want to see what happened at the New Norfolk distillery where the Liberal party made commitments and were unable to explain what the criteria were for applications.”

In 2023, questions were asked about a $1.2m grant to a New Norfolk distillery made outside of normal grant processes after a Liberal minister requested “private consideration” of the application.

Independent Tasmanian MLC Meg Webb questioned the government’s priorities saying the money could be better spent by providing additional funding to critical government services like healthcare.

“That [$12m] is a huge amount of money when you think about the ways it could be spent in areas that are absolutely screaming out for government support and are actually government responsibilities,” Webb said.

“It’s just virtue signalling to large corporates. They’re throwing everything at the wall in a desperate attempt to stay in power.”

Tasmania will head to the polls a year before an election was due after Australia’s last remaining Liberal premier, Rockliff, called an early election for 23 March.

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Pope provokes outrage by saying Ukraine should ‘raise white flag’ and end war with Russia

Francis’s failure to condemn Moscow as aggressor decried as ‘shameful’ and ‘incomprehensible’

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The Ukrainian government has responded angrily and vowed never to surrender after Pope Francis said the country should have “the courage to raise the white flag” and negotiate an end to the war with Russia.

“Our flag is a yellow and blue one. This is the flag by which we live, die, and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said on social media on Sunday.

Politicians and commentators in Europe expressed outrage after the pontiff gave an interview in which he appeared to stay silent on Russia’s crimes as aggressor in the invasion and placed the onus on Ukraine to make peace.

Kuleba called on Francis to stand “on the side of good” and not put Russia and Ukraine “on the same footing and call it ‘negotiations’”.

He also appeared to refer to collaboration between some of the Catholic church and Nazi forces during the second world war: “At the same time, when it comes to the white flag, we know this Vatican strategy from the first half of the 20th century. I urge to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and to support Ukraine and its people in their just struggle for their lives.”

The Latvian president, Edgars Rinkēvičs, wrote on X: “My Sunday morning take: One must not capitulate in [the] face of evil. One must fight it and defeat it, so that the evil raises the white flag and capitulates.”

Dennis Radtke, a German Christian Democrat MEP, said the word “shameful” could be used to describe the pope’s comments. “His stance on Ukraine reflects poorly on his pontificate. It is incomprehensible,” he posted on X.

Anton Gerashchenko, a blogger and former adviser to Ukraine’s internal affairs ministry, wrote on X: “It does seem strange that the pope doesn’t urge to defend Ukraine, doesn’t condemn Russia as an aggressor who killed tens of thousands of people, doesn’t urge Putin to stop, but calls on Ukraine to raise the white flag instead. Do all his Cardinals share this position?”

The Polish foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski, wrote on X: “How about, for balance, encouraging Putin to have the courage to withdraw his army from Ukraine? Peace would immediately ensue without the need for negotiations.”

Alexandra Valkenburg, the head of the EU delegation to the Holy See, said on X: “Russia started an illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine two years ago”, adding that Russia “can end this war immediately by respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. She said the EU supported Ukraine and its peace plan.

In an interview broadcast on Saturday by Swiss television, but which the Vatican said was conducted in February, the pontiff urged parties in the Ukraine war to “have the courage to negotiate”, and do so “before things get worse”.

The 87-year-old pope was asked by the public broadcaster RTS about a debate within Ukraine on whether to surrender to Russia’s invasion. “I believe that the strongest are those who see the situation, think about the people, and have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate,” he said. “That word negotiate is a brave word. When you see that you are defeated, that things are not working out, to have the courage to negotiate.”

Ukrainians, Francis said, should not be afraid to negotiate a peace deal before the situation deteriorates further. “Today, for example with the war in Ukraine, there are many who want to act as mediators. Turkey, for example. Don’t be ashamed to negotiate before things get worse.”

Speaking about conflict in general, including the Israel-Gaza war, Francis said: “Negotiations are never a surrender. It is the courage not to carry a country to suicide.”

The Vatican’s director of communications, Matteo Bruni, issued a statement seeking to clarify the pope’s words. He said Francis had used the term white flag “to indicate a cessation of hostilities, a truce reached with the courage of negotiation”. He repeated the pontiff’s call for a “diplomatic solution in search of a just and lasting peace” in what Francis called the “martyred” Ukraine.

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First Princess of Wales photo after surgery released for Mother’s Day

Picture of Catherine with her three children posted on social media with message thanking well-wishers

The first official photograph of the Princess of Wales after her abdominal surgery has been released to mark Mother’s Day.

A picture of Catherine sitting on a chair surrounded by her three children was posted to the Prince and Princess of Wales’ social media accounts on Sunday morning, along with a message thanking well-wishers for their support.

“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” the message read. “Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. C.”

Kensington Palace said the image was taken in Windsor earlier this week by the Prince of Wales.

Catherine has been recovering from abdominal surgery since 29 January and was due to be recuperating until at least Easter.

She is recovering at the family’s Adelaide Cottage home, close to Windsor Castle. Prince William has temporarily stepped back from some official engagements to help care for her and look after their children.

She was admitted to the London Clinic – the private hospital where King Charles underwent treatment for an enlarged prostate – for a planned operation on 16 January.

Catherine’s long-term absence from the public eye has fuelled speculation online about her whereabouts and wellbeing.

Last week, it was reported that she would be attending a trooping the colour event in June, but the army later removed the claim from its website after apparently publishing the information without approval from Kensington Palace.

The princess has been spotted close to her home in Windsor, with an image circulating online showing the princess, wearing sunglasses, sitting in the front seat of a car being driven by her mother, Carole Middleton.

Details of the princess’s condition have not been revealed, but Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that Kate wished her personal medical information to remain private.

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