The Guardian 2024-04-22 16:01:36


Australian court orders Elon Musk’s X to hide Sydney church stabbing posts from users globally

Judge makes interim order after eSafety commissioner orders social media outlet to remove footage of Wakeley stabbing

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The Australian federal court has ordered Elon Musk’s X to hide posts containing videos of a stabbing at a Sydney church last week from users globally, after the eSafety commissioner launched an urgent court case on Monday evening seeking an injunction.

X, along with Meta, were ordered by the eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, on Tuesday last week to remove material deemed to depict “gratuitous or offensive violence with a high degree of impact or detail” within 24 hours or potentially face fines.

The material was footage of the alleged stabbing of bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel last Monday evening while he was giving a livestreamed service at the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley.

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On the weekend, X said it had complied with the request, but intended to launch a legal case challenging the orders.

In a hearing late on Monday afternoon, barrister for eSafety, Christopher Tran, told Justice Geoffrey Kennett that X had geo-blocked the posts containing the video, meaning Australians could not access them. However, the posts were still accessible globally, and to Australians who used a virtual private network (VPN) connection that made their IP address appear outside Australia.

Tran said that meant that X was not compliant with the online safety act around the removal of the material.

The agency wanted the posts to be removed, with an interim measure for the posts to be blocked from access globally.

X’s legal representation, Marcus Hoyne, sought to have the matter adjourned. He noted that it was close to 2am in San Francisco, where X is headquartered, and he had no instructions from his client on the matter.

Kennett said the “better course” was to make the interim order until a later hearing, and ordered the content be put behind a notice globally, with the interim order in place until 5pm Wednesday, 24 April Sydney time.

The assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, on Monday described X as a “factory for trolls and misinformation” as the government vowed to fight any legal challenges brought by the company over removal orders related to the video of the Wakeley stabbing.

In a statement after the hearing, a spokesperson for the eSafety commissioner said the notice did not cover commentary or public debate about the event, but only the video of the alleged stabbing.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said on Monday that the “pain of many people has been exacerbated by what occurred on social media”.

Albanese said there was no place for the broadcast of violent images, adding: “I find it extraordinary that X chose not to comply and are trying to argue their case.”

Meta was found to have complied with the request, but on Saturday morning Australian time, X accused the online safety regulator of “global censorship” and said it would challenge the orders in court. The company argued it did not believe the orders were within the scope of Australian law.

“The Australian censorship commissar is demanding *global* content bans!” Musk said in a tweet.

On Monday, Jones responded that the government “will fight it”.

“At the same time we’re looking at all of the laws across these areas to ensure that our regulators have the power to do what is necessary to keep our online platforms safe,” he told ABC’s RN Breakfast. “And then Twitter can’t be the place where criminals go, where cranks and crooks go to propagate their messages. At the moment it’s a factory for trolls and misinformation that damages the brand of the company, but it does a lot of damage to social cohesion in the process.”

He said it was “incredibly disappointing” that Musk decided to “make fun” of the lawful direction rather than complying with it.

“Decency can’t be dead. And I think any Australian looking at that would go: ‘Come on.’ Like it’s a pretty simple and straightforward request. It’s a lawful request.”

The minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Bill Shorten, told the ABC that X was expressing an attitude that it was “above the laws of a nation”.

“It is entirely unexceptional of a nation to say we want to take down some of the most violent and shocking footage, and somehow for them to say we’ve got freedom of speech, but we’re allowed to pollute the metaphorical airwaves with horrible vile and imagery – no one gets to vote for X.”

The regulator said eSafety had worked cooperatively with other companies including Google, Microsoft, Snap and TikTok to remove the same material.

On Sunday the opposition leader, Peter Dutton expressed support for the actions by eSafety and said X saw itself as above the law.

“The Australian law does apply and the fact is that X and Meta and other companies have a presence here. They make literally, or at least turn over, billions of dollars worth of revenue in the Australian economy,” he said. “I think what they’re worried about is the flow on to other markets, if Australia’s laws are upheld.

“That’s all the more reason, I think, for us to take a stance – it’s important for us – but for other democracies as well.”

The Greens communications spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young, said Musk should “front up” to parliament.

“The online tech thugs are operating as if it’s the wild west. Elon Musk should front up to the Australian people, he should front up here to parliament and argue why his company shouldn’t have a social conscience and shouldn’t be doing the right thing,” she said.

It is the latest salvo in a battle between X and the eSafety commissioner. Last year the eSafety commissioner began legal proceedings over a failure to pay a $610,500 fine for allegedly failing to provide information about how it was tackling online child abuse material. X has also launched court proceedings to challenge the ruling.

The company also claimed last month it would launch a case over a tweet allegedly bullying a trans man that the company withheld from access in Australia after a notice from eSafety. The case has not yet been filed in the federal court.

X was approached for comment.

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Only one person has received grant to elevate home two years after NSW northern rivers floods

Exclusive: Locals call for government to fund what they say is a $700m shortfall in the resilient homes program

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Just one homeowner in the New South Wales northern rivers has received a grant to elevate their house more than two years after the flood disaster and the government has spent less than half of the recovery funding it committed to the region.

The government has also drastically revised the number of people it says have applied for financial assistance to 1,426 compared with the more than 5,000 applications it said it had received in October last year.

As the state again deals with damage from heavy rainfall, northern rivers locals have renewed their calls for the government to fund what they say is a $700m shortfall in the resilient homes program.

Chels Hood Withey, a Main Arm resident and community advocate, says it is “terrible” so few people have received assistance to have their house raised.

“For two years, when you’ve got thousands of homes, it’s really not good enough,” she said. “The travesty of this program is it never lived up to what they promised.”

Hood Withey wrote to the NSW premier, Chris Minns, earlier this month on behalf of the local Community Disaster Action Group, saying that lives had been “shattered” and asking him to provide the “full $1.5bn that was initially promised”.

The former Coalition state government announced the resilient homes program after flooding wiped out parts of the northern rivers in early 2022.

The commonwealth contributed 50% of a $700m pool of funds. Eligible homes would be raised, flood-proofed through a process called retrofitting or purchased by the government in a “buy-back”.

Locals have repeatedly expressed concerns about the seemingly arbitrary nature with which support has been offered. The assessments are based on historical flood mapping rather than the 2022 floods.

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Mullumbimby resident Nikki Malone said accessing help felt like a “lottery”. Her application for a house raise was rejected because her home was deemed to be about 30cm too high, she said.

“Every time it rains, which is a lot here in Mullumbimby, the anxiety is through the roof,” she said. “You think you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night and have to escape.”

A man who lives on the same street, who asked not to be named because he was concerned it could jeopardise his grant, received verbal confirmation that he was eligible for a house raise about six weeks ago but is yet to receive anything in writing.

“It’s such an arbitrary thing. They are haphazard – they buyback one person and lift somebody else but don’t lift the nextdoor neighbour,” he said.

In nearby South Lismore, Wally McGregor had to wait on his roof with his partner and young children when their home flooded with 1.7 metres of water.

McGregor said his family had to clean out mud, mould and debris, tear out the walls, and rewire the house without any government support for a retrofit.

“It all sounded very positive to begin with,” he said. “We just waited and waited – it must have been over a year – to hear anything.

“My partner just got a call … saying ‘you won’t be eligible for any of the funding’.

“We’re hoping for buybacks – that didn’t happen. Hoping for some sort of land release and that didn’t happen … We’re resigned to the fact that we’ll just live as best we can where we are and hope for the best.”

The NSW emergency services minister, Jihad Dib, disclosed through the recent parliamentary estimates process that the government had spent about $325m from the resilient homes program by the end of January.

As of 8 March, 336 applications had been received for a house raising or retrofit, Dib said. Only one homeowner had received any money to lift their house.

Dib said 1,090 people had applied for a buyback. Of these, 339 had been completed, 577 offers had been accepted and 141 offers were “in progress”.

He said the resilient homes program had received 1,426 applications and 882 of these had been accepted. In October last year, the government said it had received more than 5,000 applications in the Tweed, Byron and Lismore council areas alone.

The government did not explain the discrepancy in the figures.

Dib was unavailable to comment. A spokesperson for the NSW Reconstruction Authority said the program was “not a simple rebuilding exercise”.

“More than 14 eligible homeowners have already completed their own raise or retrofit and we’re now working with these people to reimburse them,” they said.

In the budget last year, the NSW government committed $100m to a “new community restoration fund” for the northern rivers, with some of this money to go towards a “second instalment” of the resilient homes program.

A federal government spokesperson said it “understands” the NSW government was prioritising people who faced “the greatest risk to life” and that a lack of tradespeople and construction materials was hindering the process.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said he is ready to consider a formal request for a second tranche of funding for the program. The NSW Labor government is yet to make a request.

The premier was contacted for comment.

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The prosecution’s opening statement has just started. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo says:

This case is about a criminal conspiracy and fraud. The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election then, he covered up that conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over, and, over, and over again.

Trump “invited his friend, David Pecker, to a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan”, he says. Pecker, Cohen, and Trump met “as part of that agreement, Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to an adult film actress named Stormy Daniels … to silence her, and to make sure the public did not learn about a sexual encounter with the defendant”.

The defendant said in his business records that he was paying Cohen for legal services pursuant to a legal agreement but those were lies: there was no retainer agreement Cohen was not paying for legal services, the defendant was paying him back for an illegal payment to Stormy Daniels on the eve of the election … he wanted to conceal his and others’ criminal conduct.

Trump trial: hush money was ‘election fraud pure and simple’, prosecutors say

Prosecution says ex-president ‘orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election’ in opening statement

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Donald Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” by covering up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels, the prosecution said on Monday in its opening statement in the former president’s hush-money trial.

A jury of seven men and five women living in Manhattan will weigh whether Trump’s alleged efforts to conceal an affair with Daniels, which he feared would damage his 2016 election bid, were illicit. Trump was charged in the spring of 2023 with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, hinges on a $130,000 payment that Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, made to Daniels to keep her story under wraps. Bragg contends that Trump masked the true nature of the payment in business records by describing them as lawful legal expenses.

In his opening statements on Monday, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told jurors that Trump invited his friend – David Pecker, the head of the National Enquirer’s publisher, AMI – to a meeting at Trump Tower in summer 2015. Trump had recently thrown his hat into the ring for the 2016 Republican nomination, and Colangelo said Trump and Pecker hatched a plan to keep damaging information about Trump out of the press.

According to the prosecution, Pecker agreed to run damaging information in the National Enquirer about opponents – including an item claiming, falsely, that Senator Ted Cruz had family connections to the JFK assassination – as well as buying up negative stories for the express purpose of preventing them from being published.

Colangelo said this “catch-and-kill” campaign was geared towards helping Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

He mentioned an earlier payment to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Trump. “Pecker will also testify that $150,000 was way more than AMI would normally pay for this kind of story, but he discussed it with Donald Trump and he discussed it with Michael Cohen, and he agreed on the deal with the understanding what Trump would find a way to pay AMI back,” Colangelo said. “The company coordinated directly with the candidate.”

He also read out a transcript of Trump’s infamous comments, caught on a hot mic, on the set of the Access Hollywood television show, where Trump bragged he could sexually assault women because he was famous. Colangelo quoted Trump saying: “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Noting that the video was released to the public in October 2016, one month before election day, Colangelo said: “The campaign went into immediate damage control mode” and tried to frame the remarks as “locker room talk” – but were terrified the Stormy Daniels allegation would show that his boorish behavior extended to actions, not just talk.

“Another story about infidelity, with a porn star, on the heels of the Access Hollywood tape, would have been devastating to his campaign,” Colangelo said.

Cohen was therefore tasked with handling the payoff to Daniels, for $130,000, which Trump is alleged to have repaid to him after the election in checks that were listed in business records as legal services. Colangelo said that was a lie. “The defendant was paying him back for an illegal payment to Stormy Daniels on the eve of the election.

“He wanted to conceal his and others’ criminal conduct.”

“Look, no politician wants bad press, but the evidence at trial will show that this wasn’t spin or communication strategy,” Colangelo said. “This was a planned, coordinated, long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, to help Donald Trump get elected through illegal expenditures – to silence people with something bad to say about his behavior,” Colangelo said.

“It was election fraud, pure and simple.”

Colangelo added that “we’ll never know” whether this conspiracy made the difference “in a close election”.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018, is expected to be one of the prosecution’s star witnesses. Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels and insists payments to Cohen were above-board legal expenses.

The New York City case is just one of several criminal proceedings against Trump. He faces federal charges in relation to the January 6 insurrection, as well as his handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home. In Georgia, he faces state-level charges related to allegedly trying to subvert 2020 election results.

Trump is nonetheless poised to land the Republican presidential nomination this summer after easily defeating his party rivals.

The first week of Trump’s trial was punctuated by some comedic moments and, at one point, tragic chaos. Over four days of jury selection, Trump had to listen to his fellow New Yorkers talk about why they could not be fair jurors in his trial.

Many jurors were dismissed immediately, but several others quit even after being selected, citing the pressure they felt from participating. On Monday, as soon as Merchan took the bench he informed the court that one juror was having cold feet. “My understanding [is] that the juror was concerned about the media attention and wasn’t 100% sure they wanted to be here today,” he said. After speaking in the robing room, the juror elected to stay in the trial.

On Friday afternoon, right as the six alternate jurors were chosen, a man set himself on fire across from the 100 Centre Street courthouse. The man, who succumbed to his injuries, left behind pamphlets and an online screed in which he outlined numerous conspiracy theories that seemed to have little specifically to do with Trump.

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‘Prices dropped’: supermarket discount labels are confusing shoppers, Choice tells ACCC inquiry

Consumer group calls on the regulator to act on slogans, designs or colours that imply a discount when it is not a genuine deal

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Consumer advocacy group Choice has called on the competition regulator to stop supermarkets using slogans, designs or colours that imply a discount is on offer when it is not a genuine deal.

The submission is informed by the group’s survey of 1,000 consumers which showed that one-in-four shoppers find it difficult to identify when a supermarket label represented real value, with the phrases “while stocks last” and “prices dropped” the most confusing.

“The countless types of labels used by the major supermarkets are clearly confusing consumers, who are struggling to determine what is and is not a genuine discount,” Choice’s director of campaigns, Rosie Thomas, said.

“This is particularly concerning considering many people are trying to make their grocery shop as affordable as possible in a cost-of-living crisis.”

The federal government ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct a 12-month probe into supermarket practices amid concerns the major chains are misusing their dominant market share during a cost-of-living crisis.

Coles and Woolworths, which collectively control two-thirds of the market, have also been the focus of a Senate inquiry, which has heard that the chains have expanded corporate profits at the expense of suppliers and shoppers in an allegation the supermarkets strongly deny.

Coles and Woolworths promotions sowed the most confusion among shoppers, according to the Choice survey. Aldi’s “super savers” was also unclear, the consumer group said.

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The propensity of some product prices to bounce around and then end up in a promotion for the same or a higher price than they had previously been sold at added to the confusion, according to Choice.

It cited an example of a shampoo at Coles, and coconut water at Woolworths, as two promoted products that might not necessarily represent good deals.

Guardian Australia previously analysed the pricing of instant coffee that showed how prices jumped around so much over an 18-month period it was unclear whether it was genuinely discounted when appearing in Woolworths’ “prices dropped” campaign.

The major chains defended their promotions, arguing that they provide a means for shoppers to save money.

A Coles spokesperson said its “prices down” campaigns provided “certainty prices will remain at a lower price for up to 13 weeks”.

The spokesperson said that “while stocks last” labels were for items only available at Coles for a short time, and which were “unlikely to be restocked once the products are sold through”.

A Woolworths spokesperson said it runs a seasonal “prices dropped” campaign to help customers spend less on key products for that period.

“We strive to clearly and simply signpost the ways that our customers can find value and spend less every time they shop with us,” the spokesperson said.

An Aldi spokesperson said “super savers” were weekly and fortnightly offers across fresh categories that “provide even better value on our already low-priced products”.

“Prices in these categories, particularly fresh produce, do fluctuate as they are more readily susceptible to market conditions, favourable or otherwise,” the spokesperson said.

The Senate inquiry is due to hand down its report in May, which will probably include proposed reforms to supermarket practices.

The inquiry heard that unit prices, which are price per unit measurements the major retailers must display, are often too small for many shoppers to read.

Ian Jarratt, a prominent consumer advocate from the Queensland Consumers Association, said unit prices empowered consumers to make more informed choices.

“When consumer-friendly, it can greatly help consumers to compare prices and save substantial amounts of money or to get much more for the same amount of money,” Jarratt said.

“In-store shoppers should not have to bend very low, or even get down on their hands and knees, to read the unit prices of products on the lower shelves, which they have to do now in some supermarkets.”

Amid increasing consumer and political pressure, large retailers have started to allow users to sort products by unit price when shopping online.

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‘Prices dropped’: supermarket discount labels are confusing shoppers, Choice tells ACCC inquiry

Consumer group calls on the regulator to act on slogans, designs or colours that imply a discount when it is not a genuine deal

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

Consumer advocacy group Choice has called on the competition regulator to stop supermarkets using slogans, designs or colours that imply a discount is on offer when it is not a genuine deal.

The submission is informed by the group’s survey of 1,000 consumers which showed that one-in-four shoppers find it difficult to identify when a supermarket label represented real value, with the phrases “while stocks last” and “prices dropped” the most confusing.

“The countless types of labels used by the major supermarkets are clearly confusing consumers, who are struggling to determine what is and is not a genuine discount,” Choice’s director of campaigns, Rosie Thomas, said.

“This is particularly concerning considering many people are trying to make their grocery shop as affordable as possible in a cost-of-living crisis.”

The federal government ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct a 12-month probe into supermarket practices amid concerns the major chains are misusing their dominant market share during a cost-of-living crisis.

Coles and Woolworths, which collectively control two-thirds of the market, have also been the focus of a Senate inquiry, which has heard that the chains have expanded corporate profits at the expense of suppliers and shoppers in an allegation the supermarkets strongly deny.

Coles and Woolworths promotions sowed the most confusion among shoppers, according to the Choice survey. Aldi’s “super savers” was also unclear, the consumer group said.

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

The propensity of some product prices to bounce around and then end up in a promotion for the same or a higher price than they had previously been sold at added to the confusion, according to Choice.

It cited an example of a shampoo at Coles, and coconut water at Woolworths, as two promoted products that might not necessarily represent good deals.

Guardian Australia previously analysed the pricing of instant coffee that showed how prices jumped around so much over an 18-month period it was unclear whether it was genuinely discounted when appearing in Woolworths’ “prices dropped” campaign.

The major chains defended their promotions, arguing that they provide a means for shoppers to save money.

A Coles spokesperson said its “prices down” campaigns provided “certainty prices will remain at a lower price for up to 13 weeks”.

The spokesperson said that “while stocks last” labels were for items only available at Coles for a short time, and which were “unlikely to be restocked once the products are sold through”.

A Woolworths spokesperson said it runs a seasonal “prices dropped” campaign to help customers spend less on key products for that period.

“We strive to clearly and simply signpost the ways that our customers can find value and spend less every time they shop with us,” the spokesperson said.

An Aldi spokesperson said “super savers” were weekly and fortnightly offers across fresh categories that “provide even better value on our already low-priced products”.

“Prices in these categories, particularly fresh produce, do fluctuate as they are more readily susceptible to market conditions, favourable or otherwise,” the spokesperson said.

The Senate inquiry is due to hand down its report in May, which will probably include proposed reforms to supermarket practices.

The inquiry heard that unit prices, which are price per unit measurements the major retailers must display, are often too small for many shoppers to read.

Ian Jarratt, a prominent consumer advocate from the Queensland Consumers Association, said unit prices empowered consumers to make more informed choices.

“When consumer-friendly, it can greatly help consumers to compare prices and save substantial amounts of money or to get much more for the same amount of money,” Jarratt said.

“In-store shoppers should not have to bend very low, or even get down on their hands and knees, to read the unit prices of products on the lower shelves, which they have to do now in some supermarkets.”

Amid increasing consumer and political pressure, large retailers have started to allow users to sort products by unit price when shopping online.

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Indigenous teen’s family say system failed him before fatal car crash near Parliament House

‘How many others have to put their daughter in the ground or son in the ground?’ asks 15-year-old’s mother

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Relatives of a dead 15-year-old Indigenous teenager with a significant cognitive impairment say they were not alerted to the fact he had left his residential care facility days before a shocking fatal car crash outside federal Parliament House.

The case has prompted a public intervention by the ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, who has called for a major overhaul of the out-of-home care system, saying it is failing Indigenous Australians.

The teenager, who cannot be identified, was found with critical injuries some distance from an overturned Toyota on Adelaide Avenue – near State Circle, the road that encircles federal parliament – in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

He died from his injuries on the weekend. The car was stolen but police still are yet to determine who was driving.

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The boy had been in a residential care facility run by MacKillop Family Services at the time.

The young Torres Strait Islander had been in some form of care – either foster or residential – since he was about three years old.

He left the MacKillop care facility on Monday last week and did not return.

Close relatives say they were not alerted when left the care facility.

His mother says she received no such notification. She wants him remembered as a beautiful, happy boy, who loved his friends and playing football.

“I want change,” she said. “How many others have to put their daughter in the ground or son in the ground? Because I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst nightmare.”

“Enough is enough. Too many kids are getting their lives taken at such a young age. You’re meant to still be here at 15, you’re meant to be at school playing with kids … the other day I put my son to sleep for the last time ever. I’ll never hold my son again.”

Another relative echoed calls for change.

“He was supposed to be at MacKillop house. For the last three days of his life he was not there. We should have had a missing persons report because he was out of the building,” she said.

“Being honest with you, I have found right through this [out-of-home care] process, from when he was three-and-a-half to now, no one really cared … he was too hard.”

Turnbull-Roberts, a Bundjalung Widubul-Wiabul woman with lived experience of the effect of the child protection system on First Nations people, said she was deeply concerned by the case and more broadly at failures with out-of-home care in caring for Indigenous children.

“There is this narrative that it is in the best interests sometimes of children to fall under the responsibility of child protection services, and I think what we’re seeing time and time again, history has told us, is that they’re not best suited to parent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people,” she said.

“We have a young person that fell under the protection of care and protection in the ACT and we failed to see him be protected at all costs and all means.”

MacKillop said it could not comment due to legal restrictions.

Turnbull-Roberts says the case for significant reform is urgent and clear.

“What we’re seeing throughout the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through the system, we’re seeing the way child removal is an undergraduate degree for a postgraduate degree in the criminal justice system or a doctorate in the adult prison system,” she said.

“This pipeline is horrific and we need to start taking serious responsibility and taking power away from statutory services that are failing our Indigenous people and see it handed back to community-controlled organisations.”

The ACT minister for children, Rachel Stephen-Smith, described the death as “tragic” and said the government would cooperate with the coronial process.

Stephen-Smith acknowledged that the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care was “unacceptably high” and said the government was committed to reforms, through its Our Booris, Our Way review.

“The child protection system is complex and there is no doubt change is taking longer than any of us would have hoped,” she said.

She said there had been a reduction in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care since 2017-18.

Through the cracks

Last week, police said the stolen car had been involved in a number of interactions with police and had failed to stop.

Police said, at one point, it had sped away in a suburban area and could not be pursued.

Police also said the teenager had been breaching bail conditions and was unlicensed, though said it was still unclear whether he was driving.

The death comes as governments in states and territories grapple with how to balance community concerns about youth crime with a need to ensure the welfare of children and teenagers in the criminal justice system.

That balance has become even more fraught as these governments also consider impending changes to the age of criminal responsibility.

A 2021 report completed for the Australian Federal Police National Missing Persons Coordination Centre found there had been little research completed on youth missing from out-of-home care and no nationally agreed response on how authorities should respond when it happens.

It found that “juvenile institutional absconders constituted an enormous operational and administrative load for police”, with three-quarters of all missing youth in the ACT in 2008 involving children in this cohort.

“Despite the fact that it exists to provide vulnerable children with a safe, nurturing and healthy environment in which to grow into adulthood, the OOHC system does not always guarantee that children in its care will have their needs met, or be safe and happy,” the report found.

“In Australia, little is known about the reasons young people from care go missing, or their experiences while missing.

“There is a pronounced lack of academic literature and practical resources targeted towards the experiences and issues affecting young people who go missing from care. There is no national picture about their specific circumstances and no nationally agreed agency response to be applied when they go missing.”

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Changes to Australia’s property tax concessions could net $60bn over decade, crossbench senators say

David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie point to PBO modelling showing budget savings even while continuing existing owners’ capital gains tax discount

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Crossbench senators David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie have thrown down the gauntlet to Labor to reform property tax concessions by revealing changes that could net up to $60bn over a decade.

Changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax (CGT) concessions could make major savings for the federal budget even while allowing existing owners to continue to access a CGT discount, according to Parliamentary Budget Office modelling to be released on Tuesday.

With the Greens delaying the Albanese government’s help-to-buy shared equity scheme to push for changes to negative gearing and CGT, it is likely Labor could legislate major property tax changes if it were prepared to abandon its pre-2022 election commitments to leave them as is.

Pocock and Lambie asked the PBO to examine five options to reform negative gearing, which allows rental losses to be deducted from other income, and the 50% CGT tax discount for residential property.

The most expansive option – abolishing negative gearing, grandfathering the 50% CGT discount to properties bought before 1 July 2024, and limiting it to new properties built after that date – would save $9.9bn over four years, and $60bn in the decade to 2033-34.

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Under the least expansive option – limiting negative gearing to one property and disallowing the deduction for vacant properties, and halving the CGT discount to 25% for new homes built after 1 July 2024 – would save $642m over four years and $15.7bn over the decade.

An option in the middle would be to grandfather both the CGT discount and negative gearing, so that they no longer apply to purchases after 1 July 2024, which the PBO said would save $27.7bn over the decade.

The PBO found that retaining the 50% CGT discount in full and limiting negative gearing to properties built after 1 July 2024 would save $50.5bn over the decade.

Pocock and Lambie argue the modelling shows it is possible to protect people’s existing investments while moving to a model that uses tax concessions to incentivise new supply.

Pocock told Guardian Australia that “for existing stock this isn’t stopping anyone investing in real estate, it’s just winding back what are overly generous tax concessions to 15% of the population”.

“There is a real urgency that all solutions be on the table,” he said, describing grandfathering CGT and limiting negative gearing to one property as “a sensible way forward”.

In a statement Lambie said that negative gearing is “part of the problem” when it comes to the housing crisis “but protecting the mum and dad investors and retirees who have invested in housing must also be part of the solution”.

“Because this Labor government got their arses kicked in the 2019 election, they won’t talk about fixing negative gearing,” she said, urging Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers to “be brave and take this opportunity to consider these sensible reforms”.

The PBO advised the proposals would probably increase CGT revenue in the short-term “due to the significant bring-forward of sales and purchases by investors seeking to avoid being affected by” changes to negative gearing.

“Immediately after the policy start date, investor housing demand would be likely to fall, reflecting that potential property investors would have brought forward their purchases or would otherwise switch their investment towards other assets,” it said.

“Property prices would decline while other asset prices, such as those of Australian shares, would increase.”

Pocock said this would mean that first home buyers are “less likely to come up against property developers” when they go to buy, and over time winding back tax concessions could take home ownership back to the levels of the 1990s.

In 2016 the Grattan Institute estimated abolishing negative gearing and halving the capital gains tax discount to 25% would leave house prices roughly 2% lower than they otherwise would be, favouring would-be homeowners over investors.

It comes as Anglicare’s annual rental affordability snapshot, released on Tuesday, found there were only 45,895 listings across the country, the lowest in the 15 years Anglicare has prepared the report. Between 2018 and 2021 the number of available rentals listed was consistently above 65,000.

Just 289 rentals, or 0.6%, were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage, and three rentals, all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on jobseeker.

The Anglicare Australia executive director, Kasy Chambers, said the snapshot showed “the housing crisis is the worst it’s ever been”.

“We’ve never seen such bad results for people on the minimum wage, with affordability halving for a single person in the last two years. Even couples with both partners working full-time are locked out of nearly 90% of rentals.”

The Greens housing spokesperson, Max Chandler-Mather, has argued a reduction in prices would be a positive development citing the fact that house prices have gone up more than double wages every year since 2000.

The opposition is also standing in the way of Labor’s help-to-buy scheme but with a few exceptions, such as Liberal senator Maria Kovacic, who is opposed to housing tax changes.

The Coalition is looking to expand its super for housing policy by allowing first home buyers to withdraw more super and existing homeowners to pay their super into their mortgage offset accounts.

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Guardian Essential poll: voters back Labor’s Future Made in Australia plan while overestimating cost of renewables

Results highlight the difficulties government faces in selling energy transition to sceptical public

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Voters have backed Anthony Albanese’s Future Made in Australia plan but are under the misapprehension that renewables are the most expensive form of power.

Those are the results of Guardian’s latest Essential poll of 1,145 voters, illustrating the difficulty for Labor of selling the energy transition to sceptical voters.

Albanese’s net approval was steady at -5%, with 48% disapproving of the job the prime minister is doing and 43% approving.

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, received a positive rating of +3%. Some 44% approve of the job Dutton is doing, up four points from February, while 41% disapprove, down three points.

Earlier in April Albanese signalled a dramatic shift towards using industry policy to speed up the energy transition, provide certainty for investors and create domestic manufacturing of batteries and solar panels.

When respondents were told that the Future Made in Australia policy “will provide funding for large-scale renewable energy projects that support the creation of local jobs”, 51% said they supported the policy either strongly (20%) or somewhat (31%). Three in 10 (30%) said they neither supported nor opposed the policy, while 19% opposed it.

A majority of respondents agreed with propositions supporting greater industry policy, including that “the pandemic showed we cannot be wholly reliant on global supply chains” (70% agreed) and that “it was a mistake to allow the Australian car industry to close” (63%).

A minority agreed with propositions opposing market intervention, such as that “it is not the government’s job to support Australian businesses that can’t compete overseas” (37%) and “the market will make the best decisions and government should stay out of the way” (34%).

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Asked when the transition to renewable energy “will have a direct, noticeable impact on your day-to-day life”, a majority said it was either already having an impact (17%), would in the next two years (19%) or in the next five (24%).

More voters thought the transition would be positive for Australia as a whole (49%) than negative (26%), but asked if the transition would benefit “me individually”, results were more evenly split, with 36% saying it would be positive, 23% negative and 41% saying it would have no impact.

The poll also found a majority (52%) of voters supported developing nuclear power for the generation of electricity, up two points since October 2023, and 31% opposed it, down two.

Asked to rank which form of electricity was the most expensive, “renewable energies, such as wind and solar” ranked first among 40% of respondents, followed by nuclear by 36% and “fossil fuels, such as coal and gas” by 24%.

Labor has repeatedly rebuffed Dutton’s nuclear push, citing cost – including an estimate from the energy department that replacing fossil fuels with nuclear could cost $387bn.

While campaigning for nuclear power, Dutton disparaged a CSIRO report by incorrectly claiming it does not factor in the cost of transmission into the cost of renewables. The GenCost report, which also modelled the cost of nuclear power, found renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy in Australia.

Noting the Albanese government’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, half of respondents (50%) believed it was “not likely” to reach the target, down seven points since October 2023, while those who said it was likely (38%) was up six points.

Meanwhile, renewable energy’s share of the national grid hit 39% of the grid in the first three months of the year, a record for the March quarter – almost as much as black coal’s contribution.

The advance of clean energy helped keep a lid on emissions in the national electricity market as overall power demand rose 1.7% from the March quarter last year. Higher temperatures was one reason for the uptick, according to the latest quarterly report from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Wholesale electricity prices averaged $76 per megawatt hour, down 8% from a year earlier. The reduction would have been greater if not for a jump in volatility, triggered by events such as storms bringing down a transmission line in Victoria.

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Guardian Essential poll: voters back Labor’s Future Made in Australia plan while overestimating cost of renewables

Results highlight the difficulties government faces in selling energy transition to sceptical public

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

Voters have backed Anthony Albanese’s Future Made in Australia plan but are under the misapprehension that renewables are the most expensive form of power.

Those are the results of Guardian’s latest Essential poll of 1,145 voters, illustrating the difficulty for Labor of selling the energy transition to sceptical voters.

Albanese’s net approval was steady at -5%, with 48% disapproving of the job the prime minister is doing and 43% approving.

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, received a positive rating of +3%. Some 44% approve of the job Dutton is doing, up four points from February, while 41% disapprove, down three points.

Earlier in April Albanese signalled a dramatic shift towards using industry policy to speed up the energy transition, provide certainty for investors and create domestic manufacturing of batteries and solar panels.

When respondents were told that the Future Made in Australia policy “will provide funding for large-scale renewable energy projects that support the creation of local jobs”, 51% said they supported the policy either strongly (20%) or somewhat (31%). Three in 10 (30%) said they neither supported nor opposed the policy, while 19% opposed it.

A majority of respondents agreed with propositions supporting greater industry policy, including that “the pandemic showed we cannot be wholly reliant on global supply chains” (70% agreed) and that “it was a mistake to allow the Australian car industry to close” (63%).

A minority agreed with propositions opposing market intervention, such as that “it is not the government’s job to support Australian businesses that can’t compete overseas” (37%) and “the market will make the best decisions and government should stay out of the way” (34%).

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Asked when the transition to renewable energy “will have a direct, noticeable impact on your day-to-day life”, a majority said it was either already having an impact (17%), would in the next two years (19%) or in the next five (24%).

More voters thought the transition would be positive for Australia as a whole (49%) than negative (26%), but asked if the transition would benefit “me individually”, results were more evenly split, with 36% saying it would be positive, 23% negative and 41% saying it would have no impact.

The poll also found a majority (52%) of voters supported developing nuclear power for the generation of electricity, up two points since October 2023, and 31% opposed it, down two.

Asked to rank which form of electricity was the most expensive, “renewable energies, such as wind and solar” ranked first among 40% of respondents, followed by nuclear by 36% and “fossil fuels, such as coal and gas” by 24%.

Labor has repeatedly rebuffed Dutton’s nuclear push, citing cost – including an estimate from the energy department that replacing fossil fuels with nuclear could cost $387bn.

While campaigning for nuclear power, Dutton disparaged a CSIRO report by incorrectly claiming it does not factor in the cost of transmission into the cost of renewables. The GenCost report, which also modelled the cost of nuclear power, found renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy in Australia.

Noting the Albanese government’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, half of respondents (50%) believed it was “not likely” to reach the target, down seven points since October 2023, while those who said it was likely (38%) was up six points.

Meanwhile, renewable energy’s share of the national grid hit 39% of the grid in the first three months of the year, a record for the March quarter – almost as much as black coal’s contribution.

The advance of clean energy helped keep a lid on emissions in the national electricity market as overall power demand rose 1.7% from the March quarter last year. Higher temperatures was one reason for the uptick, according to the latest quarterly report from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Wholesale electricity prices averaged $76 per megawatt hour, down 8% from a year earlier. The reduction would have been greater if not for a jump in volatility, triggered by events such as storms bringing down a transmission line in Victoria.

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Australia’s largest super fund joins protest vote against Woodside’s climate plans

AustralianSuper says it has ‘ongoing concerns’ about how the country’s biggest oil and gas company will reach net zero emissions by 2050

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Australia’s biggest superannuation fund has joined a protest vote against Woodside Energy’s failure to do more to address the climate crisis, saying it has unanswered questions about the fossil fuel company’s plans.

AustralianSuper said it had spent “a lot of time reviewing and engaging” with Woodside on its climate transition plan before the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, and still had “ongoing concerns” about how it would reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Based on that we’ve decided to vote against it [the company’s climate report] and we will continue our discussions with the company,” the fund’s head of Australian equities, Shaun Manuell, told a Senate inquiry into greenwashing on Monday.

Manuell said the fund had decided not to extend its protest to joining some shareholders in opposing the re-election of Woodside’s chairman, Richard Goyder.

Woodside – Australia’s biggest oil and gas company – is facing the prospect of an overwhelming protest vote against its climate plan, which was updated earlier this year. Critics of Woodside’s strategy say it is overly reliant on contentious offsets and not aligned with the landmark Paris climate agreement.

The company says it is committed to cutting its emissions to net zero, but plans a significant expansion in fossil fuel production, including opening new fields that could lead to billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.

Norway’s largest pension fund, KLP, and Britain’s biggest asset manager, LGIM, are among investors to disclose they will vote against Woodside’s climate report.

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Woodside’s climate report will be put to a non-binding vote. Shareholders delivered a 49% protest vote against its previous climate policy two years ago – the highest protest vote recorded against the dozens of listed companies around the world that regularly put climate-related resolutions to shareholders.

Non-binding votes do not automatically trigger a policy change, but they are a way for shareholders to express their disapproval, and place pressure on directors to change direction.

The chair of the greenwashing inquiry, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, said the evidence the inquiry heard showed “the climate credentials of Woodside are up in smoke in the eyes of [its] shareholders”.

She said that as a major shareholder, Australian Super had a responsibility to do everything in its power to “change Woodside’s behaviour”, including reconsidering the future of its “anti-climate action leadership”.

AustralianSuper held a 4.52% stake in Woodside at the end of the last financial year, making it one of its biggest stock holdings across its funds, according to its annual report.

Manuell said AustralianSuper had previously sold its Woodside holding but became “a very large shareholder” after the fossil fuel company merged with BHP’s oil and gas portfolio in 2022.

He said the fund would vote for Goyder’s re-election as the company had “engaged extensively over the last 12 months” and made “large improvements” in its disclosure.

“But to some extent all that increased disclosure has left us with additional questions, which we seek clarification for,” Manuell said.

AustralianSuper’s position on Goyder’s future appears consistent with some other major investors, based on an analysis of their voting intentions. The superannuation fund Hesta has also expressed support for the chairman.

A Woodside spokesperson said Goyder and his leadership team held numerous “direct engagements” with shareholders on climate strategy and governance and listened carefully to investors.

Goyder is one of the most high-profile directors in Australia, and is the outgoing chair at Qantas.

Prominent governance group and proxy adviser CGI Glass Lewis said that while there had been an “evident shift in tone” demonstrated by Woodside to shareholder concerns, its climate plans still fell short of expectations. It urged shareholders to vote down the report and against Goyder’s re-election.

The greenwashing inquiry also heard that the consumer watchdog had not certified the government’s Climate Active scheme, which certifies companies and products as carbon neutral.

The inquiry was told climate change department officials had asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to pause the certification process for the scheme while they responded to questions about how it operates.

More than 500 companies, including some of Australia’s best known brands, claim to be Climate Active certified. Critics of the program say Climate Active enables greenwashing by allowing companies or products to be certified as carbon neutral through the purchase of offsets instead of requiring direct emissions cuts.

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Arj Barker and a ‘gurgling’ baby: comedian’s request for mother to leave Melbourne show sparks furore

Trish Faranda claims she felt ‘humiliated’ when asked by the comedian to leave but fellow audience member says child was disrupting performance

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Comedian Arj Barker’s interaction with a mother who brought a seven-month-old baby to his comedy show in Melbourne on Saturday night has sparked outrage, sympathy and debate about the woman’s decision to bring her infant to the gig and his decision to ask her to leave.

The account of the incident is contested, with the mother Trish Faranda saying the baby was just “gurgling” during the show and that she felt “humiliated” when asked by the comedian to leave the theatre in front of 700 people.

Another audience member, spoken to by the Guardian, said the baby was “crying” and disrupted the performance multiple times before Barker “politely” asked the woman to leave.

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The mother and baby, were sitting toward the front of the Athenaeum theatre watching Barker’s The Mind Field show, which is part of the Melbourne international comedy festival. Faranda clarified that she had not chosen the seats and that her group were sitting toward the end of the row so she could make a “quick exit” if the baby made a lot of noise.

Faranda told 3aw that during the show, the baby “gurgled a little bit, equivalent to someone coughing” and said that Barker heard and joked about the noises, saying “I speak baby and she said ‘take me outside’”.

Later in the show, the baby made more noise, which Faranda described as “she gurgled a little bit, she whinged, nothing super loud” and she said Barker came over and told her to leave the theatre.

Faranda said she was “humiliated” and packed up and left. “I was not comfortable to stay … people were out to have a good night, and that’s fine, if he was not coping with [the baby’s noises], I don’t want to impact other people.”

Faranda said that 10 or 12 others – all women who were mothers or grandmothers and could relate to her experience – as well as one “lovely gentleman” left the theatre with her in protest.

However, Steven Adlard, a Melbourne-based doctor, who was in attendance at the show said the noises were more disruptive than the mother had indicated.

“It wasn’t a little bit of gurgling, it was crying. I was on the second level up and I could hear it,” he said. “Arj got distracted, he was trying to tell a joke, he quite politely stopped and said ‘would you mind? Could you please leave?’ and she just sat there, and the baby settled down, and a few minutes later it started again.

“He was trying to perform and he couldn’t, he wasn’t rude to her, he just said ‘all these other people are here to hear the performance, and they can’t’.”

Adlard said the experience was uncomfortable for everyone – Faranda, Barker and audience members.

“Really I thought it was quite an upsetting thing for all people involved. He was uncomfortable; she was, I’m sure, upset.”

Barker said in a statement to ABC radio: “The show is strictly age 15-plus, as clearly stated on the ticket site. She had an infant with her, the baby was disrupting my performance. On behalf of the other 700 people who paid to see the gig, I politely told her the baby couldn’t stay. She thought I was kidding, which made the exchange a bit awkward. I felt bad about the whole situation and stated this on the night more than once. I offered her a refund. Theatre staff should not have seated a baby in my audience in the first place.”

The description of the show on Ticketmaster said: “This performance is suitable for ages 15+ All patrons must have a ticket, regardless of age.”

Adding to the outrage online, is the claim by Faranda that at the time he asked her to leave the venue, she was breastfeeding her baby.

“I was actually breastfeeding when he came and stood in front of me and then he was basically telling me to leave,” she told 3AW, saying she found the interaction “intimidating”.

Barker clarified in a statement that his decision to ask Faranda to leave had nothing to do with her breastfeeding the baby, and given the bright lights in his face, he couldn’t see whether or not she was breastfeeding.

“For the record, I support public breastfeeding, as it’s perfectly natural,” he said in his statement.

The incident has sparked furious debate online, and taps into discussions around the exclusion of breastfeeding women and parents of young children from public places.

Ellen Sandell, the Greens state MP for Melbourne, wrote on X: “I am livid at hearing this. It’s hard enough for new mums to participate in society with all the barriers put in front of them – to be humiliated like this, for just trying to enjoy the comedy festival, is awful. Arj Barker should take a good look at himself and apologise.”

Adlard said that it took Barker a few minutes to regain his composure after the woman left the theatre and he made self-deprecating jokes about the incident afterwards, including that the gig was his last performance for the comedy festival “and probably my last in Melbourne”.

Trish told 3aw she would not go back to see Barker perform again. “No and the sad bit is, I’ve been to lots of his shows before children and you kind of lose yourself a bit when you have kids and I was just trying to get back to something I enjoyed before I had kids.”

Faranda and Barker were contacted for comment.

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Thousands of flights to and from Europe affected by suspected Russian jamming

About 46,000 aircraft have logged GPS problems over Baltic Sea since August, says report

Flights in and out of Britain are among thousands that have been affected by suspected Russian jamming of GPS systems.

More than 2,300 Ryanair flights have reported incidents of GPS interference since last August, according to a report, as well as almost 1,400 at Wizz Air, 82 at British Airways and four from easyJet.

About 46,000 aircraft in total have logged problems with GPS over the Baltic Sea in the same time period, the Sun reported, based on analysis of flight logs with the website GPSJAM.org. Most of the GPS problems reported on the website have come in eastern Europe, bordering Russia.

The satellite-based GPS forms part of an aircraft’s navigation system, and interference can pose a safety risk.

The UK government confirmed in March that an RAF plane carrying the defence secretary, Grant Shapps, had its GPS signal jammed while flying near the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, while heading back to the UK from Poland.

Although Downing Street said the move did not threaten the safety of the aircraft, a defence source described it as “wildly irresponsible”.

The International Air Transport Association and the EU Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) held a summit in January to discuss GPS jamming and “spoofing”, or sending bogus signals, with Easa reporting a sharp rise in the number of attacks.

While Easa said countering the threat was a priority, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority played down the risk and said jamming was often associated with military activity but did not mean commercial planes were being directly targeted.

Glenn Bradley, the head of flight operations at the CAA, said: “Aviation is one of the safest forms of air travel and there are several safety protocols in place to protect navigation systems on commercial aircraft.

“GPS jamming does not directly impact the navigation of an aircraft, and while it is a known issue, this does not mean an aircraft has been jammed deliberately.”

A Ryanair spokesperson said: “In recent years there has been a rise in intermittent GPS interference which has affected all airlines. Ryanair aircraft have multiple systems to identify aircraft location, including GPS. If any of the location systems, such as GPS, are not functioning then the crew, as part of standard operating procedures, switch to one of the alternate systems.”

An easyJet spokesperson said there were “multiple navigation systems onboard commercial aircraft as well as procedures in place which mitigate against issues with GPS that can occur for various reasons”.

BA was approached for comment.

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Taylor Swift fans flock to London pub apparently referenced on new album

Staff at the Black Dog in Vauxhall ‘100% certain’ theirs is the pub mentioned in song of the same name

Last Thursday was shaping up to be a normal day for the Black Dog pub in south London, until its social media traffic mysteriously started ramping up.

The reason was that Taylor Swift’s new album had leaked, featuring a song that shared its name. Within an hour of its release, the small venue was deluged with excited fans, while its staff scoured CCTV for a sighting of the world’s biggest pop star.

Over the course of the weekend, thousands of devoted Swifties, as Taylor’s fans call themselves, descended on Vauxhall to feel closer to their favourite artist. The Black Dog’s lyrics reference spotting that an ex-boyfriend was entering the pub – most likely the British actor Joe Alwyn, who lives in the area.

Lily Bottomley, an events and social manager for SC Soho Limited, the small hospitality group that owns the Black Dog, said the mention had taken the neighbourhood pub by surprise.

“I was like, wow, what a coincidence, that’s crazy. Then traffic got bigger, and then just exploded when her album went live. We created a TikTok, started posting, interacting with fans. We’re completely booked out this week and we’re nearly full for her tour dates. It’s been amazing for the business, the fans have been overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

The atmosphere was one of “celebration, super jovial, really good vibes” at the weekend, Bottomley said, adding that the pub had hired last-minute security to deal with the surge.

Bottomley said fans were particularly interested to learn whether it was Alwyn or Swift’s other British ex-boyfriend, Matty Healy, referred to in the song. She has confirmed that the pub has had “a certain blond regular in a few times”, in a coy reference to Alwyn’s hair colour.

She is “100% certain” the pub is the one referenced in the song, since Swift has previously talked about nights out in neighbouring Brixton.

She said: “We’ve been looking at past security footage [for Swift]. We haven’t found anything but you never know. I’ve heard that whenever she visits places she puts a cap on, so we could have missed it. We’d love to have her back.”

When the Guardian visited at the pub’s opening at midday on Monday, a steady stream of Swifties were paying their respects.

Emilia Linton, 24, and Katie McGowan, 28, had rushed to the Black Dog before flying home to Vienna, and were keen to secure some content for their Instagram Stories.

“It makes you feel the song more, because you know what she’s referencing,” Linton said. “She’s a lyrical genius, she introduced me to country, and she makes it cool to be a girl again.”

While McGowan had expected a dingier locals’ pub, Linton argued that the upmarket gastropub’s “sweet, girlie” ambience was more fitting.

The pair’s friend, Liz, 23, from Leeds, said: “It feels very like, if you’re American, what you’d think a pub was. I just don’t see Taylor Swift in a ’Spoons.”

She had previously enjoyed visiting the Beechwood cafe in LA, mentioned in a Harry Styles song, and was keen to recreate the experience. “I just love getting recommendations, from friends and stuff – including my close personal friend Taylor,” Liz said.

The trio welcomed fellow Swift fan Tyler Ewings, 18, on to their table. He was visiting from Plymouth. “I thought I’d come see what it’s like, take in the vibe of it,” he said. “Swifties are a very tight-knit community and actually kind of loving. If you go to a concert you’ll talk to loads of people outside the venue.”

He said the specificity of the pub’s mention made him feel more connected to Swift. “With London Boy she referenced all kinds of places in London, but to target one place, it feels like she’s gone in deeper.”

Julien Dimitrov, 30, had dragged his reluctant friend to the pub on the final day of their holiday before returning to the Czech Republic. When he realised the Black Dog was in London, he was thrilled by the coincidence. “I immediately thought I must visit it,” he said.

The pub’s mention reflects all that he cherishes in Swift: “She’s so open, so friendly, so human, down to earth, relatable – even though she’s famous.”

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