Peter Hannam writes on Australia’s near-miss energy crisis week…
In another guise, a generation ago, this columnist regularly huddled with the US ambassador to Mongolia, watching as that country’s main power plant came close to running out of coal.
The outcome would have been catastrophic as the plant also provided heat and kept the drinking water flowing for the million or so residents of the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
How much coal had come by train, how much was burnt, and how much was left – and what friends of the newly democratic central Asian nation could do to help – was our weekly accounting exercise.
Those memories were refreshed after another week when Australia’s main electricity grid was constantly on the brink.
Catholic church successfully uses the death of a known pedophile priest to shield itself from being sued over new abuse complaints, arguing a fair trial is now impossible. Will it deploy this strategy more broadly against other delayed complaints? https://t.co/cPrcxDENzd
— Christopher Knaus (@knausc) June 17, 2022
Could an eighth-world title be in the offing?
Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore has won the WSL’s Surf City El Salvador Pro, registering her 33rd victory to break her record for most women’s wins on the Tour.
The Tourralian defeated American Lakey Peterson in the final after eliminating Caroline Marks in the semis and compatriot Isabella Nichols in the round earlier.
“Muchas gracias El Salvador, this is amazing,” said Gilmore.
Once I got past Caroline [Marks], I was confident and knew I could do it.
Lakey [Peterson] is an amazing surfer, so I knew it would be a tough Final, but it doesn’t get any better. I love doing this. I love winning; I love doing this sport.
I would love to win another world title, but it’s a long road. There’s more competition to be surfed and a lot of hard work, but this is just an amazing experience, and I’m so happy to be here.
Griffin Colapinto won the men’s title, defeating American world No 1 Filipe Toledo in the final.
The wins catapult both Gilmore and Colapinto to third place in their respective ratings as the tour now hTour to Brazil for the third-last stop.
The top five men and women, after the 10-event world tour, will compete in a one-day finals competition in California in September.
Updated at 20.06 EDT
There’s a growing crisis everywhere Anthony Albanese looks, but they may enable a more ambitious agenda, Sarah Martin writes…
A trip to the beach is about to get more expensive as parking rates rise in some parts of Sydney, causing concerns they will put some of the city’s best natural wonders out of reach for lower-income families already facing increasing cost-of-living pressures.
A curious development this morning, with news that Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov has launched legal action against Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, seeking to be removed from the list of people sanctioned by Australia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Ben Butler and Daniel Hurst have the story here…
French prime ministerial candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon wants to make Assange a French citizen and give him a medal (this, of course, is contingent on Mélenchon winning Sunday’s election).
« Si je suis Premier ministre lundi, Julien Assange sera naturalisé français et décoré » annonce Jean-Luc Mélenchon lors d’un point presse à Paris. pic.twitter.com/vbFG0iSh7g
— Benjamin Mathieu (@BenjMathieu) June 17, 2022
Wikileaks’ response: “A dark day for press freedom and British democracy.”
BREAKING: UK Home Secretary approves extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the US where he would face a 175-year sentence – A dark day for Press freedom, and British democracyThe decision will be appealedhttps://t.co/m1bX8STSr8 pic.twitter.com/5nWlxnWqO7
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 17, 2022
Updated at 19.00 EDT
Australian political response to Assange’s extradition being approved
I’m afraid I have to disagree with this decision. I do not support Assange’s reckless disregard for classified security information. But if Assange is guilty, so are the dozens of newspaper editors who happily published his material. Total hypocrisy. https://t.co/O27OlhDgn5
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) June 17, 2022
The appalling decision by UK Home Secretary to extradite Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, to the USA.
Manning, who leaked classified material exposing US war crimes, has been pardoned, yet Assange, who published it (a journalistic activity), is facing an effective death sentence.
— Julian Hill MP (@JulianHillMP) June 17, 2022
And from Karen Percy, the media section president of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the union for journalists in Australia).
Updated at 18.47 EDT
Australia says Assange case has ‘dragged on for too long.’
The Australian government has responded to news of Assange’s extradition being allowed, saying his “case has dragged on for too long and should be brought to a close”.
A 2019 file photo of Julian Assange arriving in court in London Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images
The federal government says it will continue to offer consular assistance to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the UK’s decision that his extradition to the US can proceed.
“We will continue to convey our expectations that Mr. Assange is entitled to due process, humane and fair treatment, access to proper medical care, and access to his legal team,” a statement late on Friday night from foreign affairs minister Penny Wong and attorney general Mark Dreyfus said.
The Australian government has been clear that Mr. Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and should be resolved.
We will continue to express this view to the United Kingdom and United States governments.
Earlier on Friday, British home secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition, bringing Assange’s long-running legal saga closer to a conclusion.
US authorities want him on 18 criminal charges, including a spying order relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables, which Washington said had put lives in danger.
Assange’s wife, Stella Moris, said he would appeal the decision.
“We’re going to fight this. We’re going to use every appeal avenue,” Moris told reporters, calling the decision a “travesty” at a London press conference on Friday.
Stella Moris, activist, and wife of Julian Assange. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Human rights organization Amnesty International called on the UK to refrain from extradition and the US to drop all charges against Mr. Assange.
Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard said allowing the Australian to be sent to the US for trial would put him at great risk.
Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill-treatment.
Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken at face value given previous history.
Updated at 19.05 EDT
Morning all, Ben Doherty here, with you for this Saturday morning.
The Australian journalist, Julian Assange, has been approved by UK home secretary Priti Patel for extradition to the US. The case passed to the home secretary last month after the UK supreme court ruled that there were no legal questions over assurances given by US authorities on the Wikileaks founder’s likely treatment.
Assange, currently in Belmarsh prison, is in poor health and faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years.
Wikileaks has vowed: “Today is not the end of the fight.”
The publisher said: “It is only the beginning of a new legal battle. We will appeal through the legal system; the next appeal will be before the high court.”
The statement said anyone who cared about freedom of expression should be “deeply ashamed” that the home secretary had approved Assange’s extradition.
The Guardian has published an editorial on the decision to allow his extradition, describing the home secretary’s action as a threat to journalism everywhere.
This action potentially opens the door for journalists worldwide to be extradited to the US for exposing information deemed classified by Washington.