Good morning. Aged care Covid deaths soar in Australia, Muslim Australians abandon Labor in key marginals, and the US pledges Nato cooperation with Finland and Sweden.
Covid deaths inside aged care facilities occurred at rates unseen during the first two years of the pandemic. Government data reveals at least 60 people are dying a week, with more than 350 deaths since the start of the election campaign. Aged care workers are preparing to strike tomorrow, citing frustration about low pay, heightened workforce pressures, and workload. Scott Morrison has described every death as a “terrible loss” but explained that the high number of deaths is due to people dying “with Covid” but not necessarily “because of Covid”. Anthony Albanese flagged a new national strategy to reduce the deaths if Labor wins the election. Virologists, meanwhile, have accused both Labor and the Liberals of failing to address slowing booster uptake rates amid a creeping “complacency” in pandemic planning.
As the federal election enters its final few days, Guardian Australia looks back at what we learned from visiting marginal electorates nationwide. While one voter in a Tasmanian marginal seat described the two would-be prime ministers as “two cheeks, same arsehole”, Guardian staff identified seven key policy areas where the main parties diverge. In western Sydney, Muslim Australians have expressed frustration at Labor taking “our community for granted for so many years”, with a younger generation of Muslim voters considering alternatives. And, in case you were wondering, the child Scott Morrison knocked over on the soccer field in Devonport last night is fine.
The US will work with Finland and Sweden in the event of a “threat of aggression” as the two nations edge closer to Nato membership. President Joe Biden said the US would maintain its “robust exercise activity and presence” in the Baltic Sea region and counter “any threats to our shared security”. In Ukraine, the treatment of nearly 1,000 soldiers from Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steel plant is unclear, with the Kremlin confirming they’ve been sent to a prison colony in a Russian-controlled area of the Donetsk region. A Russian soldier has pleaded guilty to shooting an unarmed civilian during the first war crimes trial in Kyiv. More than 10,000 cases have been registered over the past few months.
Louise Scarff let her friend set up a campaign to help her buy a campervan after she received six weeks’ notice to vacate her rental home of seven years.
The number of Australians turning to crowdfund to secure their accommodation has quadrupled in the past year in the face of dramatic rent increases and low vacancy rates in major cities nationwide.
The rate of tropical rainforest die-off has doubled since the 1980s, with research suggesting global heating could see forests releasing more carbon dioxide than they absorb.
Burnout is driving an increasing number of healthcare staff out of hospitals in regional NSW, with policy failure at the state and federal levels “forcing many GPs to close up shop”.
The European Commission said 45% of the EU’s energy mix should come from renewables by 2030. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters
The EU plans to commit €210bn over five years to end its reliance on Russian oil and gas, announcing a major solar and wind power increase and a target of 45% renewables by 2030.
Sudanese refugees fleeing massacres will be forcibly returned to Rwanda by the UK Home Office, with asylum seekers being issued “notices of intent” under a controversial new policy.
Cryptocurrency crashes will not reduce the sector’s environmental footprint, Dutch researchers have suggested, with energy-intensive rates of “mining” remaining steady despite nearly $1tn being wiped off the industry in the past month.
DVD collector Dr. Ari Mattes. Photograph: Jessica Hromas/The Guardian
“It was 2010, and DVD sales in Australia were booming.” Olivia Bennett and her mum had stumbled across an absolute bargain: five VHS cassettes for 50c at Lifeline. After multiple trips, they were well on their way to a thousand-strong collection of their favorite films – from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth to Pete’s Dragon. Michael Sun talks to several “collectors” and finds “something about a physical medium – the tactility of it … There’s just something innately comforting about that.”
When Australians go to the polls this Saturday, their real wages will be about the same rate as when Tony Abbott took office in 2013. Greg Jericho explains: “It puts all talk about a strong recovery from the pandemic into context. Yes, GDP has recovered, and unemployment has fallen, but the ability of workers to buy things with their wages has fallen.”
Geraldine Quinn bought her family’s first dial-up modem, so it’s safe to say she was on the ground floor regarding online giggles. And as our guest curator for this week’s ten funniest things on the internet, she’s delivering Alex Jones as you’ve never seen him before.
The case for a federal anti-corruption commission: It’s a broken promise that has dogged the Morrison government, while Anthony Albanese says he’ll have one in place before 2022 is out if Labor wins office. On this episode of Full Story, chief political correspondent Sarah Martin explains why the watchdog is needed.
Competing plans and broken promises for a federal integrity commission
Sorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download it here and listen https://audio.guim.co.uk/2020/05/05-61553-gnl.fw.200505.jf.ch7DW.mp3
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Rangers’ Ryan Jack goes up for a header with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Rafael Santos Borre. Photograph: José Manuel Vidal/EPA
Glasgow Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt remain in lockstep during the Europa League final, with the score 1-1 midway through the second half. For the latest results and reactions, see our live blog.
The English national team is set to “unlock some seriously good cricketers” if their new managing director, Rob Keys, is to be believed. With Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson recalled and Matthew Potts and Harry Brooks promoted, there’s also a new-look No three batter with tongues wagging.
Workers face a $4,000 real wage cut as inflation outstrips wage growth, the Sydney Morning Herald writes. Climate 200 convener Josh Frydenberg has filmed Simon Holmes à Court in a heated conversation with the Liberal senator Jane Hume at a Melbourne prepoll, the Courier-Mail reports. And the ABC reports a 130% increase in flu cases in Queensland.
Anthony Albanese will release Labor’s policy costings.
The Chris Dawson murder trial continues in Sydney.
And if you’ve read this far …
It was bought for a few hundred quid for its striking illustration, consisting of bats and cranes. But an extremely rare 18th-century Chinese vase from the court of the Qianlong emperor has gone under the hammer at auction for almost £1.5m. Not bad for a “decorative thing” bought on a whim.
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