Morning mail: Energy efficiency fail, Russia in Africa, Radiohead hack | Australia news


Good morning, this is Helen Sullivan bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Wednesday June 12.

Top stories

Australia is missing an opportunity to easily meet its emissions targets through energy efficiency measures, new research has found. Australia could cut greenhouse gas emissions halfway to its Paris agreement target, and save $7.7bn a year in bills, by adopting existing global standards on household and business appliances such as hot-water heaters. The report, from the Energy Efficiency Council, found that adopting the measures used in Germany would save the average Australian household $790 a year on power bills and create 70,000 extra full-time equivalent jobs.

Robots will not steal workers’ jobs nor suppress pay, but fear of automation may be contributing to stagnant wages, according to Deloitte Access Economics. At the National Press Club on Wednesday, Deloitte partner Chris Richardson will argue that improving technology is shifting the mix of skills in demand with employers, but fears of mass unemployment are “entirely misplaced”. In the speech, seen by Guardian Australia, Richardson says despite technological change accelerating for decades, unemployment is “close to record lows around the world”.

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of leaders and undercover agents, leaked documents have revealed. The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and whose troll factory, according to US special counsel Robert Mueller, ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The leaked documents show the scale of recent Prigozhin-linked operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub.

World

Two-thirds of the world’s energy demand increase was due to higher demand in China, India and the US.



Two-thirds of the world’s energy demand increase was due to higher demand in China, India and the US. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Carbon emissions from the global energy industry rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade in 2018 after surprise swings in global temperatures stoked extra demand for fossil fuels, helping to drive the world’s biggest jump in gas consumption for more than 30 years and a second consecutive annual increase for coal use.

High court judges in Botswana have ruled that laws criminalising same-sex relations are unconstitutional and should be struck down, in a major victory for gay rights campaigners in Africa.

Boris Johnson recommended that the UK allow Saudi Arabia to buy British bomb parts expected to be deployed in Yemen, days after an airstrike on a factory in the country had killed 14 people in 2016.

There were “serious problems with the culture, morale and behaviour” of Oxfam staff responding to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, according to a damning report, which has found that the charity failed to disclose allegations of child abuse.

Radiohead have released a vast collection of unreleased tracks made during the sessions for 1997 album OK Computer, after a MiniDisc archive owned by frontman Thom Yorke was hacked last week by an unnamed person, who reportedly asked for a $150,000 ransom to return the recordings.

Opinion and analysis

Alison Bell in The Letdown



Alison Bell plays Audrey in The Letdown. Photograph: Supplied: ABC TV

Women who have abortions are only just now beginning to see themselves depicted on screen, but for a certain subgroup – women who are already mothers when they decide to terminate – the taboo is stronger than ever. But the second season of ABC TV’s comedy-drama The Letdown is tackling it head-on. “Mothers have more abortions than anyone else,” the show’s co-creator Sarah Scheller says. “Audrey’s arc is about coming to a point where she doesn’t feel shame about her decision.”

If renewables weren’t getting cheaper, would Australia still want to tackle climate change? And if world demand for coal wasn’t declining, would we still want to stop the Adani coalmine being built? After 30 years of democratic failures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in the past five technological leaps have succeeded where elections did not, writes Richard Denniss. But what does it say about Australia if we are only willing to save ourselves, and our kids, if we can get a good deal on the price of renewables?

Sport

In the women’s World Cup, New Zealand came with two minutes of a draw against the Netherlands, only to have their hearts broken by the substitute Jill Roord. In other games Sweden defeated Chile 2-0, striking late after torrential rain stopped play and the US crushed Thailand.

In the Cricket World Cup: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka was rained off, in a tournament-record third abandonment in the space of five days. A decision was taken to abandon the game without a ball being bowled shortly before 2pm – three-and-a-half hours after play was scheduled to begin – meaning both sides took a point. Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes has bemoaned the lack of reserve days.

Thinking time: ‘There was a Rolling Thunder energy’

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in the Rolling Thunder Revue



Magnificent duets … Joan Baez and Bob Dylan play in the Rolling Thunder Revue. Photograph: Ken Regan

In May 1975, his marriage breaking up, Bob Dylan spent six weeks in the south of France. His host, an artist named David Oppenheim, had recently provided a painting for the back cover of Blood on the Tracks, an album of seemingly confessional songs that had taken Dylan back to the top of the charts. Critics acclaimed its songs as evidence that, after almost a decade of straying from the straight and narrow, he was prepared once again to bare his soul.

But Dylan, as usual, was restless. He was looking for something new, and he found it when Oppenheim introduced him to the Camargue, a land of salt marshes, wild horses and a village called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. There he witnessed the annual gathering of Roma, arriving from across Europe for the spring festival in celebration of Saint Sarah. It was the general sense of a travelling community with a natural way of expressing its culture that inspired the next and typically unexpected phase of his career. “There was a Rolling Thunder energy and that was his invention,” Joan Baez says in Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, the documentary by Martin Scorsese released this week on Netflix. Using verite and concert footage, some of it first seen in Dylan’s long-buried feature film Renaldo and Clara, Scorsese reframes that energy while adding a layer of meta-reality that reflects Dylan’s enduring fascination with masks, disguises and alternative facts.

Media roundup

The ABC reports that the NSW Labor leadership hopeful Chris Minns “received a $5,000 ‘moving expenses’ payment as part of a six-figure donation to Labor by an association linked to a Sydney businessman with deep links to the Chinese Communist party”, and that Chris Bowen, Labor’s federal health spokesman, “was the beneficiary of the $100,000 donation from which Mr Minns’s payment was drawn”. The Sydney Morning Herald says there is a crisis in hospital wait times in NSW, with “record numbers of patients swamping emergency departments”. Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad appears on the front page of the Australian below the headline Gas tax hike: Treasurer sparks energy backlash.

Coming up

Australia hope to bounce back from defeat against India when they face Pakistan in their next cricket World Cup assignment tonight. Follow our liveblog from 6.30pm AEST with the first ball to be bowled at 7.30pm AEST.

There will be a state memorial service in Sydney today for the poet Les Murray.

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Source link : https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/12/morning-mail-energy-efficiency-fail-russia-in-africa-radiohead-hack

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Publish date : 2019-06-11 20:59:00

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