Of all the endorsements, none was more significant than that of James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, who said Fox News was “a megaphone for conspiracies and falsehoods”.
We have to face the uncomfortable fact that the systematic partisan lying and misinformation from the media, both mainstream and social – what Clapper calls the “truth deficit” – has done enormous damage to liberal democracies, and none more so than the US itself. Thanks to this relentless diet of lies, a quarter of all Americans and 56% of Republicans believe Trump is the true president today.
Biden is leading a more traditional and rational administration. The friends and allies Trump had outraged around the world are breathing a sigh of relief. The US has rejoined the Paris agreement on climate change and Biden is seeking to lead the world with deeper, faster cuts to emissions.
But the same forces that amplified and enabled Trump are still at work in the US and here in Australia. In April the Murdoch press bullied the New South Wales government into reversing its decision to appoint me chairman of a committee to advise on the transition to a net zero emission economy. My “crime” was to not support the continued, unconstrained expansion of open-cut coalmining in the Hunter Valley. In the crazed, rightwing media echo chamber so influential with many Liberal and National party members, the primary qualification to advise on net zero emissions is, apparently, unqualified support for coalmining.
Australia’s Daintree Rainforest has been returned to its original Indigenous owners, the state of Queensland, Australia’s third most populous, said on Wednesday, as the government begins to cede control of the world’s oldest tropical forest.
China frees Canadians after Huawei boss released » BBC News
A diplomatic row between China and the West appears to be ending, after the release of two Canadians held in China and a Chinese tech executive in Canada. Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, arrested on a US warrant in 2018, left Canada on Friday in a deal with US prosecutors. Hours later it was announced that Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, accused of espionage by China in the same year, were flying home to Canada. Beijing denies detaining the Canadians in retaliation for Ms Meng’s arrest. But critics have accused China of using them as political bargaining chips. The two men had maintained their innocence throughout.
China, Canada free detainees after Huawei exec deal with US » DW News
Two Canadians and a top Chinese executive are on their way home after a deal with US authorities put an end to a three year diplomatic spat. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei telecoms giant, was arrested in Canada in 2018 on US charges of violating sanctions. Weeks later Beijing detained two Canadian citizens in China in what was seen as an act of retaliation. The detentions had strained relations between the world’s two superpowers. Now a federal judge in New York has accepted a deal between US-prosecutors and Meng. Under the deal, Meng admitted to some wrongdoing. Prosecutors agreed in return to drop charges against her next year, provided she complies with certain rules. The case has also been a source of friction between China and Canada, where Meng has been detained and fighting US-extradition since her 2018 arrest. The deal included an acknowledgment by Meng that she mislead a bank about the company’s operations in Iran that were in violation of US-sanctions. The agreement paves the way for her to be released from home-detention in Canada and return to China. But it doesn’t drop the US-case against Huawei itself, which includes charges related to intellectual-property theft.
A day after the United States, UK and Australia unveiled a new tri-lateral defense pact for the Indo-Pacific, the European Union announced its own strategy to boost political and defense ties in the region.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday that Brussels had not been consulted on the pact, which has been dubbed “AUKUS.”
“We regret not having being informed, not having been part of these talks,” Borrell said Thursday.
“We must survive on our own, as others do,” Borrell said as he presented the strategy, which will include strengthening and expanding economic and strategic relations with countries in the region.
The Biden administration took a major step on Wednesday in challenging China’s broad territorial claims in the Pacific, announcing that the United States and Britain would help Australia to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, adding to the Western presence in the region.
If the plan, announced on Wednesday by President Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, comes to fruition, Australia may be conducting routine patrols that could sail through areas of the South China Sea that Beijing now claims as its own exclusive zone, and range as far north as Taiwan. The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been hesitant to push back directly at core Chinese interests.