Australian politics, society & culture

The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

6th of October 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Ministers and negotiators lock in major TPP trade deal “The Federal Government says a new 12-country trade deal which covers 40% of the global economy is a "very big win" for Australia. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was clinched in the US city of Atlanta overnight after days of marathon talks and could influence everything from the price of cheese to the cost of cancer treatments … The Federal Opposition said the deal had "significant potential benefits" but it wanted to examine the fine details … The Greens are critical of the secrecy surrounding the deal, sceptical about the economic benefits and worried Australia could be sued under investor-state dispute settlement provisions.” (Also: The TPP explained)


5th of October 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership: ‘50/50’ chance of trade deal today as negotiators lock horns over medical patent protection “Pacific nation ministers and negotiators are scrambling to lock in a major Pacific trade deal, as talks come to a head in the US city of Atlanta. Negotiations over the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would cover 40% of the global economy, are continuing into another night after five days of marathon talks. A ministerial press conference was originally scheduled for this morning, Australian time, as reports emerged of a deal between Australia and the United States on intellectual property rules for new-generation medicines. Australia’s refusal to concede ground to the US on so-called ‘biologics’ has held up talks for days.”


2nd of October 2015

Ten killed in college shooting in Oregon “Ten people have been killed and seven injured in a shooting at a college in the US state of Oregon. The 20-year-old gunman opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning. There were conflicting reports on the casualty numbers but Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the figure of 10 dead was ‘the best one’. A visibly frustrated President Barack Obama demanded tighter gun laws, saying prayers are ‘no longer enough’. Such shootings – and his own response – had become routine, he said, barely concealing his exasperation. ‘We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. But we are the only advanced country on earth that sees these mass shootings every few months.’”


1st of October 2015

Reform summit: everything on table at meeting of industry leaders “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called a snap summit of Australian business leaders, as well as unions and welfare organisations, to discuss the nation's economic future and resuscitate debate on structural reform. Mr Turnbull told the ABC ‘everything is on the table’ for the meeting in Canberra. ‘We’ve all got a vested interest in there being an open debate, all things being on the table, nobody assuming that they’ve got the right answer,’ he said … ‘I’m an activist, but I’m a thoughtful and considered activist.’”


30th of September 2015

Share market sheds $56 billion as commodities tank “The Australian share market has lost $56 billion in value, as a share price crash for global commodities giant Glencore raised fears about companies across the sector. Despite carnage for local mining and energy stocks, nothing in Australia matched Glencore’s near 30% plunge in London overnight and a matching slump in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Fears about the heavily indebted Glencore's ability to survive caused the rout in its share price and a surge in the cost of insuring its debt, leading many analysts to question whether this might be the commodity sector's Lehman Brothers moment.” (Also: The surprised analyst who sparked the selloff)


29th of September 2015

Shell abandons Arctic drilling “Shell has abandoned its controversial drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic in the face of mounting opposition in what jubilant environmentalists described as ‘an unmitigated defeat’ for big oil. The Anglo-Dutch company had repeatedly stressed the enormous hydrocarbon potential of the far north region in public, but in private began to admit it had been surprised by the popular opposition it faced. Shell said today it had made a marginal discovery of oil and gas with its summer exploration in the Chukchi Sea but not enough to continue to the search for the ‘foreseeable’ future.”

The Guardian

28th of September 2015

Victorious Catalan separatists claim mandate to break with Spain “Separatists on Sunday won a clear majority of seats in Catalonia’s parliament in an election that sets the region on a collision course with Spain’s central government over independence. ‘Catalans have voted yes to independence,’ acting regional government head Artur Mas told supporters, with secessionist parties securing 72 out of 135 seats in the powerful region of 7.5 million people that includes Barcelona. The strong pro-independence showing dealt a blow to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, three months before a national election. His center-right government, which has opposed attempts to hold a referendum on secession, has called the separatist plan ‘a nonsense’ and vowed to block it in court.”


25th of September 2015

Over 700 killed in crush of hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia “Two giant waves of Muslim pilgrims collided at an intersection Thursday near a holy site in Saudi Arabia, and more than 700 people were crushed and trampled to death in the worst disaster at the hajj in a quarter-century. ‘People were climbing over one another just to breathe,’ said Abdullah Lotfy of Egypt. ‘It was like a wave. You go forward and suddenly you go back.’ The hajj, which drew 2 million people from over 180 countries this year, is a huge logistical challenge for Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has spent billions of dollars to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims and maintain safety and security at Islam’s holy cities of Mecca and Medina for the annual event. Saudi authorities began an investigation, said Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, adding that initial reports showed two crowds coming from opposing directions converged at an intersection in Mina, on the outskirts of Mecca, when the pushing and shoving started.”

The New York Times

24th of September 2015

Malcolm Turnbull announces new strategies to tackle domestic violence “Malcolm Turnbull is unveiling a suite of measures aimed at tackling domestic violence in one of his first policy announcements since sweeping to power in a leadership spill last week. The initiatives, to be announced on Thursday, follow recommendations made by the Council of Australian Governments advisory group on domestic violence, and are not substantially different from those proposed by Turnbull’s immediate predecessor, Tony Abbott.”

The Guardian

23rd of September 2015

Volkswagen diesel scandal goes global, includes other brands, still no word on Australia “The Volkswagen diesel scandal that started with 486,000 cars in the US has now gone global and roped in 11 million vehicles — and the company has set aside a staggering $10 billion (€6.5 billion) for rectification work and compensation claims. The list of cars affected also now includes those from other VW-owned brands such as Audi and Skoda. The cars are alleged to have secret software hidden in their engine management computers to cheat strict fuel economy and emissions tests. The software program can detect when the vehicle is being tested for fuel consumption and engine emissions because the tests are so specific. But in normal driving conditions, US regulators found, the output of certain toxins increased by 10 to 40 times the amount during the test.” (Also: The planet should be afraid and Inside the most awkward Volkswagen party in the world)