The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

14th of April 2016

Coal slump sends mining giant Peabody into bankruptcy “Peabody Energy Corp filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday in the most powerful convulsion yet in an industry that’s still waiting for the coal market to bottom out. The outcome of the case may turn on what trajectory coal prices take over the course of the reorganization, with battles over environmental obligations and non-bankrupt Australian operations complicating matters, according to analysts and environmental activists. Founded in 1883 by 24-year-old Francis S Peabody with $100, a wagon and two mules, the miner is now the largest private-sector coal company in the world. It joins four other large coal companies that have sought bankruptcy during the slump.” (Also: The coal crash and what it means for Australia)


13th of April 2016

Suspects in alleged Beirut kidnapping face jail and hard labour “Nine people, including a former UK-based detective turned ‘child recovery specialist’, an Australian TV network crew and an Australian woman accused of an attempted kidnapping of her two children, have been charged in Lebanon with crimes that carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and hard labour. Investigative judge Rami Abdullah referred the case to the prosecutor general after he and Lebanese police questioned the suspects. The case will now be examined by the prosecutor general, who is likely to issue indictments in preparation for a trial.” (Also: Possible footage of the alleged kidnapping attempt)

The Guardian

12th of April 2016

Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen has made al Qaeda stronger and richer “Once driven to near irrelevance by the rise of Islamic State abroad and security crackdowns at home, al Qaeda in Yemen now openly rules a mini-state with a war chest swollen by an estimated $100 million in looted bank deposits and revenue from running the country’s third largest port. If Islamic State’s capital is the Syrian city of Raqqa, then al Qaeda’s is Mukalla, a southeastern Yemeni port city of 500,000 people. Al Qaeda fighters there have abolished taxes for local residents, operate speedboats manned by RPG-wielding fighters who impose fees on ship traffic, and make propaganda videos in which they boast about paving local roads and stocking hospitals.” (Also: Assad’s war crimes exposed and Blackwater founder building private air force)


11th of April 2016

What’s going on inside the CSIRO? “A war is being waged over the future of the CSIRO, and whether 53-year-old Larry Marshall can succeed in reshaping it in his Silicon Valley-trained image. At the heart of the war is the question of whether engaging in meaningful ‘science for science’s sake’ is anachronistic for a national agency in a cash-strapped, innovation-focused world. As Marshall puts it, his plan is driven by economic reality. CSIRO spent about $1.25 billion on research last financial year. About $250 million is tied up in national research shared with universities. Of the remaining $1 billion, a tick over half came from annual government funding. The other half was from other, mostly private, sources. Given the state of the federal budget, Marshall’s view is that this trend unlikely to change – external revenue is vital to the organisation’s survival.”

The Sydney Morning Herald

8th of April 2016

David Cameron admits he profited from his father’s Panama offshore fund “David Cameron has finally admitted he benefited from a Panama-based offshore trust set up by his late father. After three days of stalling and four partial statements issued by Downing Street he confessed that he owned shares in the tax haven fund, which he sold for £31,500 just before becoming prime minister in 2010. He confirmed a direct link to his father’s UK-tax avoiding fund, details of which were exposed in the Panama Papers revelations this week. Admitting it had been “a difficult few days”, the prime minister said he held the shares together with his wife, Samantha, from 1997 and during his time as leader of the opposition. They were sold in January 2010 for a profit of £19,000.”

The Guardian

7th of April 2016

Children caught up in Nauru riot “Two detainees received medical treatment following an alleged riot involving children at the Nauru detention centre overnight, in a dramatic escalation of tensions on the remote Pacific island. Video footage obtained by Fairfax Media shows frightening scenes including young people crying and saying ‘they are hitting us’, before screams and loud banging can be heard. The disturbance is believed to have occurred in the family compound. A former worker at Nauru who is in close contact with asylum seekers and refugees said she was told that members of the Wilson Security emergency response team hit teenagers who had been protesting.”

The Sydney Morning Herald

6th of April 2016

Panama Papers: Iceland PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigns “Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday, becoming the first casualty of leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm which have shone a spotlight on the offshore wealth of politicians and public figures worldwide. The Panama Papers showed the premier's wife owned an offshore company with big claims on Iceland’s banks, a undeclared conflict of interest for Mr Gunnlaugsson, infuriating many who hurled eggs and bananas in street protests calling for him to step down.” (Also: New FIFA boss Gianni Infantino implicated)

The Sydney Morning Herald

5th of April 2016

Australia’s urban boom “Sometime over the next three months, Sydney’s population will reach five million. If Melbourne keeps growing at its current pace, by 2020 it too will have five million residents – and it won’t stay that size for long … Since the start of this millennium, Melbourne’s population has grown by a third, Sydney’s by a quarter. But Melbourne does not have a third more road space to carry its cars and trucks, or a third more trains and trainlines, or schools, or a third more of the other infrastructure that makes cities liveable.”

Inside Story

4th of April 2016

The Panama Papers “A massive security breach shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars … The leak reveals the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders including Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, as well as relatives of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of China's Communist Party elite.” (Also: The secrets of dirty money and ATO investigating more that 800 Australians involved)


1st of April 2016

The world thinks Australia should lift its anti-corruption game “Anti-corruption experts in the US and Europe have urged Australia to properly resource and empower its anti-bribery regime as Australia emerges as the ‘dumping ground’ for dirty money from Asia. Officials believe that under-resourcing, ineffective laws and competing priorities between the federal police and corporate watchdog ASIC are a factor in the failure to resolve many cases.”

The Age