Morning mail: Morrison funeral row, Trump on defence, Chinese investment plummets

Good morning, this is Lauren Waldhuter bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 14 September. Top stories The daughter of a Queensland man whose funeral was at the centre of a federal-state brawl about border closures has accused Scott Morrison of using the case to “advance his political agenda”. When another daughter was denied an exemption from hotel quarantine to attend the ceremony, Scott Morrison asked Queensland authorities to change their minds. In an open letter Alexandra Prendergast …

A US Marine Who Killed A Transgender Woman In The Philippines Has Been Pardoned

Joseph Scott Pemberton is set to be released after serving less than six years of a 10-year sentence for the killing of Jennifer Laude. Posted on September 7, 2020, at 4:15 p.m. ET   A US Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines in 2014 was pardoned Monday by President Rodrigo Duterte. The pardon came five years after Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton admitted to choking Jennifer Laude in a hotel room after paying her for sex …

Another leading opposition activist detained in Belarus

Belarusian authorities have detained one of the last leading members of an opposition council who remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko By YURAS KARMANAU Associated Press September 9, 2020, 1:31 PM • 5 min read KYIV, Ukraine — Belarusian authorities on Wednesday detained one of the two last leading members of an opposition council who remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Lawyer …

20 Years Later, ‘Almost Famous’ Is The Best Kind Of Feel-Good Movie

Kate Hudson has a line in “Almost Famous” that is cheesy, overwrought and perfect. I think about it often. Her character, aptly named Penny Lane, says to fledgling 1970s rock journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit) while driving around San Diego one night, “I always tell the girls, ‘Never take it seriously.’ If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun. And if you ever get lonely, just go to the …

Assange’s legal fight to avoid U.S. espionage trial resumes in London

A protester wears a mask of Julian Assange’s face outside Belmarsh prison prior to the extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on February 24, 2020 in London, England.   Julian Assange resumes his battle in a London court on Monday to avoid extradition to the United States to face criminal charges over the activities of his WikiLeaks website, after months of delay due to the coronavirus lockdown. The U.S. authorities accuse Australian-born Assange, 49, of conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage …

New Study Shows How COVID-19 Might Affect Pregnant Women

Pregnant women with COVID-19 are less likely to have symptoms, and may be more likely to give birth early, new research shows. Compared with non-pregnant women of a similar age, researchers found pregnant and recently pregnant women with COVID-19 were less likely to report symptoms of fever and muscle pain (myalgia), but were more likely to need admission to an intensive care unit and need ventilation. The study, published in the BMJ, found a quarter of all babies born to …

A Takeout Order At KFC At 1:30 A.M. Raised Suspicions. It Led To A $26,000 Coronavirus Fine.

BuzzFeed News has reporters around the world bringing you trustworthy stories about the impact of the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member. Two paramedics stopped for a meal at an Australian KFC restaurant in the suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, early Friday morning when they noticed something suspicious. A pair of customers had ordered roughly 20 takeout meals at 1:30 a.m. The substantial order raised eyebrows because large parts of Victoria are currently back in lockdown following …

Poland marks 40 years since key pro-democracy agreement

Poland is celebrating 40 years since it took a crucial step toward democracy with the creation of the Soviet bloc’s first free trade union, Solidarity, which changed the course of the nation’s history By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA Associated Press August 31, 2020, 12:57 PM • 3 min read WARSAW, Poland — Poland on Monday celebrated 40 years since it took a crucial step toward democracy with the creation of the Soviet bloc’s first free trade union, Solidarity, which changed the course …

China warns Czech senate speaker will pay ‘heavy price’ for Taiwan visit

The Czech senate’s Milos Vystrcil and his wife wave to salute the press in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 30, 2020.   Czech Senate speaker Milos Vystrcil will “pay a heavy price” for making an official trip to Taiwan and China will not sit idly by, the Chinese government’s top diplomat said on Monday, in a warning brushed off by Taiwan’s government. Vystrcil arrived in Taipei on Sunday on a visit to promote business links with Taiwan, saying the Czech Republic …

Belarus Cracks Down on Foreign Journalists as Massive Protests Against Its Authoritarian President Continue

(MOSCOW) — Belarus, shaken by three weeks of massive protests against its authoritarian president, on Saturday cracked down hard on the news media, deporting some foreign journalists reporting in the country and revoking the accreditation of many Belarusian journalists. Two Moscow-based Associated Press journalists who were covering the recent protests in Belarus were deported to Russia on Saturday. In addition, the AP’s Belarusian journalists were told by the government that their press credentials had been revoked. “The Associated Press decries …

Belarus cracks down on journalists, 2 AP staff deported

The Belarus government has cracked down hard on the news media, deporting some foreign journalists reporting in the country and revoking the accreditation of many Belarusian journalists By JIM HEINTZ Associated Prress August 30, 2020, 2:30 AM • 4 min read MOSCOW — Belarus, shaken by three weeks of massive protests against its authoritarian president, on Saturday cracked down hard on the news media, deporting some foreign journalists reporting in the country and revoking the accreditation of many Belarusian journalists. …

What They Saw: Ex-Prisoners Detail The Horrors Of China’s Detention Camps

This is Part 2 of a BuzzFeed News investigation. For Part 1, click here. This project was supported by the Open Technology Fund, the Pulitzer Center, and the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism. ALMATY — Maybe the police officers call you first. Or maybe they show up at your workplace and ask your boss if they can talk to you. In all likelihood they will come for you at night, after you’ve gone to bed. In Nursaule’s case, …

Facebook’s Ties to India’s Ruling Party Complicate Its Fight Against Hate Speech

In July 2019, Alaphia Zoyab was on a video call with Facebook employees in India, discussing some 180 posts by users in the country that Avaaz, the watchdog group where she worked, said violated Facebook’s hate speech rules. But half way through the hour-long meeting, Shivnath Thukral, the most senior Facebook official on the call, got up and walked out of the room, Zoyab says, saying he had other important things to do. Among the posts was one by Shiladitya …

Coronavirus live news: Europe sees increase in infections among younger people, says WHO chief

7.56am EDT 07:56 Four members of a dwindling tribe in India’s far off Andaman Islands have tested positive for coronavirus, officials said on Thursday as the country reported 75,760 new infections, the highest-single-day rise. The Great Andamanese are one of the six tribes of Mongoloid and African origin, who have lived in the Andamans in the Bay of Bengal for thousands of years. Only about 50 members survive, after thousands were killed by British colonisers in the 19th century or …

Laura Expected to Hit Texas and Louisiana as a ‘Catastrophic’ Category 4 Hurricane

(GALVESTON, Texas) — Hurricane Laura rapidly gained strength on Wednesday, forecast to become a “catastrophic” Category 4 hurricane before striking Texas and Louisiana. Officials implored coastal residents to flee before it’s too late. Satellite images show Laura’s remarkable intensification into “a formidable hurricane” that can smash homes and sink entire communities, “and there are no signs it will stop soon,” the National Hurricane Center said. “Some areas, when they wake up Thursday morning, they’re not going to believe what happened,” …

I May Destroy You’s Extraordinary Finale Makes Good on the Show’s Cryptic Title

I May Destroy You is a cryptic title. It could be a threat, a warning or merely an observation. But throughout Michaela Coel’s phenomenal HBO series, whose finale aired on Monday, the phrase functions more like a collection of questions. Who is speaking here, and to whom—who is the “I,” and who is the “you”? Does “may” mean “might,” or does it imply the granting of permission? Even “destroy” has some ambiguity; are we talking about fully obliterating a person …

Exclusive: Cyprus sold passports to ‘politically exposed persons’

A huge leak of confidential Cypriot government documents obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit called The Cyprus Papers reveals that dozens of high-level officials and their families bought so-called “golden passports” from Cyprus between late 2017 and late 2019. Among those who bought the passports, worth a minimum investment of $2.5m each, were elected politicians of several countries, board members of state enterprises and the brother of a former Lebanese Prime Minister. These officials, known as politically exposed persons (PEPs), are internationally recognised as …

The Trump Administration Will Start Charging Immigrants Fees For Applying For Asylum

The US will become just one of just four countries to charge asylum-seekers a fee to apply for protections, according to a finalized policy announced Friday. The move is just the latest by the Trump administration to target and restrict protections for those fleeing their home countries. The US now joins the ranks of Iran, Fiji, and Australia in charging a fee. In the US, there will be a $50 charge on asylum applications starting in October. “A $50 fee …

New Tennessee Law Severely Sharpens Punishments for Some Protesters, Potentially Endangering Their Voting Rights

A new Tennessee law, signed by the governor this week, makes it a felony for protesters to camp out overnight on state property. If convicted, they could lose their voting rights and face up to six years in prison. Although some states are moving towards restoring voting rights for felons, it remains illegal for felons to vote in Tennessee. For more than two months, dozens of people had been sleeping outside the state capitol as they protested day and night …

Taliban set powerful negotiating team for intra-Afghan talks

The top Taliban negotiator says the group’s chief has finalized a negotiating team that will have sweeping decision-making powers in upcoming intra-Afghan negotiations By KATHY GANNON Associated Press August 23, 2020, 6:41 PM 3 min read ISLAMABAD — The Taliban‘s chief has finalized a negotiating team that is to have sweeping decision-making powers in upcoming intra-Afghan negotiations, the top Taliban negotiator told The Associated Press on Sunday. Maulvi Hibatullah Akhunzada hand-picked the 20-member team, 13 of whom come from the …