Good morning, this is Helen Sullivan bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 23 September.
Donald Trump aides and allies went on the offensive on Sunday, over what the president claims is uninvestigated corruption involving Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine. In return, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee said the president’s reported conduct in the matter may make impeachment “the only remedy that is coequal to the evil”. Trump’s reported pressuring of the Ukrainian president to investigate claims about Biden has clouded the White House in scandal. On Saturday, Biden, who has denied all wrongdoing, accused Trump of an “overwhelming abuse of power”. On Sunday, leaving the White House for Texas and Ohio before continuing to New York and the United Nations, Trump told reporters he was “not looking to hurt Biden, but he did a very dishonest thing”. Elizabeth Warren has meanwhile overtaken Joe Biden in new Iowa poll.
Atlassian chief Mike Cannon-Brookes will announce a net zero emissions target at the United Nations summit on climate change. The Australian tech entrepreneur said he was taking action and travelling to New York for the summit “because we have a responsibility to act” and to “fly the Australian flag”. The commitment will see Atlassian become the first major Australian company to join the Business Ambition for 1.5C. Scott Morrison will not attend the UN climate action summit despite the fact he is in the US Another notable absence from the climate summit will be Donald Trump.
The Australian federal police dropped its inquiry into Islamophobic posts on ex-Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan’s Facebook page after she failed to make a referral, documents obtained by Guardian Australia reveal. The AFP wanted to investigate whether Whelan’s Facebook account was compromised but did not get referral from Whelan after she parted ways with Liberals. Whelan, who was unsuccessful in her run for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons at the federal election in May, claimed Islamophobic Facebook posts under her name had been doctored. While Whelan severed ties with the Liberal party on 2 May after more social media posts emerged, she remained adamant the two posts that were referred to the AFP were doctored, and the Liberal party referred the matter to the AFP.
Hundreds of Egyptians have been swept up in a campaign of arrests targeting protesters, as demonstrations against Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi’s rule continue. A Cairo-based NGO reported on Sunday that at least 220 people had been arrested since protests began on Friday night.
Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to justify why he allegedly failed to declare an interest in the allocation of public money to a close friend while he was mayor of London. Jeremy Corbyn has meanwhile risked the wrath of Labour’s membership after he moved to stop the party campaigning to remain in the EU at a general election.
Protesters and police have clashed in Hong Kong in another weekend of unrest, as tensions escalate in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of People’s Republic of China, a significant political anniversary for Beijing.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has said he will present a plan for Gulf security at this week’s UN general assembly, as Washington and Tehran fight for diplomatic advantage in the wake of the devastating attack on the Saudi oil industry.
The question of why Wales voted to leave the EU can in large part be answered by the number of English retired people who moved across the border, research has found.
Opinion and analysis
There is no populist rightwing breakout in Australia because the government already accommodates them, writes Jason Wilson. The news that Pauline Hanson will be deputy-chairing a “men’s rights” flavoured parliamentary inquiry into the family court system is an odd and unwelcome development at a time when we might instead be addressing the national crisis of violence against women. But it offers an example of why Australia, unlike other comparable democracies, has not been subject to a populist rightwing breakout: “The thing is, there just isn’t political space for a new far-right force to really flourish in Australia. Australia’s conservatives already offer enough of what the most reactionary social currents might want.”
After Tanya Gold wrote a piece about Nike’s obese mannequin, she found herself in the eye of a Twitter storm. “The piece appeared on Sunday. By Monday morning it was trending on Twitter. It rolled around the world. It followed the sun,” she writes. “I was called fat-phobic in the South China Morning Post and elitist in the Irish Times. I became a person who hated women. My Wikipedia entry was changed to ‘Tanya Gold is fat and fat-phobic.’ Within half a day I was an invented person, and that version of me, which I do not recognise, is more vivid than I am and will, I marvel, outlive any other version, no matter my future strivings.”
A stirring effort from Chelsea was not enough to stop Liverpool from maintaining their pristine record at the top of the Premier League, after beating Chelsea 2-1. “Liverpool held on and were able to celebrate a rare and precious win at the home of one their big six rivals,” writes Jacob Steinberg.
The top four are still standing despite twists on the way to NRL prelims, writes Matt Cleary, who outlines the teams’ differing paths to the preliminary finals. “And then there were four. And two of them were pleased to be watching from the couch.”
Saturday’s preliminary final between Collingwood and the GWS Giants opened not with a bang, but with a whimper, writes Craig Little. But ultimately conspiracy theories, contentious calls and an improbable comeback all converged in the thrilling final act.
Thinking time: Jonathan Van Ness on being HIV positive
For Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, Over the Top – his new biography – is about charting his own path through adolescence towards the triumph that is Queer Eye, but it’s also about owning two of the most traumatic chapters in his life. The first occurred when he was four, when an older boy molested him in a closet. That single act of abuse casts a long, pernicious shadow over the book as we witness the ways in which Van Ness acts out his confusion and pain, from taking crystal meth, to sustained binges in sex clubs that satisfy his need to be wanted. He joins a 12-step program for sex addiction, but relapses. In the midst of all that, his stepfather, Steve, is diagnosed with bladder cancer, and told he has 11 months to live. Shortly after the funeral, his former boyfriend tracked him down at a bathhouse in St Louis and Van Ness’s fall to rock bottom seems complete. Almost. When he gets sick, collapsing at the hair salon he is working at one afternoon, he already knows what a doctor will tell him a day later: he is HIV positive.
“It occurred to me: what if everything I’ve ever been through was preparing me for this moment – to be strong enough to share this, and to share it on my own terms,” he says. “Part of that for me is to process what’s happened, but the bigger part is that I wanted to do something to move the conversation forward in a meaningful way around HIV/Aids, and what it is to live with HIV, and to humanise and normalise a lot of the things I talk about.” He blinks, then adds, “I’m talking slow because I’m trying not to cry.”
Scott Morrison has publicly called on China to settle the trade war with the US, after meeting with Trump, the Australian reports. The Sydney Morning Herald reveals that “MPs are charging taxpayers thousands of dollars for bound and ‘personalised’ editions of parliamentary speeches despite the content being available for free online”. An ABC Four Corners investigation into the funeral industry has uncovered practices including identifying bodies in carparks.
Scott Morrison and Donald Trump will visit the new billion-dollar paper factory in Ohio owned by Australia’s Pratt Industries.
The Senate inquiry into the cashless welfare card will hold a hearing in Darwin.
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