Morning mail: Australia waters down climate plea, Jones 'out of line', China's HK threat

Morning mail: Australia waters down climate plea, Jones 'out of line', China's HK threat

Scott Morrison, centre, at the Pacific Islands Forum in Funafuti. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/EPA

Friday: Australia distances itself from calls for urgent action. Plus, Israel blocks US congresswomen from entering country

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Main image: Scott Morrison, centre, at the Pacific Islands Forum in Funafuti. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/EPA

Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 16 August.

Top stories

Australia has stood in opposition to Pacific islands nations after distancing itself from language calling for urgent action on climate change at a meeting in Tuvalu. Eighteen leaders including Australia’s Scott Morrison, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama met for almost 12 hours at the Pacific Islands Forum. Its chair, Tuvalu’s Enele Sopoaga, described the talks as a “very tough, difficult struggle”. Some nations had hoped all 18 members would commit to policies to limit temperature rises to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, but the leaders agreed to an opt-out from measures they opposed. Australia also refused an immediate global ban on construction of new coal-fired power plants and coalmines. Meanwhile Morrison said Alan Jones was “way out of line” for saying the Australian PM should “shove a sock down the throat” of Ardern. “The comment has been relayed to me; on what’s been reported to me, I find that very disappointing and of course that’s way out of line” he said. The radio host said Ardern was “a complete clown” and too outspoken about the climate crisis.

Clive Palmer outspent McDonald’s, Toyota and Coles spruiking his United Australia party in the year leading up to the federal election, and spent more than $8m on saturation advertising in its final week, according to new analysis obtained by Guardian Australia. It suggests the controversial businessman changed his strategy in the final week of the campaign, training a higher proportion of the spend on attack ads targeting the Labor party and Bill Shorten.

The disability royal commissioner and former state Liberal MP John Ryan has withdrawn from a “men’s brekkie” event at which he was to appear alongside the NSW One Nation leader, Mark Latham. Guardian Australia asked if Ryan’s attendance was appropriate. A spokesman for the disability royal commission has confirmed Ryan’s withdrawal: “The chair of the royal commission [Ronald Sackville] has asked commissioner Ryan to withdraw from the event and he has agreed to do so.”

World

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
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Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Israel’s decision on Thursday to block two US congresswomen from entering the country amid pressure from Donald Trump drew widespread criticism in Washington, with some Democrats warning that the move threatened to erode US support for its longtime ally.

China has issued its most pointed threat yet to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, warning that it has “enough solutions and enough power to swiftly quell unrest” should it deem the situation “uncontrollable”.

An oil tanker at the centre of a six-week diplomatic row between Britain and Iran is to be released from Gibraltar, after Tehran promised that its cargo worth $140m would no longer be transported to Syria.

The Liberal Democrats are under growing pressure to back Jeremy Corbyn as a caretaker PM to stop a no-deal Brexit after leading opposition figures and even one former Conservative minister said they were open to the idea.

Women producing jeans for US brands including Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Lee have been forced to sleep with their managers to keep their jobs or gain promotion, an investigation into sexual harassment and coercion at garment factories in Lesotho has found.

Opinion and analysis

A woman's legs
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Men in Australian still earn 14% more than Australian women on average. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Australia’s gender pay gap is harming older women, with many women in their 50s and 60s unable to support themselves after a lifetime of toil and labour. . Figures released on Thursday show also the national gender pay gap remains stable at 14% and the gap between full-time average weekly earnings for men and women is $241.50 a week. “I’ve only been earning super in the last 10 years,” Janine Saligari said. “I’ve been working since I was 14. And I’ve got nothing to show for it. I’d be lucky to have $30,000 in super.”

Strange things were happening with Brigid Delaney’s fridge. But watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to repair it herself didn’t help. “Watching six of these videos in a row made me feel strangely ill. I knew that if I attempted to mess with the wiring … I would die and my corpse would be discovered later, curled behind the fridge.”

Sport

Australia’s David Warner
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Australia’s David Warner is bowled by England’s Stuart Broad. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Day two of the second Ashes Test has left England at 258, to Australia’s 30-1. Australia scrapped and scraped in a manner that suggested there is still plenty of time for there to be a result, and England’s Stuart Broad bowled David Warner in the most beautiful play of the match.

On Saturday the Gabba hosts its most significant football game in a decade. A Brisbane side that has lit up an otherwise ho-hum season faces its biggest test. Their coach, a grandfather who never played at the highest level, squares off against Scott, the archetype Lion of yore.

The Wallabies coach, Michael Cheika, has vowed to resign if Australia does not win the World Cup this year. But what if his side regain the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday night? Would that be sufficient for Rugby Australia to offer a contract extension?

Thinking time: Listening to 38 discs of Woodstock – still groovy?

Alla Rakha and Ravi Shankar on stage at Woodstock
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Alla Rakha and Ravi Shankar on stage at Woodstock in 1969. Photograph: Alvan Meyerowitz/Getty Images

It was a blueprint for Live Aid and every mega-festival since. Woodstock’s cultural weight has risen and fallen over the decades – depending on who you talk to, it was either the pinnacle of 1960s counterculture or the rain-sodden end of a dream. Bob Stanley, who was four at the time, surveys a new archive box set – in full – to uncover the real story of these “three days of peace and music”. “The soundtrack album would be in friends’ houses in the 70s, and the movie seemed to be on TV every year, so I’m part of a generation that thinks it knows Woodstock without having been there. But the movie is incomplete and out of sequence – some of the story is as fictionalised as Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“By mid-afternoon, insulin and asthma medicine are the main concerns of the MC. And lost car keys. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian walks on stage, slack-jawed. ‘I don’t know if you can tell how amazing you look. You’re a whole city. You’re something an awful lot of us talked about 10 years ago.’”

Media roundup

The ABC talks to women in the Pacific whose quality of life is improving due to better underwear. The cost of a bra is equivalent to a day’s wages, and many women go without, to the detriment of their spine health. A Chinese drone company that has caught the attention of US and Australian security agencies has set up an Australian branch with the assistance of the LNP whip Rob Molhoek, the Australian reports. And a planned $300m spend by US marines on infrastructure in the Northern Territory is a golden opportunity for local businesses, the NT News reports.

Coming up

A NSW upper house committee will hear from conservation groups in an inquiry into the state’s declining koala population.

Nominations for the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria close. The assembly will replace the Treaty Advancement Commission and work with the state government to prepare for treaty negotiations.

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