Category: ‘南京桑拿’

Rod Culleton’s last-ditch effort to stay in the Parliament

10/08/2019 Posted by admin

Senator Rod Culleton outside the High Court. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Rod Culleton with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Nanjing Night Net

Former senator Rodney Culleton has mounted an eleventh-hour effort to save his parliamentary career, seeking to appeal the Federal Court decision that rendered him bankrupt and demanding Senate President Stephen Parry immediately withdraw his declaration of a vacancy.

“I’ve still got my senator’s badge on and I’m going to my senator’s office,” he said on Thursday after a judge extended a 21-day stay on his bankruptcy order for a further week.

Senator Parry notified the West Australia Governor on Wednesday that a seat had become vacant. But, as he fights a legal war on multiple fronts, Mr Culleton has written to Senator Parry calling his actions “premature” because of the stay which was not due to expire until midnight on Friday.

His latest hearing, followed by a sometimes rambling press conference, came after West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said the state’s parliament would not be brought back before the March 11 state election to ratify a replacement senator.

Mr Culleton said Senator Parry had “jumped the gun” and repeated his claim not to be bankrupt.

“The government’s been starting up all their lawn mowers to come and mow my grass in Western Australia. It is clear they have to put them back into the shed,” Mr Culleton said.

He clashed with the media about whether his answers made any sense, reminding one journalist she was not a lawyer.

How the former One Nation senator is replaced will hinge on a pending High Court decision that is determining whether Mr Culleton was eligible to be elected at the July election in the wake of a larceny conviction, which has since been annulled.

The High Court returns from recess on January 30, after which the body – sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns – will be able to hand down its ruling. This could be delayed by Mr Culleton’s attempts to appeal the bankruptcy decision, which was the result of a creditor, former Wesfarmers director Dick Lester, pursuing $280,000 in debts.

If the High Court ruling renders him ineligible, a recount would likely hand the seat to the former senator’s brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou, who was the second One Nation candidate on the ballot. If the High Court ruling leaves the the bankruptcy as the cause of the vacancy then One Nation will select his replacement.

If it is the latter, Senator Hanson says she has a “great” person lined up.

“Am I happy about the demise of Rod Culleton? No I’m not,” she told told Channel Nine. He left her party in December after the pair fell out.

“This has been a debacle what’s happened and I’m not happy about that at all and I didn’t want it to happen for the people of Western Australia. But it is what it is.”

The unrelated Senate vacancy resulting from the resignation of Family First senator Bob Day, who retired to deal with his collapsing business empire, is also due to be resolved by the High Court.

A Court of Disputed Returns decision on his eligibility for election – arising from potential indirect pecuniary interests prohibited by the constitution – will occur after a preliminary hearing on January 23 and a full court sitting on February 7. This is the same day Parliament returns for 2017.

Mr Culleton remains defiant.

“What has clearly been put before the honourable court is that I am not insolvent.

“We’ve come out with a good order today, and that’s what the law is about, fair and just,” he said.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Taxpayers slugged for Peter Dutton’s $4000 dinner in the US

10/08/2019 Posted by admin

Peter Dutton says the standards expected of people wanting to become citizens of Australia is a ‘debate worth having’. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The historic Jefferson Hotel, where Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had a five-star working dinner with Department of Immigration staff while in the US. Photo: Virginia Tourist Board
Nanjing Night Net

Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, at a parliamentary committee. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Taxpayers picked up the bill for a $4000 five star “working dinner” that included seven bottles of fine wine hosted by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton at a prestigious luxury hotel in Washington DC.

Mr Dutton and 10 guests – including his staff, former US officials and think tank personalities – enjoyed the $360-a-head meal during his three-day visit to the US for high-level talks last February.

Departmental documents released under Freedom of Information legislation reveal Mr Dutton and his chief of staff Craig Maclachlan were given a budget of $2000 for meals and incidentals for their visit.

But their February 17 three-course dinner alone cost almost double that, at $US2790, which was $3929 at that day’s exchange rate.

While Mr Dutton was staying at the Westin Hotel, the dinner was held at the nearby Jefferson Hotel – billed as the city’s “most discerning hotel” and “second most prestigious address” after the White House.

Mr Dutton and his guests enjoyed two bottles of Far Niente chardonnay at $US80 a pop, three bottles of Chappellet cabernet sauvignon Mountain Cuvee at $US75 each and two bottles of Mark Ryan cabernet sauvignon blend at $US68 each, according to information released in response to a question by Labor senator Catryna Bilyk.

While the department did not provide information on the food served, the restaurant offers such dishes as beeswax poached king salmon, lobster gratin, pan-seared muscovy duck breast and seared venison loin. For dessert the restaurant offers Ethiopian arabica tropilia mousse and wildflower honey-poached pear.

The Jefferson’s “discreet and elegant” Michelin-rated restaurant offers seasonal fine-dining and an extensive 1300-label wine list. The menu is “inspired by the harvest from Thomas Jefferson’s kitchen gardens at Monticello”.

“Providing the final flourish to this unforgettable upscale dining experience is service as discreet as it is attentive, and always informed,” the hotel says on its website.

A few days after the dinner the restaurant asked its Facebook followers to vote for it as DC’s “Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying”.

A spokesperson for Mr Dutton said the dinner – on the sidelines of the Five Countries Ministerial Meeting – was organised by the department.

“The minister [also] held bilateral meetings with US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and now UK Prime Minister Theresa May, visited the White House and the Director of the CIA and the minister was also negotiating the arrangement with the United States to accept people from Nauru and Manus Island,” she said.

Included among the guests at the dinner were former acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection Thomas Winkowski, former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge, Alex Nowrasteh of the right-leaning Cato Institute and a number of other migration experts.

Mr Dutton charged taxpayers $36,682 for the trip all up, including $27,800 for business class return airfares.

Immigration Department secretary Mike Pezzullo was also on the trip, with FOI documents showing he had a separate budget of $17,000.

Mr Dutton and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced their refugee deal with the US late last year but it’s now in doubt with just a week until the anti-immigration Donald Trump officially takes office.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Pensioners get first reduced payments amid anger over politicians’ entitlements

10/08/2019 Posted by admin

“Absolutely disgraceful”: retiree Helena James says it’s not fair that politicians spend profligately while pensioners have their incomes cut. Photo: Jason South “Absolutely disgraceful”: retiree Helena James says it’s not fair that politicians spend profligately while pensioners have their incomes cut. Photo: Jason South
Nanjing Night Net

Amid simmering anger over politicians’ entitlements and the government’s Centrelink debt clawback, about 327,000 pensioners have had their pension reduced or cut altogether, this week and last.

One of those is 69-year-old Helena James, who estimates her part-time pension income will be halved.

“I would be happy to forsake some of my pension to better the economy,”   Ms James exclaims. “But then to hear that parliamentarians are rorting the system is absolutely disgraceful.”

Ms James worked for 46 years before retiring in Werribee last year. (She still volunteers once a week at the Royal Children’s Hospital.)

The federal government insists its pension reforms, which it passed last year with the support of the Greens, are necessary to secure the long-term viability of the pension.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told 2GB radio in Sydney last month the cuts would bring in “around a billion a year” in savings, and the changes were necessary to keep the pension sustainable.

“When you are faced with an ageing population, let’s not forget the pensions that are paid out today are paid for by today’s taxpayers – the people who are paying taxes today,” he said.

But Victorian pensioners losing payments face a double-whammy; once they lose their pension card they will also be stripped of a range of state-based pensioner discounts, including reduced council rates.

There seems little chance of the Victorian government picking up the slack, with Families Minister Jenny Mikakos​ saying the responsibility rests with the Turnbull government alone.

“Pensioners are some of the most vulnerable members of our community and any cuts to concessions will have a big impact on their day-to-day lives.”

In a statement, Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the changes “only affect those with significant levels of assets other than the family home and who receive a part-pension”.

“The family home remains exempted from the assets test and the changes have been designed so that they only impact pensioners with significant assets outside the family home.”

Under changes introduced in the last budget, which came into effect on January 1, pensioners who own assets above increased thresholds – not including the family home – will receive a reduced fortnightly pension rate.

Single homeowners can have $250,000 in assets, not including their home, before their pension rate is reduced, while homeowner couples can own up to $375,000 in assets before their pension rate is cut.

After that threshold is reached, pensioners will lose $3 for every $1000 they own over the limit, up from $1.50.

The changes will leave about 171,000 pensioners better off; on average $30 a fortnight.

But Labor and the unions have come out swinging against the changes, which will see about 236,000 pensioners lose part of their payments, and another 91,000 lose their pension entirely.

They come into effect amid protracted complaints about the government’s handling of the “clawback” of $4.5 billion in supposed debts, with about 232,000 people served with notices that they owe Centrelink money. It has been estimated that at least one in five of those contacted did not owe a debt.

And therein lies the rub for Ms James.

“I’m happy if my money goes to somebody who really needs it, but I get really cross and these politicians who are just rorting the system,” she says. “We pay them through our taxes…they should be setting an example.”

ACTU assistant secretary Scott Connelly said the government could look elsewhere for cuts, pointing to its proposed corporate tax cuts, which Treasury has estimated will cost the budget at least $48.2 billion over 10 years.

“The politicians that have made this choice are so far disconnected, as we’ve seen in recent days,” Mr Connelly said. “We don’t accept that this is the right decision for the times.”

Council On The Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said there were mixed views on the reduction among members.

“We’ve never advocated a reduction in the pension, but at the time we said this is the least worst of the options around,” Mr Yates said.

Opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said pensioners were now aware of the “real” impact of the pension cuts. “Mr Turnbull just doesn’t get fairness. He’s taking money off pensioners and at the same time he’s trying to give big businesses and the banks a $50 billion handout.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

This year’s Australia Day lamb ad doesn’t mention Australia Day

10/08/2019 Posted by admin

MLA’s annual ad has dropped all mention of Australia Day. Photo: YouTubeMeat and Livestock Australia’s annual Australia Day lamb ad has traditionally been an exercise in chest-beating patriotism that mocked anyone not celebrating the holiday “properly” – including vegans and those eating “foreign” food.
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This year, it doesn’t mention Australia Day at all.

Amid growing calls to move Australia Day from January 26, the industry group on Thursday released an ad that confronts head-on the controversy around hosting the national day on a date marking the start of colonialism and Indigenous dispossession.

The ad starts with three Indigenous Australians on a beach who remark on being the “first here” but that the beautiful location would be “packed before you know it”.

A procession of boats then arrive, notably starting with the Dutch, followed by the British (whose claim to be the “First Fleet” is met with laughter), the French, Germans, Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Serbians, New Zealanders and finally “boat people”.

“Hang on, aren’t we all boat people?” celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow, of MasterChef fame, asks.

At one point Olympic legend Cathy Freeman asks the hosts what the occasion is. “Do we need one?” is the answer. 

The campaign is a departure from MLA’s previous campaigns starring Sam Kekovich, which since 2005 have painted Australia Day as a sacred occasion and called anyone who eats “foreign” cuisine such as “a number 42 with rice” instead of lamb on January 26 “un-Australian”. ​

January 26 is the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet, which many Indigenous Australians find offensive and have dubbed “Invasion Day”, as it also marks the start of colonisation and frontier violence.

The City of Fremantle has cancelled Australia Day celebrations this year, deeming them culturally insensitive, and will instead host a “culturally-inclusive” event on January 28.

Meanwhile, youth radio station triple J has said it would consider moving the date of its annual Hottest 100 countdown after lobbying from listeners and popular hip-hop group A.B. Original.

MLA’s marketing manager Andrew Howie said the ad was informed by consumer insights and feedback from past campaigns and was about celebrating diversity.

“Ultimately, as the face of Australia continues to evolve and change, we need to make lamb relevant to a diverse, modern Australia,” Mr Howie said in a statement.

The ads will run until January 26.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

‘Too risky’: Bellamy’s shares sink further amid broker downgrades

10/08/2019 Posted by admin

Bellamy’s on Wednesday revealed that lower than expected sales in China would have a significant impact on its earnings. Photo: Kate GeraghtyShares in troubled Bellamy’s have lost further ground on broker downgrades after the baby formula supplier on Wednesday confirmed chief executive Laura McBain would leave the company and warned of lower annual earnings.
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Bellamy’s shares slid another 17.8 per cent on Thursday to $4.40, adding to Wednesday’s 20 per cent drop after the shares resumed trading following a five-week suspension.

The latest two-day plunge in the share price has reduced the company’s already diminished value by about one-third, or more than $200 million, to just $425.5 million.

On December 1, a day before the company shocked investors with an initial sales warning, its shares were trading at $12.13, valuing the company at nearly $1.2 billion.

Bellamy’s on Wednesday revealed that the lower than expected sales in China would have a significant impact on its earnings, with annual earnings before tax and interest expected to be in the range of $22 million to $26 million, down sharply from $54.3 million a year earlier and well below analyst expectations of $46 million.

In a further sign of turmoil, chief executive Laura McBain and chief financial officer Shona Ollington are leaving the company. Bellamy’s has appointed Andrew Cohen as the acting chief executive.

OrdMinnett is among the brokers that downgraded the stock after its announcement, saying Bellamy’s had changed from structural growth to significant turnaround.

“With significant finished goods inventory on hand, flat sales for three halves expected, lower long-term gross margins than originally forecast, a weaker balance sheet and a channel strategy in need of overhaul, we see the risk profile with BAL as too great to justify investment and as such downgrade to ‘sell’,” OrdMinnett head of research Nicholas McGarrigle said in a note to clients.

“We see the current financial year 2017 PE [price-earnings] multiple of 25x [times] as unreasonably high.”

​The broker also axed its price target from $7.26 to $3.72.

Goldman Sachs put its rating (neutral) and price target ($5.35) under review, saying it needed more detail from the company on its ability to raise debt in the event of a further slowdown in revenues.

“While we do not believe that the brand is permanently impaired, we do hold concerns on whether BAL will be able to regain its lost market share, and hence whether it will be able to return to an appropriate level of growth to meet its guidance for shortfall payments and/or avoid further inventory build as well as allay concerns of an equity raising in the near future,” the bank’s analysts said.

Chairman Rob Woolley on Wednesday would not disclose whether the company was considering a capital raising or if there had been any takeover approaches for Bellamy’s. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Australia Day ad doesn’t mention Australia Day but it does mention Fyshwick

10/07/2019 Posted by admin

The Chinese turn up with a box of fireworks bought in Fyshwick in the 2017 Meat and Livestock Australia Australia Day ad. But you haven’t been able to buy fireworks in Fyshwick since 2009. Photo: YouTube MLA’s annual ad has dropped all mention of Australia Day. Photo: YouTube
Nanjing Night Net

You haven’t been able to buy fireworks in Fyshwick since 2009 but somehow the Chinese turn up to this year’s Australia Day party with a big box of crackers.

This year’s Meat and Livestock Australia annual Australia Day ad has guests arriving on our shores and when the Chinese arrive with the pyrotechnics and are asked “Where did you get those?”, they proudly reply “Fyshwick”.

Then industrial relations minister John Hargraeves was instrumental in the ban saying it was necessary because of property damage, injury to domestic animals and wildlife, and the general disruption caused by illegal use of fireworks.

He told the Assembly a tear-jerking story about his cat Andy, who some years before the ban was in place, had been tormented  by children with fireworks.

Then chief minister Jon Stanhope said at the time that he regretted his government’s decision.

“I always enjoyed fireworks, cracker night, I loved it as a child,” Mr Stanhope said.

“My children loved it, and it’s a matter of regret that there are generations of children now that will never have that same experience or that same joy.”

An ACT Government spokesperson said on Thursday the government was not considering any change to the fireworks laws at this time.

“In the spirit of the ad we do of course welcome all Chinese and other visitors to the Canberra region – including Fyshwick – to see everything our city has to offer,” the spokesperson said.

This year’s ad is likely to cause discussion across the nation for many reasons.

The annual Australia Day lamb ad has traditionally been an exercise in chest-beating patriotism that mocked anyone not celebrating the holiday “properly” – including vegans and those eating “foreign” food.

This year, it doesn’t mention Australia Day at all.

Amid growing calls to move Australia Day from January 26, the industry group on Thursday released an ad that confronts head-on the controversy around hosting the national day on a date marking the start of colonialism and Indigenous dispossession.

The ad starts with three Indigenous Australians on a beach who remark on being the “first here” but that the beautiful location would be “packed before you know it”.

A procession of boats then arrive, notably starting with the Dutch, followed by the British (whose claim to be the “First Fleet” is met with laughter), the French, Germans, Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Serbians, New Zealanders and finally “boat people”.

“Hang on, aren’t we all boat people?,” celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow, of Masterchef fame, asks.

At one point Olympic legend Cathy Freeman asks the hosts what the occasion is. “Do we need one?” is the answer. 

The campaign is a departure from MLA’s previous campaigns staring Sam Kekovich, which since 2005 have painted Australia Day as a sacred occasion and called anyone who eats “foreign” cuisine like “a number 42 with rice” instead of lamb on January 26 “un-Australian”. ​

January 26 is the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet, which many Indigenous Australians find offensive and have dubbed “Invasion Day”, as it also marks the start of colonisation and frontier violence.

The City of Fremantle has cancelled Australia Day celebrations this year, deeming them culturally insensitive, and will instead host a “culturally-inclusive” event on January 28.

Meanwhile youth radio station Triple J has said it would consider moving the date of its annual Hottest 100 countdown after lobbying from listeners and popular hip-hop group A.B. Original.

MLA’s marketing manager Andrew Howie said the ad was informed by consumer insights and feedback from past campaigns and was about celebrating diversity.

“Ultimately, as the face of Australia continues to evolve and change, we need to make lamb relevant to a diverse, modern Australia,” Mr Howie said in a statement.

The ads will run until January 26.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The Donald Trump dossier is as plausible as the President-elect’s fake news

10/07/2019 Posted by admin

Oh, that Donald is a devil, isn’t he?
Nanjing Night Net

Or maybe he isn’t. Trump’s huffing and puffing in denying the possibly amazing story of employing a number of prostitutes to perform a “golden shower” show in front of him, as he did or didn’t bunk in the same Ritz-Carlton suite that Barack and Michelle Obama had occupied on an earlier visit to the Russian capital, is beside the point.

Salacious, damaging stuff, to be sure, and it’s more viable than much of what Trump and his surrogates were spouting during the election campaign. In the absence of any evidence, they decided that Hillary Clinton was sick – and kept repeating it; while Trump has never apologised for pushing the birther lie about Barack Obama, they concluded, again without evidence, that she, Bill Clinton and other senior Democrat figures were running a child sex racket – and kept repeating it.

And this is not just about sex; another charge is that, through intermediaries, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did a deal by which Moscow would help his campaign if, as president, Trump would bend US foreign policy in Russia’s favour.

On the basis of all this, it seems, we can conclude that Trump missed Sunday school on the day they discussed the biblical proverb: as you sow, so shall you reap.

More importantly, the President-elect’s denials confuse two different aspects of the story. The extraordinary contents of the leaked intelligence dossier indeed could be fake and not worthy of repetition; but that several US intelligence agencies are investigating its provenance certainly is a new event worth reporting.

The intelligence agency chiefs who briefed Trump on Friday were savvy enough to make clear that the contents of the dossier, which on face value could leave the incoming president vulnerable to coercion, bribery and/or blackmail, had not been substantiated by the FBI. But at the same time, they considered the former high-ranking British intelligence agent who had compiled the dossier to be competent and reliable, and his sources to be credible and plausibly capable of being in possession of firsthand knowledge of Moscow’s spying on Trump.

And so it was that the Russians and sex abroad were dominant themes at Trump’s first all-in press conference since last July, which was attended by more than 250 reporters in the flag-bedecked lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan.

What have we got here?

We have reports on an explosive document that has been floating around Washington for the best part of a year – but which was first alluded to in print only in the weeks before the November election, by Mother Jones magazine, and which has been published in its entirety only this week, and only by BuzzFeed.

A report from Moscow – Vladimir Putin’s guys deny they were spying on Trump, claiming that the dossier on their efforts to compromise Trump as far back as 2013 and its contents are “pulp fiction”. To which a reasonable man could respond, “Well they would say that.”

And reports from New York – Trump denies it all too. To which a reasonable man again could respond, “Well he would say that.”

And a long report by Molly McKew in Politico magazine last week, in which this one-time adviser to the governments of Georgia and Moldova, attempts to put the minutiae of Moscow’s messing with the West, and especially the back-and-forth about the Democrats’ emails being hacked and, now, the Moscow fling that Trump did or didn’t have, into an over-arching, geopolitical narrative.

McKew’s thesis, contained in two paragraphs, is worth considering: “Even this week, as Barack Obama tries to confront Russia’s open and unprecedented interference in our political process [by hacking the Democratic Party’s computers], the outgoing White House is so far responding to 21st century hybrid information warfare with last century’s diplomatic toolkit: the expulsion of spies, targeted sanctions, potential asset seizure. The incoming [Trump] administration, while promising a new approach, has betrayed a similar lack of vision. Their promised attempt at another ‘reset’ with Russia is a rehash of a policy that has utterly failed the past two American administrations.

“What both administrations fail to realise is that the West is already at war, whether it wants to be or not. It may not be a war we recognise, but it is a war. This war seeks, at home and abroad, to erode our values, our democracy, and our institutional strength; to dilute our ability to sort fact from fiction, or moral right from wrong; and to convince us to make decisions against our own best interests.”

Seen in that light, is there an argument that the unfolding, Hollywood-esque scenario of hacked Democratic emails and the political and personal embarrassment of an incoming Republican president all are a part of a Putin plot to delegitimise American democracy?

It’s not as though Putin was going to hold a press conference to announce that his intelligence agents had been poking around in the Democrats’ emails and, look at this, would you believe what Jon Podesta was saying about Hillary Clinton? Or that in the interests of American democracy, he thought it was important that his guys keep the cameras running 24/7 while Trump was in Moscow and, “Here you go, here’s the video of his antics at the Ritz-Carlton!”

No. It’s far more plausible and destructive for all this material, on the Democrats and on Trump, to arrive in the public domain as it has – through WikiLeaks in the case of the Democrats, and through the US intelligence agencies and/or reporters in the case of Trump, as witting or unwitting puppets of Putin.

That’s not to say that this is what has happened – but certainly, it’s a plausible reading of events.

Equally plausible, and not mutually exclusive, is that Trump and the US intelligence services are being gamed into an impossible relationship on the eve of him taking over the White House.

Throughout a gruelling election campaign Trump frequently rebuked and ridiculed the intelligence services over the Iraq War and the non-existent WMD, and more recently over their finding that the Russian hacking of the Democrats and the release through WikiLeaks of bundles of sensitive and damaging emails was a deliberate bid to help his campaign.

Obviously, there was going to be payback, which might just have been the intelligence chief’s decision to include a summary of the dossier in their briefing to Trump – on which Obama and eight Congressional chief were CC-ed.

And given Trump’s accusation that the intelligence services had leaked the dossier, there might even be more payback. The President-elect’s unsubstantiated charge against the agencies ignored the fact that news of and versions of the dossier have been floating in media and political circles since early 2016.

Trump’s over-weaning bromance with Putin and Moscow makes him a sitting duck for this kind of play – as early as 1987 he was urging a US-Soviet alliance against France and Pakistan; his campaign questioning of NATO’s relevance was music to Moscow’s ears, as was his praise for Moscow’s intervention in Syria and as is his continuing refusal to criticise Putin or Moscow.

Similarly, replete as the public record is with so many accounts of Trump cutting corners and scarpering with other people’s money, if Moscow was looking around for a sitting duck, how could it pass Trump as a target?

And for all that, a possible breach of the bromance was evident during Wednesday’s press conference, when Trump conceded, after denying and deflecting for months, that Moscow might have been responsible for the Democratic hacking.

“I think it was Russia,” he told the reporters. But then he did what his opponents will do with accounts of the Moscow dossier – he implicitly defended the hacking because of the political value, as he saw it, of the Democratic emails leaked after the hacking.

But there was still that yearning to hold hands and play. “if Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” he said. “I don’t know that I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin – I hope so, but there’s a good chance that I won’t.”

Perhaps Trump has been talking to his secretary of state designate Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of ExxonMobil, who was being grilled at a Senate confirmation hearing at the same time as Trump was being grilled by the press.

Explaining that Putin wanted to rebuild Russia’s global prestige, he told the senators that the Moscow mindset was “Russia is here, Russia matters and Russia is a force to be dealt with”.

Revealing a bit more steel than Trump, Tillerson said that Russia had to be asked, “Do you want this to get worse, or does Russia desire a different relationship?”

Observing the clash in values between the US and Russia, he concluded: “We’re not likely ever to be friends.” But describing Russia as possibly an “unfriendly adversary” as opposed to an across-the-board “enemy”, Tillerson said: “With Russia, engagement is necessary in order to define what is that relationship going to be. There is scope to define a different relationship that can bring down the temperature around the conflicts we have today.”

Trump, who in the months between Wednesday’s press conference and his last such outing had fired off about 1600 tweets, was belting them out through Wednesday morning – one of which included: “intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

Nazi Germany? No – this is Trump’s America.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Donald Trump’s media conference degenerates into name calling

10/07/2019 Posted by admin

Washington: It was unseemly behaviour – not so much by the President-elect, as by the 200-plus reporters covering Donald Trump’s first all-in press conference in about six months.
Nanjing Night Net

As with every other aspect of the Trump transition to power, there was anticipation about which Trump would appear before the hacks – the bovver boy they came to love and hate during the campaign or, strange as it might sound, a more presidential persona?

Breasted the lectern, Trump spewed fire and brimstone, over reports on an embarrassing if unsubstantiated intelligence dossier alleging that Moscow had compiled damaging material on Trump – including allegations of him romping with a prostitute in Moscow in 2013 and collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign in 2016.

Singling out CNN and BuzzFeed, Trump ranted bitterly, would you believe, about “fake news.” Trump, whose campaign surfed to victory on a tidal wave of fake news, blithely dismissed both organisations as purveyors of “fake news.”

At the same time, the President-elect slobbered over the rest of the media for not reporting the detail of the dossier.

Remember his campaign twitter storms against The New York Times and the blacklisting of the likes of The Washington Post from covering his campaign events? How he had led his rally crowds in jeering at reporters, who he branded as “the lowest form of life?”

Ha! On Wednesday Trump was loving the Times to death – even complimenting it for its coverage in the previous 24hrs on his plans to remake Obamacare. Some in the media, Trump declared, had “gone up a notch.”

BuzzFeed copped it first – “as far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they are going to suffer the consequences – which they already are.”

Then a remarkable standoff with CNN’s Jim Acosta who attempted to ask a question – “you are fake news,” Trump told him.

“Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question,” Acosta called from the floor.

“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump snarled. “I’m not going to give you a question – you are fake news.”

At which point it would be nice to report that the rest of the reporters shut off their recorders and refused to ask questions. Alas, they didn’t miss a beat – all pressed on, yelling to draw Trump’s attention to themselves, and seemingly oblivious that if CNN is being frozen out this week, it might be any or all of the rest them next week.

After 58 minutes, Trump rounded up his family and his paid staff who he had brought along to cheer and jeer, lest he get boxed in by the tenor of questions or by awkward silences; and the media slunk away.

But social media erupted. “Trump shouted down CNN Jim Acosta as ‘fake news’ then took a question from Breitbart.” “At that point the reporters should have left, turn the cameras off and leave.”

Alluding to Trump’s claim that he was so popular he could shoot someone on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and get away with it, another post said: “Trump just shot Jim Acosta on the middle of Fifth Avenue and the press didn’t blink.” “The rest of the news people should have given the floor to Acosta, they were just as bad as trump in that regard. Shame!””First they came for CNN…and I did not speak.””When trump tells Acosta to be quiet where is the outrage from the other journalists in the room? In one voice: “ANSWER THE QUESTION!”

The cleverness of the Trump attack was in lumping CNN and BuzzFeed together as if, in his eyes, they had committed the same offence – which was not the case.

CNN had a genuine scoop on Tuesday – without going into the salacious detail of the intelligence dossier, the network reported that the intelligence agencies had appended a two-page summary of the 35-page document to their Friday briefing to Trump; and further reporting the potential for Trump to be personally and financially compromised.

BuzzFeed, on the other hand, published the whole dossier – deciding that it would leave it to readers to evaluate the document.

That distinction was lost on TV’s dizzier talking heads, several of whom drove home the Trump attack, by bundling CNN and BuzzFeed together as they speculated on “why would they do this”.

And having shown absolutely no respect for press freedom, forgetting his campaign threats to crackdown on the media and pretending that he knew all about morality, Trump preached to the assembled hacks.

Claiming he had no intention of curbing the media, he insisted he had great respect for freedom of the press, as he told them: “I don’t recommend reforms – I recommend that people have some moral compass.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

War on drugs: Philippine president Duterte warns mayors will be shot

10/07/2019 Posted by admin

Kimberly Sailog watches over the coffin of her daughter, Christine Joy Sailog, 12, who was killed when an unidentified gunman shot at an alleged drug suspect, hitting the girl during the traditional Christmas dawn mass in a church. Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images Children and relatives mourn while walking behind a hearse during a funeral held for Alex Hongco killed in a police drugs raid in December. Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Nanjing Night Net

Alleged drug suspects cover their faces during a drug raid on December 9, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeated threats to kill municipal mayors involved in drugs as the number of Filipinos killed in his deadly crackdown tops 6200.

“I might go down in history as the butcher. It’s up to you,” Mr Duterte told 1635 town and city mayors he summoned to the presidential palace.

“I will ask the chief of police to shoot you,” he said.

Antonio Halili, the mayor of Tanauan City, near Manila, said that during the meeting Mr Duterte fumed about drugs destroying “the moral fabric of society”.

“It’s a very stern warning to those who are involved in drugs, that you should stop,” said Mr Halili, who shames drugs suspects by parading them in his own province.

Mr Duterte’s comments send a clear signal to police and the military they still have impunity to target drugs suspects, including mayors, in his crackdown that has been widely condemned around the world, including by the United Nations.

Mr Duterte defended police who controversially shot dead Rolando Espinosa, a mayor on the island of Leyte last November, while he was in a jail cell.

“He was killed in a very questionable way, but I don’t care….the policemen said he resisted arrest. Then I will stick with the story of the arrest because they are under me,” he said.

Mr Duterte, the former mayor of southern Davao City, was swept into office in July promising to eradicate the drugs menace within the first six months of his presidency.

He now admits he under-estimated the problem, claiming there are four million drugs addicts in the predominantly Catholic nation of 100 million people.

While Mr Duterte’s popularity remains high, a December Social Weather Stations’ survey found that 78 per cent of respondents expressed worry about becoming victims of an extra-judicial killing and 94 per cent said it is important that drugs suspects be captured alive.

More than 4000 of those killed were targeted in vigilante-style assassinations.

However no suspects have been arrested and charged in court.

Many of the assailants are believed to be police.

More than 2000 of the victims were killed by police who have justified the slaughter by claiming all of them chose to fight it out with law enforcers.

Bystanding victims have included children as young as five.

One commentator in Manila pointed out that if killings continue at the same rate at the end of Mr Duterte’s first year in office four times more people will have been killed than during the darkest nine years of the Marcos dictatorship, from 1972 to 1981.

The late Ferdinand Marcos, his family and top cronies were forced into exile by a popular uprising in 1986.

Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson, US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, has refused to call the Philippines a human rights violator during a US Senate confirmation hearing, insisting he would need more information before he could make that assessment.

Criticism of the killings by the outgoing Obama administration prompted Mr Duterte to launch into expletive-laden tirades against the US, including telling Barack Obama to “go to hell” and calling him the “son of a whore.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Outrage over first look at Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in Urban Myths

10/07/2019 Posted by admin

Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson, Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando in in Sky Arts’ upcoming series, Urban Myths. Photo: Sky Arts Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in Urban Myths. Photo: Sky Arts
Nanjing Night Net

Just over a year ago, with the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite front-and-centre of Hollywood discussions, the internet reacted with outrage to news that white British actor Joseph Fiennes would be playing pop icon Michael Jackson in an upcoming project.

That furore has reignited this week as the world gets it first look at Fiennes in the role in the trailer for the upcoming British series Urban Myths.

The show, produced by Sky Arts in the UK, includes eight episodes recreating celebrity stories that have become widely-repeated urban legends, including Cary Grant’s (Ben Chaplin) alleged love of LSD, young Adolf Hitler’s (Iwan Rheon) artistic failures, and Bob Dylan’s (Eddie Marsan) obsession with ’60s folk legend Dave Van Ronk, a story also recently mythologised in the Coen Bros award-winning Inside Llewyn Davis.

Fiennes’ episode is a 20-minute bit based on a 2011 Vanity Fair story that speculated on a frenzied cross-country road-trip that Jackson and friends Elizabeth Taylor (Stockard Channing) and Marlon Brando (Brian Cox) took in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (One of the few sources backing the insane story – which allegedly saw the trio driving from Manhattan to Ohio, with Brando begging to stop at every KFC along the way – is MJ’s old pal Corey Feldman, so take that as you will.)

The trailer shows Fiennes, sporting the singer’s trademark long locks and pork-pie hat, caked in white powder, his nose and chin mangled into a comically crude approximation of the late pop star.

As confusion over the scale of the project remains, commenters online have slammed the portrayal as “disrespectful”, while MJ’s own family have weighed in and criticised its creators.

Jackson’s daughter Paris took to Twitter to say “it honestly makes me want to vomit”, while his nephew Taj added, “Unfortunately, this is what my family has to deal with. No words could express the blatant disrespect.”

A petition to boycott “the film”, originally launched last year, has picked up over 20,000 signatures and counting in the wake of the trailer’s release. I hope it loses every single dime of its budget. Every single dime. #UrbanMythshttps://t.co/99qCA2lkzn— Keith Powell (@KeithPowell) January 11, 2017The most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen! “Here’s your first look at Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson”https://t.co/nPrgsskcWn— (@PXRTYSTAR) January 11, 2017Me after seeing #JosephFiennes as Michael Jackson pic.twitter南京夜网/t8FOdHClh7— Tammy Tam (@nubiansweet) January 11, [email protected] i’m so incredibly offended by it, as i’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.— Paris-Michael K. J. (@ParisJackson) January 11, [email protected] Unfortunately this is what my family has to deal with. No words could express the blatant disrespect. https://t.co/WKCiwOqPpN— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) January 11, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.