Morning mail: truth of massacres revealed, Prince Andrew scrutiny, recycling crisis

Richard Parkin

Good morning, this is Richard Parkin bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 18 November.

Top stories

As recently as 1926 Aboriginal people were forced to collect wood for their own pyres in massacres across Australia that new research suggests “became more violent, systematic and calculated over time”. As part of University of Newcastle and Guardian Australia’s collaboration, The Killing Times, 57 new documented massacre sites have been added to a nationwide interactive map, with reprisals for civilian killings forming the most common justification for attacks. More than 20 massacres took place in the 20th century, with half of these after the first world war, as a brutalised nation came to terms with its own brutal history. As the lead researcher, Prof Lyndall Ryan, says: “These are professional killers, by the time we get into the 20th century. The Boer war and world war one seem to have a big impact on the way massacres are carried out … with better gun technology, like long-range rifles.”

Prince Andrew is facing increased scrutiny after a BBC interview about his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein, including why the prince elected to stay at the convicted paedophile’s house as a “guest of honour” for a party, and whether the royal would discuss claims made against him under oath, after suggesting he might be prepared to testify officially. Meanwhile, a nondescript pizza chain restaurant in Woking has been thrust into the limelight after the prince named it as an alibi location for allegations he engaged in sex with one of Epstein’s alleged trafficking victims.

The Coalition government is resisting a Senate order to release documents relating to its scandal-ridden regional jobs and investment package after the revelation that the eight most highly recommended projects, ranked by departmental analysis on a merit-based system, did not receive funding. An LNP donor who gave more than $25,000 since 2018 was one successful recipient, receiving more than $260,000 towards the expansion of a cattle hide processing facility – but it’s not known what ranking that particular project was given or whether it was recommended. A spokeswoman for the Nationals leader, Michael McCormack, has said the “significant majority” of RJIP projects approved were in line with advice provided by the department.

Australia

The Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am has accused an “overly aggressive” Qantas flight attendant of being racist after the rapper was met by police on his arrival at Sydney airport, following a dispute about the performer not following PA announcements.

Opaque third-party crowdfunding websites contributed $43,000 to Jim Molan’s re-election campaign, prompting questions once again about Australia’s weak donations regulations. The ultimately unsuccessful “rogue” campaign drew one anonymous donation of $10,000, a potential loophole for future political fundraising approaches.

Margaret Atwood will tour Australia early next year, buoyed by the success of her Booker-prize winning sequel to her seminal 1985 hit, The Handmaid’s Tale.

The world

Protesters clash with police during confrontations at the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong. Photograph: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Police and students have clashed at a Hong Kong university as the protests that have engulfed the former British colony become increasingly more violent. Teargas and water cannons have been met with molotov cocktails a day after China’s President Xi Jinping made his first public remarks on the six-month crisis.

Floods have closed Venice’s St Mark’s Square after a third significant high water level was recorded this week, with the damage bill already expected to top €1bn.

Samoa has issued a state of emergency and shut all its schools after a deadly measles outbreak that has led to at least six deaths across the island nation.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former wartime defence chief, has been elected Sri Lanka’s new president, sparking concerns about increasing racial tensions given the outstanding allegations of torture levelled at the brother of former president Mahinda.

Recommended reads

John Safran is back – reigniting his fascination with religion and ritual and all things occult. Gone are the public crucifixions, personal exorcisms and encounters with voodoo doctors that helped his rise to prominence with John Safran vs God, writes Jenny Valentish. But has the outspoken satirist entirely outrun criticism from some of his earlier offensive stunts? “I don’t assume everyone’s coming from a good place … It’s a case-by-case thing, whether I take on board a criticism,” he says.

One of the most original songwriters around, New Zealand’s Aldous Harding, is also profoundly unnerving. “On stage and in videos, the strangeness of Harding is intensified,” writes Jude Rogers. “Take the video for her new single, Zoo Eyes: she’s dressed like an overpainted clown from a Jodorowsky film. At festivals this summer, she wore burnt-orange workmen’s clothes and a porkpie hat, her eyes twitching, her mouth gurning like a silent film comedian.” Yet she’s also incredibly popular – making bold artistic statements and choices in an era that she considers to be typified by a fundamental fear of failure and an aversion to risk.

Listen

Recycling in Australia is broken. With millions of tonnes sent to Asia every year, what is the solution now that many overseas nations have said “no more”? On this episode of Full Story, Laura Murphy-Oates speaks with Adam Morton to discuss what the domestic processing options might look like.

Sport

Max Verstappen has won a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix in which teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc took each other out, and Lewis Hamilton denied Thailand’s Alexander Albon a first-ever podium finish.

Colin Kaepernick has called on the NFL and franchise owners to “stop running from the truth”, questioning whether he’s been given a “legitimate process” in his bid to restart his playing career, three years after it stalled after his anthem protests.

There are few things more enjoyable for A-League season ticket holders than watching a local youngster come good. As the eye-catching Sam Silvera and the almost invisible Louis D’Arrigo showed, this can come in contrasting fashions, writes Jonathan Howcroft.

Media roundup

Australia’s foreign minister has labelled an explosive leaked document from within the Chinese Communist party in which Ji Xinping callled for “no mercy” against Muslim minorities as “disturbing”, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Fierce bushfires have forced a Queensland hospital to “self-evacuate”, writes the Courier-Mail, with campers on Moreton Island also being urged to leave immediately. And a former Labor police minister signed off on a $2.8m taxpayer-funded payment to Nicola Gobbo, claims the Herald Sun, as the Lawyer X scandal expands in scope.

Coming up

An inquest begins into Melbourne’s deadly 2017 Bourke Street rampage, with up to 70 witnesses expected to give evidence.

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is due back in a London court facing attempts to extradite him to the US.

And if you’ve read this far …

A £1m Banksy sculpture up for sale at Sotheby’s has been stolen and is being sold illegally, a London artist has claimed. According to Andy Link, he initially “kidnapped” the statue depicted a man slumped with a traffic cone on his head, called The Drinker, and attempted to ransom it back to Banksy, but the secretive artist never offered more than “£2 towards a can of petrol” to destroy the work.

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