Donald Trump: Democrats demand explanation over proposed 'Russian communication channel' - Donald Trump's America. Posted US Congressional Democrats have demanded to hear directly from top White House adviser Jared Kushner over allegations of proposed secret back-channel communications with Russia, saying the security clearance of President Donald Trump's son-in-law may need to be revoked.
Key points: Jared Kushner accused of setting up secret communications with MoscowDonald Trump says "many" White House leaks are "fabricated lies"Reports White House establishing "war room" to combat Russia questions Mr Trump, having returned from a nine-day overseas trip, immediately railed against administration leaks as "fabricated lies" in a flurry of tweets. A key Trump campaign figure possibly seeking secret communications with a country that intelligence experts say intervened in the 2016 US presidential election was "obviously very concerning," said Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. Australian researchers using silkworms to repair damaged eardrums. Updated It gives a new meaning to an "earworm", a term usually ascribed to a song or tune that you cannot get out of your head.
Who would have thought silkworms could be used to repair damaged eardrums? A team with researchers based in Perth and Melbourne is moving towards clinical trials of a device that incorporates silk in an ear implant. Named "ClearDrum", it looks like a contact lens, but is instead a device on which the patient's cells can grow. Perth-based surgeon Professor Marcus Atlas said silk was the preferred choice because it was flexible. United States' call for more Australian troops in Afghanistan questioned by defence analyst.
Updated The Federal Government is likely to announce soon if it will agree to a call by the United States and NATO to increase Australia's military commitment in Afghanistan.
Key points: Analyst says simply increasing troops won't address enduring problems facing AfghanistanOpposition Defence spokesman says Australia has a "direct interest" in building up local forcesLabor says they are likely to be briefed by the Government on request later this week But one leading defence and security analyst has questioned whether there is a "meaningful" strategy behind the request, that will make a difference in the war-torn country. "While there is a strong imperative for Australia to contribute to the alliance in Afghanistan, it would be very helpful if there was a clear and compelling strategy that saw us move beyond the strategy that for the last 16 years has not got us very far," Professor John Blaxland from the Australian National University (ANU) told AM.
Community Development Programme largely failing Indigenous participants, figures suggest. Posted A controversial work-for-the-dole scheme targeting Aboriginal people has only helped a small proportion of its Indigenous participants into ongoing work, new figures reveal.
The Community Development Programme (CDP) covers about 33,000 jobless people — most of whom are repeatedly fined for missing activities. Navy warships' faults to be scrutinised during Senate Estimates hearings. Analysis Updated Over the past weekend two French warships quietly slipped into Darwin harbour where they'll soon show off their amphibious capability to the Australian Navy.
Unfortunately Australia's two main amphibious warships, HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, remain docked in Sydney, where engineers are working frantically to discover what's wrong with their propulsion pods. The problems hampering the Navy's state-of-the-art Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) were first noticed during sea trials in March, and the ships were promptly dispatched to Garden Island for urgent examination and repairs.
When the ABC first publicly revealed the situation later that month Labor was quick to point out the $3 billion warships were unable to be deployed to the Cyclone Debbie emergency in North Queensland. The Federal Opposition well remembered the public backlash it received in government back in 2011 when the Navy had no amphibious capability available to respond to Cyclone Yasi. Indigenous recognition should be prioritised ahead of representative body, says Mark McGowan. Updated The West Australian Premier has declined to endorse a proposal for a new national body to represent Indigenous people, saying constitutional recognition should be the first priority.
Indigenous leaders on Friday released the Uluru statement, calling for a representative body to be enshrined in the constitution and rejecting "simple acknowledgement" of Indigenous people. The convention also recommended a process be established to work towards treaties between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. On Sunday WA Premier Mark McGowan said he believed constitutional recognition was long overdue.
"I do want to see Aboriginal people represented in the national constitution as they should always have been," Mr McGowan said. Orangutans escape Perth Zoo enclosure. Updated Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.
Video: Orangutans escape enclosure at Perth Zoo (ABC News) Perth Zoo was placed in lockdown on Sunday when two orangutans escaped from their enclosure, alarming onlookers. A five-year-old male fell over a barrier and into a garden bed, sparking the incident. New South Wales Opposition promises to set affordable housing targets if elected to Government.
Posted Twenty-five per cent of all new developments on government-owned land in New South Wales would be available to buy or rent below the market rate if the Labor Party is elected in 2019.
The State Opposition has promised to introduce mandatory targets for affordable housing for low and middle income earners. Under the plan, 15 per cent of new properties built on rezoned private land would also have to be set aside as affordable housing. The Opposition says It will make tens of thousands of properties available each year to people who do not qualify for social housing but do not earn enough to get into the current property market. "People in their 20s and 30s, the nurse married to the police officer who at the moment on the basis of their combined income stand next to no chance of purchasing a first home in Sydney," The Opposition Leader Luke Foley said.
St Kilda's Fitzroy Street at 'rock bottom' but traders group hope Gatwick closure will lead revival. Posted Landlords responsible for dozens of empty shop fronts in the heart of St Kilda must take a financial hit and slash high rents to capitalise on the closure of the notorious Gatwick rooming house, the Fitzroy Street Business Association says.
The thoroughfare was once a bustling destination for tourists and locals but for several years it has been all but deserted during the day, with the business association counting 19 empty shop fronts. Plan to charge big miners in lump sum to fix WA debt. Updated The Premier says he will only pursue a lump sum payment from the country's two biggest miners, BHP and Rio Tinto, if it results in a significant windfall for taxpayers.
Mark McGowan rejected the idea prior to the election, but said the state's dire budget situation had forced him to reconsider how to charge the big miners more and has defended a possible iron ore lease agreement payout that could help the state balance its books. The government plans to negotiate with BHP and Rio Tinto about cashing out of the 25 cent mining lease agreement and consider a potential multi-billion-dollar lump-sum payment instead.
Mr McGowan defended the fact he rejected the same proposal flagged by the previous Barnett government, when they too offered to remove a production rental fee on iron ore in exchange for an upfront cash payment. AMA calls for 'mature conversation' over decriminalising drugs to reduce harms. Posted The President of the WA branch of the Australian Medical Association says he will continue to push the debate over decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, despite authorities taking a strong stand against it. Dr Andrew Miller said alternative solutions on how the state treated drug users needed to be debated. Gregg Allman: Southern rock music pioneer dead at 69. Posted Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn southern rock in a career also marred by tragedy and drug abuse, has died at the age of 69.
Key points: Allman idolised his older brother and band partner Duane, who was killed aged 24He wrote a string of hits as The Allmand Brothers Band's lead singer, keyboardist and a key songwriterA rapacious thirst for cocaine landed him in trouble with the law "It is with deep sadness that we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia," a statement on his official website said, adding he he had "passed away peacefully" on Saturday (local time). Born in Nashville, Tennessee, the rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. White House fixes photo caption after Luxembourg's gay first gentleman snub - Donald Trump's America. Posted The White House has amended a caption on an official photo of Melania Trump posing with Nato leaders' spouses after the name of the gay husband of Luxembourg's Prime Minister was originally omitted.
The photo caption listed Ms Trump and the eight other first ladies in attendance but failed to name Gauthier Destenay, the husband of Luxembourg's openly gay Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel. Mr Bettel is currently the only openly gay serving world leader. After drawing condemnation across social media for the "embarrassing" and "disrespectful" omission, the caption was updated to include Mr Destenay, 10 hours after it was originally posted. While some suggested the omission was innocent, many slammed it on social media as "embarrassing" and "disrespectful".
Taronga Zoo welcomes arrival of baby Asian elephant. Updated Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Video: Zoo celebrates arrival of Asian elephant calf (ABC News) After a pregnancy lasting 22 months, the birth of a new Asian elephant at Sydney's Taronga Zoo was remarkably swift. The male calf's birth took about half an hour and it was standing on its feet five minutes later. The as-yet-unnamed baby elephant is the second calf for mother Pak Boon who delivered her baby naturally early on Friday morning, without any assistance from the Taronga team.
Jared Kushner: HR McMaster unfazed by reported request for secret communication with Russia - Donald Trump's America. Updated The United State's National Security Adviser says he is not concerned by reports that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and chief advisor, Jared Kushner, wanted to establish back channel communications with Russia. Key points: HR McMaster says back channel communications normalSays US has discreet lines of communication with "a number of countries"Kushner reportedly a focus of probe into Russian interference in 2016 election. Oregon train stabbings: Two men killed after trying to stop anti-Muslim abuse. Updated A man fatally stabbed two passengers and injured a third aboard a commuter light-rail train in Portland, Oregon, after they tried to stop him from harassing two young women, one who appeared to be Muslim, police said. Bergmann wants 'truth telling' about Indigenous displacement incorporated into treaty.
Posted "Truth telling" about Indigenous suffering and displacement through colonisation must be a key part of treaty negotiations, a prominent Western Australian Aboriginal commentator says. Aboriginal people from around Australia met at Uluru earlier this week, to discuss recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution. But after three days of talks they released the Uluru statement rejecting "simple acknowledgement" of Indigenous people in the constitution, and calling for a treaty. This week in finance: More speed humps for the economy with business investment and retailing still weak. Constitutional recognition is our generation's 1967 - RN. Opinion. Kids sign up as citizen scientists with new app that feeds Australian species database. Jackie Kennedy's thank-you letter to Australia's US ambassador revealed.
Why Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a decisive moment for Western civilisation. Kangaroo Island's pelican man grounded after 23 years of bird feeding shows. Updated After more than two decades as the ringmaster of Kangaroo Island's pelican feeding show, John Ayliffe has pulled the pin on the popular tourist attraction. The 68-year-old, dubbed the pelican man, has been a fixture at the Kingscote wharf for 23 years, taking centre stage every day at 5:00pm as dozens of pelicans swoop in for dinner. Donald Trump ends nine-day overseas journey with campaign-style address, declares trip a 'home run' - Donald Trump's America. LSE Business Review – Gender quotas and the crisis of the mediocre man.
A common criticism against gender quotas is that they are anathema to meritocratic principles. This research on Sweden shows that the opposite can be true: Quotas actually increased the competence of politicians by leading to the displacement of mediocre men whether as candidates or leaders. Confessions of an overconfident, mediocre man. G7 summit ends with split between Donald Trump, other leaders on climate change - Donald Trump's America. Shorten says Uluru statement deserves 'open mind', but Turnbull cautious of challenges. EPA defends guidelines not to report contaminated property sites if land value could be affected. Student, 11, accuses school of committing war crime in breach of Geneva Convention. Chris Cornell: Soundgarden, Audioslave frontman remembered as 'voice of our generation' Donald Trump: Jared Kushner, Russian ambassador 'discussed secret communication channel' - Donald Trump's America. Is the Australian dream alive in Darwin?
Constitutional recognition still open for discussion, Aboriginal leader Pat Dodson says. Poachers using animal-tracking studies to find endangered species, academics warn. The constitutional recognition debate is nothing like 1967 - RN. Smart watches could soon monitor your walk to verify your identity, scientists say. How Holocaust survivor Phillip Maisel, 'the keeper of miracles', found his twin sister and his purpose. Animals offer therapy, job skills for people with disabilities at Sunshine Coast hobby farm. High-tech vinegar a success story of the new bush 'gold rush' Symbolic constitutional recognition off the table after Uluru talks, Indigenous leaders say. Why does everyone think 'Advance Australia Fair' is flawed? What did Senate estimates uncover this week? App developers hope to improve dialogue between ex-partners and their children. Kalbarri's elusive black-flanked rock wallaby population back from the brink.
Stolen Generations records made more accessible to families. Federal Government rejects Labor and Greens' fresh push for disability abuse royal commission. 'We were never Australians back then': From being counted to being heard. Mobile app 'Can I Fly There' released to help drone pilots, after increase in near-misses with aircraft. The Beatles: Remember what Sgt Pepper is really about amid 50th anniversary. Indigenous leaders call for representative body and treaties process after Uluru convention. Could Sydney's inner-west soon see Uber-style buses? National Sorry Day: Thousands of Canberrans march to recognise Stolen Generations. Rocket Lab launches first rocket into space from New Zealand site — will Australia follow? Donald Trump talks tough, with only a couple of slips, on first foreign trip as US President - Donald Trump's America.
Pauline Hanson could soon be asking herself why she has James Ashby around. Outback Queensland's remarkable red-finned blue-eye fish facing extinction - RN. Booby-trap blast injures former Greek PM Lucas Papademos. Corrupt former NSW Labor MP Ian Macdonald should receive a jail term, court hears. Australia urged to spend more on 'criminally underfunded' Antarctic program. The three biggest myths of the 1967 referendum - RN. Margaret Court Arena name change called for after star's Qantas boycott over gay marriage support. Donald Trump: Did the President just shove aside a prime minister? - Donald Trump's America. Disney fights off pirates, but is the cinema industry a sinking ship?
Uluru climb in Northern Territory should be banned, some tourists say. Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner under FBI scrutiny in Russia probe, US media reports - Donald Trump's America. Jondaryan residents question removal of coal dust monitors by Queensland Government. Goodes, O'Loughlin delivering game-changing scholarships to young Indigenous Aussies. Reconciliation is going to work if we give it a chance. Federal Labor calls for royal commission into institutional abuse of people with a disability. Bringing Them Home: 20 years after report, Indigenous children worse off than before. Donald Trump scolds NATO allies at Brussels summit, warns countries to spend more on defence - Donald Trump's America. Oil prices slide despite extension of production cut agreement by another nine months.
Jupiter: First data from Juno mission reveals massive cyclones and aurorae - Science News - ABC News. St John Ambulance app rolling out across WA could help save lives. Are you an addict? Turns out we're all tech junkies. Wound-healing molecule found in parasitic worm could help prevent amputations, doctors hope. Republican candidate Greg Gianforte 'body-slams' Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. The 'Do Not Call Regiment': Why you won't see Aussie troops on the streets. Aboriginal people do what we must to survive; 1967 didn't change that - RN. 3D cell printer tipped to be 'game changer' in preventing osteoarthritis. Taiwan becomes first Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage. It was 50 years ago today… looking back on half a century of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Bank levy: Association demands Senate inquiry into $6.2 billion tax. Paid domestic violence leave decision delayed due to 'unprecedented' circumstance. NBN contractor fears installer could die during Sky Muster rollout, Labor calls for safety review.
Donald Trump budget cut plan would make it 'impossible' for UN, spokesman says - Donald Trump's America. OPEC meeting puts oil at the crossroads with another production cut the likely direction. Hugh Garth facing minimum eight years' jail after being convicted under NSW one-punch laws. Bank of PNG investigates using Blockchain to improve country's low rate of financial inclusion. Same-sex marriage: Tensions flare as Victoria's Surf Coast Shire votes to remove rainbow flag. Baby giraffe makes debut as Canberra zoo unveils new open range area. Manchester attack: Salman Abedi likely did not act alone, Britain's Interior Minister says. China credit rating downgraded by Moody's, Australian dollar falls. Flu immunisation rates down: Why aren't we getting the jab? Bank of Queensland's CEO disputes S&P credit rating downgrade. ANU corruption and misuse of funding allegations under investigation.
WA Nationals cling to mining tax plan despite disastrous election result. NT youth detention royal commission doubles in duration with second extension granted. Retailers need to adapt to a world built on speed to compete with Amazon.