Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 13 October.
Police in London and New York have opened criminal investigations into allegations of sexual abuse against the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Scotland Yard told the Guardian on Thursday: “The Met has been passed an allegation of sexual abuse by Merseyside police on Wednesday 11 October. The allegation will be assessed by officers.” In Weinstein’s hometown of New York the NYPD is carrying out a “review” looking for new complaints against him. An English actor, Sophie Dix, has come forward to tell the Guardian how her trajectory was “massively cut down” after an alleged sexual assault by Weinstein in a London hotel. And on Thursday, the French actor Florence Darel also accused the producer of sexual harassment, joining a string of other high-profile actors, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Léa Seydoux and Cara Delevingne. The Weinstein Company board of directors has said they had no knowledge of the alleged sexual abuse and would cooperate with any police investigation.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is meeting on Saturday to discuss suspending Weinstein’s membership, as the Baftas did this week. “The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents,” it said. In video footage released on Wednesday, Weinstein told reporters: “Guys, I’m not doing OK but I’m trying. I gotta get help … You know, we all make mistakes … second chance I hope.”
Tony Abbott needs to explain why he has altered his views on climate change, Julie Bishop has said, after his earlier remarks that it is “probably doing good”. The foreign minister rebuked Abbott by recounting his record of signing the Paris climate agreement and setting the renewable energy target. Her comments follow a similar intervention from the energy and environment minister, Josh Frydenberg. On Monday evening Abbott told a climate sceptic thinktank in London that policies to combat climate change were like “primitive people … killing goats to appease the volcano gods”. He also reprised his 2009 assertion that the “so-called settled science of climate change” was “absolute crap”.
Militants linked to the Taliban have released a US woman, her Canadian husband and their three children who have been held in captivity for five years, bringing an end to an ordeal the couple described as a “Kafkaesque nightmare”. The couple were captured five years ago while backpacking through Afghanistan, and had three children while being held prisoner. Pakistani troops, operating on intelligence provided by the US, rescued the family after locating them in the mountainous Kurram Valley region that borders Afghanistan. Donald Trump said the rescue showed Pakistan was beginning to respect the US again.
Dozens of disability advocacy groups across the country face closure as states withdraw funding before the transition to the national disability insurance scheme. The sector is warning the cuts threaten to leave “huge gaps” in support at a time when it is most needed. Fifty groups in New South Wales alone are threatened by the move. The vast majority of people requiring advocacy support would not be part of the NDIS and the federal assistant disability services minister, Jane Prentice, is calling on states and territories to maintain an “ongoing investment”.
Up to 87% of undamaged, edible tomatoes harvested from a Queensland farm never make it to the shop shelf, a study has found, highlighting the problem of food wastage. At every point in the supply chain, edible tomatoes that were odd-shaped or marked, or deemed too small or too large, were rejected because they didn’t meet market standards for premium, unblemished product. The research also found that between 70% and 84% of tomatoes grown were left in the field, because the cost of harvesting and supplying them to market was greater than any profit to be made. The government estimates food waste costs the Australian economy $20bn each year.
The Scottish Football Association’s head coach, Gordon Strachan, has quit, it has announced. Scotland missed out on World Cup qualification, finishing third behind England and Slovakia in Group F. Strachan was appointed in 2013 but has been unable to arrest a long run of qualification failures. Scotland have not reached a tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
How do you square a frightening Test fast bowler from the mountains with a tertiary-qualified, tattoo-free man whose favourite hobby is “a really good crossword”? Australia’s Pat Cummins talks to Sam Perry as he prepares to make an impact during his first home Test summer.
Patrick Lukins grew up in a Catholic family in which three of the four children were gay. As it grew increasingly unconventional, and increasingly dear to him, it helped him accept his own sexuality and set an example for his son. “I always thought of my discretion about my sexuality as a strength and I would go to great lengths to hide it. I’ve since realised that strength is the ability to be yourself in a world that will often tell you that you are somehow a lesser person. I want to set an example for my son: not to hide, not to be afraid, but to push outside your comfort zone and be proud of who you are and where you come from.”
The pebble-lined shore that borders King’s Run in north-western Tasmania is speckled with middens and once housed seal hides. Elsewhere on the property, a burial site houses the bones of long-dead Tarkanya people. This week the area was signed over to Aboriginal ownership, in a move that marks the end of a 30-year process that started when a thylacine sighting was reported. Calla Wahlquist visited the region that was protected for decades by Geoff King, a third-generation beef grazier, and describes the pivotal role he played.
During Taylor Mac’s extravaganza at the Melbourne festival the performer blindfolds us all. “You’re going to be blind for the next hour. If you peek I will publicly shame you,” Mac says casually. We’re five hours into A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, which weaves cabaret, commentary and comedy through 10 popular songs of each decade, from 1776 to the present day. Mac describes A 24-Decade History as a “radical faery realness ritual sacrifice”. “The gathering of the people, that’s the ritual; the audience is the sacrifice”. And that’s the other thrill of the show: the (forced) participation.
What’s he done now?
Donald Trump has threatened to pull aid to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria in a series of furious overnight tweets, criticising the island nation’s poor infrastructure and weakening economy:
Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.” says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of … accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend … We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!
The Sydney Morning Herald splashes with a large picture of the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, saying the NSW Liberals are poised to release a significant advertising campaign aimed at “reinventing” her 17 months out from the election. “Bad Oil” declares the Adelaide Advertiser with its front-page report about Chevron’s Australia decision to dump its half billion-dollar plan to drill for oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight, which has “drawn fire” from the South Australian government. And the ABC has a moving story from last night’s 7.30 report about a male survivor of the Catholic Church, who said the church made him feel like a “beggar” when he asked it to pay medical bills which resulted from the rapes and beatings he received while in its care in the 1960s.
The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, and the defence minister, Marise Payne, are in South Korea for talks with their ministerial counterparts. The Reserve Bank of Australia releases its financial stability review. And the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts is hosting a summit on “cost-of-living pressures” in Brisbane, with speakers including Dan Mitchell, from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Mark Latham and Ross Cameron.
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