As it happened: Liz Truss resigns as British prime minister; ADF troops deployed to assist with Victoria, NSW floods – Sydney Morning Herald

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That’s all from us tonight, if you’ve just joined us, here are the biggest news events of the day:
Thanks again for following along. I hope you enjoy your weekend. Broede Carmody will be with you bright and early on Monday morning to take you through the news of the day.
Hans Niemann, the teenage American grandmaster at the centre of an alleged cheating scandal, has sued world champion Magnus Carlsen, online platform Chess.com and others for slander and libel and is seeking at least $US100 million ($159 million) in damages.
The lawsuit, filed at a US District Court in Missouri, also lists Carlsen’s online chess platform Play Magnus, Chess.com executive Danny Rensch and American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura as defendants.
Magnus Carlsen (left) and his bitter chess rival, Hans Niemann.Credit:.
Niemann, 19, claimed that the defendants are “colluding to blacklist” him from the professional chess world and that he has been shunned by tournament organisers since five-time world champion Carlsen publicly accused him of cheating.
Carlsen’s surprise defeat to Niemann and his subsequent withdrawal from the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, Missouri in September sparked a furore of comments and allegations, including from Nakamura, that the American had cheated.
Weeks after the Sinquefield Cup, the Norwegian resigned after just one move against Niemann in an online tournament and said later in September he believed the American had ”cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted”.
In a statement, lawyers for Chess.com said there was no merit to Niemann’s allegations and that the company was saddened by his decision to take legal action.
Read more here.
A 27-year-old man from Melbourne was arrested this morning for making threats to kill an Australian senator.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested the man at his Brunswick West home and seized electronic devices including a laptop and desktop computer.
Investigators allege “serious online threats” were made, including threats to kill, via a social media platform in September and October.
The man faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today charged with two counts of using a carriage service to make a threat to kill and using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.
The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment.
AFP Acting Commander Anita van Hilst said the arrest should “send a strong message that the AFP and its partners are working tirelessly to identify and prosecute anyone who breaks the law by harassing, menacing or threatening politicians”.
“The AFP supports the political expression and freedom of speech, however when it leads to criminal behaviour, including threats and harassment, even online, it will not be tolerated,” Hilst said.
The man has been granted bail.
The judge presiding over the Bruce Lehrmann trial has asked jury members to stay off social media over the weekend before their deliberations resume on Monday.
The eight women and four men have so far spent seven hours considering the evidence presented in the trial after being sent out on Wednesday afternoon.
Bruce Lehrmann arrives at the ACT Supreme Court on Friday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
Former Coalition staffer Bruce Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting his former colleague, Brittany Higgins, in the office of their then-boss, senator Linda Reynolds, in the early hours of March 23, 2019.
Calling the jury in just before 4pm on Friday, ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum urged its members against speaking to anyone about the case over the weekend and to shut down any potential exchange.
“It’s extremely important at this stage you don’t engage in conversation,” McCallum said. “Give yourself a social media-free holiday.”
She said they could not begin deliberating again until all 12 were back in the jury room on Monday.
Read more here.
The founder of women’s business network Business Chicks has defended herself against accusations of greed after a fiery post appeared on the company’s social media channels lamenting widespread redundancies at the business.
An Instagram post on the group’s official account alleged all thirteen of its staff were made redundant on Wednesday, one day after hosting members at an ‘open day’ for the group’s new coworking space where staff say they were told to sell $10,000 ‘platinum’ memberships to customers.
Emma Isaacs is the founder and global chief executive of Business Chicks.Credit:Damian Bennett
Business Chicks was founded by Emma Isaacs 17 years ago and runs a membership for women entrepreneurs as well as events with high-profile celebrities including Elle MacPherson and Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as entrepreneurship conferences.
The post on the company’s Instagram, which is no longer online, claimed Isaacs was planning to now run the business by herself without staff. The post claimed two of the staff made redundant were pregnant and one would now not be able to access maternity leave.
“Emma’s greed has changed the course of this staff member’s financial safety and joy which should be her only priority before giving birth,” it said.
In comments via text message to this masthead, Isaacs rebutted that allegation.
“This is fundamentally untrue. I’ve done all I can in my capacity as founder to sustain the business in its current size, and it was unfortunately the only option left in front of us,” she said.
Read more here.
Washington: Biden administration officials are discussing whether the US should subject some of Elon Musk’s ventures to national security reviews, including the deal for Twitter and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network, according to people familiar with the matter.
US officials have grown uncomfortable over Musk’s recent threat to stop supplying the Starlink satellite service to Ukraine – he said it had cost him $US80 million ($127 million) so far – and what they see as his increasingly Russia-friendly stance following a series of tweets that outlined peace proposals favourable to President Vladimir Putin.
Elon MuskCredit:AP
They are also concerned by his plans to buy Twitter with a group of foreign investors.
The discussions are still at an early stage, the people familiar said on condition of anonymity. Officials in the US government and intelligence community are weighing what tools, if any, are available that would allow the federal government to review Musk’s ventures.
One possibility is through the law governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review Musk’s deals and operations for national security risks, they said.
The interagency panel, known as CFIUS, reviews acquisitions of US businesses by foreign buyers. It is not clear if a CFIUS review — which would involve assessments by the Departments of State, Defence, and Homeland Security, among others — would offer the government a legal way to conduct a review, the people said.
One element of the $US44 billion Twitter deal that could trigger a CFIUS review is the presence of foreign investors in Musk’s consortium. The group includes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Binance Holdings– a digital-asset exchange founded and run by a Chinese native — and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
The panel operates behind closed doors and rarely confirms when it is conducting reviews. CFIUS also holds the power to review deals that have already been consummated.
Read more here.
London: Former chancellor Rishi Sunak has emerged as the early favourite to become Britain’s next prime minister after Liz Truss resigned and became the shortest-serving prime minister in British history.
Truss, whose time in Downing Street was marked by financial and political turmoil, was told she had lost the confidence of the majority of Tory MPs and cabinet ministers on Thursday morning and should stand down. She resigned after just 44 days in the top job.
In one of the most controversial tenures of all time, British Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned after only 44 days in office.
Her resignation has left a bitterly divided Conservative Party with the challenge of choosing Britain’s third prime minister in a matter of months amid growing calls for a general election.
Sunak, who stood against Truss for the Tory leadership in the summer, had warned that his rival’s economic plans would set off panic in the markets if she pressed ahead with a massive package of debt-funded tax cuts.
But the race now threatens to be overshadowed by a campaign to bring back former PM Boris Johnson, who several Tory MPs have publicly implored to run. Others, however, regard the prospect of him returning with horror.
Read more here.
The federal parliament’s law enforcement committee chair, Helen Polley, says Lidia Thorpe should consider her future in the Senate, as she launches an inquiry into what confidential briefings the Greens senator received about motorcycle gangs and organised crime.
Adding to the pressure on Thorpe, the Coalition is pushing for her to censured in the Senate when parliament returns next week, following revelations she failed to disclose a relationship with former Rebels bikie president Dean Martin.
Greens leader Adam Bandt, left, Lidia Thorpe, and Dean Martin.Credit:Jason South, Paul Jeffers, Jesse Marlow
Polley, a Labor senator, stressed she was not suggesting Thorpe had shared confidential information but said “I think trust has been breached by her not declaring her conflict of interest”.
“She needs to look at whether or not the Senate is the right place for her,” Polley said. “It doesn’t pass the pub test if you don’t declare your interests … her staff warned her and still she failed to act.”
Polley said the committee’s secretariat would go back through the minutes of committee meetings from the last parliament to establish what briefings Thorpe might have received and when from organisations such as the Australian Federal Police.
The committee will also meet next week, sooner than planned, and Polley will stress the confidential nature of the briefings the committee receives.
Thorpe was forced to resign as Greens deputy leader in the Senate on Thursday, as party leader Adam Bandt called her actions a “significant error of judgement” and integrity experts raised concerns about the perception of a conflict of interest.
Thorpe confirmed to the ABC she had “briefly dated” Martin, who has no criminal convictions but was associated with the Rebels for 25 years.
Read more here.
Washington: The White House said on Thursday that Iranians have been on the ground in Crimea helping Russians target Ukraine with Iranian drones, and that US efforts to negotiate a return to the Iran nuclear deal have been set aside for the time being.
John Kirby, the White House’s top national security spokesperson, told reporters that Russian military personnel, operating remotely from Crimea, have been piloting Iranian drones to launch attacks against Ukrainian targets including Kyiv in recent days.
Iranian drones are prepared for launch during a military drone drill in Iran.Credit:AP
Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
“We assess that Iranian military personnel were on the ground in Crimea and assisted Russia in these operations,” Kirby said. He added that it appeared a relatively small number of Iranians were involved.
There was no immediate public reaction to the US allegations from Tehran. Russia’s defence and foreign ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The United States is now concerned that Russia may seek to acquire advanced conventional weapons from Iran such as surface-to-surface missiles for use against Ukraine, Kirby said.
He said the United States is going to pursue all means to “expose, deter and confront” Iran’s supply of munitions to Russia, including more sanctions.
“Iran and Russia, they can lie to the world, but they certainly can’t hide the facts, and the fact is this: Tehran is now directly engaged on the ground,” he said.
Read more here.
The Queensland premier is “very pleased” work can start on a thermal coal mine expansion after a long-running political and legal battle over the project.
New Hope Group’s expansion of the New Acland coal mine near Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, was granted a water licence on Thursday, clearing the final hurdle for work to start.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk,Credit:Matt Dennien
The green light comes after a long political and legal battle to stop the project from going ahead, and after the government pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation at its public plants by 2035.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has backed the project, which will produce up to 7.5 million tonnes of coal annually for 12 years.
“I’m very pleased to see that all of those approvals now have been given,” the premier told reporters on Friday.
“The project … means a lot of jobs to the Toowoomba economy, and as my government said, we would wait for the outcome of the court cases.
“Those court cases have been closed and those approvals have now been finalised.”
New Hope Group CEO Rob Bishop said the project is the “most reviewed and scrutinised” in Queensland’s history.
“The Queensland government critically assessed the project and found it stacks up environmentally, socially and financially,” he said.
Ms Palaszczuk insists a new thermal coal mine won’t interfere with her government’s plans to reach 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032.
“Countries still need coal, we are still using coal in our coal fired power plants,” she said.
New Hope exhausted its last reserves at New Acland in November and has made almost 300 workers redundant since 2019.
The Oakey Coal Action Alliance and Lock the Gate Alliance have doggedly opposed a third mine at the site, which they fear will impact on local landholders, farmers and the environment.
New Hope says the project will not rely on groundwater bores for any of its mining operations.
“New Acland Mine purchases all its water requirements from the Wetalla Wastewater Reclamation Facility under an existing long-term supply contract with the Toowoomba Regional Council,” Bishop said.
Opponents have flagged their intention to “interrogate the lawfulness” of the water licence.
New Hope previously estimated it will pay as much as 80 per cent of royalties to itself thanks to its land holdings in the area.
Most of the New Acland site is subject to old land titles, meaning the rights to resources in the ground are retained by the landowner.
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