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TravelGuides – Morning mail: China and US take Cop26 by surprise, Australia’s Unesco lobbying, Flowerkid blooms |

TravelGuides – Morning mail: China and US take Cop26 by surprise, Australia’s Unesco lobbying, Flowerkid blooms |

Good morning. China and the US have announced a surprise plan to work together on cutting emissions. The Australian government faces the climate heat – at home and abroad. And Queensland’s lagging vaccine rate comes under scrutiny.

The world’s two biggest emitters have announced a surprise plan to work together on cutting emissions in the crucial next decade, in a strong boost to the Cop26 summit. “We will jointly strengthen our Paris efforts and cooperation … to accelerate a green and low carbon transition,” said Xie Zhenhua, China’s head of delegation. John Kerry compared the plan to the agreements to reduce nuclear weapon arsenals in the cold war. “You have to look beyond differences sometimes to find a way forward.” A draft of the overall Cop26 negotiation outcome has urged tougher emissions commitments by the end of next year, acknowledging that the gap between pledges and targets remains considerable. Critics have said the document remains short of what’s needed, with Greenpeace International saying “wreckers like the Saudi and Australian governments” will work to gut provisions such as a call to phase out coal and fossil fuel subsidies.

The federal government lobbied Unesco in an attempt to remove direct references to a 1.5C global warming limit, documents have revealed. Great Barrier Reef campaigners have called the move “reprehensible”, saying the temperature limit was critical to protecting the world heritage site. Unesco ultimately rejected Australia’s appeal to strike out the 1.5C reference in exchange for a more generic statement about the importance of the Paris agreement. A spokesperson for the environment minister, Sussan Ley, has said the government was not trying to block references to 1.5C but was trying to ensure climate policy was directed through the UN’s climate convention.

Health experts have called for targeted messages to boost Queensland’s vaccination uptake, with the state lagging the national average for first dose vaccination by almost 10%. Only 65% of 12- to 29-year-olds have received their first dose, while among Indigenous communities in Cairns that number drops to 42%. Annastacia Palaszczuk has said restrictions will ease in the state once an 80% full vaccination rate for over 16-year-olds is met. A long-acting antibody cocktail developed by AstraZeneca has cleared the first step towards approval by Australia’s drug regulator, with hopes the treatment could offer higher protection against Covid-19 variants.


ACTU secretary Sally McManus
ACTU secretary Sally McManus says labour shortages due to Australia’s border closures have allowed some workers to leave jobs for more secure positions. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Australian workers have “a brief window of time” to flex their industrial bargaining power, the ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, has said, with border closures empowering those unhappy in their jobs to move for better conditions.

The 2022 election campaign could be overwhelmingly negative, if early social media ads are any indication. Labor has been targeting marginal seats in NSW and Queensland with claims the Coalition has been cutting Medicare, with the Liberals agitating around Labor’s “retiree tax” and “housing tax”.

A former chairman has said changes to the NDIS could give unprecedented powers to the agency’s boss to cut funding packages. New proposals would allow the agency head or minister to make changes without parliamentary approval or state and territory signoff.

The private sector is leading the way in providing domestic violence leave, with 660,000 eligible employees receiving 10 days paid leave, with 95% of them working in private enterprise.

The world

Refugees at the Belarus-Poland border
Iraqi-Kurdish migrants at the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region. Photograph: Leonid Shcheglov/BELTA/AFP/Getty Images

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has asked Vladimir Putin to intervene in the crisis on the Belarus-Poland border, with Poland’s prime minister accusing the Kremlin of “masterminding” surging numbers of Iraqi Kurd arrivals in an effort to undermine the EU.

Prince Harry has claimed that he warned Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, a day before the Capitol riot that his platform was enabling political unrest. The Duke of Sussex told a tech conference he send the warning via email but never heard back from Dorsey.

A fatty acid found in palm oil can encourage the spread of cancer, scientists have found. A subset of cells inside tumours rely heavily on fatty acids found within palm oil to spread and colonise adjacent organs, the research suggests.

Recommended reads

Scott Morrison and Angus Taylor
Prime minister Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor before a tour of the Toyota Hydrogen Centre in Altona, Melbourne. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

It’s a central tranche of the Coalition’s clean energy credentials, but do carbon capture and storage technologies really work? As Graham Readfearn writes, of 29 CCS facilities operational globally, only 11m tonnes of CO2 have been captured, via schemes that don’t involve injecting CO2 as part of a process to extract more oil and gas. And even if the industry’s forecast of capturing 111m tonnes a year is met, that figure represents only 0.3% of the 36.4bn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuel use in 2021.

Despite his short stature, Australian performer Flowerkid is punching way above his weight. Signed in the US by Billie Eilish’s manager, Flynn Sant has taken on serious topics – including toxic masculinity, mental health and embracing becoming transgender – all shy of his 21st birthday. “If I stayed in school, I wouldn’t have come out at all,” he tells Brodie Lancaster.

If the latest payroll job index numbers are anything to go by then employment has rebounded nicely in October. But across the nation it’s a different story, Greg Jericho explains. “Victoria, NSW and the ACT are likely to have surging economies in the run-up to Christmas as people get out of their homes and go shopping.” But across different industries, the recovery is being felt unevenly.

“I love comedy with all my heart. It’s in my top five favourite things of all time. Comedy, hot chips, dogs, the feeling of relief, and Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” The actor Sam Cotton is our guest curator on this week’s 10 funniest things on the internet.


Covid-19 has posed tough questions of whole sectors of society and sport is no exception. As restriction ease, how do sporting bodies navigate the ethical and legal minefields of vaccination? On this episode of Full Story, Laura Murphy-Oates speaks to Emma Kemp.

Full Story

Australian sport’s reckoning with Covid-19 vaccination

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


Pakistan captain Babar Azam
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam celebrates after scoring a half-century at the Twenty20 World Cup. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

As Australia eyes a Twenty20World Cup final there’s the matter of an in-form Pakistan standing in the way. And while the South Asian powerhouse have a history of up and down performances, it’s unlikely this “purring cricket machine” will suddenly falter, Geoff Lemon writes. There’s been a major boilover, with New Zealand dumping favourites England out.

It has been 763 days since the Socceroos’ last home game but it’s almost seven times that number since they last lost a World Cup qualifier on home soil. The visiting opponents, Saudi Arabia, are however top of Group B, and with injuries to Australia, there might just be some vulnerabilities, Emma Kemp explains.

Media roundup

The Victorian state opposition is still reeling from the fallout of Tim Smith’s drink driving crash, the Age reports. Property giants are hedging on a post-Covid return to CBD offices, writes the Australian, with nearly $8bn worth of construction projects earmarked for Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. And superannuation funds could hike member fees by up to $1bn in anticipation of potential future fines and penalties, the Financial Review reports.

Coming up

Remembrance Day ceremonies will take place around the nation.

New Zealand’s foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta, will arrive in Australia.

And if you’ve read this far …

The first known reference to it was in an 18th century recipe manuscript, calling it “Valencian rice”. And now Valencia has issued an eight-page proclamation on paella, issuing it protected cultural status. It hopes the award will help protect the meal’s “survival” from attacks such as Jamie Oliver’s suggestion that it should include chorizo.

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TravelGuides – Morning mail: China and US take Cop26 by surprise, Australia’s Unesco lobbying, Flowerkid blooms |