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TravelGuides – Morning mail: visa holders in travel limbo, Jenkins review action urged, A-League Women guide | Australia news

TravelGuides – Morning mail: visa holders in travel limbo, Jenkins review action urged, A-League Women guide | Australia news

Good morning. Skilled workers face Australian residency jeopardy, government advisers urge swift action on sex discrimination inside parliament and more countries tighten their borders in the face of Omicron.

Thousands of skilled workers and bridging visa holders are contemplating leaving Australia permanently due to inconsistencies in the government’s pandemic response that mean several visa categories are not included for exemption-free travel from mid-December. People on distinguished talent visas or awaiting permanent residency confirmation are being effectively blocked from returning home, with some, like Giorgia Di Girolamo, facing a difficult the prospect of giving up the life she’s built in Australia since 2017 to see her dying grandfather. A petition to expand exemption-free travel to such visa holders has garnered 9,000 signatories.

More than 50 nations including the US have moved to introduce stricter border control measures in response to Omicron, with the highly virulent Covid-19 strain now identified in 24 countries around the world. The World Health Organization repeated its warning that a “toxic mix” of low vaccination coverage and low testing rates are creating fertile breeding grounds for new, more resistant variants. The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has suggested mandatory vaccination “needs discussion”, and Greece’s prime minister has defended his government’s move to fine citizens over 60 who refuse vaccination.

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The Morrison government is being urged to swiftly implement the recommendations of the Jenkins review or face a fierce backlash from women at the ballot box. One former Liberal party adviser said women inside parliament have told her that “perpetrators and bullies still believe they’re untouchable”, despite the review, instigated by the alleged rape of parliamentary staffer Brittany Higgins. Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, has recommended a major overhaul of federal parliament’s workplace culture.

Australia

Australia’s relatively low-quality iron ore could be less attractive to steelmakers using green hydrogen, a report has found. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Australia’s relatively low-quality iron ore could be a major loser as the world turns towards hydrogen-based steelmaking, an industry report has suggested. Further refining of ore to meet the need of electric arc furnaces could drive up the profitability of Australia’s leading $150bn export.

Regional publishers who received multimillion-dollar government support packages to protect jobs have shed staff and closed newsrooms, FOI documents have revealed. More than 80% of the $5om set aside for the scheme went to major media players instead of smaller independent companies.

Scientists and researchers working on Covid-19 have become the targets of unprecedented levels of misinformation, a study by the University of Sydney has detailed. Researchers suggest that declining rigour in academic standards is one factor accelerating distrust.

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Australia has become a “guest worker state”, reliant upon an underclass of exploitative temporary migration visa arrangements, a report has claimed. Interviews with 700 temporary visa holders found 65% had experienced wage theft.

The world

Russian military manoeuvres during a training exercise
Russian forces conduct military exercises. The US secretary of state has warned Russia is planning a ‘large-scale’ attack in Ukraine. Photograph: Vadim Savitskiy/AP

Nato is prepared to impose “severe costs for further Russian aggression in Ukraine”, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has warned, saying the US has evidence the Kremlin has made plans for a “large-scale” attack. Ukraine estimates nearly 100,000 Russian troops have gathered near its borders.

The EU is seeking to counter China’s global influence via a €300bn global infrastructure investment fund, with the European Commission president suggesting that many developing nations would prefer a “democratic, value-driven approach”.

A blast near a train station in Munich has injured four after a world war two-era armament exploded. An estimated 15% of the 1.5m tonnes of bombs dropped on Germany by allied forces are believed to have failed to explode.

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Prince Harry has drawn a parallel between the unequal distribution of Covid vaccines with the historic struggle of millions to access HIV medicines, saying during a speech on World Aids Day that the vaccination challenge was a test of the world’s collective “moral character”.

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Joseph and Potiphar's wife, by Guido Reni
‘While many would suggest spending more time together, I think the reverse can help: try to rediscover the other.’ Painting: Joseph and Potiphar’s wife by Guido Reni. Photograph: classicpaintings/Alamy

Love and desire are two very different emotions within a relationship. “They’re almost photonegative emotions: love is a ribcage-expanding gratitude for what we have, whereas desire is a longing for what we don’t have. Love responds to reality; desire, to imagination.” That’s the quandary advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith tries to unravel this week as she discusses rebreathing fire into a relationship that’s become a little lukewarm.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but mainly it was just the strangest of times. You don’t need to take up haruspicy to try to decipher the latest economic indicators, Greg Jericho explains, but it could help. “Compared with 12 months ago, the economy is about 3.9% bigger, which is well above the long-term average and also an indicator of how weird things are at the moment – on one measure things are horrific, and on another they’re booming.” Falling consumer spending due to lockdowns is being offset by a sharp decline in imports; household outlays are counteracted by increased saving; and then factor in increased government support. It’s upside down, it’s inside out: no wonder the numbers are a mess.

Michelle Law isn’t averse to a deep dive into the darker recesses of the internet. And if you have neither the time, inclination, nor frankly, the skill, to unearth cyber comedy sapphires, then don’t worry – our guest curator of this week’s 10 funniest things on the internet has you covered. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Get onboard.

Listen

Mitochondrial disease affects thousands of families. But a push to allow IVF technology to help prevent the rare genetic disorder is dividing parliament. On this episode of Full Story, reporter Rafqa Touma shares her family’s experience.

Full Story

The push to end a genetic lottery for thousands of Australian families

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

Sport

Players at the A-League Women season launch
Players at the A-League Women season launch. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

The A-League Women’s competition is back with a new name and a new team for its 14th season. And while expansion club Wellington Phoenix faces an uphill battle to be competitive, in what could be another Covid-affected season anything is possible. Joey Lynch has the season preview.

The January transfer window is often a strong indication of a club’s desperation. And with six Premier League sides already shedding their managers, there could be even more frenetic Christmas activity for sides looking to new signings to revive their fortunes.

Media roundup

The cracked Spanish-built Sydney trams that will be inoperative for up to 18 months are no longer under warranty, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, challenging the transport minister Rob Stokes’ expectation that there will be “no cost to the taxpayer” in repairing the fleet. The worst could yet be in store in Queensland’s most severe floods in decades, the Courier-Mail warns, with rising flood waters believed to have claimed a life. And human rights abusers, hackers and corrupt officials could be banned from visiting Australia, according to the ABC, due to new legislation set to pass federal parliament today.

Coming up

Federal parliament sits for the final day in 2021.

The Victorian inquest into the death of residents at St Basil’s aged care home continues.

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TravelGuides – Morning mail: visa holders in travel limbo, Jenkins review action urged, A-League Women guide | Australia news

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