Daily News Roundup

September 6, 2018

Image: ABC News

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

In a striking anonymous broadside, a senior Trump administration official has written an opinion piece in The New York Times claiming to be part of a group of people “working diligently from within” to impede President Donald Trump’s “worst inclinations” and ill-conceived parts of his agenda.

Mr Trump called it a “gutless editorial” and “really a disgrace”, and the press secretary called on the official to resign, the ABC reports.

The writer, claiming to be part of the “resistance” to Mr Trump but not from the left, says: “Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”

The newspaper described the author of the column as a senior official in the Trump administration.

A defiant Mr Trump, holding an event with sheriffs at the White House, lashed out at the Times for publishing the op-ed.

“They don’t like Donald Trump and I don’t like them,” he said of the newspaper.

The publication of the op-ed immediately triggered a wild guessing game as to the author’s identity on social media, in newsrooms and inside the West Wing, where officials were blindsided by its publication.

In a blistering statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders accused the author of choosing to “deceive” the President by remaining in the administration.

“He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people,” she said.

“The coward should do the right thing and resign.”

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World surfing is riding the gender equality wave to pay parity, with the backing of two of the sport’s greatest male and female champions, according to the ABC.

The World Surf League announced it would award equal prize money for men and women across elite tour events in 2019 and beyond as the season schedule was revealed.

Ahead of taking to the water at California’s Surf Ranch Pro on Friday, Australian great Steph Gilmore said the decision was a vote of confidence for the women’s format.

“The prize money is fantastic, but the message means even more,” the six-time world champion and world number one said.

“I hope this serves as a model for other sports, global organisations and society as a whole.

“My fellow women athletes and I are honoured by the confidence in us, and inspired to reward this decision with ever higher levels of surfing.”

Eleven-time men’s champion Kelly Slater said the move to becoming the first US-based global sports league with equal prize money would set a powerful precedent and challenge the norm.

“The women on the tour deserve this change,” the surfing legend said.

“The female WSL athletes are equally committed to their craft as the male athletes and should be paid the same.”

Pay parity will be covered across next season’s championship, longboard, junior and big wave tours.

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The species of blue macaw parrot portrayed in the animated movie Rio has been officially classified as ‘extinct in the wild’.

The Spix’s macaw Brazilian parrot, characterised by the loveable lead, Blu, is now one of eight species that have been added to a list of confirmed or highly likely extinctions under new statistical classifications compiled by researchers.

An ABC report today said also on the list are the glaucous macaw and Pernambuco pygmy-owl — their declines primarily driven by deforestation on the South American continent.

“The last known individual [Spix’s macaw] in the wild disappeared in 2001, but searches have been ongoing since then and it is only now that we feel confident enough to classify it as extinct in the wild,” report co-author Stuart Butchart said.

The researchers said these latest losses highlighted the urgency of the current extinction crisis, bringing the number of confirmed or likely bird extinctions up to 187 since the year 1500.

The report into which birds have gone extinct was conducted by BirdLife International, the avian authority for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.

The latest report used new approaches to analyse data on birds classed as critically endangered — the highest possible threat category.

Determining whether a species is extinct, is a lengthy, complex process, involving “exhaustive” surveys.

The authors assessed 51 critically endangered species over eight years.

They recommend three species formerly considered ‘critically endangered (possibly Extinct)’ should now be reclassified as ‘extinct’, while the Spix’s macaw should be treated as ‘extinct in the wild’.

Historically, 90 per cent of extinctions were on islands driven by the negative impacts of invasive species — such as cats or rats — as well as unsustainable hunting, said Mr Butchart.

The latest report however noted five of the eight newly identified extinctions took place on the South American continent, four of them in Brazil. Researchers said this reflected the devastating effects of the high rate of deforestation in that part of the world.

“There is increasing evidence of a growing wave of extinctions on continents, resulting from habitat loss and degradation driven by unsustainable agriculture and logging in particular,” Mr Butchart said.

This daily news has been curated with stories from ABC News. 

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