Daily News Roundup

October 10, 2018

Image: ABC News

Taylor Swift: Registration surges after singer’s Instagram post urging fans to vote in mid-terms

Taylor Swift’s decision to break her longstanding silence on politics and urge people to back Democrats in the upcoming US mid-term elections has led to a massive spike in registrations, according to a voter advocacy group.

More than 65,000 people registered to vote in the 24 hours after Swift’s post on Instagram, where she has 112 million followers, according to non-profit site Vote.org. That compares to less than 200,000 registered nationwide in the whole of September.

The number continued to rise on Tuesday to about 166,000, more than 40 per cent of them aged between 18 and 24.

“We have never seen a 24- or 36- or 48-hour period like this,” Vote.org spokesperson Kamari Gurthrie told The New York Times.

“This is leaps and bounds beyond what we typically see.”

In a separate statement, Vote.org acknowledged there were several factors that could have contributed to the surge. The deadline for voter registration in many states was October 9.

There was an even more pronounced spike in Swift’s home state of Tennessee.

More than 5,000 have registered in October so far, almost half in the past 36 hours, compared to 2,811 in September.


Graves at historic cemetery near Elliston desecrated in ‘malicious’ act of vandalism

More than two dozen graves at a cemetery in rural South Australia have been vandalised in a “malicious and senseless” attack.

Police are investigating the act which has impacted 26 of about 60 grave sites at the Talia cemetery, about 40 kilometres outside Elliston on the west coast.

Headstones were smashed into pieces, knocked over and have been damaged by rocks.

Some of the monuments date back to the 1890s and the oldest one damaged is believed to be from 1903, but others are much more recent.

Elliston council chief executive Phil Cameron described the desecration as “malicious and senseless” and said it was “very upsetting” for the local community.

“In my 30-odd years of working for local authorities in country South Australia, I haven’t been this stunned by such pointless acts of vandalism,” he said.

“I always look upon a cemetery as a bit of a sacred site and there are a lot of people out there that are the early pioneers of our district, the forefathers of some of the present-day people.

“Some of the headstones may be beyond repair — others have just sort of been pushed over but some of the real old ones are in many pieces and that will be a much tougher job.”


Clive Palmer withdraws $1.8 billion lawsuit against Queensland Nickel liquidators

Businessman Clive Palmer has withdrawn counterclaims seeking $1.8 billion in damages from liquidators of Queensland Nickel, who are seeking to recover hundreds of millions of dollars over the closure of the Townsville refinery.

The claim against FTI Consulting managing director John Park and special purpose liquidator Stephen Parbery was brought in April over lost value allegedly caused to Mr Palmer and his companies as a result of the long-running legal dispute.

At the time, Mr Palmer said the liquidators had caused nearly $2 billion in lost value when they closed the refinery at Yabulu in 2016.

“We’re now ensuring the individual liquidators will pay for it and the true story will come out,” he said in April.

Mr Palmer described the appointment of QNI liquidators as a “politically motivated witch-hunt”.

QNI collapsed in 2016 with $300 million in debts, putting more than 800 people out of work.

Mr Palmer, his nephew Clive Mensink and 19 other people are being sued for about $500 million by liquidators PPB Advisory, who were appointed by the Federal Government.

In a statement, the special purpose liquidators said Mr Palmer’s claims “should never have been filed” to the Supreme Court because they “failed to have a proper basis”.

“The [special purpose liquidators] are committed to ensuring the claims QNI has issued in the Supreme Court are heard on 29 April, 2019 as currently timetabled and without further delay,” they said.

The trial between Mr Palmer and the liquidators is expected to start in April next year, although Mr Palmer’s lawyers have applied to have it cancelled.

Last month Mr Palmer succeeded in his bid to have a Supreme Court judge recused from the case, after claiming he was biased.

Justice John Bond said claims of bias against him were “baseless”, but decided to step down from the case “in order to ensure that justice be seen to be done”.

Mr Palmer has committed to re-opening the refinery if he gets financial support from the State Government — something Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out.


This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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