Daily News Roundup

December 4, 2018

Scott Morrison announces the changes at a media conference with Deputy PM Josh Frydenberg in Canberra. Picture: Gary Ramage

Tuesday, December 4

World renowned  British naturalist Sir David Attenborough has told a United Nations conference on climate change the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world was on the horizon unless urgent action was taken against global warming.

BBC presented Attenborough, 92, blamed humans for what he called the, “man-made disaster of global scale”, describing it as “our greatest threat in thousands of years”.

“The world’s people have spoken, their message is clear: time is running out and they want you, the decision makers, to act now,” he said.

Attenborough was addressing the United Nations’ COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The multilateral meeting has draw together about 200 countries to set the rulebook for the 2015 Paris climate accords.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres appealed to world leaders to take the threat of global warming seriously and to act boldly to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Mr Guterres, called climate change, “the most important issue we face”.

“Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption,” Mr Guterres said.

The UN chief critiqued countries, particularly those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, for not doing enough to back the 2015 Paris climate accord, which set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved to make it harder for the Liberal Party to dump a sitting Prime Minister and limit the political fallout of the Liberal leadership coup that gave him the nation’s top job.

In an unplanned meeting last night that caught many Liberal MPs off guard, Mr Morrison’s colleagues agreed to make it harder to replace a sitting Liberal prime minister.

From now on, two-thirds of the party room will need to support a leadership spill if there is to be a change of prime minister.

These rules will not apply in opposition or to Mr Morrison because he is yet to win an election as leader.

The higher threshold has been described as the biggest change to Liberal Party processes in more than 70 years.

If the change had been introduced before the August spill, Mr Morrison would not have had enough support to replace Malcolm Turnbull, who would still be prime minister.

The change also acknowledges the significant protest vote registered at the Wentworth by-election and the Victorian election, which could be replicated at a federal poll next year.

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A Dutch motivational speaker who is trying to legally shave 20 years off his his age has had his case rejected by a court.

But rather than feeling dejected, Emile Ratelband, who wants his official age to be registered as 49 and not 69, said the verdict was “fantastic” as it gave him many angles to appeal.

He said he was the first of “thousands” of people who wanted to change their age and many of them had been in touch with him since the case gained worldwide attention.

The main reason Mr Ratelband’s case was rejected was that a person’s age gives them certain rights and duties, such as the ability to vote, Arnhem District Court found.

“Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” the court said in a statement.

“But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships.

“This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.”

The court rejected that argument and said that unlike in the case of a name or gender, Dutch law assigned rights and obligations based on age, “such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school”.

“If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless,” the court found.

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