THURSDAY, JUNE 4
James Mattis, Donald Trump’s former defence secretary and a high-profile general with 50 years military experience, has turned on his old boss, calling him a threat to the US Constitution.
Mattis, who resigned as Trump’s secretary of defence in December 2018, said he is “angry and appalled” by the use of troops to put down protests.
Gen Mattis’ attack on Trump appears to have been triggered by the President’s threat to use the military to crack down on rioters, and by the authorities’ controversial use of force to clear a path for Mr Trump’s photo op at a church near the White House two days ago.
In a scathing statement to The Atlantic magazine, Gen Mattis, who has been relatively quiet since leaving the White House, said the words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ were “carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court”.
“This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding, he said.
“We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values.
“When I joined the military some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution.
“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstances to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens – much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people. Does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”
He said Trump had “made a mockery” of the Constitution.
His statement came shortly after the news that all four police officers involved in Mr Floyd’s death had been charged, and that the officer at the centre of the case would face an upgraded charge of second-degree murder.
In a move to boost Australia’s coronavirus-mauled economy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $25,000 cash grants for new homes and renovations.
The $668 million scheme, aimed at shoring up the home construction industry, comes after new figures revealed the country dipped into a recession for the first time in three decades.
The plan will be restricted to people on middle incomes and to new homes and major renovations valued between $150,000 to $750,000.
The pre-renovation value of the house must not exceed $1.5 million and excludes sheds, pools, granny flats and any other structure attached to the home.
The temporary scheme that will last until the end of the year, is aiming to help build 30,000 homes by Christmas.
Construction of a new home or a substantial renovation must be contracted to begin within three months to prevent a rise in house prices.
The grants will be means tested, allowing singles who earned up to $125,000 the previous financial year and couples who earned up to $200,000 to access the scheme.
The scheme will work along existing state and territory first-home owner grants programs, stamp duty concessions and other grant schemes, including the federal government’s first-home loan deposit scheme and first-home super saver scheme
But you will only qualify for the cash splash if you’re spending $150,000 or more on a renovation and you meet an income test.
For new home builds, the value of the property must be $750,000 or less.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Mr Morrison said the construction industry was set to “dry up quickly”.
“Some 30,000 homes or thereabouts won’t get built. That means jobs not just for tradies and apprentices but all the other industries that feed into the home building industry and all the jobs that depend on that,” he said.
Mr Morrison said the $25,000 grants would “support those Australians whose dream it was to build their home or to do that big renovation”.
A German man, currently behind bars in his country, is the latest suspect in the 2007 disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann from a Portuguese holiday apartment in 2007.
Madeleine, who is British, disappeared from her bedroom on May 3 during a family holiday in Portugal while her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.
Her fate remains a mystery despite a massive international search and media coverage which prompted reported sightings from across the globe.
Police in Britain and Germany are appealing for information on a man.
British police described Wednesday’s appeal — the latest of several issued since her disappearance — as a “significant development”.
They want to speak to anyone who has relevant information on the German man, whom they did not name, or the movements of two vehicles linked to him during the period around the disappearance.
Both cars, a Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar, are now in the possession of German police.
They also asked for anyone who was familiar with two Portuguese phone numbers to come forward.
One of the phones was known to be used by the suspect, and received a 30-minute phone call from the second number whilst in the Praia da Luz area on the night of the disappearance shortly before Madeleine was last seen.
“You may know, you may be aware of some of the things he has done, he may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine,” said senior investigating officer Mark Cranwell.
“More than 13 years have passed, and your loyalties may have changed. This individual is in prison … now is the time to come forward.”
British police said they retained an open mind about the man’s involvement and did not have any definitive evidence whether Madeleine was alive or not.
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