Morning Mail: multimillion-dollar GST challenge from councils, shark extinction fears, Greta Thunberg detained

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Good morning. More grim news for the planet, and not just because Greta Thunberg has been detained. But it’s been a good night for Novak Djokovic, at least. Happy Wednesday, here’s this morning’s news.


Philip Ruddock
Former Howard government minister Philip Ruddock is now the mayor of Hornsby council, which is challenging the GST levied on local councils. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
  • Exclusive | Philip Ruddock’s Sydney council is challenging the legality of GST levies on local government. The claim could be worth several million to the council and tens or hundreds of millions across the 537 councils that make up the third tier of government in Australia.

  • ‘Skills to defend their homeland’ | Dozens of Australian defence force personnel will fly to the UK this week to begin training Ukrainian troops, focusing on “basic infantry tactics for urban and wooded environments”.

  • Cashless gaming card | The New South Wales treasurer refuses to say if a $1,000-a-day pokies spending cap is too high, as an independent MP says the card’s daily limit should be more like $100.

  • Robodebt inquiry | Former human services minister Alan Tudge and his then media officer, Rachelle Miller, will appear before the royal commission in coming weeks, as will the then social services minister, Christian Porter.

  • Lying in state | Cardinal George Pell’s body will be held at St Mary’s in Sydney, before a private burial. The cathedral dean says thousands of mourners from Australia and overseas are expected to attend requiem mass on 2 February.


The Twitter Blue Checkmark
One previous Taliban official had praised Elon Musk for allowing their verifications and for ‘making Twitter great again’, according to a BBC report. Photograph: NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock
  • Taliban Twitter | Blue check mark account verifications bought by the Afghanistan’s hardline Islamist rulers appear to have been removed, after many expressed outrage.

  • ‘Extinction crisis’ | Almost two-thirds of sharks and rays that live around the world’s coral reefs are at risk – largely due to overfishing – and their decline could have dire knock-on effects.

  • Anti-corruption drive | Vietnam’s president, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has resigned after days of rumours he was about to be sacked, according to state media reports.

  • Anti-abortion moves | The Spanish government is taking legal action to prevent far-right authorities in the Castilla y León region introducing controversial protocols.

  • Greta detained | Greta Thunberg was among climate activists carried away by police during a protest against the demolition of a German village to make way for a coalmine.

Full Story

Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan leave court
Charities and teachers say Andrew Tate’s videos and interviews are normalising damaging attitudes towards women – but his fans insist he is misunderstood. Photograph: Alexandru Dobre/AP

The arrest of Andrew Tate: the ‘king of toxic masculinity’

The kickboxer turned social media star – who calls himself a misogynist and has millions of followers – has been arrested on charges that include human trafficking. What happened?


A general view shows the sunrise over sand dunes
Atmospheric dust has increased by about 55% since the mid-1800s, an analysis suggests – and it may have hidden up to 8% of warming. Photograph: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP/Getty Images

Atmospheric dust may have hidden the true extent of global heating. Material from dry landscapes has surged since the 1800s, possibly helping to cool the planet for decades. An atmospheric physicist leading new research says it shows that “so far, we’ve had the emergency brake on”.

Not the news

Renée Geyer
Australian jazz and soul singer Renée Geyer died in Geelong on Tuesday. Photograph: Premier Artisits

“Australia’s finest white soul singer was ambitious, unapologetic and too often overlooked,” Andrew Stafford writes. The first woman to co-write and co-produce an album in the country never found a firm footing on the charts – but Renée Geyer has left a catalogue ripe for reappraisal.

The world of sport

Serbian fans in the Australian Open stands during the first round match between Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena
Fans of the nine-time Australian Open champion make their presence felt at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
  • Australian Open | Novak Djokovic has crushed Carballés Baena on his joyous return, melting Melbourne hearts … almost.

  • Ons Jabeur | The No 2 seed survived an early scare in the tournament, but two-time slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza is out

  • Eleventh-hour coaches | Eddie Jones, Steve Borthwick and Warren Gatland have no time to experiment, Robert Kitson observes, as the race towards this year’s Rugby World Cup enters its final stages.

Media roundup

East-coast gas prices may rise by as much as 20% next month as producers hike prices, according to the Australian. The army will today announce that it’s ditching its troubled Taipan helicopters early, the ABC says, replaced the European-made fleet with a multibillion-dollar purchase of American-made Black Hawks. And according to the Daily Telegraph, a Dominic Perrottet re-election in NSW will see “well-behaved” drivers getting minor fines waived.

What’s happening today

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