Amber Valletta interview: ‘Modelling in the 1990s? We weren’t perfect, but we had a lot of fun’
Amber Valletta, a supermodel known for her longevity in the industry, is celebrating several milestones this year: turning 50, being 25 years sober, and being with her partner for a decade. Valletta is highly selective about the projects she takes on, focusing on sustainability and slow fashion. As a sustainability ambassador, she is conscious of the contradictions between her values and her job. She admits to constantly grappling with her choices and uses her fame to raise awareness of brands that promote slow fashion. Valletta is an eco-campaigner and was arrested in 2019 during a climate change protest.
Valletta emphasises the importance of communities in her life: she spends time with her grandmother and has an annual girls’ retreat with her female relatives. She also highlights her sober community, as she has been sober for 25 years. Valletta is keen to promote mental and physical health and wants to encourage others to do the same. She takes her mental and spiritual health seriously, treating them as she would a physical ailment. Valletta feels reflective and wants to be effective in her work. She is looking to get back into acting and would like to work with open-minded directors who focus on her versatility rather than her supermodel beauty.
President's son sues IRS for breaching his privacy rights over tax affairs
Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), accusing the agency of violating his privacy rights during its investigation into his tax affairs. Biden alleges that "whistleblower" agents disclosed confidential information about his tax matters to the media during numerous interviews and public statements. He is seeking $1,000 in damages for each unauthorized disclosure, as well as costs and attorney fees. Biden is also facing criminal charges related to his tax affairs and a gun purchase.
Who are US prisoners that were detained in Iran and are now free?
Five Americans who were imprisoned in Iran have been released as part of a deal that saw the United States unfreeze nearly $6 billion in Iranian assets. The prisoners were flown back to the US on a Qatar Airways flight from Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport. In addition to the five Americans, two relatives of the detainees were also on board. The identities of two of the released Americans are not yet publicly known. The other three were Emad Shargi, an Iranian American businessman; Siamak Namazi, a businessman with dual US-Iranian citizenship; and Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian American who also holds British citizenship. Shargi was arrested in 2018 and convicted on espionage charges. Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, were both sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 for allegedly spying and cooperating with the US government. Tahbaz was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on vague charges of spying for the US and undermining Iran’s security. The release of the Americans came after the US unfroze Iranian assets held in South Korea.
US gun laws fail to protect elections, report finds
The US Supreme Court has opened the door for potential violence at polling stations by ruling that it is constitutional to ban guns at polling stations but only 12 states and Washington DC have done so, according to a report from gun violence prevention group Giffords Law Center and the Brennan Center for Justice. The report also found that even fewer states regulate the presence of firearms at other election sites, including ballot drop-off locations and ballot processing facilities.
Trump wrote ‘to-do lists’ on classified docs - latest
Former White House and Mar-a-Lago aide Molly Michael has reportedly told federal investigators that Donald Trump wrote to-do lists on classified government documents after leaving the White House. The claim comes as Mr. Trump faces charges of mishandling government documents after his presidency. A spokesperson for Mr. Trump denied any wrongdoing and stated that he "acted in a proper manner, according to the law." Despite the mounting evidence against him, Mr. Trump has said that he is not worried and recently stated that he may have to pardon himself if re-elected.
Joe Biden took a jab at Donald Trump’s jobs record while speaking at a community college in Maryland. He stated that only two presidents in American history left office with fewer jobs than when they started, and those two are Herbert Hoover and “Donald Hoover Trump.” Biden claimed that Trump lost 2 million jobs over the course of his presidency. This comes as Biden promotes his economic agenda, dubbed Bidenomics.
In a controversial interview with Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker, Donald Trump claimed that he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours if he is re-elected in 2024. He welcomed praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated that it proved he was right about resolving the war. Trump has repeatedly made this claim without providing any details. He also refused to disclose his movements on January 6th during the Capitol riot, stating that he would tell people “later at an appropriate time.”
Starmer to meet Macron to discuss post-Brexit relations
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer will meet French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss Brexit and post-Brexit relations. Experts have warned Starmer that he may be "demanding more than the EU is willing to give" by seeking closer ties with Brussels. A new report from the UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) research group states that using the existing Trade and Cooperation Agreement to reduce trade barriers will be "very challenging." The report suggests that time-consuming domestic issues are likely to leave "limited bandwidth" for a major reassessment of the agreement.
New Zealand foreign minister to attend UN as prime minister campaigns at home
New Zealand's foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta, will attend the United Nations General Assembly and meet with US officials in Washington to discuss Pacific regional issues. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will stay in New Zealand to campaign ahead of the upcoming election. Mahuta will deliver the National Statement on behalf of New Zealand at the UN and participate in bilateral and multilateral meetings. In Washington, she will focus on contemporary Pacific regional issues and US engagement in the Pacific. Pacific Island countries are also expected to meet with President Joe Biden for a second summit to address their needs and counter China's influence in the region.
The battle for Brisbane is taking on a new hue
The Sydney Morning Herald
The upcoming Brisbane mayoral election is being framed as a battle between the incumbent Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner of the Liberal National Party (LNP) and the Green Party's Jonathan Sriranganathan. Schrinner has acknowledged the Green Party as a major force and has identified Sriranganathan as his main opponent. However, history suggests that Sriranganathan faces an uphill battle as no Green Party candidate has ever polled more than 20% in a Brisbane mayoral election. The Green Party's campaign on housing affordability has been effective, but it remains to be seen whether they can gain support in the suburbs outside of their inner-city base.
Gavin Newsom mocks Republicans as ‘student government’ impeachment
California Governor Gavin Newsom criticized House Republicans for launching an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden without any evidence of wrongdoing. Newsom called Speaker Kevin McCarthy's decision a "joke" and said it was not what the founding fathers intended. While Newsom acknowledged that he didn't like politicians' family members using their influence to amass wealth, he said it was not uncommon and shouldn't be used as a basis for impeachment. In the interview, Newsom also endorsed Kamala Harris as the 2024 vice presidential nominee and praised the Biden administration's legislative accomplishments. He called on Democrats to stop focusing on Biden and move forward.
Macron talks ‘very constructive and positive’, Starmer says
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer has described his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron as “constructive and positive” as he seeks to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. Starmer said the talks covered a “wide range of topics” relating to global politics and that shared interests, including “future prosperity and security”, were discussed. The UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) research group has published a report suggesting that using the existing Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to reduce trade barriers would be “very challenging”. Starmer has indicated that he would seek to use a reassessment of the agreement in two years to try to get “a much better deal” for the UK. However, experts warn that any new negotiations would potentially be lengthy and complex, and that domestic issues such as the economy and the NHS are likely to leave “limited bandwidth” for a major reassessment. Anand Menon, director of UKICE, said: “Keir Starmer’s desire to secure a ‘much better’ Brexit deal for the UK is all well and good… However, he failed to explain how tinkering with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement will make a meaningful economic difference."
Teenager arrested over murder of girl, 10, in Mother’s Day killing
A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of 10-year-old Arianna Davis in Washington DC on Mother’s Day. Karon Gregory has been charged with first-degree murder while armed. Arianna was shot in the upper body and died in hospital days later. Police said the girl was “accidentally hit in a barrage of gunfire” and that the car she was travelling in had been struck with as many as 50 bullets. Investigators believe Gregory and at least one other individual exchanged gunfire. Police are still seeking information and have offered a reward for the arrest and conviction of Arianna’s killers.
Ray Epps, rioter at centre of conspiracy theory, charged over January 6
Ray Epps, a supporter of Donald Trump and a participant in the January 6 Capitol riot, has been charged with one criminal count related to the attack. Epps, who was captured on video encouraging other Trump supporters to enter the Capitol peacefully, has been charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years. Epps was the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories suggesting that he was a federal agent acting as a provocateur during the attack.
Dominion vs Newsmax trial will go to trial weeks before Election Day
Voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems is set to go to trial against right-wing network Newsmax in September 2024. The company has sued Newsmax for repeatedly broadcasting false claims that Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump. Newsmax attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed but failed. The trial could put Trump's bogus statements at the center of a month-long trial weeks before the 2024 Election Day. Dominion previously reached a settlement with Fox News, while also suing One America News Network and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.
Turbulence in China’s top ranks raises questions about Xi Jinping’s rule
Turbulence is emerging in China’s ruling elite as two senior members of the country’s cabinet go missing. The absence of Defence Minister Li Shangfu and former Foreign Minister Qin Gang has raised questions about President Xi Jinping’s political judgment and has led to international concerns about China’s governance. The lack of transparency around the personnel changes has damaged Beijing’s reputation and has exposed the vulnerabilities of the one-party system. Li, who has missed a series of diplomatic engagements, is a key face of China’s military diplomacy towards the outside world, and his sudden disappearance has raised concerns among experts. This comes as China is facing economic challenges and increased competition with the US. The cabinet reshuffle is seen as part of an effort by Xi to bolster national security in the face of rising tensions with the West. However, the uncertainty among China’s ruling elite risks undermining confidence in the country’s economy and politics.
Why there’s ‘no real evidence’ Biden will shake up the 2024 ticket
Speculation and concern-trolling about Joe Biden standing for reelection in 2024 has officially reached a fever pitch. A flurry of think pieces worrying about the incumbent president’s poll numbers in the Washington DC media has resulted in repeated questions from journalists about the possibility of the president stepping aside, despite strong showings in the 2022 midterm elections. David Ignatius, a longtime columnist for The Washington Post, opened up the latest broadside in DC’s publication of record last week.
Trump’s public statements are being influenced by his lawyers: expert
Legal expert Harry Litman suggests that former US President Donald Trump has started using hedged language in his public statements to protect himself from "outright lies" and legal consequences. Litman points out that Trump now peppers his proclamations with phrases like "in my opinion" or "that's what I think." This change in language may be influenced by advice from his lawyers. One example of this is when Trump argued that he was allowed to have the boxes of files found at Mar-a-Lago, which led to one of the indictments against him. Social media users criticized Trump's use of hedged language, with one saying that the US is governed by laws, not opinions. Trump's change in language comes as Special Counsel Jack Smith's office has requested a narrow gag order to prevent Trump from attacking possible witnesses and jurors in an election interference case.
Trump ex-aide claims he wrote ‘to-do lists’ on classified documents
Former President Donald Trump allegedly tried to silence a former aide who knew about boxes of classified documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, according to a report by ABC News. Molly Michael, who worked as an assistant to Trump at the White House and after he left office, reportedly told federal investigators that he told her to stay quiet when he learned they wanted to speak to her. Trump denied the claims, with a spokesperson stating that he "did nothing wrong." It is also reported that Trump responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's challenge during his speech at the UN General Assembly to reveal his plans to end Russia's war with Ukraine in a single day by joining in the far-right outrage over the US's spending on Ukraine.
Trump seeks to appeal to unlikely Republican voters
The Globe and Mail
Former US President Donald Trump is attempting to expand the reach of the Republican Party by appealing to two traditionally Democratic constituencies: organised labour and Black voters. Trump's efforts could enhance his chances of returning to the White House and potentially staying out of prison, as he could pardon himself if he avoids conviction in Georgia. Trump is positioning himself as a victim of biases within the American legal system, which appeals to Black voters who have a high rate of incarceration. While many labour union leaders criticise Trump, many union members see him as a spokesperson for workers who have been left behind in the economy. However, scholars believe it is unlikely that Trump will attract significant numbers of Black voters due to the threat he poses. Trump's appeal to these groups is based on his identity as a figure treated with contempt by ruling elites and a judicial system he argues is corrupt. Trump has long argued that American culture and economics are stacked against large segments of the population, aligning him with the critique of American society by some on the Democratic left.
Trump speaks at Iowa rally as Giuliani accused of sex assault on Jan 6
Former President Donald Trump has used his new Truth Social platform to mock Chris Christie over the "beachgate" scandal. Trump shared images of Christie sunbathing on a beach during a state government shutdown in 2017 and called him a "grifter." Trump also urged Republicans to "use the power of the purse" as Congress continues to debate spending bills and potentially faces another government shutdown.
During a rally in Iowa, Trump claimed that he would win “three” presidential elections, once again perpetuating the false claim that he beat President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. On the same day, Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter account was hacked, with a post falsely claiming that his father was dead and that Trump Jr. was running for president in 2024. Meanwhile, a former aide to Trump’s ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has accused Rudy Giuliani of sexually assaulting her on the day of the January 6 Capitol riot. Giuliani’s adviser has vehemently denied the allegations.
These events highlight the ongoing political battles and controversies surrounding Trump and his allies. Trump continues to assert his dominance within the Republican Party, while facing criticism and legal challenges. The hacking of Trump Jr.'s account adds another layer of intrigue to the mix, and the sexual assault allegation against Giuliani further tarnishes his reputation. As the political landscape continues to evolve, these incidents will likely shape the narratives and dynamics within the Republican Party leading up to the 2024 election.
GOP Lawmakers Warn White House on Ukraine Aid as Zelensky Visits
A group of Republican lawmakers has vowed to oppose President Biden’s request for an additional $24 billion in aid for Ukraine. In a letter, the group argues that it is rejecting the request due to concerns about the more than $100 billion in funding already approved by Congress, an “open-ended commitment” to Ukraine, and an unclear strategy. The lawmakers say that they will block or at least delay procedural steps needed to bring any Ukraine funding measure to the Senate and House floors for votes.