Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Morning Mail: Exclusive – Australia's campaign to make Manus inhospitable, Trump shared Israel intelligence

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Guardian Australia's Morning Mail
Wednesday 17 May 2017
Trump leaked Israeli intelligence to Russia

 Trump with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in the Oval Office last week. Trump's Tuesday tweets contradicted flat denials issued by senior officials on Monday night. Photograph: Tass/Barcroft

Good morning, and welcome to the Morning Mail.

Among the stories leading our website this morning: Donald Trump defends his "absolute right" to share classified information. Since the shocking news yesterday that the president of the United States leaked classified information to Russia, there are widespread reports that the information he revealed was provided by Israeli intelligence, and apparently shared without their knowledge or consent, possibly allowing a source to be compromised.

Trump's revelations to Russia have stoked the chorus for impeachment, with former intelligence officials warning "people may die" if he "cannot be trusted not to blurt it to whoever it is he wants to impress on any given day".

Analysis: America's Middle East allies are at physical and political risk from Trump's leak

Keep reading for the rest of the top stories this morning, with more news from around Australia and the world.


Revealed: year-long campaign to make conditions harsher for Manus refugees
Exclusive: Documents show how the Australian government sought to drive refugees and asylum seekers from its detention centre in Papua New Guinea

Coalition's bank levy may raise $1.5bn less because cost is tax-deductible, analysis says
Analysis by Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, a former banker, finds the levy of 0.06% on the big five banks would raise less than the planned $6.2bn

White House forced to deny report Trump urged FBI to drop Michael Flynn investigation
James Comey memos show president asked former FBI director to 'let go' investigation into ex-national security adviser's ties to Russia, report says

BBC presenter slapped by woman after appearing to touch her breast
Ben Brown appeared to touch the woman's breast as he pushed her away when she interrupted an interview live on air

Ordinary workers have had no tax relief since Julia Gillard was PM, Chris Bowen says
Budget puts squeeze on people on modest incomes while wages growth at record lows, shadow treasurer to tell press club

Australian news and politics

George Pell: police receive prosecution advice on further sex abuse claims
Accusations the cardinal abused boys while a priest in Ballarat were aired last year and a new book makes further claims

When the levy broke: why the banks' fight with the Coalition is just beginning
The big banks have deployed heavy hitters including Anna Bligh and Ken Henry but the levy has Labor and the Greens' support

Former treasury boss says budget very unlikely to reach surplus
Ken Henry, now the chairman of NAB, says Scott Morrison would be 'very lucky' to achieve a surplus by 2021 and raises spectre of 'dramatic' austerity

Australians planned to sail from Cape York to join Filipino militant group, court hears
The six men allegedly plotted to sail to the Philippines to fight with Abu Sayyaf, an extremist group linked to Islamic State

Centrelink robo-debt correspondence 'incomprehensible', Senate inquiry told
Legal services attack 'catastrophic' effect on vulnerable Australians and call for end to debt recovery program

Labor backs Senate inquiry into bank levy as universities oppose cuts
Bill Shorten says customer protections must be in place as Nick Xenophon calls for tax to be extended to foreign banks

'Little island of hope': NT youth programs worth every cent, report finds
Social value derived from programs far outweighs funding put in but experts warn there are still huge gaps in resourcing

Around the world

Trump stands by 'absolute right' to share sensitive information with Russia
President defiant over reportedly sharing Israeli information with Russian officials, tweeting: 'I wanted to share with Russia facts pertaining to terrorism'

Ukraine blocks popular social networks as part of sanctions on Russia
President's decree prevents access to some of country's most visited websites, sparking outcry from users

Thai authorities appear to back down on threat to block Facebook
Facebook still available in country despite being given Tuesday deadline to remove content deemed insulting to monarchy

Emmanuel Macron picks centre-right Édouard Philippe as PM
Le Havre mayor from Les Républicains party chosen to lead battle for majority in French parliamentary elections

Wild boar gives British ambassador to Austria a scare
Envoy recounts being charged at by 'massive' specimen, resulting in minor injuries as he slipped during his escape

One last thing

 John Safran's Depends What You Mean by Extremist digs into the motivations behind Australian extremism. Photograph: Penguin Random House

John Safran: 'In Australia we don't get religion' John Safran has made a career of taking a sharp stick to the slumbering bear of Australian identity politics. So it's not a surprise to learn that he has been reporting his way through the rise of our extremist fringe. His new book, Depends What You Mean By Extremist, is a whirlwind tour through Australia's increasingly visible radical and reactionary demimonde, from early Reclaim Australia rallies in 2015 to the return of Pauline Hanson in 2016. When we spoke with him, Safran said an awkwardness about engaging in religious debates leaves the country open to the rise of extremism. Have an excellent day and if you spot something I've missed, let me know on Twitter at @earleyedition.
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