Fri, Dec 06, 2019 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Wolf reignites Xmas row

Naomi Wolf has reignited her row with Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, publishing a recording of a heated telephone call with his office. The US author yesterday said that she called Taylor’s parliamentary office requesting a “formal correction” to the record of his maiden speech, asking that Taylor “tell parliament please that I was not campaigning against Christmas in any way.” She published the 29-minute recording in full. “He used my name twice in ways that are completely inappropriate, totally unjustified, inaccurate,” Wolf told a staffer. “I don’t need to advocate to him about that. He has done a wrong thing and he needs to take responsibility for that.” Taylor in 2013 referred to Wolf in his maiden speech to parliament while recounting an anecdote about “political correctness,” and a dispute about a Christmas tree at the University of Oxford in 1991. When Wolf was alerted to the speech on Monday she said that she was not at Oxford in 1991 and accused the minister of “antisemitic dog whistling.” In the call with Taylor’s staffer, Wolf repeatedly requested that his office issue a public correction to say that she was not at Oxford at the same time as Taylor, and that she was not part of a group of people campaigning against Christmas.

RUSSIA

‘Fake’ smuggler detained

The authorities have detained a man who built a fake frontier post in the woods near the border with Finland and promised to smuggle four South Asian migrant workers into the EU. The man erected mock border posts and charged the four men more than US$10,000 to take them to Finland, the Border Guard Service was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Authorities did not specify the nationalities of the would-be migrants involved in the incident which took place last week. “The man never planned to carry out his promises,” Interfax news agency reported. He installed sham fence posts purportedly marking the border, and took the group on a circuitous route by vehicle and on foot before all five were detained. Video footage showed the men bundled up in parkas and hats standing in the darkness among fir trees, their hands up in the air. A St Petersburg court on Wednesday fined the hapless four men and ordered their deportation. The man behind the smuggling scheme hailed from Central Asia and could be charged with fraud, local media reported.

FRANCE

Santa dives in on climate

In a change of scene, Santa Claus is donning flippers and a diving mask along with his traditional red-and-white outfit to scuba dive in at the Aquarium de Paris, as he teaches children about global warming and climate issues during the festive season. The aquatic Santa, a professional diver and biologist, can be found swimming among fish and a zebra shark every day over the holiday. The show is part of the aquarium’s activities aimed at educating children about environmental issues, including global warming, loss of biodiversity and extreme weather as a result of climate change. “Children are the future,” said Alexandre Dalloni, the aquarium’s education manager. “The planet is also here for children to inherit, so it’s those of a very young age which we can teach ... to tell them that everyone is responsible for preserving the planet for the future.” Dalloni said that swimming with the shark was safe for Santa. “The shark is an animal which isn’t going to attack a human for no reason. There are attacks, but they’re accidental,” he said. Scuba-diving Santa is to remain in residence until Jan. 5.

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