Morning mail: Gaza Strip hit by violence, Moderna on way to Australia, internet comedy gold |

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Good morning. The worst violence in a decade rocks the Gaza Strip, House Republicans oust Liz Cheney and Moderna has announced it will send 25m doses of its mRNA vaccine to Australia. Those are the lead stories this Thursday.

The UN fears “full-scale war” could be developing between the Israeli military and Hamas militants after another day of intensifying violence inside, and around, the Gaza Strip. More than 50 Palestinians and six Israelis have been killed since Monday, in the most serious conflict there in nearly a decade. Israel’s defence minister said the nation would not cease military operations until “complete quiet” had been achieved. The military announced it has killed four senior Hamas commanders during hundreds of airstrikes, but Hamas, who Israel accuse of launching thousands of rockets, claim the IDF are targeting residential towers. Both the US and UK have urged de-escalation of the violence.

Australians will have another vaccine option after the pharmaceutical company Moderna announced it has signed a deal with the federal government to provide 25m doses of its mRNA-based vaccine to the nation. The announcement was made overnight in a press release and has not yet been confirmed by the federal government. It is also subject to regulatory approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, but Moderna says it will lodge a submission shortly. The company says 10m doses could arrive in Australia by the end of the year and the rest would arrive in 2022, and that it is willing to investigate local manufacturing options.

An area of ocean almost the size of NSW will be secured as marine parks, with the Morrison government pledging $5.4m to create two massive zones surrounding Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Conservationists have greeted the announcement as a significant step, preserving an area more than twice as big as the Great Barrier Reef marine park. It’s a much-needed “green” initiative in a budget that’s otherwise “light” on climate and environmental measures, as environment editor Adam Morton reports.

Australia

The “arm’s length” investigation into rape allegations tabled by the former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins will continue, but Scott Morrison has not confirmed a timeline for the inquiry, which is being conducted by the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Phil Gaetjens.

Thousands of single mothers will no longer have to submit to “demeaning” verification processes to receive welfare payments after the federal government abandoned the policy. Only 1.3% of claimants were found to be falsely declaring their relationship status.

Pfizer has told Australia calls to waive Covid vaccine IP protections could harm vaccine supply or lead to inferior knock-offs. More than 100 nations, including the US, have backed India and South Africa’s push to the WTO to waive patents on Covid vaccines in a bid to boost global supply but Australia is still “engaging constructively” to find solutions.

Billion-dollar cuts to Tafe and the university sector will result in job losses and less medicine and technology research, experts have cautioned, after Tuesday’s federal budget handed down funding reductions of 24% for Tafe and nearly 10% over three years for universities.

The world

Health workers in China check temperatures
The WHO report said the world’s alert system did not operate with sufficient speed after the virus was identified in China. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Covid pandemic was a preventable disaster that need not have cost millions of lives, according to a major World Health Organization report co-chaired by the former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark. Global political leadership “was absent” at crucial stages, and the global alert system was too slow and too meek.

House Republicans have removed Liz Cheney as their conference chair in a bellwether vote that could mark the party’s future direction. An outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s “big lie” that the election was stolen, the Wyoming congresswoman faced boos from her colleagues as she criticised Trump’s “destructive” influence.

The convicted Bosnian Serb militia leader Radovan Karadžić will complete the rest of his life sentence for genocide in the UK after it volunteered to take the prisoner as part of an effort to support international justice.

Air France and Airbus will face trial for “unintentional manslaughter” in a 2009 crash that killed 228 people after an appeal court overturned a previous decision to dismiss the case.

The stratosphere surround Earth has contracted by 400 metres since the 1980s, a study has revealed, with greenhouse gas emissions set to dramatically shrink the planet’s protective layer unless major cuts are achieved in the next 60 years.

Recommended reads

Synchronised swimmers from above
Photographer Brad Walls’ new body of work is titled Water Geomaids. Photograph: @Bradscanvas

It’s commonly described as “water ballet” but the oft-maligned sport of synchronised swimming has perhaps never looked so stunning thanks to the aerial photography of Brad Walls, in his series Water Geomaids.

For comedian Liv Hewson, low-stakes comedy on the internet is: “Formative. Essential. Joyous.” And as the curator of this week’s 10 funniest things on the internet, they’ve certainly dug deeply into their curated list of goodies. Next time you take daylight savings for granted, think about poor Oskaar in Iceland.

“The sound that defines the pandemic era is bubblegum sweet and razor sharp; deliriously loud and disorientatingly nonlinear.” As “hyperpop” blossoms in Australia and around the world, it might be hard to define but you definitely know it when you hear it. “A young American contingent is pushing it into a more visceral, less cerebral place, as influenced by pop-punk and rap as it once was by trance and Europop,” writes Shaad D’Souza.

Listen

Nearly half the women murdered in Queensland by an intimate partner had previously been labelled as perpetrators of domestic violence, concerning new research has suggested. On this episode of Full Story, reporter Ben Smee talks with Dr Hannah McGlade about the criminalising of Indigenous women.

Full Story

Full Story podcast

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.

Sport

Sam Kerr
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr says winning the Champions League would be a ‘dream come true’. Photograph: Julian Finney/UEFA/Getty Images

Fresh from clinching the Women’s Super League title with Chelsea, the Matildas captain, Sam Kerr eyes, the big one – the Champions League final against Barcelona, this weekend. As she tells Susan Wrack, Chelsea’s shot at a rare quadruple is a huge payoff for an otherwise challenging season off the pitch.

Australia’s Caleb Ewan has won his fourth career Giro D’Italia stage, beating the luckless Giacomo Nizzolo on the line to secure victory on stage five. Nizzolo has now finished second 11 times in his home event, without ever winning, on what was a regrettably crash-strewn day.

Media roundup

Western Australia could record more than 10,000 breaches of family violence restraining orders this year, the West Australian reports, with clogged courts and legislative loopholes responsible for a doubling in numbers, according to lawyers representing victims. High-income tax cuts loom as a key election flashpoint between the two major parties, writes the Financial Review, with Labor and leading economists questioning the viability of the federal government’s stage three tax cuts. And a much-loved public mural of dogs in North Hobart could be about to be removed, with the new owners sick of people confusing the now dental surgery for a veterinary hospital: the Mercury has the full story.

Coming up

Federal parliament sits with Anthony Albanese to deliver his budget-in-reply speech. Follow all the day’s news live with Amy Remeikis.

A Senate report into the future of Australia’s aviation sector is due to be released.

And if you’ve read this far …

Where does the line between parody and the misuse of intellectual property lie? It’s a question tested by the estate of the much-loved boy innocent Tintin, who a French artist has been placing in, well, slightly more adult environments. “Taking advantage of the reputation of a character to immerse him in an erotic universe has nothing to do with humour,” lawyers argued, but a French court has ruled otherwise.

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Written by bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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