Morning mail: Trump faces impeachment, Kelly and Christensen rule Facebook, beach cabana frenzy

Good morning, this is Tamara Howie bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Tuesday 12 January.

Top stories

The Democrats have formally introduced an article of impeachment against Donald Trump, charging him with “incitement to insurrection” in connection to the violent riot at the Capitol last week. The article was introduced after Republicans blocked a resolution calling on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office. “There may well be a vote on impeachment on Wednesday,” House majority leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Capitol Hill. The first lady, Melania Trump, has broken her silence after the riot, paying tribute to the dead, but also used the opportunity to portray herself as a victim, saying the riot had led to “salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks and false misleading accusations” about her.

The partner of a Queensland cleaner who tested positive to the UK variant of Covid-19 has also tested positive. The partner has been in quarantine since 7 January and will probably be the second case of the UK variant in the Australian community. Mask-wearing will remain mandatory in indoor places in Brisbane until 22 January and for anyone who has been in greater Brisbane since 2 January. Meanwhile, Victorian officials have apologised for a three-hour delay travellers faced while trying to access the new border permit website after the sudden announcement of mandatory entry permits.

Federal Liberal backbenchers Craig Kelly and George Christensen are among the most influential Australian MPs on Facebook, an analysis suggests. A post by Kelly on Sunday about what he perceived as escalating censorship of conservatives had the seventh highest level of interactions with the public among posts by Australian MPs and senators on Facebook in the past week.


The threat to the South Australian town of Lucindale from an out-of-control bushfire has eased but livestock, buildings and fences have been lost. The Country Fire Service said the blaze was driven by “extreme conditions” as temperatures reached 39C on Monday.

The Indian cricket captain, Ajinkya Rahane, is satisfied that alleged racial abuse directed at Mohammed Siraj is being dealt with but he said the team was deeply upset by the crowd’s behaviour. The test was interrupted by the crowd’s abusive comments, which Rahane condemned, saying they “should not happen anywhere in the world.”

Firefighters have praised the actions of a Sydney bus driver who safely evacuated all passengers before the bus was completely destroyed by a fierce blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The world

Ioannis Lagos and Christos Pappas
Ioannis Lagos and Christos Pappas Photograph: AFP

Two Greek neo-Nazis remain at large, three months after the trial of Golden Dawn – the largest court hearing of Nazis since Nuremberg. The fact two members of the party’s hierarchy, Ioannis Lagos and Christos Pappas, are not behind bars has elicited outrage and embarrassment.

A Turkish court has sentenced Muslim televangelist, Adnan Oktar, to more than 1,000 years in jail for sex crimes. Oktar preached creationism and conservative values yet surrounded himself with scantily clad women he called “kittens”.

The Trump administration has made an 11th-hour decision to designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels a foreign terrorist organisation in a move that is likely to severely worsen the war-torn country’s humanitarian crisis.

Foreigners face being banned from Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops as part of wide-ranging plans to discourage organised crime and cut back on drug tourism. The plans have drawn mixed reactions from residents and business owners.

Recommended reads

Cabanas, carts and loungers have become the norm on Australian beaches.
Cabanas, carts and loungers have become the norm on Australian beaches. Illustration: Robin Cowcher/The Guardian

The days of the humble beach umbrella are gone, as a new craze for cabanas and carts take over Australia shores. Stephanie Wood says the cabana frenzy is pushing aside little old umbrella users and taking over prime beach real estate from Portsea to Bondi. “A friend and I took my blue and white-striped umbrella to Noosa beach the other day. I was a bit dismayed. From the path above the beach we surveyed the scene. Perhaps, I thought, we had fallen through the Earth on to an Italian spiaggia – one of those private beaches where you can rent a sunbed or cabina and lie alongside rows of the idle rich, inert in large sunglasses.”

“I hear people say that people who receive Centrelink are lazy. Hello, I want to work!” writes Madeleine Rose. “Applying for these casual jobs is not an easy process any more. Each job application requires a cover letter, then they either have questionnaires or a 20-minute long test. Plus it’s incredibly hard to find organisations or employers willing to hire someone without two years’ experience in that field. I only have a few months of being a barista on my resume – but how am I meant to get experience?”

Australia’s economy is faring better than most – but that’s not saying much, writes Greg Jericho. “As we begin 2021, the economic questions mostly involve wondering when will things return to normal and what that normal will look like. The worst is behind us, but we have a way to go yet to be out of recession and a great deal further to go before we can suggest the economy is strong.”


In 2014 Chinese president Xi Jinping came to Australia to address the parliament. A little more than six years later, Australian politicians can’t seem to get a Chinese politician to answer their phone calls. In this episode of Full Story, Richard McGregor explains why the once-cosy relationship between the two countries can never go back to the way it was.

Full Story

Richard McGregor on where to for Australia’s tumultuous relationship with China in 2021

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


The Australian cricket team let themselves down in search of victory over India, writes Geoff Lemon. “Tim Paine’s sniping as the third Test was heading for a draw is merely part of a long, sorry tradition.”

Tributes have been paid to the legendary athletics coach Lloyd Cowan, who is believed to have died from Covid-19 at the age of 58.

Media roundup

Some healthcare workers in line for the Pfizer Covid vaccine are choosing to delay pregnancies until more is known about potential side-effects, as the WHO says there is not enough data on the effects on pregnant women, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The ABC says China has condemned Australia, the US, UK and Canada for “grossly” interfering with Hong Kong’s international affairs after a joint statement by the nations was released expressing “serious concern” about the arrest of Hong Kong democracy activists. And the West Australian reports that the majority of beach-goers in the west are swimming closer to shore due to the shark fears after a spate of attacks over the past decade.

Coming up

Police are hoping to speak to a man who escaped a Glen Waverley house fire that killed a woman and her three children.

Jacob Donn, a driver in a crash near Dubbo that killed two children, returns to court.

And if you’ve read this far …

Ham sandwiches are being confiscated from British drivers at the Dutch borders under post-Brexit rules banning personal imports of meat and dairy products into the EU. To a bemused driver with several sandwiches wrapped in foil who asked if he could maybe surrender the meat and keep just the bread, one customs officer replied: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.”

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