Good morning, this is Richard Parkin bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 15 June.
New York’s attorney general has filed a suit against Donald Trump, three of his children and his charitable foundation alleging that the family used charitable assets as “little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits” from Trump and his companies. Foundation assets, acquired through tax-deductible donations, were used to settle legal claims against one of Trump’s golf clubs and to buy a painting of Trump to be displayed at another club, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit, filed by Barbara Underwood, seeks $2.8m in restitution and penalties from Trump and asks for the distribution of $1m in assets to other charities, as well as seeking to dissolve the Trump Foundation and bar the Trumps from serving on the boards of any charitable organisations. Trump has categorically denied the charges, claiming them to be the politically motivated actions of “the sleazy New York Democrats”.
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Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to young comedian Eurydice Dixon, remembering her as a talented performer and “remarkable” young woman with a bright future. Dixon’s body was found on Wednesday morning in Melbourne’s Princes Park. A man has been charged with her murder. The comedian Nicky Barry said Dixon was a “joyous and independent spirit” who was dearly loved by those who met her. “She was often someone who provided an ear and some wise words to others when they were having a hard time,” Barry said. “She was a really remarkable young woman. She was a very talented comedian. And she really had just started to find her feet as a performer.”
Angela Merkel has come under intense pressure to tighten Germany’s refugee policies or risk the collapse of her coalition government as an increasingly urgent argument over how to handle irregular migration rattles Europe. Merkel has called immigration “a litmus test for Europe” requiring “a truly unified approach”, but faces pressure from within her own conservative bloc. Pope Francis also weighed in on the debate, demanding more cooperation on refugees and a “change of mindset” from politicians everywhere.
Four rivers are most responsible for polluting the Great Barrier Reef, according to research that scientists hope will help governments better target efforts to reduce damage to the reef from land use. After climate change, poor water quality is the biggest threat to the reef, with the Burdekin, Fitzroy, Tully and Daintree rivers responsible for carrying dissolved inorganic nitrogen into the ocean, stimulating the growth of algae, which can smother corals. The lead author, climate scientist Nick Wolff, said: “We want to get pollution under control because we’re so fearful of climate change. This is one thing we can do in the very near term to build the resilience of the reef.”
Argentina is a step closer to becoming the third Latin American nation to legalise abortion, after a vote narrowly passed its parliament in what has been acclaimed as a historic victory for the country’s women’s movement. Tens of thousands of women braved a freezing winter night to stand vigil outside the congress building in Buenos Aires during the marathon 20-hour debate. “Today we are a fairer country,” said an activist, Julieta Ortega. “We are very happy for us and for the young girls of today who will become the women of the future.”
Russia has blown away concerns about potential humiliation at home with an emphatic 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup. Ranked 70th in the world and on a seven-game run without a win, the host nation burst out of the blocks, to the delight of 80,000 inside the Luzhniki stadium. The first day of the tournament went almost without a hitch for the hosts, although Robbie Williams provoked consternation by giving the finger to the camera during his performance at the opening ceremony.
With Australia preparing to open their World Cup campaign against France on Saturday, several selections appear to remain up in the air. Will it be Andrew Nabbout, Jamie Maclaren or Tomi Jurić up front? Mark Milligan or Matthew Jurman at the back? Is there room for Mile Jedinak? What about young tyro Daniel Arzani? Guardian Australia’s football writers have their say on their preferred starting XI before the opener in Kazan.
Every year, the Bagala clan of the Jawoyn people opens their remote community of 350 up to more than 3,000 guests, who camp in their bushland backyards for Barunga festival: a celebration of music, sport and culture for Indigenous Australian audiences. Marking 30 years since the Barunga statement, this year launched with a historic agreement to negotiate a treaty with the NT’s four land councils – but the festival proper overflowed with significance for other reasons, with tributes to Dr G Yunupingu, an all-Indigenous music lineup, and the children of several NT legends stepping into the spotlight.
Next month Tony Abbott is due to deliver the Bob Carter Commemorative Lecture to the Australian Environment Foundation. But what is the AEF? Graham Readfearn delves into the history of an “environment charity” that promotes views that wind turbines make you sick, that human-caused climate change isn’t really a thing, and that environmentalists are killing farmers, fisheries and the economy.
In the wake of news that Australian troops in Afghanistan have been flying Nazi flags, the former infantry captain Bridget Clinch cautions against simplistic “rotten egg” assessments. “We have entrusted these soldiers to defend us and our way of life, not to become the monsters we have fought in the past,” she writes. “The source of the problem here is not the individuals, it is the culture and leadership, plain and simple.”
What’s he done now?
On his 72nd birthday, Donald Trump has taken the opportunity to wish two other beloved entities a happy birthday; the US army, and the US flag. Meanwhile, the president’s praise for Kim Jong-un continues to draw rebuke after Trump dismissed Kim’s shocking human rights record, stating “a lot of other people [have] done some really bad things”.
The front pages of the Herald Sun, the Age and the Australian are dedicated to the young comedian Eurydice Dixon, whose body was found after she failed to return from a standup gig on Tuesday. A man has been charged with her murder. Her last text message read “almost home safe”, several papers report. Fairfax mastheads report a “mafia-style” plot to threaten and intimidate witnesses assisting an inquiry into alleged war crimes within Australian defence forces. And the NT News says Malcolm Turnbull will visit the territory to discuss the child protection crisis after it accused him on Thursday of “not caring”.
The Australian film-maker James Ricketson, who has been accused of spying by Cambodian authorities, is scheduled to appear in a Phnom Penh court.
The Senate community affairs legislation committee is due to hand down its report on the child sexual abuse redress scheme laws.
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