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Morning mail: PM’s climate no-show, Brexit fears, good news on cancer rates

Good morning, this is Richard Parkin bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Thursday 12 September.

Top stories

Scott Morrison will not attend the UN climate action summit this month, despite being in the US at the same time. The foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, will represent Australia instead. Speaking slots at the event in New York were reserved for countries announcing new emissions reduction targets or financial commitments to the UN Green Climate Fund. A spokesman for Morrison said: “Australia has already outlined our policies to tackle climate change, including cutting our emissions by 26-28%.” Meanwhile Labor has accused the Coalition government of a “full-frontal assault” on renewable energy, after new investment figures revealed a reversion back to 2016 levels in the sector for the first half of 2019.

A no-deal Brexit could result in rising food and fuel prices, disruption to medicine supplies and public disorder on Britain’s streets, according to secret documents the UK government has been forced to publish by MPs. A five-page document spelling out the government’s “planning assumptions” was disclosed on Wednesday, and proved strikingly similar to the plan leaked last month, which the government dismissed at the time as out of date. Meanwhile the government has rejected demands for an immediate recall of parliament after a Scottish court ruled that Boris Johnson’s five-week prorogation was “unlawful”.

Australia has better cancer survival rates than other similar high-income countries, a global study has found. The study reviewed 3.9m cancer cases of seven types from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Norway, Ireland, Canada and Denmark. Australia had the highest five-year survival rate in all but lung and ovarian cancer. The chief executive of Cancer Council Australia, Prof Sanchia Aranda, said the higher survival rates could be attributed to earlier detection, which she said was due to the management of referral and screening services in Australia.


Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani visiting the Bushehr nuclear power station. Photograph: Mohammad Berno/AP

Donald Trump may meet the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, after reportedly discussing easing sanctions on Iran as a prelude to a face-to-face summit during next month’s UN general assembly.

The son of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has sparked outrage for suggesting that democratic means would not bring about “the transformation Brazil wants”, with even conservative media accusing him of “coup-mongering” .

A faraway planet in the constellation of Leo has been named the most habitable known world beyond the solar system after astronomers detected water vapour in its atmosphere.

A week after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, 2,500 people are registered as missing. While many are expected to be in temporary shelters, the figure suggests the official death toll of 50 will rise significantly.

A region in southern Italy has offered new arrivals €25,000 ($40,000) over three years providing they open a business, as desperate town officials try to arrest one of Europe’s sharpest population declines.

Opinion and analysis

The cover of UK Marie Claire’s August issue featuring Laura Harrier.

Photograph: Olivia Malone/Marie Claire/PA

After 31 years the UK edition of Marie Claire will cease publication in print format, following a raft of other women’s magazines in closing in recent years. And while its demise might be welcomed by some feminists for its reinforcement of white beauty standards, writes Yomi Adegoke, it’s not necessarily a victory for so-called progressives. “The sad thing is that the current purge is happening at a time when women’s magazines are less sexist and more progressive than they ever have been. But in a media landscape that tends to characterise interests generally associated with men as ‘news’ while women’s issues are often shoehorned into ‘lifestyle’ pullouts and supplements, their absence is keenly felt and their presence still very much needed.”

As many Australians are now working multiple jobs as are unemployed. It’s a remarkable insight from the newly released job figures, writes Greg Jericho. “While the unemployment rate has risen this year, it is easier to find a job now than it has been for many years. But what the latest labour account figures highlight is that with this good news is a worrying sign that now, more than any time in the past, people are working more than one job.”


France’s Rudy Gobert clashes with USA’s Kemba Walker during the Basketball World Cup quarter-final. Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

France have knocked the US out of the basketball World Cup in a stunning upset, defeating the overwhelming favourites 89-79 to leave the medals wide open. Australia beat the Czech Republic 82-70 and now face Spain in the semi-final on Friday (AEST).

At the rugby World Cup the chances of a Kiwi getting his hands on the trophy are high – given nine teams have one as head coach or as integral parts of the backroom staff, writes Matt McIlraith.

Thinking time: the photographs that laid bare America’s soul

Robert Frank, Trolley – New Orleans, 1955. Photograph: Robert Frank from The Americans, courtesy Pace/MacGill

In the 1950s, funded by a Guggenheim fellowship, the photographer Robert Frank set off to drive across America, accompanied by his young wife Mary, and their two young children Pablo and Andrea, on the first of three epic road trips. The 500 rolls of film he subsequently shot were rigorously edited down to just 83 monochrome images for his classic photobook The Americans, first published as Les Americains in France in 1958. A year later, the American edition appeared to a storm of critical disapproval, Frank being accused of everything from “general sloppiness” to anti-Americanism. But in time the book staked his claim to being one of the defining photographers of the last century, writes Sean O’Hagan.

Swiss-born Frank, who died this week aged 94, had photographed what he saw with his keen outsider’s eye, capturing what Diane Arbus would later describe as “the hollowness” of many American lives. In doing so, he challenged not just the prevailing romanticism of the American pictorialist tradition but also the easy certainties of photojournalism. “I was tired of romanticism,” he said. “I wanted to present what I saw, pure and simple.”

Media roundup

Senior NSW Liberal minister John Sidoti has denied a conflict of interest over a $70m redevelopment venture, the Daily Telegraph reports. The Australian says Labor is poised to abandon its 45% emissions reduction target by 2030 in favour of targeting net zero pollution by 2050. And the Courier-Mail says Queensland medical staff had to switch to paper charts amid chaos following the collapse of a new electronic medical record system.

Coming up

The federal court in Melbourne will hear a case between the ACCC and Trivago, with the watchdog alleging the travel company made misleading hotel pricing representations in its advertising and website.

The Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama will arrive in Australia for a five day visit ahead of bilateral talks on Monday.

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