Afternoon Update: Seven paid Bruce Lehrmann’s rent for a year, court hears; prominent Australians sign antisemitism letter; gender pay gap decreases

afternoon update: seven paid bruce lehrmann’s rent for a year, court hears; prominent australians sign antisemitism letter; gender pay gap decreases

Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Good afternoon. Bruce Lehrmann faced high-profile barrister, Sue Chrysanthou SC, for the first time in day five of his defamation trial against Network Ten and Chrysanthou’s client, Lisa Wilkinson.

Under cross-examination by Crysanthou and Network Ten’s barrister Matt Collins SC, Lehrmann revealed that the Seven Network paid his rent for 12 months as part of a deal for an exclusive interview. Lehrmann also called Scott Morrison’s apology in parliament to Brittany Higgins “stupid”, and agreed that the first publications to name him were two independent crime websites – not The Project or news.com.au.

Top news

afternoon update: seven paid bruce lehrmann’s rent for a year, court hears; prominent australians sign antisemitism letter; gender pay gap decreases

The site of Israeli strikes on houses in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on 21 November. Photograph: Abed Sabah/Reuters

    Australian open letter against antisemitism | Former state premiers including Daniel Andrews and Gladys Berejiklian, business leaders and media owners are among hundreds of signatories of a letter against antisemitism published today. The letter says there has been a 482% rise in antisemitic incidents over the past seven weeks across Australia, since the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israel and subsequent Israeli attacks on Gaza. The Islamophobia Register has also recorded a 1,300% rise in cases in the same period.

    Widespread fears Gaza war pause will be brief | Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, told troops on Monday local time that when fighting recommenced its “strength will be greater, and it will take place throughout the entire strip”. “You now have a few days, we will return to fighting, we will use the same amount of power and more,” Gallant said. Global aid agencies have welcomed the two-day extension of the truce in Gaza – announced earlier today – but voiced concern that the anticipated resumption of Israel’s attack on Hamas would lead to an even deeper humanitarian crisis among Palestinians. Thirty-three Palestinian women and children were released from Israeli jails following the freeing of 11 more Israeli hostages from Gaza.

afternoon update: seven paid bruce lehrmann’s rent for a year, court hears; prominent australians sign antisemitism letter; gender pay gap decreases

A 90-year-old woman has died after she was allegedly attacked and assaulted at an aged care home in Bateau Bay on the NSW Central Coast in mid-November. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

    Woman, 90, dies in hospital after alleged rape at aged care facility | New South Wales police allege a man broke into the aged-care home at Bateau Bay about 12.40am on 15 November before attacking the woman. Police said the woman was taken to hospital suffering serious injuries, but died this morning. On 17 November, detectives from the state crime commands sex crimes squad charged a 34-year-old man over the alleged attack. Police say the alleged assault appeared to have been an opportunistic attack.

    Mental health getting worse | Each successive generation of Australians since the 1950s is suffering worse mental health than the generation who came before them, new research has shown.

afternoon update: seven paid bruce lehrmann’s rent for a year, court hears; prominent australians sign antisemitism letter; gender pay gap decreases

Indigenous leader and Labor senator Pat Dodson announced on Tuesday he will quit the Senate. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

    Labor senator Pat Dodson to resign | Known as the father of reconciliation, Dodson will resign from the Senate on 26 January because of persistent ill health following cancer treatment. “I am grateful for the professional and kindly attention of many medical staff over the past few months, and I wish to thank all those people who sent their best wishes during my absence from parliament,” he said.

    Gender pay gap decreases by 1.1% | That’s the second-biggest annual drop since the Workplace Gender Equality Agency began collecting employee data in 2014. But the gender pay gap remains in double digits at 21.7%. That means the average annual pay difference between men and women is $26,393.

afternoon update: seven paid bruce lehrmann’s rent for a year, court hears; prominent australians sign antisemitism letter; gender pay gap decreases

A Saudi Aramco oil refinery. Photograph: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

    Saudi Arabia’s grand plan to ‘hook’ poor countries on oil | Saudi Arabia is driving a huge global investment plan to create demand for its oil and gas in developing countries, an undercover investigation has revealed. The investigation obtained detailed information on plans to drive up the use of fossil fuel-powered cars, buses and planes in Africa and elsewhere, as rich countries increasingly switch to clean energy.

    Greece-UK row over antiquities | Greece’s prime minister has criticised the decision of his British counterpart Rishi Sunak to cancel planned talks at which he had hoped to raise the issue of the Parthenon marbles, as disagreements over the antiquities erupted with renewed vigour. A Tory source says “it became impossible for meeting to go ahead” after Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged return of antiquities to Athens.

In pictures

Environmental photographer of the year 2023

The six winners primarily come from climate-vulnerable countries, including Bangladesh (above), India and Argentina. Click here to view the gallery.

What they said …

***

“Our mandatory, arbitrary immigration detention regime is unnecessarily cruel and degrading. Instead of offering refuge for those who seek the safety of our shores, we imprison people, strip them of their humanity and allow them to be demonised in our media and by our politicians.” – Lydia Shelly, NSW Council for Civil Liberties

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has backed the campaign for a royal commission into immigration detention – including onshore and offshore detention on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

In numbers

Anthony Albanese’s approval rating has taken a hit in the latest Guardian Essential poll, with more voters disapproving of his performance for the first time since he won office.

Before bed read

Albo is ropable! The polls are a disaster and nobody can explain how this happened! Check out First Dog on the Moon’s cartoon on the PM’s latest poll slump.

Reader callout – relationship advice!

Readers in long-term relationships who have managed to get the spark back after a stale period – how did you do it? We – and I’m sure many other readers – would love to know!

Share your advice via this form.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: OPEN. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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