Good morning, this is Tamara Howie bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Wednesday 4 November.
Americans are lining the streets to cast their votes in one of the most tumultuous and controversial US elections in history. More than 100 million people have already voted as Biden vows to “restore decency” to the White House, and Trump tells supporters “I’m not thinking about concession speech or acceptance speech yet”, with fears divisions among Americans could get worse before they get better. Meanwhile on home soil two-thirds of Australians believe the Trump presidency has diminished the US’s reputation. You can follow all the updates as they happen on our live blog and live results tracker, and here’s our guide for when to expect results and what to look for. If it’s all too much or if you’re settling in for an election party – here’s five classic American cocktails to get you through.
Austrian police have made several arrests at addresses linked to an Islamic State sympathiser who killed at least four people in a terrorist shooting and stabbing attack in Vienna on Monday night. Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, said the victims were “an elderly man, an elderly woman, a young male passerby and a waitress” and condemned the “cold-blooded” murders. A suspect, who was shot dead by police, was a 20-year-old man of North Macedonian origin convicted last year for membership of Isis after being arrested on his way to Syria to join the group, officials said. “The enemy, the Islamist terror, wants to split our society, but we will give no space to this hatred,” Kurz said. “Our enemies are not the members of a religious community, these are terrorists. This is not a fight between Christians and Muslims, or Austrians and migrants, but a fight between civilisation and barbarity.”
Australia’s biosecurity needs a major overhaul within a decade to protect people, environments and industries from a wave of invasive pests, pathogens and future pandemics, a CSIRO report has found. The report calls for greater cooperation across all levels of society and makes 20 recommendations that would cut the “growing strain” of incursions and protect environmental assets worth $6.5tn. The Covid pandemic has brought biosecurity issues into the public consciousness and presented a “unique opportunity to make transformational changes” that would protect Australia in the future.
Tragedy has again struck the Melbourne Cup, with one of the pre-race favourites, Anthony Van Dyck, euthanised after breaking down entering the home straight at Flemington Racecourse. Jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who finished second aboard Tiger Moth, was hit with one of the biggest fines in Australian racing history for breaching whipping rules.
More than 80% of workers want to continue working from home in some capacity but unions believe more protections will be required to facilitate it without discrimination or loss of pay and conditions. The Australian Council of Trade Unions released a survey on Wednesday, which found that 40% were working longer hours and 90% were not being paid overtime or penalty rates for extra hours worked, ahead of an executive meeting to adopt a charter of rights around working from home.
Key crossbenchers in the Senate have said government delays to the proposed anti-corruption commission mean there is little chance it will be established before the next federal election. The Coalition released the draft legislation this week, which has prompted renewed criticism and fears among senators that the Commonwealth Integrity Commission has been designed to delay a genuine corruption watchdog.
Opera Australia will launch its summer season on Thursday, still reeling from a turbulent past six weeks that saw the company hit with a slew of unfair dismissal cases, and its orchestra deliver a vote of no confidence in its concertmaster Jun Yi Ma. In a bid to stop the forced redundancies of almost one-third of the orchestra’s 56 full-time employees, the musicians took the unprecedented step of holding a confidential ballot in September over anger at Ma’s alleged participation on a four-member panel that was formed to decide who to sack.
Poland’s rightwing government has delayed implementing a controversial court order that would effectively ban abortion after two weeks of nationwide protests. The head of the prime minister’s office, Michał Dworczyk, said leaders were taking time “for dialogue and for finding a new position in this situation that is difficult and stirs high emotions”.
Popular Ugandan reggae singer and opposition presidential hopeful, Bobi Wine, was temporarily blinded by police when he was arrested in Kampala on Tuesday, moments after being successfully certified as a candidate in next year’s election.
A gang of armed robbers has broken into a bank in Milan by crawling through a sewage network, stealing several safe-deposit boxes and escaping the same way. The gang scuffled with the bank manager, who yelled “It’s a robbery”. They held him and another staff member hostage as dozens of police officers surrounded the bank, before taking off with 20 safe-deposit boxes.
Letter writing has become a way for people to connect during lockdown. Penpalooza was started by a New Yorker writer and editor, Rachel Syme, with an Instagram call-out that has grown from an initial 100 participants to more than 4,000 people in more than 30 countries. Anna Sublet is one of them. Here she shares the joy of connecting across the globe: “When my first piece of mail arrived, the excitement I felt was beyond reason. The pure thrill of a package, holding pieces of a person – a bookmark, a sticker and words – was quite simply intoxicating.”
“Being a bearer of bad news is never easy,” says Tim Flannery, who has been speaking about climate change for decades. “I strongly believe we need to speak with our children about the growing climate threat: about responsibility, impacts and forgiveness. Yet as I look at my young son playing with his Lego or reading his children’s books, my courage fails me. I keep putting the discussion off, as I suspect many workers in the fossil fuels industry do when it comes to speaking to their children.”
A less-intense schedule has had some surprising upsides for one of Australia’s most respected fashion designers. Carla Zampatti is celebrating her 55th year in the fashion industry this year, and we asked her to share the three things that have been helping her stay optimistic.
Donald Trump faces a major challenge to repeat the swing-states victory he achieved in 2016. The Guardian’s Chris McGreal takes a US election road trip and meets voters who explain why they are standing by the White House incumbent.
British Tennis No 1 Dan Evans has lost 6-3, 7-6 (3) to world No 20 Stan Wawrinka at the Paris Masters. Wawrinka’s win in the opening match of the second day has propelled him into the second round on Rafael Nadal’s side of the draw.
Wales manager Ryan Giggs will not take charge of the team’s three matches this month after he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend, Kate Greville, on Sunday night.
Falling international student numbers have caused more job losses, with Griffith University to cut 300 positions after losing $100m due to Australia’s border closures during the pandemic, reports the Brisbane Times. Mortgage holders have been urged to switch lenders if their interest bill is not cut in response to a massive package of measures from the Reserve Bank, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Results will begin to flow in from the US election around 11am AEDT.
NRL star Jack de Belin’s trial on rape continues.
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