Morning mail: energy blueprint, searing US testimony, should we celebrate circumnavigation? |

Good morning. The Energy Security Board is suggesting fossil fuel-powered power plants should be paid to keep operating while Australia decarbonises. And Donald Trump’s chances of being prosecuted over his role in the effort to overturn Joe Biden’s election appear to have increased in the face of growing evidence.

Coal- and gas-fired power plants could be kept in business to bolster the stability of the main electricity grid, a high-level design paper released by the Energy Security Board suggests. It also backs payments for not just supplying power but also retaining the capacity to do so, as one of the most viable options to reform the faltering energy market after 2025. The proposal is likely to intensify the debate over whether a capacity market is needed – and how much it will cost consumers, who will ultimately pick up the tab.

NSW police officers “feared for their lives” during a raid on a group of climate protesters in north-west Sydney yesterday, alleging the group was planning “extreme forms” of protest and acted aggressively towards them. Police deployed in significant numbers to a property at Colo after a confrontation with Blockade Australia, a group that caused blockades at Port Botany, the city’s major port, in March. Sydney City Crime, the firm representing the protesters, said police had no legal basis for being on the property.

The searing testimony and growing evidence about Donald Trump’s central role in a multipronged conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s election in 2020 presented at the House January 6 committee’s first three hearings has increased the odds that Trump will face criminal charges, former DoJ prosecutors and officials say. Ex-justice department lawyers say revelations at the hearings increase the likelihood that Trump will be charged with crimes involving conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding or defrauding the US, as he took desperate and seemingly illegal steps to undermine Biden’s election.

Australia

A drone shot of the island of Rah, in the Banks group of islands in Vanuatu’s far north. Photograph: Ginny Stein/The Guardian

Australia’s new Labor government has been called on to prove its commitment to climate action and support for Pacific countries by backing a campaign led by Vanuatu to change international law to recognise climate change harm. Vanuatu wants the world’s highest court to issue an advisory opinion on the climate crisis.

The NSW government will invest $38m to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by building more charging sites, including for apartment buildings and roadsides. The extra funds, to be unveiled in Tuesday’s budget, will bring to $633m the money being spent on NSW’s strategy aimed at ensuring half of all car sales by 2030-31 are electric.

Labor was propelled to victory over Scott Morrison by women, under-55s and those with higher levels of education, with people in the latter two groups most likely to have abandoned the Coalition since the 2019 election. A survey by the Australian National University released today also found a boost in the number of Australians who said the country was going in the right direction since Anthony Albanese’s victory on 21 May.

Australia will attend – as an observer – a UN meeting of countries that have outlawed nuclear weapons, parties to a treaty Labor committed to ratifying in government. A group of 55 former Australian ambassadors and high commissioners have written an open letter to the prime minister urging the government to sign up.

The world

A funeral for two Ukrainian soldiers in Kharkiv yesterday
A funeral for two Ukrainian soldiers in Kharkiv yesterday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Western leaders have said the war in Ukraine could last for years and will require long-term military support as Russia brought forward reserve forces in an apparent attempt to capture the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk. “We must prepare for the fact that it could take years,” said Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg. “We must not let up in supporting Ukraine.”

Firefighters in northern Spain scrambled to contain dozens of blazes fuelled by one of the earliest heatwaves on record. One fire in the Sierra de la Culebra mountain range devoured more than 25,000 hectares. Emergency officials said cooling temperatures had enabled them to make gains yesterday in stabilising the blaze, which one firefighters’ association had described as a “real monster”.

A network of more than two dozen conspiracy theorists, frequently backed by a coordinated Russian campaign, sent thousands of disinformation tweets to distort the reality of the Syrian conflict and deter intervention by the international community, analysis reveals.

Voters are heading to the polls in Colombia in a historic presidential election that could put the left in power for the first time in the conservative South American country. The two main contenders are divisive, gaff-prone and high-handed, and the campaign was bitter, with each candidate accusing the other of corruption.

Recommended reads

Portrait of Bungaree
A portrait of Bungaree, who circumnavigated Australia and contributed to the mapping of the coastline. Photograph: National Library of Australia

Should the circumnavigation of Australia be marked as foundation day? Ted Egan thinks so. In an interview with Paul Daley, the folk singer and larger-than-life Northern Territorian describes how he has always been uncomfortable about the way his nation ties its foundation and identity to “Australia Day”, Anzac and federation: “I began to think, ‘Surely there is a better day that we can all celebrate.’”

Listen

Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira set off into the forest on 2 June for what was supposed to be a four-day trip. Phillips, who was a frequent contributor to the Guardian, was there to research a book he was writing, How To Save the Amazon. But by Sunday 5 June, they had not returned. Reporter Jonathan Watts became friends with Phillips in 2012 when he worked as the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent. In today’s Full Story, he explains the urgent threat to the Amazon rainforest that the two men were trying to expose.

Full Story

The disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

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

Sport

Drug scandals, charity drives, “acts of bastardry” and Hall of Fame acclaim … somewhere in all the madness, some exquisite football was played last week. Jonathan Horn examines the AFL’s ups and downs, writing: “It was just another week of football, another week of rogues, blowhards and champions, another week of everything that is pointless, pitiless and wondrous about the sport.”

Media roundup

The navy’s plan to extend the life of its Collins-class submarines for a decade is in trouble ($), with the shipbuilder refusing to engage seriously with the Swedish designer, the Australian reports. A leading expert wants a royal commission into sports-related head knocks after allegations some researchers minimised the seriousness of injuries ($), the Mercury reports. And according to the West Australian, police are investigating claims a woman was sexually assaulted on a Pilbara mine site ($).

Coming up

The Commonwealth heads of government meeting begins in Kigali, Rwanda.

Public hearings of the royal commission into defence and veteran suicide are being held in Townsville, Queensland.

And if you’ve read this far …

The Spanish man who became a global meme as “the worst person you know” is trying to reclaim his image. “My only hope was that with so many new things day after day on the internet, people will slowly forget about me,” says Josep Maria García. “I must say I was totally wrong.”

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