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Morning Briefing: France ‘ready to rebuild relationship’ with Australia, Darren Chester confirms Nationals leadership bid, and fighting in Donbas continues

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This article contains references to sexual assault.

Good morning. It’s Friday 27th May, and here’s a round up of the latest news.

France ready to rebuild relationship with Australia, president says

says his country is ready to rebuild its bilateral relationship with Australia following the election of a new government.
The French presidential palace released a statement on Thursday congratulating new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on his election victory.

Relations between Australia and France reached an all-time low last October when Mr Macron accused former prime minister Scott Morrison of lying about the termination of submarine contracts.

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Now, Mr Macron says that after that severe breach of trust by Mr Morrison, he has agreed with Mr Albanese to rebuild the relationship based on trust and respect.

He says a roadmap will be established to structure this new agenda.

Antony Blinken outlines US three-pillar approach to China

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says China remains the world’s most serious long-term challenge to the international order, despite Russia’s war with Ukraine.

In a much-anticipated speech at George Washington University, Mr Blinken outlined the Biden administration’s China policy, including a three-pillar approach to compete with Beijing in a race to define the 21st century’s economic and military balance.

He says while the US sees Russia’s war in Ukraine as the most acute and immediate threat to international stability, the Biden administration believes China poses an even greater danger.

Mr Blinken says that while the United States does not seek to change China’s political system, it does intend to work with allies and partners to defend the international, rules-based order.

Darren Chester confirms bid for Nationals leadership

Gippsland MP Darren Chester has confirmed he’ll challenge Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce for the position.
The Nationals have faced some blame for the Coalition’s big election loss over the weekend, despite holding on to all their seats.

Some accuse Mr Joyce of being electorally unpopular in inner-city seats, and of dragging the previous Government too far to the right.

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Mr Chester told Nine Newspapers he believes his party needs take some responsibility for the Coalition’s poor electoral performance, and that the way the two work together in future will determine whether they can return to government.
The Nationals automatically spill the position after every election, and will meet on Monday in Canberra to decide who will next take on the role.

Anne Webster has publicly declared her bid for the deputy leadership, with former leader Michael McCormack and Mr Littleproud also front runners.

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Parents of Texas shooting victims say police didn’t act quickly enough

Parents of children who were in the US state of Texas this week say police did not act quickly enough to save those inside.
Nineteen children and two teachers were shot dead by an 18-year-old at Robb Elementary School in the small town of Uvalde, south Texas.

Videos have emerged that suggest up to an hour passed between the time the attack began and the moment specially trained officers breached the fourth-grade classroom where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was killing people.

A law enforcement officer lights a candle outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

A law enforcement officer lights a candle outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, 25 May 2022. Source: AP / Jae C. Hong/AP

Javier Cazares, father of school shooting victim Jacklyn Cazares, says he believes authorities were not prepared.

Meanwhile, students have walked out of schools across the United States in protest against the country’s gun laws in the wake of the country’s latest mass shooting.

The Texas massacre was the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, and has further inflamed debate over the country’s gun laws.

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Russian forces continue to attack Donbas

Ukraine says fighting in the country’s Donbas has reached “maximum intensity” as Russian forces continued to attack the Donetsk region.
Russia has poured thousands of troops into its assault in the country’s east, attacking from three sides in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces in the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.
The cities’ fall would bring nearly the whole of Luhansk province under Russian control, a key Kremlin war aim,

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar says the military situation there is difficult.

Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault

Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with sexual assault and other offences against three men in the United Kingdom.
The 62-year-old has been charged with four counts of sexual assault following an investigation by London police.
In 2017, London’s Old Vic theatre said it had received of inappropriate conduct by Spacey, who was artistic director there between 2004 and 2015.
Spacey has previously denied all the allegations against him.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit . In an emergency, call 000.

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