April 18th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

EDITORIAL Australia needs an economic reset after covid19 crisis

CANBERRA OBSERVED The very young can still be 'taken care of' during the covid19 outbreak

RURAL AFFAIRS A national disgrace: Our great land sale

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Use detention centres to help deal with covid19

GENDER POLITICS Do we really need to ask, what is a woman?

REFLECTION A chance for a change of heart: Covid19 as Memento mori

FAMILY Who let the kids out? The stay-at-home parent and covid19

ECONOMICS The oil cartel: The lesson for other industries from OEC

HEALTH Lessons from the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic

CULTURE AND SOCIETY There is a war: The battle in and for hearts

ASIAN AFFAIRS What makes China different is not the Chinese but the CCP

HUMOUR Locked down in Covi Town

MUSIC Great, er, swan songs

CINEMA+TV Staying in; staying sane

BOOK REVIEW Not our Robin Hood

BOOK REVIEW At home among others




CARDINAL GEORGE PELL FREE: The commentary file

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News Weekly, April 18, 2020


When a 90-year-old retired Foreign Office secretary died recently, the secrets of her Cold War past could finally be revealed.

Valerie Pettit was the architect of Operation Pimlico, an operation that smuggled KGB colonel Oleg Gordievsky out of Moscow when he was betrayed in May 1985.

Seven years earlier, as deputy to the head of MI6’s Soviet Operations section, Pettit devised a plan to get Gordievsky – recruited by MI6 in Copenhagen in 1973 – out of Moscow if he was ever under suspicion.

If Gordievsky found himself in trouble he was told to arm himself with a Safeway shopping bag and stand at a certain central Moscow street corner at exactly 7.30pm on a Tuesday.

An MI6 officer would acknowledge the call for help by walking close by with a green Harrods bag while eating a British chocolate bar – a Kit Kat or Mars bar.

The next stage of the plan would see Gordievsky meet MI6 officers at a layby in the woods south of the border with Finland.

The corner was monitored by agents every week for seven years.

In 1985, Operation Pimlico worked just as it had been planned. Pettit herself drove Gordievsky north for the Norwegian border.

During her retirement Pettit lived with her mother and sister in Surrey.

Extract from Emer Scully from Mail Online, March 24, 2020.



A very significant majority of the public submissions made to a consultation on abortion in Northern Ireland organised by the British Government opposed any changes to the abortion law. 

Seventy-nine per cent – almost four out of every five submissions – “registered their general opposition to any abortion provision in Northern Ireland beyond that which is currently permitted”, the Northern Ireland office admitted.

Despite this, on Wednesday 25 March, the British Government announced they would legalise abortion without restriction to 12 weeks and in other circumstances up to birth in the region.

Pro-life group Precious Life said the UK Government had “totally ignored the results of its own six-week consultation on changes to abortion law here”.

“We can proudly say that 79 per cent of those who responded to the consultation expressed their opposition to any abortion in Northern Ireland, signifying the public support for our life-saving laws valuing the lives of both mothers and babies,” said director Bernadette Smyth.

Opinion polls have also showed opposition to the imposition of abortion by Westminster, and opposition to abortion-on-demand.

Bernadette Smyth said: “It is horrifying to learn that one of the most permissive, extreme and inhumane abortion regimes in Europe will be introduced to Northern Ireland by the British Government. This is in spite of the fact that our elected representatives returned to Stormont in January and at a time when the UK has been brought to its knees by the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Extract from Gript News, March 27, 2020.



Texas will be allowed to enforce its governor’s order to temporarily postpone surgeries and medical procedures, including elective abortions, that are not immediately necessary or to preserve the life of a patient during the covid19 pandemic, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a temporary stay on a lower court’s decision to allow abortion providers to continue with the procedure after they were halted in Texas due to the global pandemic.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Abortion providers filed a law-suit against several Texas officials after State Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order on March 22 ordering all licensed healthcare professionals and licensed healthcare facilities to postpone any unnecessary medical procedures so as to preserve medical supplies for health-care professionals and hospital beds during the outbreak of covid19.

A failure to comply with the order is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine up to $US1,000, or both, the order stipulated.

Following the restraining order, Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton appealed to the 5th circuit, saying that he was determined to “fight tirelessly against” what he described as a “politically driven lawsuit to protect the health of Texans suffering from this covid19 crisis”.

Mr Paxton welcomed the decision on March 31. “Abortion providers who refuse to follow state law are demonstrating a clear disregard for Texans suffering from this medical crisis. For years, abortion has been touted as a ‘choice’ by the same groups now attempting to claim that it is an essential procedure,” he said.

Extract from Janita Kan in The Epoch Times, March 31, 2020.

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CARDINAL GEORGE PELL FREE: The commentary file

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm