Morning Mail: Israel strike on Damascus, Aukus nuclear waste fears, and airlines on notice over ‘greenwashing’

<span>An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus.</span><span>Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/AP</span>
An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus.Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/AP

Morning everyone. Israeli war planes have destroyed the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing at least seven people, including two senior commanders of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards. We have the full story and live developments. At home, could Australia come to be seen by its Aukus partners as a “radioactive terra nullius” as some anti-nuclear campaigners fear? And property prices grew for the fifth month running in March.


  • ‘Resilient’ demand | National home values set a record high for a fifth consecutive month in March with the index compiled by CoreLogic showing a rise of 0.6%. Median home prices were $772,730, rebounding just over 10% since its most recent low in January 2023.

  • ‘Poison portal’ | Australia could become a “poison portal” for international radioactive waste under the Aukus deal, a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear safety legislation has heard. The new laws would pave the way for waste from the nuclear submarines to be stored in Australia but, with the US and UK struggling to deal with their own waste, campaigners fear Australia will be obliged to pick up the pieces.

  • Airline ‘greenwashing’ | Qantas and Virgin could be found to have misled consumers in the way they present their net zero goals and market offset options during flight bookings after a legal ruling on aviation “greenwashing”.

  • Water risk | Environment groups have criticised a proposed change by the Albanese government to national environmental laws, saying it puts “precious water resources at risk” and could have “centuries-long consequences”.

  • Rain warning | South-east Australia is in for a drenching in the next few days as a storm front moves up through Victoria after a very dry March.


  • Damascus strike | Israeli warplanes have destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing at least seven people including two generals of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Follow developments live. In Gaza, Israeli forces have withdrawn from al-Shifa hospital after a two-week raid that Hamas claims has left 400 people dead.

  • Ukraine aid hope | The US House speaker, Mike Johnson, has raised expectations that a vote on funding for Ukraine could be imminent in the chamber, even at the risk of losing his leadership position as he faces pushback from far-right members of his own Republican party.

  • Shell slammed | More than 30 public figures including Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton and Greta Thunberg have written to Shell criticising its “callous and vindictive” lawsuit against Greenpeace after activists occupied a moving oil platform last year.

  • Lost levels | The UK Tories have been accused of failing to live up to their ambitious agenda for Britain’s regions with a Guardian analysis showing no progress has been made on half of their levelling up targets.

  • Havana affair | The mysterious so-called Havana syndrome symptoms experienced by US diplomats in recent years have been linked to a Russian intelligence unit, according to a joint media investigation.

Full Story

The rise and fall of Vice Media

Vice Media is laying off hundreds of workers and no longer publishing journalism on its website. Sirin Kale and Sam Wolfson discuss their time at the company.


It might not be what the Sydney Royal Easter Show is best known for showing, but that doesn’t mean that the race to present the best reptile at the annual event isn’t very competitive. Lara Ristic, who is 16, won three ribbons for her pet snakes while Cindy Jackson and Marie Callin won first prize for their tree frog. Judge Brad Walker tells Sharlotte Thou that it can decades for a breeder to reach the top of their game as he hunts for a healthy BMI, good posture, signs of worms and bumps in the spine.

Not the news

Celebrities such as Emma Corrin, Sydney Sweeney and Kristen Stewart have led a popularisation of ultra-short shorts, making them one of the fashion items of the season. But although they’ve been a staple of Australian beachwear for years, Lucianne Tonti finds that resistance to the trend is mounting online from “women who are tired of trends dictated by celebrities, and empowered enough to call out impractical or unflattering garments”.

The world of sport

  • Rugby union | World Rugby’s latest flurry of law change recommendations have been criticised as “madness” by a leading English Premiership director of rugby.

  • Motor sport | Formula One’s US-based owner Liberty Media has announced a takeover of MotoGP’s parent company Dorna.

  • Rugby league | The first Muslim to represent England’s rugby league side has joined the growing number of calls for the game’s governing body to introduce pauses allowing players observing Ramadan to break their fasts.

Media roundup

Private health funds have increased their administration fees by nearly 30% since 2017, according to a new study cited in the Australian. Restaurants are closing across regional Victoria with some owners blaming a dearth of tourists, the Age reports. Gold Coast developers are being urged to shrink their high-rise plans because units are becoming unaffordable, the Bulletin reports.

What’s happening today

  • Australian Electoral Commission | Disclosures about donations during the voice referendum will be published at 9am.

  • Economy | Reserve Bank assistant governor Christopher Kent makes a speech at Bloomberg offices in Sydney, while RBA minutes are released at 11.30am.

  • Canberra | Greg Combet to address National Press Club on the path to net zero.

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Brain teaser

And finally, here are the Guardian’s crosswords to keep you entertained throughout the day. Until tomorrow.