Morning Mail: Slovakian PM ‘critical’ after shooting, David Copperfield accused of sexual misconduct, council overturns book ban

<span>The Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico, being taken to hospital after the incident in Handlová, Slovakia.</span><span>Photograph: Reuters</span>
The Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico, being taken to hospital after the incident in Handlová, Slovakia.Photograph: Reuters

Morning everyone. The Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico, is fighting for his life after a “politically motivated” attack. Also today, a special Guardian investigation into allegations of sexual assault by the celebrated magician David Copperfield. At home we have the post-budget battle over migration, an explosive council meeting in western Sydney, and why Gina Rinehart wants her portrait removed.


  • Image problem | The mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has demanded the National Gallery of Australia remove her portrait from an exhibition by the award-winning artist Vincent Namatjira.

  • Exclusive | Dfat is refusing to approve the publication of an official history of military operations in Timor-Leste until references are removed that could embarrass officials and diplomats, leading to accusations of “censorship”. It wants no mention of Asis spies having bugged the Timorese cabinet room during negotiations over Timor Gap oil resources in 2004.

  • Book ban reversed | A ban on same-sex parenting books at libraries in part of western Sydney has been overturned at a marathon late-night meeting after large crowds of protesters clashed outside the council chambers.

  • Post-budget battle | Jim Chalmers has said the projected halving of net migration will contribute to Australia’s inflation fight, ahead of Peter Dutton’s budget reply tonight which is expected to attack Labor over the spike in arrivals. The government’s decision not to further increase funding for jobseeker, housing and domestic violence is a “gaping hole in the heart of the budget”, advocates have warned.

  • Senator speaks out | The Labor senator Fatima Payman has accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and has questioned how many deaths would prompt the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to declare “enough”.


  • ‘I heard three shots’ | A suspect has been detained by Slovakian police after the country’s populist prime minister, Robert Fico, was shot in the stomach after leaving a government meeting in the town of Handlová. Fico was taken to hospital after the incident in the early afternoon, local time, which was captured on video. His surgeon said his condition was “life-threatening” and “serious”. The suspect was believed to be a 71-year-old security guard. An ally of Fico, a controversial rightwing populist who has been inspired by Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán in neighbouring Hungary, blamed the “media and progressives” for the attack. EU leaders condemned the “cowardly” assassination attempt, which comes amid a surge in violent attacks.

  • Biden-Trump debate | The first election debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump will take place in Georgia on 27 June after the president’s campaign team proposed the head-to-head.

  • Israel split | A split in Israel’s war cabinet has burst into the open with the defence minister, Yoav Gallant, challenging the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to come up with plans for the “day after” the war in Gaza.

  • Christian Brückner | A woman who was raped at knifepoint by a masked man in Portugal 20 years ago has told a German court trying the main suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann how she had feared for her life.

  • Journalist missing | Concerns are growing about the wellbeing of one of China’s most prominent citizen journalists who has failed to make contact with the outside world after she was supposed to have been released from prison.

Full Story

Put it down! Should children be allowed smartphones?

Almost all children have them by the time they are 11 years old – and some get them at four. But are they ruining childhoods? Blake Montgomery reports.


The celebrated American magician David Copperfield has been accused by 16 women of engaging in sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior, according to a Guardian investigation. More than half of the allegations are from women who said they were under 18 at the time of the incidents. The allegations against him include claims that he drugged three women before he had sexual relations with them. “I honest to God believe I was drugged,” one of the alleged victims said about a night in his Las Vegas hotel suite in the 1990s. Copperfield has denied wrongdoing of any kind. His lawyers said the magician was a champion of the #MeToo movement and said a “truthful” depiction of Copperfield would describe his “kindness, shyness and treatment of men and women with respect”.

Not the news

What Gina Rinehart might give for King Charles’s reported satisfaction at his portrayal in a new work by the artist Jonathan Yeo? A blaze of crimson, Yeo says the portrait is an allegory about Charles’s metamorphosis from prince to king. However, it’s fair to say our art critic Jonathan Jones is not buying the hype. The work is a “masterpiece of shallowness by an artist so ludicrously upbeat he should be called Jonathan Yo!”.

The world of sport

Media roundup

Pub and bar owners in South Australia have criticised the treasurer’s budget for retaining the “ludicrous” alcohol tax that is hurting their trade, the Advertiser reports. The meeting of Cumberland council to discuss overturning the book ban “descended into chaos” when a man was expelled from the public gallery, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The inside story of David Fifita’s decision to stay at the Gold Coast Titans all came down to a $4 packet of biscuits, the Courier Mail claims.

What’s happening today

  • Canberra | Budget reply speech by opposition leader Peter Dutton at 7.30pm.

  • Victoria | Treasurer Tim Pallas and premier Jacinta Allan face estimates hearings.

  • New South Wales | Inquiry into pressures on heavy vehicle drivers due to give final report.

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Brain teaser

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