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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Antoun Issa

Afternoon Update: Biden insists his ‘memory is fine’; ex-Wallaby not guilty of sexual assault; and Yotam Ottolenghi’s rice cooking tips

President Joe Biden speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House
Joe Biden has hit back after a US justice department report described the president as a ‘well-meaning elderly man with poor memory’. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Good afternoon. The US president, Joe Biden, has insisted his “memory is fine” after a report from the justice department referred to him as a “well-meaning elderly man with poor memory”.

It was one of the reasons the justice department gave for not bringing criminal charges over his handling of highly classified materials. Later in the same press conference, however, Biden mistakenly referred to Egypt’s leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as “the president of Mexico” in response to a question on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Watch a snippet of the press conference and read this explainer on the six key takeaways from the report.

Top news

A diptych of two supplied images obtained on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, of Samantha Murphy and a CCTV still in Eureka Street, Ballarat East. (AAP Image/Supplied by Victoria Police) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
About 40 local police were on the ground again in Ballarat on Friday, hopeful of finding any sign of 51-year-old Samantha Murphy. Photograph: SUPPLIED/PR IMAGE
  • Search for missing Ballarat woman enters sixth day | Specialist detectives from Victoria’s missing persons squad have been brought in to help the increasingly desperate search for Samantha Murphy. The 51-year-old – known to family and friends as a mentally and physically strong woman – was last seen leaving her Eureka Street home in Ballarat East about 7am on Sunday to go for a run.

  • Kurtley Beale found not guilty | A jury has found the rugby star not guilty of sexual intercourse without consent and other charges over an incident in the bathroom of a Sydney pub in 2022.

  • WhatsApp group of Jewish creatives allegedly leaked | One family is reportedly in hiding after contact information from a private group chat encouraging action over coverage of Israel and Palestine was leaked, according to the Labor MP Josh Burns. “It’s not the Australia I want to see,” the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said.

Bryan Beattie, father of Declan Cutler, reacts outside of the county court of Victoria in Melbourne.
Bryan Beattie, father of Declan Cutler, reacts outside of the county court of Victoria in Melbourne. Photograph: James Ross/AAP
  • Four boys found guilty of murdering Declan Cutler | A mother has sobbed and a father has hugged a prosecutor outside the Victorian supreme court as the boys were found guilty of murdering the 16-year-old in a Melbourne street attack. Cutler was walking alone down a dark street when he was kicked, stomped on and stabbed by a group of eight boys in March 2022.

  • Australian swimmer keen on ‘Enhanced Games’ | The retired swimmer James Magnussen is the first person to publicly express interest in competing at an Olympic-styled event with no drug testing. “I’ll juice to the gills,” he said.

A supporter of convicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds party flag at a polling station
Pakistan’s election had already been marred by militant attacks and suspension of mobile phone services. Photograph: Rahat Dar/EPA
  • Unusual delays in Pakistan election results | The country’s election panel issued a late-night warning to polling officers, 10 hours after polls closed, to release results immediately after unusual delays. Early indicators – with about 20% of the votes counted largely from urban areas – had showed a surprise lead for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the party of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan.

  • Israeli-Palestinian human rights lawyer released | Ahmad Khalefa, a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer of Palestinian heritage, has been released to house arrest after spending 110 days in prison for organising a peaceful protest against the war in Gaza.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with U.S. television host Tucker Carlson, in Moscow
Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin marked a new level of infamy for Carlson, who has frequently criticized US support for Ukraine. Photograph: Tucker Carlson Network/Reuters
  • Putin interviewed by Tucker Carlson | The rambling two-hour interview, filmed in Moscow, was Vladimir Putin’s first with a western media outlet since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. In a video released ahead of the interview, Carlson said he was driven to speak to Putin, in part, because the American public has “no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his goals are now”.

  • Piers Morgan to leave TalkTV show | The 58-year-old is leaving his TalkTV daily evening show less than two years after its launch to focus on his YouTube channel, which has grown to 2.3 million subscribers since 2022.

In pictures

A photo of a stream of red water running through a dark landscape
Edward Burtynsky’s work serves as a critical reminder of the essential role that art can play in raising ecological awareness. Photograph: Edward Burtynsky/courtesy Flowers Gallery, London

Oil spills and fading glaciers: a beautiful world in peril

A huge retrospective of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s work showcases the terrifying, but oddly beautiful marks we can leave on the planet. Click here to view the gallery.

What they said …

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Michele Bullock addresses the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics


“The point with the stage-three tax cuts is that they’re staying within the fiscal envelope, it’s a redistribution, and we don’t see that that’s going to have any material impact at all on inflation or our forecasts.” - Michele Bullock, RBA governor

In numbers

Infographic that reads: 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit the Gippsland region of Victoria at 12.49am today

More than 4,900 people reported feeling the quake, which had a depth of 8km at its epicentre in the town of Meeniyan.

Before bed read

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Hainanese chicken rice recipe.
‘Rice is one of those ingredients that people find the easiest thing in the world to cook or, frustratingly, the hardest.’ Photograph: Colin Campbell (commissioned)

Need some tips on how to cook rice? Yotam Ottolenghi has some thoughts:

“First things first, always rinse the rice to get rid of its starchy coating. Next, soak it: some swear by a long soak (overnight), others think it needs much less time (an hour). Either way, cooking rice is largely about getting it to rehydrate, and soaking softens the grains, which helps water get in, which in turn speeds up the cooking.”

Read the full response and submit your own question to Yotam!

Daily word game

Wordiply screenshot

Today’s starter word is: RUE. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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