World

  • One Nation sought millions in political donations from US National Rifle Association

    An investigative report conducted by Al Jazeera has revealed senior One Nation figures met with representatives of the powerful American National Rifle Association (NRA), as well as Koch Industries, in a bid to secure donations. Pauline Hanson’s Chief of Staff James Ashby and One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson were secretly filmed during the meetings in Washington DC back in September. Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson are seen during a meeting with the NRA seeking ... ► Read more

  • Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer charged with extortion, embezzlement, fraud

    Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in her claims against United States President Donald Trump, has been charged with extortion, embezzlement and fraud, according to US federal prosecutors. The US attorney’s office in New York charged Mr Avenatti with trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike, following his arrest on Monday (local time). It is alleged that he and an unnamed co-conspirator told Nike’s lawyers on 19 March that they had ... ► Read more

  • Egypt brokers Gaza-Israel ceasfire, says Hamas

    Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, says it has reached an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel after an exchange of fire on Monday. “Egyptian efforts succeeded with a ceasefire between the occupation and the resistance factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. Israel has yet to comment. The reported truce comes shortly after multiple rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Monday evening, according to a joint statement issued by Gaza’s armed groups, in response ... ► Read more

  • MPs vote to take control of Brexit process

    British MPs have voted to take control of the House of Commons agenda from the Government, to try to find a majority for a Brexit option. The unprecedented move is a reflection of Prime Minister Theresa May’s continued inability to achieve parliamentary support for her negotiated agreement for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The Government’s defeat by 329 votes to 302 means MPs will get a series of “indicative votes” on Wednesday ... ► Read more

  • Trump campaign did not collude with Russia, says Mueller report

    Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election found no evidence of criminal activity on the part of President Donald Trump’s campaign but stopped short of exonerating the President, according to a summary of Mr Mueller’s report released by US Attorney-General William Barr. After two years of investigating allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 election to secure victory for Mr Trump, Mr Mueller provided his report to ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 17 March – 23 March 2019

    Coalition wins NSW election, minority government possible Gladys Berejiklian and the Coalition have been returned by the people of NSW for a third term in office, winning 46 of the 47 seats required for majority government so far. See the ABC’s coverage of this story here. EU agrees Brexit delay plan All 27 European Union leaders have backed a Brexit delay plan that gives the United Kingdom two options — pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s ... ► Read more

  • At least 134 killed in central Mali massacre

    At least 134 Fulani herders were killed by gunmen in central Mali on Saturday, according to a local mayor. Armed men dressed as traditional Donzo hunters encircled and attacked the village of Ogossagou at about 4:00 am (local time), said Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the nearby town of Bankass. “We are provisionally at 134 bodies recovered by the gendarmes,” Mr Guindo said. He confirmed that another village, Welingara, had also been attacked, but did ... ► Read more

  • EU agrees Brexit delay plan

    All 27 European Union leaders have backed a Brexit delay plan that gives the United Kingdom two options — pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week for an extension until 22 May, or decide by 12 April whether it will participate in the upcoming European Parliament elections. If the UK opts not to participate in the elections and the deal has not passed the House of Commons, the EU would let Britain drop out ... ► Read more

  • Facebook admits to storing “hundreds of millions” of user passwords in plain text

    Social networking giant Facebook has admitted the passwords of millions of users were stored in plain text on its internal servers, making them readable to the company’s employees. “To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them,” Facebook’s Vice President of Engineering, Security and Privacy, Pedro Canahuati, said in a blog post. Mr Canahuati said ... ► Read more

  • Erdogan’s Christchurch comments “taken out of context”

    The senior spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the leader was “unfortunately taken out of context” in comments in which he appeared to threaten violence to Australians and New Zealanders after the Christchurch massacre. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a white supremacist, was charged with murder after a lone gunman opened fire in attacks on the two mosques during Friday prayers, killing 50 people. In a campaign rally ahead of local elections on 31 ... ► Read more

  • Tusk says Brexit delay possible if MPs back deal

    European Council President Donald Tusk has said that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union could be delayed, but only if British MPs approve the negotiated withdrawal agreement. The British Parliament has twice rejected the agreement brokered between Brussels and Westminster and Prime Minister Theresa May has sought an extension of the Brexit process beyond 29 March, when the UK is due to leave the EU. “I believe that a short extension will be ... ► Read more

  • British PM will formally ask to delay Brexit

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will formally ask the European Union to postpone the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. Ms May’s negotiated Brexit deal with the EU has failed to receive the support of Parliament, and there are fewer than 10 days until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Downing Street said no decision had been made as to how long the delay would be, but it is expected to be until ... ► Read more

  • “Very offended”: PM to summon Turkish ambassador over Erdogan’s ANZAC comments

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will summon Turkey’s ambassador today after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mocked the Gallipoli campaign and threatened Australian and New Zealand citizens. Mr Erdogan said the terror attacks in Christchurch last Friday were part of a wider attack on Turkey and indicative of global anti-Muslim sentiment. The Turkish President took aim at the Anzacs’ participation in the Gallipoli campaign, threatening that Australians and New Zealanders with anti-Islam sentiment who visit Turkey ... ► Read more

  • Kazakh President resigns after three decades

    Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has abruptly announced his resignation 29 years after taking office. In a televised address on Tuesday (local time), the 78-year-old said he has made the “difficult” decision to terminate his authority as president, but did not give a specific reason for the shocking decision. “I have decided to end my duties as president,” Mr Nazarbayev said before signing a decree terminating his powers effective March 30. “This year I will have ... ► Read more

  • Dutch police arrest man for tram shooting

    Dutch police have arrested a Turkish man suspected of killing three people and wounding five on a tram in Utrecht on Monday. Gokmen Tanis, 37, was taken into custody after a manhunt lasting several hours, and was known to police. The city was put into lockdown after the shooting, and police warned the public not to approach Mr Tanis. Although authorities initially said it was an apparent terrorist attack, the motive remains unclear. A prosecutor ... ► Read more

  • British Gov’t must present new Brexit motion to Parliament, says Speaker

    The Speaker of the House of Commons has told the British Government that he will not allow a third “meaningful vote” on “substantially the same” Brexit motion that MPs rejected last week. There are just 11 days to go until the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union, but Parliament has consistently rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed post-Brexit arrangements with the EU. Speaker John Bercow MP has now told the Government that ... ► Read more

  • Putin signs off on bill banning fake news, government insults

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial set of bills that make it a crime to “disrespect” the state and spread “fake news” online, Russian media reported on Monday. The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticised the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech. The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that ... ► Read more

  • The psychology of fear and hate, and what each of us can do to stop it

    As an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged by the events in Christchurch. The apparent innocence of New Zealand has been stripped away by acts of cowardice and evil. Police remain on high alert and authorities are still responding to events following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that took the lives of 50 people and seriously injured many more. Three people have been arrested, and one, an Australian living in ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 10 March – 16 March 2019

    49 killed in NZ mosque shootings Three suspects are in custody following deadly shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Major parties launch NSW election campaigns On Sunday the New South Wales branches of the Liberal and Labor parties officially launched their election campaigns, two weeks ahead of the 23 March polling date. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. George Pell ... ► Read more

  • 50 killed in NZ mosque shootings

    Three suspects are in custody following deadly shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday. Authorities have confirmed 50 people were killed and 48 are being treated after a gunman opened fire on worshippers at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue and another mosque on Linwood Avenue. The attack resulted in 42 deaths at Al Noor Mosque, seven at the Linwood Islamic Centre, and one who died in Christchurch ... ► Read more

  • US Senate overturns Trump’s border emergency declaration, setting up veto

    The United States Senate voted on Thursday (local time) to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southwestern border. Twelve Republican Senators joined the Democrats and independents in voting down the measure 59–41, arguing that the President had exceeded his authority by trying to build a wall on the border with Mexico without congressional approval. “Never before has a President asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the President ... ► Read more

  • Israeli warplanes bomb gaza

    Explosions were heard in the Gaza Strip early Friday and Palestinian witnesses said Israeli planes bombed two Hamas security positions. The Israeli military said it was attacking “terror sites” in Gaza, hours after it said two rockets were launched from the enclave at the Tel Aviv area. The attacks were taking place in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, about 25km south of Gaza City. An OPMagazine contact in Khan Younis said the bombing ... ► Read more

  • British MPs vote to delay Brexit

    British MPs have voted to delay Brexit just two weeks out from the departure date on 29 March. The House of Commons supported the May Government’s motion to extend the leave date with 412 votes to 202. UK Prime Minister Theresa May will now travel to Brussels in pursuit of an extension until 30 June, however it is understood European Union officials are planning to push for a longer period. EU Council President Donald Tusk ... ► Read more

  • PM says Australian IS members will not return home

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reiterated that his government will not allow Australian Islamic State members to return to the country. In response to pleas for help from an Australian woman trapped with her two children in a refugee camp for IS families, Mr Morrison declared that he would not put Australians at risk by helping home-grown extremists to return from the Middle East. The woman is being held at a refugee camp in north-east ... ► Read more

  • British MPs reject no-deal Brexit

    The UK Parliament has voted to avoid crashing out of the European Union without a negotiated deal, 321 votes for to 278 against. It follows an amendment of the Government’s motion that toughened the stance of Parliament to avoid a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances. However, the approved motion is not legally binding, and Parliament will still need to pass legislation to avoid leaving the EU without a deal on the Brexit deadline day of ... ► Read more

  • Australia, EU and others suspend 737 MAX 8s following Ethiopian Airlines crash

    Australia, the European Union and other jurisdictions have indefinitely banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner from their airspace, following a second fatal crash within five months. On Sunday a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 157 crew and passengers on board. Investigators are looking for similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and that of a Lion Air MAX 8 that crashed in Indonesia, killing ... ► Read more

  • Privacy pivot: Facebook wants to be more like WhatsApp. But details are scarce

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg delivered a 3,000+ word post last week, spelling out a new vision for the social network. It prompts just one small question: Facebook, who are you? Zuckerberg’s essay, entitled “A privacy-focused vision for social networking”, signals a radical shift. Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has encouraged openness, connection and sharing. But now, it would be “privacy-focused”, featuring encrypted services and content that “won’t stick around forever”. Facebook will, says Zuckerberg, transform from open ... ► Read more

  • Venezeula: Juan Guaido investigated for sabotage

    Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab says he has asked the Supreme Court to investigate opposition leader Juan Guaido for allegedly sabotaging the country’s electrical system. Much of Venezuela has been without power since Thursday (local time) afternoon. President Nicolás Maduro has said that “US technology” was used to sabotage the electricity grid and has pointed the finger at the opposition. Mr Guaido says it is down to government mismanagement. Mr Saab’s announcement came just hours ... ► Read more

  • British MPs reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal

    British MPs have rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement for a second time, prompting a new vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union without a deal. Ms May had hoped that MPs would be swayed in support of her deal after she secured legal assurances that an alternative arrangement to the Irish backstop would be agreed upon with the EU by December 2020. The revised deal was defeated by 149 votes — ... ► Read more

  • The internet is now an arena for conflict, and we’re all caught up in it

    Most people think the internet operates as a kind of global public square. In reality, it’s become a divided arena where conflict between nation states plays out. Nation states run covert operations on the same platforms we use to post cat videos and exchange gossip. And if we’re not aware of it, we could be unwittingly used as pawns for the wrong side. How did we get here? It’s complicated, but let’s walk through some ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: Theresa May secures “legally binding” committment from EU over Irish backstop

    British Prime Minister Theresa May says she has secured a “legally binding” commitment from the European Union that an alternative arrangement to the Irish backstop will be agreed upon by 2020. The Irish backstop is essentially an insurance policy that will allow Northern Ireland to remain in the EU Customs Union indefinitely. The backstop is designed to prevent a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which experts and ... ► Read more

  • Over 15,000 Russians protest “sovereign internet” bill

    Thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow and two other cities on Sunday to rally against tighter internet restrictions, in some of the biggest protests in the Russian capital in years. Lawmakers last month backed tighter internet controls contained in legislation they say is necessary to prevent foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs. But some Russian media likened it to an online “iron curtain”, and critics say it can be used to stifle dissent. ... ► Read more

  • Crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane’s black boxes found

    The black boxes of a crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane have been recovered, the African airline announced on Monday (local time). The state-owned airline tweeted: Now that the black boxes have been retrieved, investigators can determine what exactly caused the crash, which killed all 157 people onboard. Given that weather conditions were fine when the plane left Addis Ababa for Nairobi, there has been speculation the accident was caused by either a technical fault or pilot ... ► Read more

  • Controversy over Trump plan to bill allies for hosting American troops

    The Trump administration is preparing demands that South Korea, Germany, Japan and, eventually, other countries hosting American troops pay the full cost of the deployment and an additional 50%, according to administration officials. Under the direction of United States President Donald Trump, some countries would be asked to pay up to six times as much as they currently pay under the new approach. This move is intended to pressure the US’ NATO partners into accelerating ... ► Read more

  • “A form of madness”: Turnbull says party rivals feared he would win election

    Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he was ousted by his Liberal colleagues because they thought he would win the next federal election. Mr Turnbull told the BBC “internal politics of the Liberal Party” led to his demise as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister. “As I said at the time it was essentially a form of madness that occurred, whipped up internally and also amplified by voices in the media,” Mr Turnbull told the Politics Live ... ► Read more

  • Hundreds of IS fighters surrender in Baghouz, Syria

    Hundreds of Islamic State (IS) fighters have surrendered or been captured during evacuations of Baghouz, the last of the IS-held territory in Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia has the Baghouz enclave under siege, but slowed its assaults to allow civilians to evacuate. According to the SDF, among the 2,000 evacuees on Wednesday were hundreds of IS fighters who surrendered, while some 400 others were captured trying to escape. Approximately 6,500 people were evacuated ... ► Read more

  • Trump to be “very disappointed” if North Korea building rocket site

    United States President Donald Trump says he would be “very disappointed” if North Korea is redeveloping a missile launch site that was partially dismantled last year. Freshly released satellite images appear to show the reconstruction of the Tongchang-ri launch site near the North Korea-China border. Pyongyang started dismantling the site following last year’s historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Chairman Kim Jong-un. Released by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) — ... ► Read more

  • Tories suspend 14 members for Islamophobia

    The British Conservative Party has suspended 14 members in relation to Islamophobic messages posted in a Facebook group. “When we find evidence of members making offensive or inappropriate comments, we consistently take decisive action,” a Tory spokesperson said. The messages were posted in the “Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group” — which is not affiliated with the MP or the Conservative Party. Conservative Party members identified as using the page have been suspended, pending an investigation. Prior ... ► Read more

  • WATCH: HBO releases Game of Thrones season 8 trailer

    With just over one month to go before its premiere, Game of Thrones is finally giving fans a peek at what to expect in its final season. The HBO hit series has released a full trailer for its eighth and final season, showing new footage and underscoring the stakes as the White Walkers launch their long-awaited assault on the Seven Kingdoms. From the look of things in the trailer, the show plans to be going ... ► Read more

  • Counter-terror officers investigate explosive packages at Heathrow, Waterloo, London City Airport

    Counter-terror police are investigating three packages containing explosives found at Heathrow Airport, London City Airport and Waterloo station. The “small improvised explosive devices” were found in A4 postal bags, the Metropolitan Police said. The Force’s Counter Terrorism Command is treating it as a “linked series” and “keeping an open mind” about motives. Irish police are assisting the Met as the Heathrow and Waterloo packages had Republic of Ireland stamps. Heathrow’s Compass Centre was evacuated after ... ► Read more

  • House Democrats open corruption probe into Trump

    The United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary has opened an investigation into allegations of corruption against President Donald Trump and his administration. On Monday (local time) the Judiciary Committee demanded documents from the White House, and the President’s company, charity, transition team, and election campaign, as well as several of his associates and both adult sons. Committee chairman Jerry Nadler opened the probe with letters to 81 people and entities seeking documents ... ► Read more

  • Prince Charles charity linked to Russian money laundering network

    Key points A Moscow-based investment bank called Troika Dialog managed a network of offshore companies which funnelled money across Europe and the US. Some of the offshore companies were involved in money laundering. Dirty money was mixed with legitimate money and distributed via screen companies, making it impossible to trace back to the source. End recipients most likely were not aware of any wrongdoing. A charity run by Prince Charles was one such recipient. It ... ► Read more

  • Venezuela: Guaido calls for mass protests on return

    Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for mass protests across the country on Monday, following a week-long tour of South American allies. In January this year, the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared incumbent President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election fraudulent, and proclaimed Mr Guaido as interim President in accordance with the country’s constitution. Mr Guaido has been recognised by more than 50 countries as the interim President of Venezuela, and defied a travel ban imposed by President ... ► Read more

  • Malaysia open to resuming MH370 search if leads are “credible”

    Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke has said the Malaysian Government would consider resuming the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 if it receives viable proposals or credible leads. Flight MH370 disappeared while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board, including three Australian couples. Malaysia, China and Australia called off their $200 million underwater search in January 2017 after it yielded no results. Mr Loke ... ► Read more

  • Australia, Indonesia to sign delayed free trade deal

    Australia and Indonesia are just days away from signing a landmark free trade deal to bring new access to markets for agriculture and education. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, accompanied by Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo, will sign the deal alongside his Indonesian counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita in Jakarta on Monday. “This is a good deal for Indonesia in terms of growing their economic opportunity and investment,” Senator Birmingham told reporters in Launceston on Friday. “This is ... ► Read more

  • US-NK summit: leaders disagree over abrupt ending

    United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have given conflicting explanations for why their Thursday summit in Hanoi ended abruptly. Mr Trump claims that North Korea had demanded an end to US sanctions. “It was all about the sanctions,” he told reporters. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.” However, North Korea says it made “realistic proposals” at the summit. According to Mr Trump, Mr ... ► Read more

  • Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted on corruption charges

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, according to the country’s Attorney-General. Mr Netanyahu is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and given favours to improve his press coverage. Among the allegations is that he accepted expensive gifts including cigars, champagne and jewellery from Israeli-born film producer Arnon Milchan in return for assistance with an American visa. The Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, says ... ► Read more

  • “Peace gesture”: Pakistan to release caputred Indian pilot

    Pakistan will release a captured Indian pilot as a “peace gesture” on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said. Mr Khan revealed the decision in the National Assesmbly, saying that Pakistan was focused on de-escalation. “As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow,” Mr Khan told Pakistani lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday. He also repeated his call for the de-escalation of the situation, saying that Pakistan and India “have to ... ► Read more

  • Australia drops out of top 10 countries in rule of law index

    Australia has dropped out of the top 10 in global rankings on adherence to the rule of law, with annual global results showing more countries declined than improved their performance. Australia now stands at 11th place out of 126 countries in the World Justice Project index. The score places Australia second out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, and also 11th out of 38 high income countries. The country’s best result ... ► Read more

  • Trump-Kim summit 2.0: second day of talks to focus on denuclearisation

    Verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is expected to dominate the second and final day of talks between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Despite positive rhetoric, little progress has been made on that and other issues since the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last year. Wednesday’s meetings were limited to brief questions from reporters, one-on-one talks and a “social dinner”, which included US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ... ► Read more

  • Institutional structures create monsters like Pell

    For those who haven’t heard, the verdict on Cardinal Pell has just come out. Shocker — he’s been found guilty. If you’ve been living under a rock, Cardinal George Pell — the highest ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia — was accused of sexually assaulting underage boys a while ago. Strangely enough, he denied this claim. Back in December he was found guilty, and now that verdict has been released to the public. It’s ... ► Read more

  • Iranian FM resigns abruptly

    Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, an ally of moderate President Hassan Rouhani, unexpectedly announced he was stepping down in a social media post on Monday (local time). “I sincerely apologise for the inability to continue serving and for all the shortcomings during my service. I thank the Iranian nation and officials,” the 59-year-old diplomat wrote on Instagram. “Be happy and worthy,” he added. However, the withdrawal would only become valid if accepted by the ... ► Read more

  • May under pressure to delay Brexit as Corbyn announces support for new referendum

    British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced that Labour will support a second referendum on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union to prevent a “damaging Tory Brexit”. The party will back a second referendum if its own proposed Brexit agreement is rejected by Parliament on Wednesday (local time). Labour MP Emily Thornberry said that if the choice is between no deal or the Prime Minister’s deal, the public should make the decision. Pressure ... ► Read more

  • Microsoft to go ahead with defence contract despite employee outcry

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella defended the company’s multimillion-dollar contract with the Pentagon to supply augmented reality (AR) headsets in an interview with CNN Business on Monday (local time). Last week, dozens of employees publicly criticised that same contract and called for the company to end its ties with the United States military. On Friday (local time), a group of about 50 Microsoft workers published a letter demanding that the company pull out of its nearly ... ► Read more

  • UN Secretary General: “We need a new vision for arms control”

    United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday (local time) warned pillars of “international arms control architecture are collapsing” and called on the United States and Russia to salvage the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. During an address at the UN’s Conference on Disarmament, Mr Guterres said the world “simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War”. “I will be blunt. Key components of the ... ► Read more

  • Lawsuit claims Trump kissed campaign worker without consent

    A woman who worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has sued the President, accusing him of kissing her without consent before a 2016 rally in Tampa, Florida. Alva Johnson said in the lawsuit that the alleged incident was “part of a pattern of predatory and harassing behavior towards women” by Mr Trump. “This accusation is absurd on its face,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “This never happened and is directly contradicted ... ► Read more

  • Brexit could be delayed until 2021, as PM postpones vote

    Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union could be delayed until 2021, according to senior EU officials. The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but Prime Minister Theresa May has been unable to secure the support of the British Parliament for her Brexit deal. Extending the negotiating period by a further 21 months is the EU’s default position, but would mean that the UK remains within the EU while plans ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 17 February – 23 February 2019

    Liberals, Nationals, Labor targeted in “sophisticated” cyber attack, says PM The Liberal, National and Labor parties were all targeted in a recent cyber attack on Federal Parliament, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. ABF admits “human error” contributed to Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have admitted “human error” in their agency’s handling of Melbourne refugee Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, saying processes that might have prevented ... ► Read more

  • Government seeks urgent clarification on Chinese ban of Australian coal imports

    Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) are seeking urgent clarification from China regarding reports of a ban on Australian coal. It was reported yesterday that imports of Australian coal had been banned in China’s northern port of Dalian, and that coal imports from all sources would be capped at 12 million tonnes for 2019, according to a customs official. It is now being reported that a total of five northeastern Chinese ... ► Read more

  • Kazakh President fires government

    Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev fired the Government on Thursday (local time) over what he described as its failure to improve living standards and make positive changes in the country. “In many areas of the economy, despite the adoption of many laws and government decisions, positive changes have not been achieved,” the President said. Mr Nazarbayev wrote on the presidential website that he will soon propose “a range of measures to strengthen social welfare and raise ... ► Read more

  • Personae non grata — how ISIS members are being stripped of their citizenship and potentially left stateless

    Neil Prakash, Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana share a lot in common. All three were born in western countries. They all left their home countries to join Islamic State. And they have all now been stripped of their citizenships. Mr Prakash was born in Melbourne, Australia. He converted to Islam in 2012 and left for Syria in 2013. Ms Begum was born in the United Kingdom and flew to Syria with two friends in 2015, ... ► Read more

  • Russia will respond in kind if US deploys missiles in Europe, says Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a stark warning to the United States during his annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly. Mr Putin said that any US missile deployments in Europe would be considered a “serious threat”, and that Moscow would retaliate in kind by targeting Western capitals with Russia’s new weaponry. “I’m saying this clearly and openly, Russia will be forced to deploy weapons that can be used… against the decision-making centres that are ... ► Read more

  • Bernie Sanders to contest Democratic presidential primaries in 2020

    United States Senator Bernie Sanders has announced a second tilt at securing the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020. The democratic socialist unsuccessfully challenged Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, but will attempt to leverage the revived left-wing elements of the party. In an email to supporters, the 77-year-old Vermont Senator pledged to build a vast grassroots movement to challenge the special interests he says dominate politics. The primaries and caucuses that determine the Democratic ... ► Read more

  • UK strips ISIS teen of British citizenship

    The United Kingdom has cancelled the citizenship of a London teenager who left Britain to join Islamic State (IS), according to her family’s lawyer. Shamima Begum left Britain four years ago, when she was 15, to join the fundamentalist terrorist organisation. Ms Begum was found in a refugee camp in Syria by The Times newspaper this month. Now 19, Ms Begum recently gave birth to a baby boy, and wants to return to the UK. She says ... ► Read more

  • BOM: Tropical Cyclone Oma could hit southern Queensland coast

    Severe Tropical Cyclone Oma could possibly cross the southern Queensland coast, after changing direction overnight, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says. The category three system is currently off New Caledonia, about 1,120 kilometres north-east of Brisbane. BOM said it was no longer expected to turn south-east towards New Zealand over the weekend. Forecaster Sam Campbell said instead the system was moving south-west. He said a cyclone watch may be issued this afternoon ahead of gale ... ► Read more

  • British Labour MPs quit party over Brexit and anti-semitism

    Seven British Labour MPs have quit the party and formed a group of independents, citing Labour’s Brexit policy and failure to address anti-semitism among its membership as the reasons for the split. “Politics is broken, it doesn’t have to be this way, let’s change it,” said MP Chuka Umunna at the launch of the Independent Group. Despite comparisons with the “Gang of Four”, who left Labour in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party and ... ► Read more

  • Accused Melbourne child abuser Malka Leifer refused bail by Israeli court

    The Jerusalem District Court in Israel has denied bail to former Melbourne school principal and accused child sexual abuser Malka Leifer, who is fighting against extradition to Australia. Ms Leifer has been charged with 74 counts of child sexual abuse relating to allegations that she abused female students at the Jewish orthodox Adass Israel school in Melbourne. Judge Ram Wingrad ruled that she should remain in custody, ahead of an extradition hearing scheduled for 6 ... ► Read more

  • Sailor in Life’s iconic Times Square kissing photo dies

    George Mendonsa had a seizure on Sunday (local time) after falling at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Rhode Island, his daughter Sharon Molleur said. In the famous image, one of four taken by Alfred Eisenstadt for Life magazine, Mr Mendonsa is seen ecstatically kissing a woman in a white nurse’s uniform. The picture was published by Life as V-J Day in Times Square, referring to the day Japan surrendered to the US. The iconic ... ► Read more

  • ABF admits “human error” contributed to Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention

    Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have admitted “human error” in their agency’s handling of Melbourne refugee Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, saying processes that might have prevented him from being detained in Thailand “broke down”. Mr al-Araibi spent two months in a Bangkok prison after having an Interpol red notice issued against him, despite being recognised as a refugee. He was released last week after a decision by Thai officials not to pursue extradition proceedings. “Having reviewed ... ► Read more

  • Merkel rejects US demand for withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected the United States’ demands that its European allies withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, defending the use of multilateral instruments to ease geopolitical tensions. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Dr Merkel said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action remains the best way of containing Iran’s nuclear programme, reaffirming Germany’s commitment to the agreement despite the US’ withdrawal. “I see [Iran’s] ballistic missile programme, I see Iran ... ► Read more

  • Labor, crossbench to probe Government for awarding security contracts to Paladin Group

    Labor and the crossbench plan to zero in on the awarding of contracts for security services on Manus Island as Senate estimates gets underway today. It is the final week of estimates hearings before the federal election, and the answers provided will help shape the debate around border protection in the upcoming election campaign. More than $420 million over nearly two years is going to a relatively unknown company, the Paladin Group, that was registered ... ► Read more

  • Polish PM calls off Israel visit after Netanyahu’s holocaust collaboration comment

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has cancelled a high-level visit to Israel after Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Poles collaborated with the Nazis”. Mr Netanyahu’s comment sparked outrage in Poland, which suffered the murders of millions of both Jewish and ethnic Poles during Nazi occupation. The Israeli Prime Minister’s office has said Mr Netanyahu was “misquoted” by Haaretz, the oldest and one of the most-read newspapers in Israel. “Netanyahu spoke of Poles and not ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 10 February – 16 February 2019

    Government loses vote on own legislation as refugee treatment bill jumps constitutional hurdle The Federal Government has lost a vote on its own legislation for the first time in 78 years. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Trump to declare national emergency to build border wall United States President Donald Trump will sign a border security bill to dodge another government shutdown and declare a national emergency to fund the construction of his wall ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: embarrassment as MPs vote against Government’s negotiating strategy

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered an embarrassing defeat in the House of Commons, with MPs refusing to endorse the Government’s Brexit negotiating strategy. MPs voted 303 to 258 against a non-binding motion to endorse the Prime Minister’s approach to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Downing Street confirmed that Ms May will maintain her current approach to the negotiations, which include seeking legally-binding changes to controversial provisions relating to the UK’s ... ► Read more

  • “Left only with bones”: starving 12-year-old sobering reminder of Yemen’s desolation

    Displaced by war, starving and living under a tree, 12-year-old Fatima Qoba weighed just 10kg when she was carried into a Yemeni malnutrition clinic. “All the fat reserves in her body have been used up, she is left only with bones,” said Makiah al-Aslami, a doctor and head of the clinic in northwest Yemen. “She has the most extreme form of malnutrition.” Qoba’s slide into starvation is typical of what is happening in much of ... ► Read more

  • Airbus to cease A380 production in 2021

    Airbus’ superjumbo A380 will stop being made in 2021 amid a sales slump brought on by airlines opting for smaller, more fuel-efficient aircrafts. The A380 is the world’s largest passenger jet with a capacity of over 500 seats. After a decade of manufacturing it, Airbus announced in a statement that key client Emirates is cutting back its orders for the plane, and as a result “we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis ... ► Read more

  • Trump to declare national emergency to build border wall

    United States President Donald Trump will sign a border security bill to dodge another government shutdown and declare a national emergency to fund the construction of his wall along the US-Mexico border. The border security bill is essentially compromise legislation which includes US$1.3 billion (AU$1.8 billion) for border security measures such as physical barriers, but does not allot funds for Mr Trump’s wall. “The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the ... ► Read more

  • Rare black leopard confirmed in Africa for first time in over a century

    A team lead by Kenya-based biologist Nick Pilford has captured images of a juvenile black leopard, marking the first time since 1909 that a sighting has been confirmed. Using camera traps deployed throughout the bushlands of Loisaba Conservancy in central Kenya in early 2018, the team now has proof of a rare melanistic leopard — commonly referred to as a black panther, an umbrella term for any melanistic big cat. The juvenile female was travelling ... ► Read more

  • British Government admits it has “run out of time” to find ships to bring in extra supplies after no-deal Brexit

    British Government officials have admitted that they have “run out of time” to find ships to bring in additional emergency supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The admission comes after the Government cancelled a contract with Seaborne Freight to operate additional roll-on-roll-off ferry services between Ramsgate in England and Ostend in Belgium. The contract was signed in response to fears of reduced capacity at Calais — the busiest port on the English Channel. ... ► Read more

  • Russia plans temporary Internet cut-off in “sovereign Internet” test

    Russia is planning to temporarily disconnect from the global Internet as part of a test of its cyber-defences. The test is to determine whether Russia has the technical capability to maintain a “sovereign Internet”, with a draft law introduced to the Russian Parliament last year calling for a domestic network that is able to operate independently. During the test, data being transmitted between Russian devices will stay within the country rather than be routed internationally. ... ► Read more

  • Macedonia officially changes name to North Macedonia

    The Macedonian Government says the balkan country is now officially renamed North Macedonia, under an agreement to normalise relations with Greece that also allows it to enter NATO. A Government press release says that as of Tuesday, the country is officially called the Republic of North Macedonia. An official said the decision would be published in the Government’s gazette later on Tuesday (local time). As of Wednesday (local time), the new name will be incorporated ... ► Read more

  • Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman sentenced to life imprisonment

    Infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been sentenced to life in prison, after a US court found him guilty of drug trafficking. Jurors, whose identities are confidential, found Mr Guzman guilty on all 10 counts after deliberating for six days. Authorities have described the evidence, which dates back to the late 1980s, as an “avalanche”. Mr Guzman reportedly showed no emotion while the verdict was read. However, once the Jury left the ... ► Read more

  • Corruption trial of former Malaysian PM postponed

    The corruption trial of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been postponed, after his lawyers filed an application to delay the trial. Mr Najib has been charged over his alleged involvement in the 1MDB state development fund scandal, in which more than US $4.5 billion of public money was embezzled. He is accused of receiving almost a quarter of 1MDB’s funds into his personal bank accounts, and faces 42 charges of corruption, money laundering ... ► Read more

  • Amnesty International: Myanmar military shelling villages

    Security forces in Myanmar have bombed villages and are blocking civilians from accessing food and humanitarian assistance amid a crackdown targeting rebels in the troubled Rakhine State, Amnesty International says. Citing villagers and local activists, the human rights watchdog said soldiers were also using vague and repressive laws to detain civilians as part of the offensive that began on January 4, when Arakan Army guerrillas raided police stations and killed 13 officers. At least 5200 ... ► Read more

  • Hakeem al-Araibi on Melbourne-bound flight after extradition case dismissed

    Melbourne-based refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is headed home after his extradition case — instigated by an Interpol Red Notice issued by his native Bahrain — was dismissed by the Thai Attorney-General. Mr al-Araibi boarded a Thai Airways flight a little after midnight (local time) and is expected to land in Melbourne at about 1:00pm, where a crowd of supporters, including the Pascoe Vale Football Club and former Socceroos captain Craig Foster, will be waiting to meet him. ... ► Read more

  • Universal sues Clive Palmer over use of Twisted Sister hit

    Universal Music is suing Clive Palmer for copyright infringement, after the businessman used a reworked version of Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” to promote the United Australia Party. Universal bought the publishing rights to the song from Twisted Sister’s frontman and songwriter Dee Snider in 2015, and filed the suit last week. The band has publicly denounced the cover, with band manager and guitarist John Finch saying that the band “have ... ► Read more

  • EU Parliament Brexit rep welcomes Corbyn’s new exit plan

    The European Parliament’s Brexit representative, Guy Verhofstadt, has welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s new plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The British Labour opposition leader wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May and called for a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, close alignment with the single market underpinned by “shares institutions”, protections on workers’ rights, and British participation in some EU agencies. In January the British Parliament rejected Ms May’s proposed withdrawal agreement, which would ... ► Read more

  • Australia rejects Thailand’s claim it issued Interpol Red Notice against refugee footballer

    The Australian Embassy in Thailand has rejected a claim by the Thai Government that Canberra issued an Interpol arrest warrant for Melbourne-based refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi. Mr al-Araibi, who is wanted in his native Bahrain, was arrested by Thai authorities in November 2018 while on his honeymoon. The Thai Government said Mr al-Araibi was arrested at the request of the Australian Government, claiming that Australia alerted Thai authorities to the footballer’s travel. The Australian Embassy ... ► Read more

  • Netherlands “confident” Russia will agree to MH17 talks

    The Dutch Government says it is “increasingly confident” that Russian officials will soon agree to meet for private talks about who is responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014. A Dutch-led international investigation has concluded that the airliner was shot down using a Soviet-made surface-to-air BUK missile system. However, Russia vehemently denies any involvement. “We are in contact with Russia over national accountability via diplomatic channels,” a Dutch Foreign Ministry spokeswoman ... ► Read more

  • Venezuelan military blocks aid route bridge

    The Venezuelan military has blocked a border bridge with Colombia to stop an aid convoy organised by the country’s opposition. Troops made make-shift barriers by using shipping containers and a tanker of sorts, positioning them in a way that blocks all vehicle access across the bridge. United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to demand the blockade be removed. Opposition figures have called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to let the aid ... ► Read more

  • Trump: Islamic State will be eradicated from Syria, Iraq next week

    United States President Donald Trump has said the White House is poised to make an announcement next week that all territory formerly controlled by Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in Syria will be reclaimed. “The United States military, our coalition partners and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” he said at the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial on Wednesday (local time). “It should ... ► Read more

  • “Special place in hell” for Brexit promoters with no exit plan, says EU chief negotiator

    European Council President Donald Tusk has said that there is a “special place in hell” for those who promoted the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union without having a plan to carry it out. During a press conference with Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadker, Mr Tusk said they had discussed how to respond to the “possible fiasco” of a no-deal Brexit, under which the EU-UK relationship would end with no agreement on their ... ► Read more

  • Super Bowl 2019: did you catch the game within the game?

    It’s that time for the year again to dissect the NFL extravaganza — the Super Bowl of 2019. For the record, the Patriots beat the Rams in a dour defensive display. But this article isn’t about the game or the much debated halftime performance by Maroon 5. The real game is played in the ad breaks, or at least that’s what ad executives think. Companies spend just over $US5 million ($AU7 million) for a 30 second ... ► Read more

  • SOTU: Trump announces second North Korea summit

    United States President Donald Trump has announced a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held 27-28 February. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night (local time), Mr Trump said if it were not for his election, the US and North Korea would be at war. “Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months,” he said. “If ... ► Read more

  • Foreign Minister begins tour of the Pacific

    Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne began a tour of the Pacific with a visit to Solomon Islands yesterday. Senator Payne met with Solomon Islands caretaker Prime Minister Rick Hou “to discuss Australia’s Pacific initiatives and step-up in the region, as well as the upcoming [Solomon Islands] election”, she tweeted. The Foreign Minister joined Prime Minister Hou at a ground-breaking ceremony in the country’s capital Honiara to mark the next phase of the Coral Sea cable ... ► Read more

  • No hard Irish border, vows Theresa May

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed that there will be no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. “[I] affirm my commitment to delivering a Brexit that ensures no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland — which is unshakable,” she told an audience of business leaders in the Northern Irish capital Belfast on Tuesday (local time). Last month British ... ► Read more

  • NZ Trade Minister visits Adelaide for talks

    New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker will land in Adelaide on Wednesday to discuss further integration of the Australian and New Zealand economies. Mr Parker will meet with Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and Labor’s trade spokesman Jason Clare. “We will discuss the trade outlook for 2019, including the World Trade Organisation, Brexit, the CPTPP and other issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region such as progress on Pacer Plus and how we can work together,” Mr ... ► Read more

  • Report: extreme weather cost insurers $1.2 billion in 2018

    A report by the Climate Council found Australian insurance companies paid out at least $1.2 billion in claims because of damage caused by extreme weather events in 2018. The report identified an increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather, noting that the past four years have been the hottest on record in terms of global surface temperatures. The report’s key findings are: The past four years have been the four hottest on record ... ► Read more

  • “Tit-for-tat”: Russian Defence Minister announces plan to create new land-based missiles

    Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Tuesday that Russia plans to develop new land-based missiles, four days after Washington and Moscow suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. General Shoigu said the new missiles were in response to the United States’ development of missiles banned under the INF. “[The US] are actively working on creating ground-based missiles with the range capability of over 500km, which is outside the treaty-stipulated limitations,” he said. “In this ... ► Read more

  • Thai PM breaks silence on Hakeem al-Araibi

    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has told reporters not to “jump to conclusions” regarding the verdict of detained refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi after an extradition hearing began in Bangkok court on Monday. Breaking his silence for the first time since Mr al-Araibi was detained on November 27, the Prime Minister said Thailand was working with Australia and Bahrain to find a solution. “Do not jump to conclusions about the verdict and do not politicise this,” ... ► Read more