World

  • US announces new charges against Julian Assange

    The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced 17 new espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as it seeks to extradite him from the United Kingdom. The new indictment charges Mr Assange for violating the US Espionage Act of 1917 by publishing thousands of classified documents. In the 18-count superseding indictment, the DOJ alleges Mr Assange directed former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in ... ► Read more

  • Banned CFC emissions traced to eastern China

    Researchers say they have traced the major sources of a global increase in emissions of the ozone-depleting gas CFC-11 to eastern China. According to research published in Nature, global emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) have increased since 2013, and the results indicate a violation of the universally-ratified 1980 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol has been successful in reducing CFC emissions and restoring the ozone layer, which absorbs most ... ► Read more

  • Eight dead, 737 injured in Jakarta riots

    At least eight people have been killed during two days of post-election rioting in the capital of Indonesia, with hundreds more requiring medical attention, according to authorities. Jakarta’s Governor Anies Baswedan revealed the updated death toll while visiting the centre of the unrest on Thursday, after the violence had subsided. “The latest death toll is eight people,” he said. “As per 11 am today, 737 people have received medical treatment at hospitals around this area. ... ► Read more

  • Remains of last US transatlantic slave ship identified on Alabama coast

    Researchers on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico have identified the wreck of the last ship known to have carried slaves from Africa to the United States. In a statement on Wednesday the Alabama Historical Commission said the remains of the schooner Clotilda had been identified and verified near the port city of Mobile, after months of assessment. “The discovery of the Clotilda is an extraordinary archaeological find,” said Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, executive ... ► Read more

  • UN demands UK hand Chagos Islands to Mauritius

    The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution demanding that the United Kingdom give control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. The non-binding resolution was supported by 116 states, with only six voting against the resolution, and 56 abstentions, including France and Germany. Mauritius claims it was forced to give up the Indian Ocean archipelago in 1965 in exchange for the country’s independence from the UK. Today, the islands form the UK’s British Indian ... ► Read more

  • Jamie Oliver’s UK restaurant chain collapses

    Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is “devastated” after his restaurant group entered administration, putting 1,000 people out of work. “I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration,” Jamie Oliver tweeted. “I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years.” The group includes the Jamie’s Italian chain, Barbecoa and Fifteen, with 22 of the ... ► Read more

  • “One last chance” at Brexit, warns PM

    MPs have “one last chance” to deliver Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned, urging them to support what she called a “new deal”. In early June the Prime Minister will introduce to Parliament the legislation required to give effect to the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the European Union. During a speech in London, Ms May appealed to MPs, saying a negotiated withdrawal from the EU would be “dead in the water” if ... ► Read more

  • Austrian Chancellor to appoint caretaker gov’t in wake of scandal

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced he will appoint a caretaker government to be in place for three months, after a scandal broke down the coalition between his Austrian People’s Party and the Freedom Party of Austria. The relationship between the People’s Party and the Freedom Party deteriorated in the wake of a video scandal that forced Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache to resign on Saturday. The video showed Mr Strache offering political favours to a ... ► Read more

  • Formula One legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70

    Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda passed away “peacefully” and surrounded by his family on Monday (local time). The Austrian, widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, died aged 70, his lawyers and a family spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday. “With deep sadness we announce that our beloved Niki passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Monday,” a spokesperson for Mr Lauda’s airline Laudamotion said. “His unique achievements as an athlete ... ► Read more

  • North Korea calls US “a gangster country” over ship seizure

    North Korea has described the United States as “a gangster country” over the seizure of a North Korean cargo ship, and called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take “urgent measures” to stabilise the Korean Peninsula. In a letter to Mr Guterres obtained by The Associated Press, North Korea’s Ambassador to the UN, Kim Song, wrote that the Trump Administration committed “an unlawful and outrageous act” by taking over the ship Wise Honest and moving ... ► Read more

  • Iranian FM dismisses Trump’s “genocidal taunts”

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has called recent threats made by United States President Donald Trump “genocidal taunts”, and cautioned him against making future threats. Amid a flare up in tensions between Washington and Tehran, Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday (local time): Referring to US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “B_Team”, Mr Zarif wrote on Twitter on Monday: Relations between the ... ► Read more

  • Man scales Eiffel Tower prompting evacuations

    The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Monday (local time) after a man climbed it and refused to descend for several hours. The man did not have any equipment when he scaled the Parisian landmark, almost reaching the top. Police said the man was eventually convinced by negotiators to return to the ground with specialists from the Paris Fire Brigade. The tower’s management said the popular tourist attraction would be reopened on Tuesday morning as usual ... ► Read more

  • Ukraine: Zelensky dissolves Rada on inauguration day

    Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky announced the dissolution of the country’s Rada (parliament) during his inaugral speech on Monday (local time). Mr Zelensky, a comedian with no political experience, does not hold a parliamentary majority, making it difficult for him to pass any reforms. His party currently holds no seats at all in the Rada, which is dominated by allies of former President Petro Poroshenko. By calling a snap election, President Zelensky might be able ... ► Read more

  • Swiss voters back EU gun control regulations

    Voters in Switzerland have approved a referendum to tighten gun laws in conformity with European Union regulations. Almost 64% of voters in Sunday’s referendum to introduce tougher restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it risked being removed from the open-border Schengen Area if it had voted against “no” in the referendum. Switzerland ranks highly by private gun ownership in Europe, with an estimated 48% of Swiss ... ► Read more

  • 16 tourists injured in bomb blast near Giza pyramids

    An explosion targeting a tourist bus has injured at least 17 people near the pyramids at Giza in Egypt on Sunday. Most suffered minor injuries while three have been treated in hospital. The explosive device detonated close to the fence of the Grand Egyptian Museum as the bus was passing. A witness said he heard a “very loud explosion” while in traffic near the site of the blast. According to state broadcaster Nile News TV, ... ► Read more

  • Trump signs order barring US telcos from using foreign equipment

    United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday (local time) intended to bar American telecommunications networks from using equipment provided by foreign suppliers. Executive order 13873 declares a “national emergency” and claims that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services”. The order directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to prepare rules that restrict the purchase of information and communications technology from companies “owned by, controlled ... ► Read more

  • Man killed in Bavarian crossbow murder-suicide led medieval sex cult

    The 53-year-old man killed in a crossbow murder-suicide pact in Bavaria, Germany, led a cultish group based around medieval folklore and treated the women around him like slaves, according to reports. Torsten W and two women — Kerstin E, 33 and Farina C, 30 — were found dead in a hotel room in Passau on Saturday, impaled with crossbow bolts. Three crossbows were found in the room, two of which had been used. Torsten W ... ► Read more

  • Australia took in accused Rwandan terrorists as part of US “people swap”

    Australia reportedly resettled two Rwandan men accused of murdering eight tourists as part of the “people swap” deal with the United States that was brokered by the Coalition Government. American news outlet Politico reported that Leonidas Bimenyimana and Gregoire Nyaminani were relocated to Australia and accepted as “humanitarian” entrants. In 1999 the two men were charged with terrorism offences by US prosecutors for murdering the tourists, including two Americans, with machetes and axes. They were ... ► Read more

  • Pacific Islands ask “bigger countries” to do more to tackle climate change

    A delegation of Pacific Island nations has called on “bigger countries” in the region to take a stronger approach to climate change. During a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday, Australia’s pacific neighbours warned that rising sea levels will destroy their communities unless more is done to respond to climate change. Nauruan President and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Baron Waqa implied Australia could be doing more to make climate change ... ► Read more

  • Boiling point: US withdraws all “non-emergency” personnel from Iraq, Iran warns of “full-scale” war

    Tensions between Washington and Tehran are nearing boiling point, with the US ordering the withdrawal of all “non-emergency employees” and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander warning “full-scale confrontation” is possible. “Ensuring the safety of US Government personnel and citizens is our highest priority … and we want to reduce the risk of harm,” a US State Department spokesman said of the withdrawal on Wednesday (local time). Following the US’ announcement, the Commander-in-Chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary ... ► Read more

  • Putin wants to “fully restore” US-Russia relations

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would like to “fully restore” relations with the United States and believes that his US counterpart Donald Trump wants to do the same. Mr Putin on Tuesday (local time) told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he came to that conclusion after a phone call with Trump a few days ago. The Russian President, speaking ahead of a meeting with Secretary Pompeo, also said that his country had ... ► Read more

  • “A little squabble”: Trump downplays trade war with China

    United States President Donald Trump has downplayed the US-China trade war following Beijing’s counter-tariff hike announcement, which saw over $US1 trillion wiped off stock values around the world yesterday. “We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very, very unfairly for many decades,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday (local time). “I think it’s going to turn out extremely well, we’re in a strong position.” He described his ... ► Read more

  • Two more bodies found in connection with German crossbow deaths

    A further two bodies have been found as police investigate the deaths of three people discovered in a Bavarian hotel room who had been impaled with crossbow bolts. The two women were found dead at a flat in Wittingen, Lower Saxony, which belongs to one of the three people killed almost 700 km away at the hotel in Passau, Bavaria on Saturday. Police said they were unable to immediately identify the additional bodies, but confirmed ... ► Read more

  • Sweden reopens rape investigation involving Julian Assange

    An investigation by Swedish prosecutors into a rape allegation made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010 has been reopened. The inquiry was revived at the request of the alleged victim’s lawyer. Mr Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. The 47-year-old was evicted last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions. ... ► Read more

  • US-China trade war: global markets tumble

    Global equities have tumbled amid an escalation in the United States-China trade war that saw more than $US1 trillion wiped off stock values overnight. China announced it will impose tariffs of 5%-25% on $US60 billion worth of US goods, including frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas. “China’s adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism,” the Chinese Ministry of Finance said. “China hopes the US will get back to the right ... ► Read more

  • Three bodies impaled with crossbow bolts found in German hotel

    Three bodies were found impaled with crossbow bolts in a hotel room in Germany on Saturday (local time). A maid on cleaning duties at the hotel in Passau, Bavaria, found the bodies and two crossbows in the room. The victims were a 53-year-old-man and two women aged 33 and 30, all German citizens. The relationship between the guests has not yet been established, but the 30-year-old woman was from Lower Saxony and the other two ... ► Read more

  • Six dead in attack outside Catholic church in Burkina Faso

    Gunmen have killed six people, including a priest, in an attack outside a Catholic church in Burkina Faso, according to the Government. Attendees were leaving the church in Dablo at about 9:00 am on Sunday when they were encircled by about 20 men, who shot six dead. The attackers then burned the church, looted stores and left. It is the second attack on Christians in two weeks, as the country struggles against increasing Islamic militancy. ... ► Read more

  • Chelsea Manning released from jail after refusing to testify

    Former United States intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from jail, despite refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks. The 31-year-old was held in custody for 62 days after a Virginia judge found her in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena. Ms Manning will be required to appear before a grand jury on 16 May, having been served with another subpoena prior to her release on Thursday. “Today marked ... ► Read more

  • US tariff increase on Chinese imports to take effect on Friday

    The United States’ tariff increase to 25% on US $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will take effect on Friday (Washington time), heightening tensions in the ongoing Sino-American trade war. With no action from the Trump administration to cancel the increase, US Customs and Border Protection will impose tariffs of 25% on affected Chinese imports from midnight on Friday. Relevant goods leaving China before midnight will be subject to the original 10% tariff. More than ... ► Read more

  • Chinese media mocks Australian Government in WeChat posts

    The Australian Government has been targeted by online propaganda emanating from social media accounts linked to the Chinese Communist Party, a research paper delivered at today’s Safeguarding Australia Summit found. “Our evidence suggests that accounts aligned more closely with the Government in Beijing have a clear anti-Liberal story coming out of them,” said Dr Michael Jensen, a senior research fellow at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, who co-authored the paper ... ► Read more

  • Trump blocks release of unredacted Mueller report; House Judiciary Committee finds US A-G in contempt

    United States President Donald Trump has invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of the unredacted report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee sought the unredacted report from Attorney-General William Barr, but negotiations between the committee and the Justice Department broke down on Tuesday (local time). The Judiciary Committee has now recommended that the House of Representatives find Mr Barr in ... ► Read more

  • One million species threatened with extinction: intergovernmental report

    Nature is declining at unprecedented rates and the rate of extinctions is accelerating, warns a landmark report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). “The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment … presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, ... ► Read more

  • Duchess of Sussex gives birth to baby boy

    Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have welcomed their first child, with Buckingham Palace announcing the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a son at 5:26am (local time). Baby Sussex was born weighing seven pounds and three ounces (3.26kg). Mother and child are both reported to be doing well. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex used their own Instagram account, which they had launched days ahead of the Duchess’ due date, to initially announce their news ... ► Read more

  • No enforcement of death penalty for gay sex, claims Brunei

    Brunei will not enforce the death penalty for persons convicted of having gay sex, following fierce global criticism of the country by international human rights organisations and celebrities. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to legislation prohibiting gay sex, after celebrities called for tourists to boycott a string of luxury hotels owned by the country, of which the Sultan, as absolute monarch, is both head of state and head of government. ... ► Read more

  • Up to 41 killed in Moscow plane crash

    Up to 41 people were killed when a passenger aircraft made a crash landing and caught fire in Moscow on Sunday. Russia’s Investigative Committee reported that 37 people survived out of the 78 on board. Passengers were forced to evacuate the Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet using emergency slides. Shortly after the incident, national carrier Aeroflot released a statement saying that the plane was forced to turn back en route to Murmansk due to technical problems, but ... ► Read more

  • Israeli and Palestinian officials reach truce after weekend of violence

    Israeli and Palestinian officials have reached a ceasefire following three days of violence in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip. Four Israeli civilians and at least 19 Palestinians, half of whom were civilians, were killed. Fighting began after a sniper from the Islamic Jihad militant organisation shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers. Hamas official Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudri was killed by Israel in a targeted strike. The United States has backed Israel’s response, while Iran ... ► Read more

  • Facebook was right to ban Milo & company

    This is a conversation I have had many times with many people, and one thing I’ve observed is that there never seems to be one answer. That isn’t surprising because both core arguments make compelling cases. Basically, it comes down to whether you believe we should live in a society where individuals are allowed to say whatever they think or a society where community standards restrict what can be said. Here in Australia, section 18C ... ► Read more

  • Peter Mayhew, actor who played Chewbacca, dies aged 74

    Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, has died of a heart attack aged 74. He passed away at his home in Boyd, Texas on 30 April, a statement issued by his family said. The British-born actor played the role of Wookiee co-pilot and resistance fighter Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy from 1977–1983, as well as the prequel Return of the Sith (2005) and sequel The Force Awakens (2015). After he retired due to health ... ► Read more

  • Facebook bans prominent controversial figures in hate speech crackdown

    Facebook has permanently banned several prominent controversial figures in a crackdown on hate speech on the social network. In a statement on Thursday (local time), Facebook said it has “always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.” Among the most notable figures banned are far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who called the Sandy Hook school massacre in the United States “completely fake”; far-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, ... ► Read more

  • British Parliament declares climate change emergency

    British MPs have approved a motion requiring the Government to make proposals to “restore the UK’s natural environment”, following a week and a half of disruptive protests in London. Legislators backed opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s call for “rapid and dramatic action” to protect the environment, declaring a symbolic “environment and climate change emergency.” The non-binding motion calls on the Government to present proposals to Parliament in the next six months to “restore the UK’s natural ... ► Read more

  • Assange sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment over bail breach

    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment for disobeying an order to surrender to court in 2012. Mr Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 after the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that he should be extradited to Sweden for questioning over an alleged sexual assault. He claimed he was seeking political asylum because he believed his extradition to Sweden would eventually see him extradited ... ► Read more

  • UK: PM fires Defence Secretary over Huawei leak

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has fired her defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, saying an investigation suggested he was to blame for leaking discussions about Chinese telecoms company Huawei from her National Security Council. An investigation was launched last week after The Daily Telegraph first reported that the security council, which meets in private, had agreed to let Huawei participate in some aspects of Britain’s new 5G wireless communications network. The Government insists no decision has ... ► Read more

  • Putin enacts “internet sovereignty” bill

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (local time) signed into law a controversial bill that aims to isolate Russia’s internet. MPs first proposed the bill to tighten state control in response to an “aggressive” United States cybersecurity strategy. It has drawn criticism both domestically and internationally, with digital rights groups warning such legislation would lead to an isolated internet landscape similar to that of China. The law seeks to create an alternative domain name system ... ► Read more

  • Mueller frustrated over portrayal of Russian interference report

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is frustrated over the way his findings on Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election are being portrayed, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) official. Mr Mueller wrote to the DOJ after US Attorney-General William Barr issued a four-page summary of the special counsel’s conclusions about whether the campaign of current President Donald Trump colluded with Russia and whether the President had attempted to obstruct the investigation. ... ► Read more

  • Venezuela: rioting claimed to be part of coup attempt

    Violence broke out at anti-government protests in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Tuesday (local time), with President Nicolás Maduro claiming his government has suppressed a coup attempt. Following calls from opposition leader Juan Guaidó for the military to help him oust the incumbent president, several dozen armed troops accompanying Mr Guaidó clashed with pro-government soldiers at a rally outside La Carlota air base. Venezuela’s health services reported that at least 69 people were injured ... ► Read more

  • US police officer who shot Australian woman Justine Damond found guilty of murder

    Mohamed Noor, the former American police officer who shot and killed Australian woman Justine Damond, has been found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was found not guilty of second-degree murder. For these charges, Mr Noor is likely to face 10-15 years in gaol. The defence is yet to confirm whether an appeal will be lodged. On 15 July 2017, Ms Damond made an emergency call to report what she thought may have ... ► Read more

  • Whale found off Norway probably a Russian spy, says expert

    A beluga whale caught roaming Norway’s coast while donning a harness could be a Russian spy whale, according to a Norwegian expert. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said “Equipment St Petersburg” was written on the harness, which also featured a camera mount but no camera. Fisheries spokesman Joergen Ree Wiig said the harness was removed from the whale and that “people in Norway’s military have shown great interest” in the harness. Marine biology expert Professor ... ► Read more

  • ASX to open flat despite Wall Street gains

    Australian shares are expected to open flat despite gains on Wall Street overnight. The SPI200 futures contract was down 1 point, or 0.02%, at 6,341.0 at 0800 AEST, suggesting a little-changed start for the benchmark S&P/ASX200 on Tuesday. Wall Street closed at new record highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.04%, the S&P 500 up 0.11% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite up 0.19%. The Reserve Bank of Australia is due to release data ... ► Read more

  • Film director John Singleton dies at 51

    American Oscar-nominated director John Singleton has died at age 51 following a stroke last week that left him in a coma. “John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends,” Mr Singleton’s family told CNN in a statement. “We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia: At least 17 dead from floods and landslides

    At least 17 people have been killed on the Indonesian island of Sumatra as days of heavy rain triggered floods and landslides. The severe weather has also lead to the evacuation of about 13,000 people. Officials have said the full extent of the damage is not yet known, with some areas still inaccessible. Damage to bridges and roads has affected nine districts and towns across Bengkulu province. “The impact of this disaster may increase,” warned ... ► Read more

  • Sri Lanka: Easter attack death toll lowered by more than 100

    Sri Lankan authorities have lowered the death toll from last Sunday’s Easter bombings by 100 fatalities, blaming a calculation error for the mistake. The final death toll is now officially 253, with the Sri Lankan Government admitting that more than 100 bodies had been double-counted. “Many of the victims were badly mutilated,” the Health Ministry said. “There was double counting.” The initial death toll was reported as 359 but autopsies and DNA crosschecks resulted in ... ► Read more

  • Turkish nationals banned from Anzac Day Gallipoli dawn service

    The Turkish Government has announced a ban on Turkish nationals attending the Anzac Day dawn service on the Gallipoli peninsula. Turkish nationals, including bus drivers and tour guides, will be barred from the peninsula during the dawn service amid heightened security fears. Australian Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester defended the ban. “It’s not actually unprecedented for the Turkish authorities to recommend that Turkish nationals not attend the service, it’s happened in previous years,” Mr Chester ... ► Read more

  • New IRA apologises for killing of journalist

    The New Irish Republican Army (New IRA) militant group has apologised for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee. It is the first acknowledgement that a New IRA member was involved in the death, which the organisation described as “tragic”, offering “full and sincere” apologies to her partner, family and friends. On 18 April 2019 the 29-year-old journalist was observing Irish nationalists attack police following a raid in Derry (Londonderry) when a gunman opened fire in ... ► Read more

  • Saudi Arabia beheads 37 people after “sham trial”

    The Saudi Arabian regime beheaded 37 citizens on Tuesday (local time) in a mass execution for alleged terrorism-related offences. Most of those killed were minority Shiites, however, in one case, Saudi authorities publicly pinned the executed body and severed head of a convicted Sunni extremist to a pole as a warning to others. Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi dissident who runs the Gulf Institute in Washington, identified 34 of those executed as Shiites, based on the ... ► Read more

  • Putin unveils world’s longest nuclear submarine

    Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new submarine capable of carrying six thermonuclear warheads on Tuesday (local time). Due for deployment by 2021, the Belgorod will be the world’s longest submarine ever built, measuring approximately 184 metres. “Together, we will inevitably maximise Russia’s status as a great naval power,” Mr Putin said in St. Petersburg ahead of a ceremony at a shipyard in Severodvinsk. The Poseidon drone missile system to be fitted in the Belgorod ... ► Read more

  • Morrison, Shorten risk WeChat ban

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are among the Australian politicians who could be kicked off Chinese social media platform WeChat for violating its terms and conditions, according to an ABC investigation. Both Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten had their official WeChat accounts set up by Chinese citizens, a practice that seems to be in breach of the platform’s rules. By using accounts registered in China, they are subject to Chinese censorship ... ► Read more

  • Kremlin confirms Putin-Kim summit

    Russian President Vladimir Putin will host North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok this month, the Kremlin has announced. Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters the two leaders will discuss political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. Mr Ushakov also said Moscow believes it is important that the United States and North Korea maintain contact. The Putin-Kim summit comes as nuclear talks between ... ► Read more

  • Election: Labor will raise minimum wage for skilled migrants to boost local employment

    The Australian Labor Party will increase the minimum wage for skilled migrants to prevent them being used as cheap replacements for local workers, opposition leader Bill Shorten announced today. Speaking in Queensland, Mr Shorten told reporters that Labor will reduce the number of foreign workers by increasing the minimum wage and enforcing skill shortage tests more strictly. “We want to make sure that short-term skilled migration doesn’t just become an excuse for cheap labour, exploitation ... ► Read more

  • US threatens to veto UN resolution on wartime rapes

    The United States is threatening to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution on combatting rape as a weapon of war because it refers to reproductive and sexual health, senior UN officials and European diplomats say. Germany, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, hopes the resolution will be adopted at a special Security Council session on Tuesday. However, the US is threatening to veto the resolution because it makes reference to ... ► Read more

  • “My wife and my daughter were on the floor”: Australian man describes moment bomb detonated in Sri Lanka

    An Australian man whose wife and daughter were killed in the Sri Lankan terrorism attacks has described the moment a bomb went off during an Easter Sunday church service. At least 290 people were killed and 500 injured in a series of coordinated blasts in churches and hotels, in Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended in 2009. Australian woman Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria were killed in the attack ... ► Read more

  • Sri Lanka bombings: Government confirms knowledge of imminent attack

    The Sri Lankan Government has confirmed it had “prior information” of an imminent attack on churches up to 10 days before the Easter Sunday bombings. At the time of this report, 207 people have died and at least 450 others left injured following a series of explosions that tore through churches and luxury hotels in three Sri Lankan cities, including the capital Colombo. It is estimated that 30 foreigners are among those killed. The Department ... ► Read more

  • Zelensky wins Ukraine election

    Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has secured a landslide victory in his country’s presidential election, according to exit polls. The polls suggest Mr Zelensky, a political novice, received over 70% of the vote, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko receiving around 25%. Mr Poroshenko, who was voted in back in 2014, has conceded defeat. “I will never let you down,” Mr Zelensky told supporters on Sunday (local time). “I’m not yet officially the President, but as a citizen ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 April – 20 April 2019

    2019 election: Morrison and Shorten to debate on 29 April Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will go head-to-head in a debate set for 29 April. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Fire tears through Notre Dame Notre Dame’s spire has collapsed after a fire engulfed the iconic Parisian cathedral on Monday (local time). See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. North Korea tests new “tactical” weapon, says DPRK state media ... ► Read more

  • “I’m fucked”: Mueller report made public

    When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told United States President Donald Trump that a special counsel was being appointed to investigate potential links between his campaign and Russian meddling in the election, Mr Trump said: “This is the end of my Presidency”. The revelation is one of many after the long-awaited 448-page Mueller report was released with redactions. Key quotes from the Mueller report “When [former Attorney General Jeff] Sessions told the President that a Special ... ► Read more

  • Scientists restore circulation and cellular activity in dead pig brains

    Scientists at Yale University have restored circulation and cellular activity in 32 pig brains, four hours after the animals had died. The landmark study found the death of brain cells could be halted and that some connections in the brain were restored. However, no signals from the brains indicated awareness or consciousness. It was previously thought that brains experience an irreversible decline within minutes of having no blood supply, but the study’s results challenge that ... ► Read more

  • Columbine-obsessed teenager found dead in apparent suicide

    The body of an 18-year-old woman obsessed with the Columbine massacre was found in an apparent suicide on Wednesday, following an extensive manhunt. Sol Pais made a “pilgrimage” from Florida to Colorado in the days before the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Authorities found her body about 64 kilometres west of Columbine High School at about 10:30 am (local time), according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver office. Ms Pais was ... ► Read more

  • North Korea tests new “tactical” weapon, says DPRK state media

    North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un inspected and directed a “new tactical guided weapons firing test” on Wednesday, according to the country’s state news agency KCNA. KCNA did not elaborate on the nature of the weapon or its potential range, however, its description does not suggest it is a missile. Tactical weapons are designed more for battlefields and are not typically long-range armaments. Additionally, the United States Defence Department said it did not detect any missile ... ► Read more

  • At least 29 killed in Portugal tour bus crash

    At least 29 people have been killed and 27 others injured after a tour bus crashed on Portugal’s Madeira Island, according to local authorities. The coach carrying 55 tourists rolled down a steep hillside after veering off a narrow road bend, striking a house. Regional President Miguel Albuquerque extended his condolences to the families of the victims, who he said included “many foreigners”. He said: “I have no words to describe what happened. I cannot ... ► Read more

  • Trump vetoes resolution to end US involvement in Yemen

    United States President Donald Trump has vetoed a resolution passed by Congress to end US military support of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni Civil War. Although the veto was expected, legislators have viewed the passing of the war powers resolution as a milestone for the re-assertion of Congress’s war-making authority. In making the second veto of his presidency, Mr Trump criticised Congress, highlighting tensions between the President and lawmakers who seek to reel in ... ► Read more

  • Columbine High School in lockdown days before shooting’s 20th anniversary

    A manhunt is underway in Colorado for a young woman suspected of making threats against Columbine High School, just days before the 20th anniversary of the school’s infamous mass shooting. The undisclosed threats prompted Columbine High School and more than 20 nearby schools to go into lock down for three hours. The schools have confirmed all students are safe. The 18-year-old suspect, Sol Pais, travelled to Colorado on Monday night (local time) and attempted to ... ► Read more

  • Macron pledges to restore Notre Dame in five years

    French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral in five years. A fire ravaged the Parisian landmark on Monday evening (local time), causing the cathedral’s roof and 90 metre spire to collapse. In a televised address, Mr Macron said: “We will rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it. “It is up to us to convert this disaster into an opportunity ... ► Read more

  • Fire tears through Notre Dame

    Notre Dame’s spire has collapsed after a fire engulfed the iconic Parisian cathedral on Monday (local time). With billows of smoke rolling across Paris, onlookers watched in shock as flames that began in the early evening tore through the landmark’s roof, causing the 90 metre spire to collapse. Despite the severe damage, authorities say the cathedral’s two towers have been protected and that the structure was “saved from total destruction”. Paris Fire Brigade chief Jean-Claude ... ► Read more

  • Ecuador’s allegations “outrageous”, says Assange’s lawyer

    The lawyer representing Julian Assange has slammed Ecuador’s claims about the jailed Wikileaks founder’s behaviour inside its London embassy. Jennifer Robinson told Sky News on Sunday that Ecuador was making some “pretty outrageous allegations” to justify inviting British police into the embassy to arrest Mr Assange. Mr Assange sought asylum at the embassy in 2012, defying an order to surrender to court. He remained there until taken into custody by the Metropolitan Police last week. ... ► Read more

  • Finland faces tough coalition talks after Social Democratic Party wins narrow victory

    Finland’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) has won a narrow victory in the country’s general election with 17.7% of the vote, just 0.2% ahead of the far-right Finns Party. “For the first time since 1999 we are the largest party in Finland,” said SDP leader Antti Rinne. However, with the vote split and no party winning an outright majority, the SDP will have to negotiate with other parties to form a coalition government. With 40 seats, ... ► Read more

  • American Airlines cancels Boeing MAX flights until mid-August

    American Airlines has announced it will cancel all its Boeing 737 MAX flights through to mid-August while it waits for Boeing to provide a software update. The Texas-based airline is cancelling 115 flights a day until mid-August because of ongoing problems with the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In mid-March this year the United States joined other countries in grounding 737 MAX aircraft after two fatal plane crashes, one in Indonesia in October 2018 and the ... ► Read more

  • Ten-year-old skater secures UK championship title, aims for Olympics

    Ten-year-old Sky Brown won her first UK Skateboard Championships event on Sunday (local time), scoring 308 points to secure the title. Ms Brown took victory in women’s park at her first national competition, ahead of Amy Ram with 275 points and Rebecca Davies with 260. “I was a little nervous, but it was really fun,” Ms Brown said. “I just wish I could have done even better.” Featuring more than 140 of Britain’s best skateboarders, ... ► Read more

  • American man charged with Sydney murder to remain in custody

    An American man charged over a murder in western Sydney last year will remain in custody until his next court appearance in June. Alex Dion, 38, was extradited from California yesterday and faced Sydney Central Local Court this morning, where he did not apply for bail. Mr Dion, a former tiler, is accused of murdering 33-year-old Thai national Wachira “Mario” Phetmang and dumping his body on the side of Sydney’s Homebush Bay Drive. On 6 ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 April – 13 April 2019

    2019 election: Australians to vote on 18 May Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 18 May as the date of the 2019 federal election, giving parties just over five weeks to sell their plans for the nation. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Construction of Adani mine receives final federal approval, despite allegations Minister was threatened Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price has given Adani the final federal approval needed to begin construction of its ... ► Read more

  • Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange arrested in London, faces US extradition request

    Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested in London yesterday after almost seven years of refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He claimed that the extradition proceedings were a ploy to facilitate eventual extradition to the United States on espionage charges. In May 2012 the Supreme Court of the ... ► Read more

  • EU agrees to delay Brexit until 31 October

    The European Union has agreed to a “flexible extension” of the Brexit process until 31 October 2019, European Council President Donald Tusk announced today. After five hours of talks Mr Tusk said his “message to British friends” is “please do not waste this time.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom would still aim to leave the EU as soon as possible, but it appears likely that the UK will need to hold ... ► Read more

  • First image of a black hole captured by astronomers

    Astronomers have captured the first image of a black hole, providing the strongest evidence to date of their existence and opening a new window into the study of black holes. Using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — an array of eight ground-based radio telescopes — researchers were able to capture an image of the enormous black hole at the centre of the distant Messier 87 galaxy. “We have taken the first picture of a black ... ► Read more

  • Israel election: Netanyahu secures fifth term

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Israeli election, with allied religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority and his main rival Benny Gantz conceding defeat. With over 99% of votes counted, Mr Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party will form a coalition government to secure 65 seats of Israel’s 120 seat Knesset (Parliament). The results will deliver Mr Netanyahu a record fifth term in the top job and come despite the 69-year-old being investigated ... ► Read more

  • Christchurch terror suspect sent death threat two years before mosque attack

    A Melbourne man has revealed suspected Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant sent him a death threat after he criticised the far-right United Patriots Front (UPF) extremist group in 2016. Screenshots of a Facebook Messenger conversation between the man and Mr Tarrant show the alleged right-wing terrorist defended the anti-Islamic UPF as “the leading ethno-nationalist group within Australia.” “When you speak against the UPF you speak against my right to a home for my people and my ... ► Read more

  • Crown Resorts $10bn buyout talks cancelled abruptly

    High end American casino and hotel giant Wynn Resorts has abruptly cancelled buyout talks with Australian rival Crown Resorts over “the premature disclosure of preliminary discussions”. Controlled by James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings, Crown Resorts confirmed on Tuesday that Wynn had offered $10 billion for the company, but said there was no certainty of a deal. After Crown confirmed the offer yesterday, its stock jumped 19.7%, closing at $14.05. However, Wynn appears displeased that word ... ► Read more

  • Israel election: Both Netanyahu and Gantz claim victory

    Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz have claimed victory in Israel’s general election, with exit polls showing no clear winner. Mr Gantz, a centrist and former military chief, was projected to win between 36 and 37 seats, while right-wing Prime Minister Netanyahu was expected to take between 33 and 36 seats. Two exit polls indicate that right-wing parties allied to Mr Netanyahu had a greater chance of forming a coalition government. ... ► Read more

  • US labels Iranian Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organisation

    United States President Donald Trump has taken the controversial step of designating the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. The IRGC was established after the 1979 revolution and, according to the Constitution of Iran, protects the country’s Islamic Republic. But Mr Trump has accused the IRGC as being the terrorist wing of the Iranian Government. “The IRGC is the Iranian Government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” ... ► Read more

  • Chinese billionaire paid lobbyist “tens of thousands” for private meeting with Dutton

    Pro-Chinese Communist Party billionaire Huang Xiangmo paid “tens of thousands of dollars” to former Liberal minister-turned-lobbyist Santo Santoro to arrange a private meeting in 2016 with then-Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. According to a joint investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Mr Huang was trying to secure Australian citizenship at the time. Despite the meeting — which took place inside the private suite of a Sydney Chinese restaurant — Mr ... ► Read more

  • Australian residents interrogated by Chinese officials over ASIO investigation

    Two Australian residents have revealed they have been interrogated by Chinese officials about an investigation into China’s influence in Australia. Chinese intelligence agents interrogated Yang Hengjun and Feng Chongyi for information on John Garnaut, who led the top-secret investigation with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in 2016. A joint investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners programme, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed both men were detained and interrogated over the ASIO probe. Mr Yang, a former Chinese ... ► Read more

  • Assange set to be expelled from Ecuadorian embassy, says WikiLeaks

    WikiLeaks says high-level sources within Ecuador are signalling that Australian Julian Assange will be expelled from the country’s London embassy within “hours to days”. In a tweet, WikiLeaks said Ecuador already had an agreement with the United Kingdom for Mr Assange’s arrest. Another tweet, posted an hour later, confirmed it had received “secondary confirmation from another high-level source”. It has been reported that Ecuador’s President is trying to surrender the Australian in exchange for debt ... ► Read more

  • Brunei introduces stoning for gay sex and adultery

    The Sultan of Brunei has introduced new laws that make anal sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death. In a move towards stricter interpretation of Islamic law, the new measures came into force on Wednesday, and also include harsher punishments for other offences. The new measures will primarily apply to Muslims, which account for about two-thirds of the country’s population of 420,000. Brunei is an absolute monarchy in which Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is both ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: PM seeks extension to negotiate compromise with Labour

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek an extension of the Brexit deadline from the European Union to “break the logjam” in Parliament. The Prime Minister says she wants to meet with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, in an effort to secure the Labour Party’s support for a plan on the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the EU. Mr Corbyn said he was “very happy” to meet with Ms May, and would ensure a customs union ... ► Read more

  • Erdogan’s party to lose Turkey’s biggest cities in local elections

    Turkey’s ruling party has lost mayoral elections in the country’s largest three cities — Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir — in a stunning election setback for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to unofficial results published by state-run Anadolu Agency on Monday (local time). The official results will be released after the country’s election board looks into objections filed by political parties, who have three days to file complaints. Anadolu’s unofficial data shows Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate Ekrem ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: MPs reject four alternative proposals

    A deadlock remains firmly in place in Britain’s Parliament after MPs rejected four alternative Brexit proposals on Monday (local time). The option that came closest to passing proposed Britain remain within the European Union Customs Union, but failed by just three votes. A vote on a confirmatory referendum on any deal received the most votes, but was also defeated by 292–280. The British Government staunchly opposes both options because the former would prevent the UK ... ► Read more

  • Ukraine: exit polls suggest comedian leading presidential race

    Comedian and anti-corruption campaigner Volodymyr Zelensky is leading in the exit polls for the first round of the Ukrainian presidential election. The 41-year-old political novice has led opinion polls, ahead of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and is the frontrunner according to preliminary exit polls on Sunday, with 30.6% of the vote. “I would like to say thank you to all the Ukrainians who did not vote just for fun,” ... ► Read more

  • Zuckerberg calls for governments to play a “more active role” in Internet regulation

    Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has called for governments to play a “more active role” in making rules to regulate the Internet. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Mr Zuckerberg wrote that a “standardised” approach for removing content would help keep Internet companies such as Facebook “accountable”. “By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs ... ► Read more

  • Slovakia elects first female president

    Slovakia has elected its first female President, the progressive lawyer and political novice Zuzana Čaputová, who ran on a slogan of “stand up to evil.” Ms Čaputová went head-to-head with the government-backed candidate Maroš Šefčovič on Saturday after they emerged as the most popular candidates in the first round of elections held on 16 March. Mr Šefčovič conceded defeat shortly before midnight on Saturday, with Ms Čaputová receiving 58.4% of the vote in the second ... ► Read more

  • Pakistan hands India report on Kashmir suicide attack

    Pakistan says it has given India a preliminary report of its investigation into a suicide attack in Kashmir last month that was claimed by Pakistan-based militants. After handing New Delhi its “preliminary findings”, Islamabad said it would now seek more evidence from India for its ongoing investigation. “The Government of Pakistan has shared preliminary findings with the Government of India after examining the Indian report on Pulwama incident,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. ... ► Read more

  • Neo-Nazi pleads guilty to 2017 Charlottesville car attack

    The admitted neo-Nazi who deliberately drove into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 pleaded guilty to hate crimes in federal court on Wednesday (local time). As part of a plea deal, James Alex Fields Jr, 21, pleaded guilty to 29 of the 30 charges brought by prosecutors relating to the 2017 attack, which killed one woman and injured 35 others. In return, prosecutors agreed that they would not seek the death penalty. ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: PM will stand down if deal is passed

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to resign as head of government if Tory MPs back her Brexit deal. Ms May acknowledged that her party does not want her to lead the next stage of negotiations for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, saying she “won’t stand in the way of that.” “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended to do what is right for our country and ... ► Read more

  • Iran, Arab world condemn US’ Golan Heights recognition

    United States President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights has united Washington’s Gulf Arab allies and regional foe Iran in condemnation. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait criticised Monday’s (local time) move to recognise Israel’s 1981 annexation and said the territory was occupied Arab land. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi said it was an impediment to peace. Iran echoed the comments, describing Mr Trump’s decision as unprecedented ... ► Read more