Americas

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • “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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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: 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • “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

  • Venezuela: Guaido dismisses Maduro’s “civil war” warning

    Venezeulan opposition figure Juan Guaido has brushed off a warning from President Nicolas Maduro that the country’s intensifying political crisis could spark a civil war. Mr Guaido declared himself president amid mass protests in Caracas against President Nicolas Maduro. OPMagazine understands the protests were over the plummeting quality of life as a result of hyperinflationary economic collapse and allegations of vote rigging in the recent presidential election. Talk of a civil war started when President Maduro ... ► Read more

  • ASX tipped to rise despite Banking Royal Commission report

    The final report from the Banking Royal Commission looks set to have little bearing on market performances, with Australian shares tipped to rise. Analysts say the recommendations were not as severe as many in the financial sector had initially feared. “The much anticipated release of the royal commission final report was disappointing, in our view,” UBS banking analyst Jonathan Mott said. “There was much discussion around misconduct within the banks and the need to change ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 27 January – 2 February 2019

    Sydney light rail: NSW may pay over $600 million extra in dispute settlement with Acciona The New South Wales Government could pay Acciona — the Spanish company contracted to build Sydney’s $2 billion light rail — more than $600 million in a dispute settlement. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. 2019 election: Julia Banks to challenge Greg Hunt for Flinders Liberal MP-turned-independent Julia Banks will contest the seat of Flinders in the upcoming general ... ► Read more

  • US Midwest gripped by polar vortex freeze

    Millions of Americans across the United States Midwest region are experiencing Arctic temperatures of nearly -50ºC, the result of a split in the polar vortex that has already caused six deaths. The polar vortex is a swirling mass of Arctic air centred on the north pole. During the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, the swirling eddies grow longer and reach further south, resulting in cold air being transported south by the polar jet stream. This has caused ... ► Read more

  • “For the sake of Venezuela’s peace and its future”: Maduro open to mediated talks

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has expressed readiness to hold negotiations with the American-backed opposition in the presence of international mediators, while accusing the United States of ordering his assassination. The beleaguered leader, who previously rejected calls for talks, told Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday (local time) he changed his stance “for the sake of Venezuela’s peace and its future”. Mr Maduro said the talks could be held with the mediation of other ... ► Read more

  • Trump ally Roger Stone pleads not guilty to Mueller probe charges

    Roger Stone, a former political adviser to United States President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign and longtime ally, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he attempted to obstruct a congressional investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mr Stone was arrested in an early-morning raid on his home in Florida, and is the latest of Mr Trump’s close political allies to be charged as a consequence of Special Counsel Robert ... ► Read more

  • “Time is running out”: Hakeem al-Araibi’s wife sends pleas for help to Canada, New Zealand

    The wife of Australian refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has written to the prime ministers of Canada and New Zealand in a desperate bid for help over her husband’s detention in Thailand. In letters reported by The Guardian, she urged the Canadian and New Zealand leaders to act, warning that a decision to return him to Bahrain could mean “possible death”. Mr al-Araibi’s wife, who did not want to be named, cited the recent case of ... ► Read more

  • Australia retains ranking in anti-corruption index

    Australia has kept its ranking in Transparency International’s annual anti-corruption index among the top 20 cleanest countries in the world. Denmark, New Zealand and Finland took first, second and third respectively, with Australia sitting just between the UK and Austria at 13th. Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index shows more than two-thirds of countries scoring below 50 — 100 being very clean and 0 being very corrupt. Australia has maintained its 2017 ranking of 77/100. While ... ► Read more

  • US announces criminal charges against tech giant Huawei

    The United States officially announced on Monday (local time) that it has laid 13 criminal charges against China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, several of its subsidiaries, and its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged Huawei and Ms Meng with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran by using a subsidiary company to do business with Tehran. Ms Meng has denied allegations that she played a lead role ... ► Read more

  • Deloitte: China is Australia’s biggest economic risk

    An economic forecaster says China, not the local housing market downturn, could be the major swing factor for Australia’s economy in the year ahead. In its outlook for the year ahead, Deloitte Access Economics forecasts a “still growing, but slowing” scenario for the global and national economies. The business outlook report flags that global economic growth “may be pegged back to rather more pedestrian rates through the course of 2019 and 2020”, as the impact ... ► Read more

  • US sanctions Venezuelan state-owned oil firm, urges military accept peaceful power transition

    The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) as tensions between Caracas and the West continue to worsen. During a joint White House press conference with Treasurer Steven Mnuchin, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the sanctions on the oil firm, which exports 41% of its products to the US. “We have continued to expose the corruption of [Nicolas] Maduro and his cronies and today’s action ensures that ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 20 January – 26 January 2019

    Brexit delay looks likely ahead of Downing Steet’s new proposal Suggestions that Britain’s departure from the European Union could be delayed are indicating Prime Minister Theresa May is set for yet another Brexit defeat. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. US Supreme Court lifts injunctions on transgender military service ban On Tuesday, the Unites States’ highest court lifted two temporary injunctions that had prevented the Trump administration from enforcing its ban on transgender individuals ... ► Read more

  • Russia, Turkey, China condemn US intervention in Venezuela

    Russia, Turkey, China and Syria have all condemned the United States’s decision to recognise Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido as the president of the South American country. They issued statements declaring strong support for the incumbent Nicolas Maduro, who is facing mass protests on the streets of Caracas. “We consider the attempt to usurp sovereign authority in Venezuela to contradict and violate the basis and principles of international law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, while ... ► Read more

  • Federal workers occupy Senate office building in protest against government shutdown

    More than 300 United States federal workers and their supporters have occupied the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC in protest against the ongoing government shutdown, which has left nearly 800,000 government employees without pay. The workers held a 33-minute silent protest, representing one minute for every day of what has become the longest government shutdown in US history. Afterwards, protesters shook their fists and chanted “no more food banks — we need paycheques”, ... ► Read more

  • Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen postpones testimony, citing threats from the President

    Michael Cohen, former lawyer to United States President Donald Trump, has postponed his testimony to Congress due to threats against his family from the President. Mr Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said in a statement that Mr Cohen has decided to to postpone his scheduled 7 February appearance because of “ongoing threats against his family from Trump”. In an interview with Fox News this month, the President indicated he had damaging information relating to Mr Cohen’s ... ► Read more

  • Julian Assange launches legal action against US

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has launched a legal challenge against the United States Government in a bid to reveal charges that are “secretly filed” against him. The Australian whistleblower has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under political asylum since 2012. Mr Assange believes that if he were to step outside the embassy, he would be extradited to the US. In an attempt to ward off the possible extradition, Mr Assange’s lawyers have ... ► Read more

  • Venezuela cuts all diplomatic ties with US

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has given United States diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, after Washington recognised opposition figure Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. In an address to supporters outside the presidential palace in Caracas, Mr Maduro delivered the announcement that he was cutting diplomatic ties with the US. However, shortly after Mr Maduro’s announcement, Mr Guaido told foreign embassies to disobey the socialist leader’s orders and keep their diplomats in Venezuela. Mr ... ► Read more

  • US Supreme Court lifts injunctions on transgender military service ban

    On Tuesday, the Unites States’ highest court lifted two temporary injunctions that had prevented the Trump administration from enforcing its ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. By a 5–4 majority the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to overturn the injunctions, but declined to further intervene in the cases until after lower court appeals have been completed. The injunctions were issued in relation to President Donald Trump’s August 2017 Memorandum on Military ... ► Read more

  • Did MAGA hat-donned kids mock a Native American elder?

    A video picked up by media at the weekend showing young male students wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) caps surrounding and drowning out a Native American elder does not reveal the whole picture. Social media lit up when footage circulated online of the confrontation at a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The video showed a young student in a red MAGA cap standing directly in front of elder Nathan Phillips, who was ... ► Read more

  • Trump says proposed shutdown-breaking deal won’t give amnesty to “dreamers”

    United States President Donald Trump says his proposed deal to end the ongoing government shutdown would not lead to amnesty for “Dreamers” — undocumented youth migrants — but has indicated he could support an amnesty for illegal immigrants as part of a later compromise. Mr Trump said on Twitter that he would not seek the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants living in the US, and attacked Democrat leaders for refusing his offer. “Amnesty is ... ► Read more

  • Outrage grows over MAGA hat-donned teens mocking native American elder

    A video showing a crowd of teenagers surrounding a Native American elder and other activists and mocking them after an Indigenous Peoples March has sparked global outrage. Videos of the confrontation show a smiling young man in a red Make America Great Again hat standing directly in front of the man, who was playing a drum and chanting. Other kids could be seen laughing, jumping around and making fun of the chants. “I did not ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 13 January – 19 January 2019

    Theresa May: Government has confidence of Parliament, time to deliver Brexit British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for bipartisan talks to develop a Brexit deal that will pass the House of Commons. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. NSW Premier under pressure amid fresh calls for pill testing NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is standing firm on her opposition to pill testing, despite pleas from the family of a teenager who died of a ... ► Read more

  • Trump ordered rigging of opinion polls, says former lawyer

    Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen claims he paid a firm to manipulate online polling data “at the direction of an for the sole benefit of” the future President. In a tweet Mr Cohen confirmed The Wall Street Journal‘s report that he paid RedFinch Solutions to rig two public opinion polls in favour of Mr Trump before the 2016 presidential election campaign. “I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it,” he added. ... ► Read more

  • Trump denies Pelosi military aircraft for foreign trip citing shutdown

    United States President Donald Trump has effectively cancelled US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s upcoming visits to Brussels and Afghanistan a day after she suggested he delay his upcoming State of the Union address. Mr Trump cancelled the trip by denying the senior Democrat use of military aircraft and a delegation. In a letter to Ms Pelosi, the President said he felt “that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating ... ► Read more

  • Pelosi urges Trump to postpone State of the Union address

    Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has suggested to President Donald Trump that his annual State of the Union address to Congress be postponed until after the current government shutdown ends. “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address, or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union ... ► Read more

  • Australian Government concerned by death sentence for Canadian man convicted in China

    The Australian Government has deep concerns over the death sentence given by a Chinese court to a Canadian man convicted of drug smuggling. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle a quarter of a tonne of methamphetamine from China to Australia in 2014. Mr Schellenberg was initially sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, but on appeal to the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court he was sentenced to death. “We are deeply concerned with ... ► Read more

  • Gillette toxic masculinity ad sparks calls for boycott

    Some customers say they are throwing their Gillette razors out in disgust at the shaving supply company’s latest ad campaign challenging men to “shave their toxic masculinity”. The ad, called ‘We Believe’, is among the first to address the #MeToo movement head on and urges society to no longer use the excuse “boys will be boys” for bad behaviour — but not everybody is on board. On social media, some people have claimed the ad demonises ... ► Read more

  • Trump: “I never worked for Russia”

    United States President Donald Trump has rejected the suggestion that he has had inappropriate dealings with Moscow, in response to increasing scrutiny of his relationship with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. “I never worked for Russia, and you know that answer better than anybody,” Mr Trump responded to a reporter as he left the White House on Monday morning (local time). “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace ... ► Read more

  • Actor Rose McGowan pleads no contest, avoids imprisonment for cocaine possession

    American actor Rose McGowan has been ordered to pay US $2,5000 after pleading no contest to a charge of misdemeanour possession of a controlled substance. The Loudoun County Circuit Court also gave her a 12-month suspended sentence, meaning she will not go to prison unless she commits another offence in that period. “Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war,” Ms McGowan told Washington DC broadcaster WTOP Radio. “I’m in it for ... ► Read more

  • Trump denies he kept details of conversations with Putin secret

    United States President Donald Trump has dodged questions about his relationship with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, amid reports he went to “extraordinary lengths” to keep details of one-on-one talks with the Russian President secret. During an interview with Fox News late on Saturday (local time), Mr Trump was asked whether he works, or ever worked, for the Russian Government. The US President replied that it was “the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.” ... ► Read more

  • Trump reaffirms threat to declare national emergency on visit to Mexican border

    United States President Donald Trump reaffirmed his threat to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the country’s border with Mexico if Congress does not grant him the funds he requested. “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Mr Trump told reporters during a visit to a border patrol station in McAllen, Texas on Thursday (local time). Flanked by border officers and relatives of people killed by illegal immigrants, and ... ► Read more