Americas

  • Trump criticises automakers for failing to support repeal of fuel efficiency rules

    United States President Donald Trump has criticised automakers for failing to support his administration’s plan to repeal fuel efficiency rules. Mr Trump singled out Ford in particular for backing a deal with California for stricter fuel economy standards. The President said company founder Henry Ford would be “very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs ... ► Read more

  • Epstein estate to be sued by sex abuse victims

    Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein will file civil lawsuits against his estate, following his apparent suicide in New York on Saturday. Mr Epstein, 66, was found dead at 7:30 am (local time) in his New York federal jail cell, where he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking offences. Los Angeles-based attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two women, said her clients had held off suing while federal ... ► Read more

  • Trump blames Federal Reserve for slow economic growth, but economists say trade war could cause recession

    United States President Donald Trump has blamed the Federal Reserve for the country’s “slow” economic growth. During his 2016 election campaign, Mr Trump promised his administration would deliver 3% annual economic growth, but growth has instead continued at a rate of about 2%, consistent with the trends of the last decade. The President has criticised the Federal Reserve for not lowering interest rates, which could boost economic activity by encouraging borrowing, spending and investment. However, ... ► Read more

  • Bodies of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky found, police say

    Canadian police say they have found two bodies they believe are the teenagers suspected of murdering three people, including Sydney man Lucas Fowler. Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were wanted in connection with the 15 July murders of Mr Fowler, 23, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24. They were also charged with the murder of university lecturer Leonard Dyck, 64. All three bodies were found in the province of British Columbia, on ... ► Read more

  • ASX plunge worst since October

    Australia’s share market has been hammered for a second straight day as it emerges as one of the biggest losers from the intensifying United States-China trade war. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 162.2 points, or 2.44%, to 6,478 points at 1615 AEST on Tuesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 164.2 points, or 2.45%, to 6,546.4 points. ASX200 plunged 191 points in the first 12 minutes of trade and struggled to make up ... ► Read more

  • Australia in talks with US to boost fuel reserves

    Drawing on the United States’ emergency fuel reserves is not the same as having actual fuel security in Australia, the Opposition has declared. The Morrison Government is negotiating with the Trump Administration to access millions of barrels of oil from America’s own fuel reserve, as Australia hunts for a way to boost dangerously low levels of fuel held on domestic soil. But Labor says Australia needs a strategy that gives fuel security onshore. Australia has ... ► Read more

  • El Paso shooting “domestic terrorism”, police investigating anti-immigration manifesto

    A shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that left 20 people dead and 26 more injured is being investigated as a domestic terror attack, Texan officials said on Sunday (local time). A 21-year-old male is in custody after the mass shooting, one of the deadliest incidents in the state’s history. Police say a racist, anti-immigrant document was allegedly written by the suspect and posted on 8chan, an online messaging board full of racist, ... ► Read more

  • Five Eyes nations vow to step up efforts to counter online child abuse material

    Security officials from the Five Eyes security alliance have called for tech giants to allow backdoor access to encrypted content on WhatsApp and other communications platforms in order to combat sex offenders and the circulation of child abuse material. The “Five Eyes” nations — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — say urgent action is needed from the companies to combat live-streaming of child sexual abuse. Executives from Google, Facebook, ... ► Read more

  • Trump announces fresh tariffs on China

    United States President Donald Trump announced on Thursday (local time) he will hit China with punitive tariffs on another $300 billion in goods, escalating his trade war after accusing Beijing of reneging on more promises. The sudden deterioration meant the world’s two largest economies have now erected trade barriers covering virtually all of their $660 billion in annual trade in merchandise — confirming economists’ fears and sending shudders through Wall Street. The 10% duties will take ... ► Read more

  • Dutton to push for child abuse material crack down at Five Eyes meeting

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will push for the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries to prioritise preventing online child exploitation material at a meeting in London on Monday. FVEY is an intelligence-sharing network which includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the United States. “There needs to be greater international engagement in the battle against child exploitation,” Mr Dutton told The Australian ahead of flying to London. “Now with the internet, pay-per-view, [offenders] can direct material ... ► Read more

  • US Government condemned for reinstating federal death penalty

    The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has reinstated the federal death penalty, 16 years after it was last applied, and has immediately scheduled the execution of five federal death row inmates. Litigation surrounding the drugs used for lethal injections has prevented the Government from carrying out executions, but the Trump Administration has taken steps to eliminate barriers to the practice. “Congress has expressly authorised the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives ... ► Read more

  • Trump was not exonerated, Mueller tells Congress

    Former special counsel Robert Mueller has testified to the United States Congress that he did not exonerate US President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice. Mr Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 35 people and three companies on matters related to the election, but did not charge any members of the Trump family. However, Mr Mueller has rejected the President’s assertion that the investigation “totally exonerated” him. Instead, Mr ... ► Read more

  • “Wiped off the face of the earth”: Trump says he could win Afghan war “in 10 days”

    United States President Donald Trump says he could win the war in Afghanistan “in 10 days” if he wanted to, but that it would cost millions of lives. During a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday (local time), Mr Trump told reporters he “could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people.” He said: “If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 July – 20 July 2019

    Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on ... ► Read more

  • Epstein refused bail while awaiting sex trafficking trial

    Billionaire money man Jeffrey Epstein has been denied bail while awaiting a federal sex trafficking trial in New York. “The Government has established danger to others and to the community by clear and convincing evidence,” the Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Richard Berman said on Thursday (local time). “I doubt that any bail package could can overcome a danger to the community.” The financier has been jailed in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre since his 6 ... ► Read more

  • “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone

    A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday (local time). The USS Boxer was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz when it took “defensive action” after the drone ignored “multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew”. “The drone was immediately destroyed,” Mr ... ► Read more

  • Prosecutors drop charges against Kevin Spacey

    Prosecutors have dropped a case accusing Kevin Spacey of groping an 18-year-old man at a Massachusetts resort island bar in 2016. Mr Spacey was accused of getting an 18-year-old man drunk and then groping him at a bar and restaurant in Nantucket where the teen worked as a bus boy. Mr Spacey denied the allegations. Mr Spacey’s accuser used the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution to protect himself from self-incrimination. He also refused ... ► Read more

  • ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to life imprisonment in the US

    Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman has been sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 30 years, after a hearing in a federal court in New York on Wednesday (local time). Guzman, 62, was also ordered to forfeit $US12.6 billion ($AU18 billion). He was found guilty by a jury in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel — infamous for being ... ► Read more

  • Explainer: Trump, Twitter and four Democrat congresswomen

    United States President Donald Trump is at the centre of yet another firestorm. Mr Trump is no stranger to controversy, usually using it to his own advantage. But this latest presidential scandal, sparked by race-fuelled tweets, is growing out of Mr Trump’s control as he receives condemnation domestically and ire internationally. So, what happened? It all started when the US President told four Democratic Party congresswomen to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime ... ► Read more

  • Over one million people join the satirical ‘Storm Area 51’ event

    Over one million people have joined the satirical Facebook event to “storm Area 51” on 20 September at 3:00am. The Facebook event, which was created by the anonymous administrators of the public meme page Shitposting cause im in shambles and Twitch streamer SmyleeKun, is titled Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us. The description of the event says: “If we naruto run, we can run faster than their bullets. “Lets see them aliens.” ... ► Read more

  • Rouhani: Iran “ready for talks” with US if sanctions lifted

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is ready to hold talks with Washington if the Trump Administration provides sanctions relief and returns to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a televised speech on Sunday (local time), Mr Rouhani said for talks to take place Iran must be allowed to export the same amount of oil as it did prior to the United States’ controversial withdrawal from the multilateral JCPOA. “We have always ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 July – 13 July 2019

    AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18 The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is ... ► Read more

  • 2020 US election: Biden leads Democrats in NBC/WSJ poll

    Former United States Vice President Joe Biden is leading the Democratic presidential field, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The poll shows 26% of Democrat voters will back Mr Biden in next year’s Democratic primaries or caucuses, while 19% will support Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders tie in third place at 13%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg scored 7% of Democratic primary voters, with both former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke ... ► Read more

  • “You are the best of us”: UK Ambassador to the US resigns amid Anglo-American tiff

    Britain’s Ambassador to the United States Sir Kim Darroch has resigned amid a tiff between Downing Street and the White House over leaked diplomatic cables that described the Trump Administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”. Sir Darroch, a veteran diplomat with a career spanning four decades, wrote in his resignation letter that the “current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like”. He said that while his posting ... ► Read more

  • Hunt takes on Trump over “disrespectful” remarks

    British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told United States President Donald Trump to reciprocate the “respect” shown to him by British Prime Minister Theresa May. Mr Hunt took to Twitter to take issue directly with Mr Trump, saying the US President’s recent comments about Prime Minister May and the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the US “are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country”. He urged Mr Trump to treat the UK with ... ► Read more

  • Trump’s attack on May only reinforces Darroch’s assessment of the White House

    It is both unsurprising and amusing that US President Donald Trump would respond to the British Ambassador’s criticism by lashing out. To provide a bit of context, UK Ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch said in a series of leaked diplomatic cables that the White House was “uniquely dysfunctional” and “divided” under Mr Trump, stating: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; ... ► Read more

  • Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking

    Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. Mr Epstein was arrested over the weekend after returning to the United States from Paris. Mr Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls”, prosecutors allege in a newly unsealed 13-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment. Some of the victims were 14 years old, prosecutors claim. Mr Epstein is accused of recruiting underage girls ... ► Read more

  • Trump lashes out at May on Twitter

    United States President Donald Trump has attacked British Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter, criticising her for not heeding his advice on Brexit and saying it was “good news for the wonderful United Kingdom that they will soon have a new Prime Minister”. Mr Trump also took aim at the UK Ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch, who described Mr Trump and his administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional” in leaked diplomatic cables. The leak ... ► Read more

  • “Appalled”: US’ detention of migrant children may violate international law, says UN rights chief

    Conditions in which migrants and refugees are being held in the United States are appalling, said the United Nations human rights chief on Monday (local time), underscoring that children should never be held in immigration detention, or separated from their families. “As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate ... ► Read more

  • “Inept Trump”: UK Government launches inquiry into leaked ambassador’s emails

    The British Government has launched an inquiry into an emails leak that made public criticisms from the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States regarding the Trump Administration and the US President. The British Ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch said the White House was “uniquely dysfunctional” and “divided” under Donald Trump. He said: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.” ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 30 June – 6 July 2019

    North Korea releases Australian detainee Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australian man Alek Sigley has been released from detention in North Korea and has left the country. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Senate passes Coalition tax cuts, Labor backs down The Senate has voted to pass the Coalition Government’s tax cuts, with Labor backing down after failing to secure changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More ... ► Read more

  • “Divided States of America”: Trump addresses Fourth of July parade

    United States President Donald Trump’s Salute to America has drawn both praise and ire from the American public, highlighting the US’ political polarisation on a day that typically unites rather than divides. Mr Trump is the first president in nearly seven decades to address a Fourth of July parade as his predecessors sought to avoid politicising the national day. In an address to supporters in Washington, the US President said the “future of American freedom” ... ► Read more

  • “All-consuming crisis”: UN human rights chief demands Venezuela ends rights violations

    The Venezuelan authorities should take immediate steps to halt widespread rights violations being perpetrated against the country’s people and work to resolve “this all-consuming crisis”, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday (local time). Ms Bachelet’s appeal to the Government of Nicolas Maduro comes ahead of her address to the Human Rights Council on Friday and follows her official visit to Venezuela from 19 to 21 June. Her comments follow ... ► Read more

  • Trump warns Iran against nuclear threats

    United States President Donald Trump has cautioned Iran that issuing threats “can come back to bite you”, in response to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s vow to enrich as much uranium as “we want”. Mr Trump tweeted: Earlier this week, Iran exceeded the 300kg cap on its enriched uranium stockpile agreed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the breach on Monday (local time). “We can confirm ... ► Read more

  • US border officers joke about migrant deaths in Facebook group: report

    A ProPublica report published today has revealed a secret Facebook group for current and former United States Border Patrol agents with approximately 9,500 members where they joke about migrant deaths. The group is called “I’m 10-15” — 10-15 is Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody”. The group page, which has been active for three years, is littered with vulgar images, comments and memes. One such post contains a photoshopped image of United States President Donald ... ► Read more

  • Iran breaches enriched uranium limit, sparks global concern

    Iran has exceeded the 300kg cap on its enriched uranium stockpile agreed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the breach on Monday (local time). “We can confirm that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has informed the Board of Governors that the Agency verified on 1 July that Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile exceeded [the deal’s limit],” an IAEA spokesman said in a statement. The IAEA’s confirmation came ... ► Read more

  • Trump, Kim agree to resume talks in historic meeting

    Donald Trump has made history as the first sitting United States president to step foot in North Korea while meeting Chairman Kim Jong-un in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) dividing the Koreas. The two leaders posed for photos before holding a meeting in the inter-Korean House of Freedom in the DMZ, from which they agreed to resume stalled nuclear negotiations. Nuclear talks broke down in February after the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi ended abruptly with ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 23 June – 29 June 2019

    Government to push ahead with tax cuts despite Labor reservations The Morrison Government is planning to follow through with its tax cut plan despite Labor not giving full support. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Rouhani says White House “afflicted by mental retardation”, Trump threatens “obliteration” United States President Donald Trump has threatened to obliterate parts of Iran after the Middle Eastern country’s President said the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation”. See ... ► Read more

  • US wants Australia to join anti-Iran coalition

    The United States wants Australia to impose further sanctions on Iran, but US President Donald Trump has not asked Australia to commit to joining potential military action against the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said support for military action “wasn’t sought” during his meeting with Mr Trump at the G20 Summit in Japan, adding that “at this stage I think those issues are a bit premature.” “We would deal with any requests from an ally ... ► Read more

  • Morrison, Trump hold working dinner ahead of G20

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and United States President Donald Trump have held a working dinner in Osaka ahead of the G20 Summit. The meeting reportedly ran overtime, with the two leaders talking for more than an hour about the impact of the US-China trade war on the world, including close allies such as Australia. “For Australians, we are a trading nation,” Mr Morrison told the ABC after the meeting. “One in five jobs are dependent ... ► Read more

  • Trump responds to Rio Grande tragedy, blames Democrats

    United States President Donald Trump has responded to the drowning of a Salvadoran father and his daughter who tried to cross the Rio Grande River to enter the US. Oscar Alberto Martinez and his 23-month-old daughter Angie Valeria were found deceased on Monday (local time) on the banks of the river. Mr Trump blamed the Democrats for the deaths, claiming their “open borders” stance and asylum seeker policies were responsible. Open borders is not a ... ► Read more

  • Lowy Institute: Australians’ trust in China at lowest point in 15 years

    Australians are losing trust in China due to its military intentions, infrastructure ambitions in the region, and displays of influence, according to the Lowy Institute. The latest Lowy Institute poll on Australian attitudes to international events, released on Wednesday, reveals local sentiment towards China has taken a negative turn. Australians’ trust in China is at its lowest level in the 15 years of the poll, with only 32% saying they trust the Asian power either ... ► Read more

  • Rouhani says White House “afflicted by mental retardation”, Trump threatens “obliteration”

    United States President Donald Trump has threatened to obliterate parts of Iran after the Middle Eastern country’s President said the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation”. Mr Trump announced fresh sanctions against Iran on Monday (local time) as part of the White House’s response to Iran’s downing of a US drone last week. The new sanctions, which are largely symbolic, target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well ... ► Read more

  • Stephanie Grisham appointed new White House Press Secretary

    United States First Lady Melania Trump announced on Wednesday (local time) that her long-time spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, will be the next White House Press Secretary and Communications Director. Ms Grisham will succeed Sarah Sanders in her role as White House Press Secretary and also fill the role of White House Communications Director, a position that has been unfilled since Bill Shine left the position in March. She was chosen for the position of Press Secretary ... ► Read more

  • Trump announces new “hard hitting” sanctions targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader

    United States President Donald Trump announced fresh sanctions against Iran on Monday (local time) as part of the White House’s response to Iran’s downing of a US drone last week. The new sanctions target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, as well as military officials. Mr Trump told reporters the punitive measures will deny the Iranian Supreme Leader, his office “and many others” access to financial instruments. “Today’s actions follow a ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 16 June – 22 June 2019

    “Very big mistake”: Trump responds to US drone downing United States President Donald Trump has said Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US drone, while Iran has defended the action and pledged to “zealously defend our skies, land and waters.” See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Tory leadership: Johnson and Hunt last men standing Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have emerged as the final two candidates that will be put ... ► Read more

  • “Very big mistake”: Trump responds to US drone downing

    United States President Donald Trump has said Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US drone, while Iran has defended the action and pledged to “zealously defend our skies, land and waters.” Washington claims the high altitude surveillance drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday when it was shot down, but Tehran alleges the aircraft ventured into Iranian airspace over its coastal Hormozgan Province. “Iran made ... ► Read more

  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says it shot down US drone

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has said it shot down a United States drone on Thursday — a move that, if confirmed, will surely further exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington. The alleged downing follows the US Military’s allegation that Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. Washington blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies. ... ► Read more

  • Confused about Iran? Here’s an explainer

    Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent months to what appears to be near boiling point. The two countries have been at loggerheads for decades, with Washington accusing the oil-rich country of destabilising the Middle East by backing extremist groups and attempting to develop a nuclear arsenal, and Tehran accusing the US of imperialism and trying to provoke another conflict in the region. But US-Iran relations stabilised in 2015 when Iran ... ► Read more

  • D–Day: leaders gather to commemorate 75th anniversary of landings

    World leaders have gathered in the United Kingdom to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings. Among those gathered yesterday at Portsmouth on the United Kingdom’s southern coast were Queen Elizabeth, the Prince of Wales, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Donald Trump, concluding his state visit to the UK. A second day of commemoration will be ... ► Read more

  • Morrison: US-China trade war putting “living standards of billions of people at risk”

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned the trade war between the United States and China is unprecedentedly testing global trade and “putting the prosperity and living standards of billions of people at risk.” Mr Morrison, who is in London to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, issued the warning during a speech to the Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce. He stressed the importance of multilateral economic institutions that forged the “post-war liberal economic order” ... ► Read more

  • Protests to overshadow May-Trump talks

    United States President Donald Trump’s talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May will take place amid mass protests across the United Kingdom, including in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square. Mr Trump is on a three-day state visit to the UK and has so far called London Mayor Sadiq Khan a “stone cold loser” and seemingly failed to recognise the gift he and his wife Melania gave to the Queen. He also drew controversy ahead of his ... ► Read more

  • Man dies inflight after ingesting almost 250 packets of cocaine

    A Japanese man has died en route from Colombia to Japan after ingesting 246 packets of cocaine, authorities say. The man’s Aeromexio flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Hermosillo, northern Mexico on Friday (local time) after the man began having seizures and convulsing. He boarded the plane in Mexico City after arriving from Bogota, Colombia, and was headed for Narita, Japan. The office of the Attorney-General for Sonora issued a statement confirming ... ► Read more

  • Two killed, 29 injured as tornadoes strike Oklahoma

    A tornado levelled a motel and destroyed a mobile home park near Oklahoma City on Saturday night (local time), before another twister struck a suburb of Tulsa about 180 kilometres away the next morning. The first tornado touched down in El Reno, about 40 kilometres west of the state capital, crossing an interstate highway and battering the American Budget Value Inn before flipping and levelling homes at the Skyview Estates trailer park. “It’s a tragic ... ► Read more

  • 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