Europe

  • 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

  • UN demands UK hand Chagos Islands to Mauritius

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

  • Jamie Oliver’s UK restaurant chain collapses

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

  • “One last chance” at Brexit, warns PM

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

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

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

  • Man scales Eiffel Tower prompting evacuations

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

  • Ukraine: Zelensky dissolves Rada on inauguration day

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

  • Swiss voters back EU gun control regulations

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

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

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

  • Two more bodies found in connection with German crossbow deaths

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

  • Sweden reopens rape investigation involving Julian Assange

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

  • Three bodies impaled with crossbow bolts found in German hotel

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

  • Duchess of Sussex gives birth to baby boy

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

  • Up to 41 killed in Moscow plane crash

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

  • British Parliament declares climate change emergency

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

  • Assange sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment over bail breach

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

  • UK: PM fires Defence Secretary over Huawei leak

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

  • Putin enacts “internet sovereignty” bill

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

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

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

  • New IRA apologises for killing of journalist

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

  • Putin unveils world’s longest nuclear submarine

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

  • 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

  • Zelensky wins Ukraine election

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

  • Week in Brief: 14 April – 20 April 2019

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

  • At least 29 killed in Portugal tour bus crash

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

  • Macron pledges to restore Notre Dame in five years

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

  • Fire tears through Notre Dame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Week in Brief: 7 April – 13 April 2019

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

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

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

  • EU agrees to delay Brexit until 31 October

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

  • 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

  • Brexit: PM seeks extension to negotiate compromise with Labour

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

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

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

  • Brexit: MPs reject four alternative proposals

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

  • Ukraine: exit polls suggest comedian leading presidential race

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

  • Slovakia elects first female president

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

  • Brexit: PM will stand down if deal is passed

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

  • MPs vote to take control of Brexit process

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

  • Week in Brief: 17 March – 23 March 2019

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

  • EU agrees Brexit delay plan

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

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

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

  • Tusk says Brexit delay possible if MPs back deal

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

  • British PM will formally ask to delay Brexit

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

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

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

  • Kazakh President resigns after three decades

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

  • Dutch police arrest man for tram shooting

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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

  • British MPs vote to delay Brexit

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

  • British MPs reject no-deal Brexit

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

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

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

  • British MPs reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Tories suspend 14 members for Islamophobia

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

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

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

  • 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

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

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

  • 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

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

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

  • Kazakh President fires government

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

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

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

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

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

  • UK strips ISIS teen of British citizenship

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

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

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

  • 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

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

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

  • Week in Brief: 10 February – 16 February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Macedonia officially changes name to North Macedonia

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

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

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

  • Netherlands “confident” Russia will agree to MH17 talks

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

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

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

  • No hard Irish border, vows Theresa May

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

  • “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

  • Pope Francis makes historic visit to Abu Dhabi

    Leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis has landed in Abu Dhabi for a historic three-day visit to the Arabian Peninsula. Upon arriving in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Pope was greeted by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and then Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif University and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders. Ahead ... ► 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

  • Theresa May to seek “pragmatic solution” to post-Brexit Northern Ireland border arrangements

    British Prime Minister Theresa May said she will seek a “pragmatic solution” to securing Parliament’s support when she reopens negotiations with the European Union ahead of the scheduled 29 March exit date. Last week the British Parliament rejected the Government’s proposed withdrawal agreement and told Ms May to seek alternative arrangements regarding the controversial Northern Ireland backstop. The Northern Ireland backstop, which is a fallback provision intended to maintain the open border between Northern Ireland ... ► Read more

  • Brexit may need “extra time”, says British Foreign Secretary

    British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that “extra time” may be needed to avoid the United Kingdom leaving the European Union on 29 March without an exit agreement. Mr Hunt said that Brexit may be delayed if progress is not made in the weeks ahead of the 29 March deadline. “It is true that if we ended up approving the deal in the days before the 29 March, then we might need some extra ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: UK Parliament supports government’s bid to re-negotiate Irish backstop

    The British Parliament has backed the May Government’s proposal to seek “alternative arrangements” to replace the Irish backstop in Downing Street’s Brexit plan. On Tuesday (local time) UK Prime Minister Theresa May urged MPs to support the proposal to give her a mandate to re-open negotiations with the EU in a bid to secure a “legally binding change”. However, the EU has said it will not change the legal text agreed. Under the current agreement, ... ► 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

  • Anti-semitic protests at Auschwitz on Holocaust Memorial Day

    A small group of hardline Polish nationalists gathered in protest at the Auschwitz concentration camp on Sunday, as officials and survivors commemorated the 74th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. The two groups gathered in different parts of the camp and did not encounter each other. At the official ceremony on Sunday — which is also International Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day — government officials, including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, were joined in prayer by some of ... ► Read more

  • St Petersburg marks 75th anniversary of Leningrad siege end

    Saint Petersburg marked the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the Siege of Leningrad over the weekend with a military parade in the centre of the city and commemorations of the fallen. The World War II siege, which lasted for 872 days and killed an estimated one million people, is remembered every year on January 27 — the day it was lifted by Soviet troops in 1944. The parade in Russia’s second-largest city was the ... ► 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

  • Remains of explorer Matthew Flinders found under London’s Euston Station

    The remains of explorer Matthew Flinders have been found underneath London’s Euston Station during construction work on the HS2 high-speed rail project. In 1802 Flinders was the first European to circumnavigate the Australian continent, accompanied by indigenous explorer Bungaree of the Kuringgai people. Flinders died at the age of 40, on the day after his book A Voyage to Terra Australis was published, and was interred in St James’s cemetery on 23 July 1814. St James’s grew rapidly, but ... ► 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

  • Sir David Attenborough: climate change crisis “difficult to overstate”

    Sir David Attenborough has told Prince William that people have never been more “out of touch” with the natural world than they are today. In an interview with the Duke of Cambridge at the World Economic Forum, the naturalist warned: “We can wreck it with ease, we can wreck it without even noticing.” Sir Attenborough said people must care, respect and revere the natural world. Heeding his words, Prince William said: “Work to save the ... ► Read more

  • Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko announces presidential bid

    Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has officially announced her candidacy for Ukraine’s 2019 presidential election. The 58-year-old is leading the polls as support for incumbent Petro Poroshenko continues to plummet. Support for Mr Poroshenko is at 13.8%, with 50% of Ukrainian voters saying they would not vote for him under any circumstances. However, Ms Tymoshenko is a somewhat controversial figure, having spent time in both government and prison since first being elected to parliament ... ► Read more

  • Sir David Attenborough calls for global environmental plan

    Sir David Attenborough used an acceptance speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) to tell business leaders and governments that “the Garden of Eden is no more”, urging them to come up with “practical solutions” to address environmental problems such as climate change. “If people can truly understand what is at stake, I believe they will give permission to business and governments to get on with the practical solutions,” he said. “As a species, we ... ► Read more

  • Rescue mission underway to save survivors of ship blaze near Crimea

    At least 11 sailors have died aboard two Tanzanian-flagged cargo ships involved in a fire near the Kerch Strait. Russian rescue workers are attempting to save crew members who jumped overboard. So far 14 people have been rescued. One of the ships is a gas tanker and reportedly the source of the blaze. According to authorities, the fire was caused by an explosion, which set the second ship on fire. The two ships are called ... ► Read more

  • Brexit is only a big deal for politicians

    On 23 June 2016 I was on a train, hurtling across the English countryside. Like every good law graduate, I was making a pilgrimage to see Lincoln Castle’s Magna Carta. Conspicuously absent from my journey was any indication that the dawn of the Brexit malaise was imminent, despite Britons heading to the polls that day to vote on whether to leave the European Union. In fact, most conspicuous for my entire visit was the apathy toward ... ► Read more