• 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

  • 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. Ms May will today present a revised Brexit deal to the House of Commons after her initial deal was rejected last week by an unprecedented number. However, Britain’s Labour opposition party is pushing for the exit date — March 29 — to be delayed, with the party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, saying delaying ... ► Read more

  • Violent protests in Athens over Macedonia naming dispute

    Protesters and police clashed in the Greek capital of Athens on Sunday during a rally in opposition to the Government’s agreement with Macedonia on changing the latter’s name. Under the agreement — which has not yet been approved by the Hellenic Parliament — Macedonia would become the Republic of North Macedonia. Many Greeks feel that their northern neighbour’s name implies a territorial and historical claim on the Greek province of Macedonia. According to police estimates, ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 13 January – 19 January 2019

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

  • Prince Philip left unscathed after car accident

    The Duke of Edinburgh has been involved in a car crash while driving near the Queen’s Sandringham estate, Buckingham Palace has said. Prince Philip, 97, was not injured in the accident, which happened as he drove a Land Rover out of a driveway onto the A149 shortly before 15:00 GMT (02:00 AEDT). The other car involved was a Kia. Two women in it needed hospital treatment but have since been discharged. Eyewitnesses said the Duke’s ... ► Read more

  • British Army reservists called up to prepare for no-deal Brexit

    Troops will be deployed across the UK to help with preparations for a no-deal Brexit, the British Government has announced. Ministers have issued a formal notice calling up British army reservists to help tackle the impact of crashing out of the EU “on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK”. The Ministry of Defence said it was supporting no-deal preparations across government to ensure there are “effective and ... ► Read more

  • Theresa May: Government has confidence of Parliament, time to deliver Brexit

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for bipartisan talks to develop a Brexit deal that will pass the House of Commons. In a short late-night address from No 10 on Wednesday (local time), Ms May said she had held talks with senior parliamentarians from a number of parties on Brexit that evening, but was disappointed by Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s absence. She said: “I am disappointed that the leader of the Labour Party has ... ► Read more

  • Chechnya: two people killed and 40 detained in LGBT purge, activists say

    At least two people have died and 40 others detained by the Republic of Chechnya in Russia in a crackdown against the gay community, LGBT+ activists charged on Monday (local time). The new allegations follows reports that emerged in 2017 claiming that more than 100 gay men were arrested and subjected to torture, with some of them killed, in the conservative republic. “Widespread detentions, torture and killings of gay people have resumed in Chechnya,” Igor ... ► Read more

  • Theresa May’s Brexit deal rejected by House of Commons

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered an unprecedented defeat after the House of Commons rejected her Brexit deal by 230 votes. MPs voted down the deal 432 to 202, prompting Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn to table a vote of no confidence. If Prime Minister May loses the vote of no confidence a general election would be triggered. However, with Britain’s EU departure date set for March 29, just 10 weeks away, it is unlikely ... ► Read more

  • Trump: “I never worked for Russia”

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

  • Delaying Brexit would be “catastrophic” for democracy, says Theresa May.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned MPs that blocking Brexit would be “catastrophic” for democracy, just days before Parliament is expected to reject her agreement with Brussels on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The Prime Minister postponed a parliamentary vote on the agreement in December due to fears the deal would be voted down by MPs, and ahead of the vote on 15 January she has told MPs that they must ... ► Read more

  • Australian teenager dies in Austrian avalanche

    A 16 year old Australian has died after being buried in an avalanche while skiing with his family in Austria. Max Meyer, a teenager from Sydney, is being remembered as a treasured classmate and a “great kid”. The school boy’s life was tragically cut short after an avalanche struck St Anton am Arlberg on Wednesday afternoon (local time), while he was skiing away from prepared ski runs with his family. An emergency call was issued ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: UK Parliament twists May’s arm in blow to her authority

    Rebel MPs in the UK Prime Minister’s own Conservative Party have joined forces with Labour to inflict a fresh blow to the May Government’s authority on Brexit. As MPs started five days of debate on Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, the Parliament demanded the Government come up with revised plans within three days if the exit plan is rejected. The House of Commons will vote on the plan next Tuesday (local time). The Government ... ► Read more

  • Amendment shows UK Parliament won’t support a no-deal Brexit

    The British Parliament has passed an amendment restricting government revenue raising options through taxation in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The amendment to the Finance Bill passed by 303 to 296 votes and is seen by Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn as an “important step”. However, No 10 says it is “inconvenient rather than significant”. So, who is right? The short answer is both. It is true that the amendment’s practical significance is fairly minor. ... ► Read more

  • Drone sighting disrupts flights at London’s Heathrow

    Departures at Heathrow were temporarily stopped on Tuesday (local time) after a drone sighting was reported. Flights from the west London airport resumed about an hour after police said a drone had been seen. A Heathrow spokeswoman said it was a “precautionary measure” to “prevent any threat to operational safety”. It comes after last month’s disruption at Gatwick Airport which saw thousands of people stranded when drones were sighted. The spokeswoman said Heathrow was working ... ► Read more

  • Gatwick Airport shut down after drone reports

    Sussex Police are considering shooting down a drone that has caused Gatwick Airport to close for more than 24 hours. The police have received about 50 reports of the device being flown near the international airport since Wednesday evening. Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said that although shooting down the drone was earlier dismissed, it is a “tactical option” that is being “continually reviewed”. It has been confirmed that the airport will remain closed on ... ► Read more

  • Putin on Brexit: Theresa May must “enact the will of the people”

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has no choice but to follow through with Brexit, as backing down would undermine Britain’s democracy, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “She must enact the will of the people, expressed during the referendum,” Mr Putin said during his end-of-year press conference in Moscow. “Otherwise it is not a referendum at all. Doing it over and over again if someone did not like [the result] — is it a democracy?” ... ► Read more

  • Belgian PM Charles Michel resigns after vote of no confidence

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s resignation has been accepted by King Philippe, after the country’s parliament passed a vote of no confidence in his government. Mr Michel became Prime Minister in October 2014 by forming a centre-right coalition consisting of the New Flemish Alliance, the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party, the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats, and Mr Michel’s own party, the Reformist Movement. Last week Mr Michel lost the backing of the New Flemish ... ► Read more

  • Brexit Commons vote to be held in mid January

    British Prime Minister Theresa May says the postponed vote in Parliament on her Brexit agreement will be held the week of January 14 — more than a month after it was originally scheduled, and just 10 weeks before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. But even as Ms May insisted she could salvage her unpopular divorce deal, pressure was mounting for dramatic action — a new referendum or a vote among politicians — to ... ► Read more

  • Tear gas and water cannons deployed after Brussels anti-immigration protest turns violent

    Belgian security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at anti-immigration demonstrators, after a protest outside the European Union headquarters in Brussels turned violent. Local authorities initially banned the protest for fear of violence erupting, but Belgium’s High Court overturned the ban, citing the right to protest peacefully. However, police deployed tear gas and water cannons after some protesters became violent when asked to leave, and 90 people were detained. According to police, some 5,500 ... ► Read more

  • Theresa May and Tony Blair squabble over former PM’s call for second Brexit referendum

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused one of her predecessors, Tony Blair, of “undermining” Brexit negotiations by calling for a second referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. Mr Blair suggested last week that MPs could back the holding of another referendum if “none of the other options work”, referring to the uncertainty surrounding whether Parliament will support Ms May’s withdrawal agreement. Ms May responded, saying: “For Tony Blair to ... ► Read more

  • French police shoot dead Strasbourg gunman

    French police on Thursday (local time) shot dead a suspected gunman who had been on the run since killing three people at Strasbourg’s popular Christmas market on Tuesday (local time). More than 700 French security forces had been hunting for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt since the bloodshed on Tuesday night. He was believed to have been injured after exchanging fire with soldiers during the attack, but managed to escape and had not been seen since getting ... ► Read more

  • George Pell removed from Pope’s close advisers

    Pope Francis has removed from his group of close advisers two cardinals hit by sexual abuse scandals, including his economy minister, Australian George Pell, the Vatican said on Wednesday (local time). Cardinal Pell has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his job as head of the Secretariat for the Economy, one of the most powerful posts in the Vatican, to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offences in Australia. Vatican spokesman Greg ... ► Read more

  • Analysis: Theresa May has won the battle, but certainly not the war

    While Theresa May has survived an attempt to remove her, there is at least a third of her party which does not have confidence in her leadership. The nature of Brexit is highly divisive and the hardline Brexiteers will not just disappear. Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, who led the calls for a no confidence vote, has already seized on the opportunity to take further shots at Ms May, calling the vote a “terrible result for ... ► Read more

  • Theresa May wins Tory vote of no confidence

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has surived a Conservative Party vote of no confidence. Ms May won 200 votes to 117. The result means that another internal leadership challenge cannot be launched for at least 12 months. Speaking outside Downing Street, Prime Minister May said a “significant number of colleagues did cast a vote against me”, but insisted “we need to get on with the job of delivering a Brexit that delivers on the vote”. She ... ► Read more

  • Tory leadership challenge could be imminent as May’s Brexit negotiations stall

    British Prime Minister Theresa May could be ousted from the leadership of the Conservative Party, after she delayed a vote on her Brexit agreement due to fears Parliament would block it. The British press is widely reporting that the 48 letters calling for a vote of no confidence against Ms May have been received by the Chief Whip, and a vote on her leadership could come as early as Wednesday night (local time). Ms May ... ► Read more

  • At least three dead in French Christmas market shooting

    A gunman killed at least three people and wounded 11 others near a Christmas market in the French border city of Strasbourg on Tuesday (local time) evening before being cornered by police. The motive was not immediately clear, but an investigation opened by the counter-terrorism prosecutor has been opened and the incident is being treated as a terror attack. Some two hours after the attack, elite police cornered the suspect and shots were fired, a ... ► Read more

  • Macron announces wage rises and tax cuts to quell riots

    French President Emmanuel Macron has announced wage rises and tax cuts in an effort to quell anti-government riots. After several weekends of violent civil unrest, Mr Macron finally addressed the nation to respond to accusations that his government’s economic policies are harming the country’s poor. He announced a wage rise of €100 per month in 2019 for the country’s poorest workers, and tax cuts for pensioners, but refused to reinstate a wealth tax or to ... ► Read more

  • European markets tumble, Wall St. rebounds, AUD surges against the Pound

    Political turmoil in London has caused the Pound to plunge and European markets to tumble. British Prime Minister Theresa May called off a crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it. The benchmark Paris and Frankfurt indices lost 1.5% each, while London’s FTSE fell 0.8%. Wall Street also fell sharply initially, with the industrial-skewed Dow Jones index shedding up to 500 points at its ... ► Read more

  • May postpones Brexit vote, seeks further negotiation with Brussels

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has called off a crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it. As it stands, the deal “would be rejected by a significant margin” if MPs voted on it, she admitted on Monday (local time). But she said she was confident of getting “reassurances” from the EU on the Northern Ireland border plan. MPs reacted angrily to her announcement, ... ► Read more

  • Paris riots: economy suffering as Macron to address nation, Trump attacks climate accord, and Russia accused of involvement

    The French “yellow vest” protests have continued for a fourth consecutive weekend of rioting across the country. What began as a protest against planned fuel tax increases has broadened into a general anti-government movement, with protestors demanding lower taxes, higher minimum wages and better pension benefits. Some 1000 people are currently being held in custody, 100 of whom are minors and most without police records. Most of those in custody are men under 40 who ... ► Read more

  • Ecuador’s president says Assange can leave London embassy “in near-liberty”

    Ecuador’s president said on Thursday (local time) that conditions have been met for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the country’s embassy in London, which would end a six-year standoff with British authorities. “The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty,” President Lenin Moreno told reporters, explaining that he still had to answer in Britain for violating the terms of his bail. President Moreno, however, said Britain ... ► Read more

  • Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley dies at age 63

    Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley has died at 63 of a suspected heart attack. The punk band are best known for their hit, “Ever Fallen in Love”. Their management told the BBC that Mr Shelley died on Thursday (local time) in Estonia where he was living. The band tweeted: Pete's music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held ... ► Read more

  • British A-G publishes Brexit advice: Northern Ireland could remain in EU customs union indefinitely

    British Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox has published his legal advice to the British Government concerning the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, just days after the Government was found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to provide the advice in full. The advice on Brexit consists of six pages that focus solely on the legal effect of the “Irish backstop” set out in the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, which will be ... ► Read more

  • Putin warns of new arms race if US withdraws from INF treaty

    Russia will develop missiles banned under a Cold War agreement if the US exits the pact, President Vladimir Putin has warned. His comments came shortly after the Russian Foreign Ministry said it received official notification that the US intends to withdraw from the INF unless Moscow remedies what Washington says is a serious violation of the treaty. Signed in 1987 by the US and USSR, it banned both countries’ use of all short and medium-range ... ► Read more

  • Nigel Farage quits UK Independence Party

    Nigel Farage has quit the UK Independence Party (UKIP), claiming that party leader Gerard Batten is turning a blind eye to extremist politics. The former UKIP leader said that he had worked “tirelessly” for UKIP to “get us back our independence” from the European Union, but claims that “a lot has changed” under Mr Batten’s leadership. “He seems to be pretty obsessed with the issue of Islam, not just Islamic extremism but Islam, and UKIP ... ► Read more

  • British Government releases Brexit advice after being found in contempt of Parliament

    The British Government will publish the full legal advice on which it has based Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union after MPs found the Government in contempt of Parliament for issuing a summary. The Government lost the vote by 311 to 293 at the beginning of a week of votes related to leaving the EU. Before the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May told her cabinet that “candid” legal advice given to the Government must remain ... ► Read more

  • Sir David Attenborough: “We are facing a man-made disaster of global scale”

    British documentarian and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough has urged world leaders, meeting in Poland to agree ways to limit global warming, to get on and tackle “our greatest threat in thousands of years”. “Leaders of the world, you must lead,” said Sir Attenborough, who was given a ‘People’s seat’ at the two-week UN climate conference in the Polish coal city of Katowice alongside two dozen heads of state and government. “The continuation of our civilisations ... ► Read more

  • Anonymous document leak suggests UK group running misinformation campaign against Russia

    International hacktivist group Anonymous released on Monday (local time) a new package of documents of the UK Integrity Initiative project, calling for an open pan-European investigation into the project’s activity. In a statement, Anonymous said: “Early in November, we published here a large part of the documents relating to the Integrity Initiative project. The Integrity Initiative have confirmed their validity, yet they don’t consider the information relevant. Meanwhile, neither the organization nor its sponsors have ... ► Read more

  • Russia, Ukraine agree to Normandy format talks to de-escalate tensions

    Both presidents of Russia and Ukraine have agreed to hold Normandy format talks to de-escalate the recent flare up in tensions over the Kerch Strait incident. Over breakfast with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the German leader that he supported the talks. “We have spoken about the situation in the Azov Sea, where all sorts of aggravation have to be avoided,” ... ► Read more

  • Macron orders PM to hold crisis talks to end Paris riots

    French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered his Prime Minister to hold crisis talks with political leaders and demonstrators, as Paris experiences its worst riots in a decade. As part of the nationwide anti-government protests, riots broke out in the French capital on Saturday (local time), leaving hundreds injured and causing widespread destruction throughout the city. During a meeting with his government on Sunday (local time), Mr Macron told Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to hold talks ... ► Read more