Europe

  • Ursula von der Leyen becomes first female President of the European Commission

    Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has become the first female President of the European Commission. She is also the first German to get the job for more than 50 years. She replaces Jean-Claude Juncker as President, a position he had held since 2014. 733 votes were cast in a secret ballot, with 383 voting in favour of Ms von der Leyen and 327 voting against. 22 votes were in abstention and one vote was void. ... ► Read more

  • Human cost of Ukrainian civil war growing, UNSC hears

    The human cost of the conflict in Ukraine is growing, the United Nations political chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, during a briefing on the current situation in the country. UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo’s briefing to the Council was delivered just days before Ukrainians vote in parliamentary elections on 21 July. Ms DiCarlo expressed her hope that the poll will be “peaceful and democratic”, and inclusive, reflecting the “broadest participation of women”. However, the current ... ► Read more

  • Christine Lagarde resigns as IMF head

    Christine Lagarde has announced she will step down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 12 September, following a decision on her nomination to become head of the European Central Bank (ECB). “With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB president and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the fund,” she said. “The executive board will now be taking ... ► Read more

  • Newly released footage shows unarmed UK police, passersby face Borough Market terrorists

    Newly released footage shows unarmed British police and members of the public trying to apprehend perpetrators of the 2017 London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack. On 3 June 2017, the three attackers — Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba — ploughed down pedestrians in a rented van before embarking on a knife attack at Borough Market. The entire attack lasted around 10 minutes and claimed the lives of eight people. A further 48 ... ► Read more

  • Alan Turing honoured as face of new £50 note

    Computer pioneer Alan Turing is the face of the Bank of England’s new £50 note, which will enter circulation by the end of 2021. The celebrated mathematician played key roles in deciphering encoded German messages during the Second World War and in the development of early computers. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said. “As the father ... ► Read more

  • French police fire tear gas at protesters following Bastille Day celebrations

    French police have fired tear gas at Yellow Vest protesters following Bastille Day celebrations near the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Beforehand, Yellow Vest protesters booed French President Emmanuel Macron as he was driven down the avenue. Police say they apprehended more than 150 people, including two Yellow Vest leaders accused of staging an unauthorised demonstration. A few hundred protesters were attempting to occupy the road following the celebrations. They attempted to block the road with metal ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 July – 13 July 2019

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

  • Iran “tried to intercept a British tanker”, says UK Defence Ministry

    The Strait of Hormuz has once again become the scene of international scandal, with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) accusing Iran of trying to seize a British oil tanker. According to the MoD, the HMS Montrose — a British frigate which was shadowing the BP-owned tanker — was forced to position itself between the tanker and three Iranian boats. The boats, believed to belong to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), then dispersed and the ... ► Read more

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

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

  • Hunt takes on Trump over “disrespectful” remarks

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

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

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

  • Trump lashes out at May on Twitter

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

  • British Airways faces $328m fine for breaching European privacy rule

    British Airways faces a A$328 million fine after their website was hacked last year, compromising the personal details of 500,000 customers. The penalty is the largest imposed yet under the General Data Protection Regulation, which was implemented last year in the European Union. The airline, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), revealed last September they had been hacked and customers’ addresses, emails, names, credit card numbers, expiration and three-digit security codes were all ... ► Read more

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

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

  • More than 80 migrants feared dead as boat sinks near Tunisia

    More than 80 people are feared to be dead after their boat sank while fleeing to Europe from Libya. The boat capsized on Wednesday (local time) off the port town of Zarzis in Tunisia. Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), tweeted yesterday: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tunisian fisherman rescued four people from the capsized boat but one later died in hospital. ... ► Read more

  • Does Hong Kong have a future divorced from Beijing?

    Hong Kong has seen weeks of protests sparked by a proposed law that would allow residents of the special administrative region (SAR) to be extradited to mainland China for prosecution. Increasingly, Hong Kong residents are questioning the continued viability of the “one country, two systems” policy that has maintained Hong Kong’s relatively high degree of economic freedoms and personal liberty since the British returned it to China in 1997. Some are pushing for Hong Kong ... ► Read more

  • China warns UK not to interfere amid ongoing Hong Kong protests

    China has warned the United Kingdom not to “interfere in its domestic affairs”, as the countries are embroiled in a growing diplomatic dispute over recent protests in Hong Kong. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, said Sino-British relations have been “damaged” by comments made by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and others in support of the protests. For weeks demonstrators have held protests against a controversial bill that would allow residents of Hong Kong to ... ► Read more

  • Search for missing Belgian tourist Theo Hayez suspended by police

    New South Wales Police have suspended the search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who disappeared in the Byron Bay area on 31 May. However, the investigation into Mr Hayez’s disappearance is still ongoing, police say. Tweed-Byron Police Commander Superintendent Dave Roptell said in a statement: “We met with Theo’s family today and we send our thoughts to them all, both here in Australia and abroad.” Mr Hayez, 18, was last seen walking through Byron ... ► Read more

  • Dubai ruler’s wife reportedly seeks asylum in UK

    The wife of Dubai’s ruler has reportedly fled the United Arab Emirates with their young son and daughter and sought asylum in London. According to the BBC, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein is said to be “afraid for her life”, while a person close to the family told The New York Times that she fled to Britain several months ago and was seeking a divorce. It follows the departure from Dubai of one of her husband’s daughters last year. ... ► Read more

  • 14 Russian sailors killed in fire on “top secret” mini-submarine

    Fourteen Russian sailors have been killed in a fire on a naval submarine, according to the country’s Defence Ministry. The ministry did not say on which vessel the incident took place, how the fire started, nor if there were any survivors. However, Russian media reported the fire broke out on the AS-12 Losharik — a nuclear powered mini-submarine designed for sensitive missions at great ocean depths. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the submersible was measuring sea ... ► Read more

  • Iran breaches enriched uranium limit, sparks global concern

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

  • Merkel trembles uncontrollably for second time this fortnight

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen trembling uncontrollably during a ceremony with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a second such incident this fortnight. The 64-year-old has no history of serious health issues and a spokesperson insisted that there was “nothing to worry about”. During a farewell ceremony for Germany’s justice minister, Ms Merkel began visibly shaking and crossed her arms as if to brace herself. Two weeks ago Ms Merkel was seen shaking more severely when ... ► Read more

  • Putin calls liberal values “obsolete”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has said liberal values are obsolete because they have been rejected by a majority of westerners. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Putin took aim at the political ideology which has guided Western democracies since the end of World War II. Among his qualms with liberalism was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to loosen Germany’s immigration policies to accommodate asylum seekers fleeing war-torn Syria, which he called a “cardinal mistake”. ... ► Read more

  • Key quotes from Russia’s annual presidential Q&A

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual live question and answer session on Thursday (local time) where he touched on a range of pressing issues. Mr Putin takes questions from a large audience and even responds to queries over the phone. Here are the highlights. On whether he has become tired of the presidency “No, otherwise I wouldn’t have run for this term.” On arrests related to economic crimes “I would like to say: you ... ► Read more

  • Tory leadership: Johnson and Hunt last men standing

    Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have emerged as the final two candidates that will be put to a postal vote of Conservative Party members to decide who will be the next party leader and British Prime Minister. Following the resignation of incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May on 7 June, ten MPs nominated to take over as Tory leader and head of the British Government. After five rounds of elimination voting, the candidates were reduced to ... ► Read more

  • Tory leadership: Johnson extends lead as Rory Stewart eliminated

    Rory Stewart has been eliminated from the British Conservative Party leadership election, while Boris Johnson has extended his lead as the parliamentary party’s preferred leader and next Prime Minister. Four of the initial 10 nominees remain, which will be reduced to two final candidates after a further two rounds of ballots. Dominic Raab was eliminated after failing to meet the required 10% threshold in the second round of voting. Mr Stewart almost doubled his vote ... ► Read more

  • MH17: four suspects to be charged with murder

    Five years after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has announced it will charge four men with murder over the deaths of all 298 people onboard, including 38 Australians. The JIT — made up of investigators from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine — named Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. They will be prosecuted by ... ► Read more

  • Why is the Tory leadership contest taking so long and who will be the new PM?

    This article will continue to be updated as the election progresses. On 24 May 2019, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation as leader of the Conservative Party (“the Tories”), effective from 7 June. This announcement triggered an election within the Conservative Party to determine who will lead the party and succeed her as Prime Minister. It has been two weeks since Theresa May’s resignation took effect, and we still don’t know who the ... ► Read more

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

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

  • Putin, Xi praise Russia-China relations

    Chinese President Xi Jinping began a three-day visit to Russia on Wednesday (local time) with a touch of panda diplomacy and a raft of new Russian-Chinese business contracts. Mr Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin praised their countries’ ties during talks at the Kremlin, as Russia and China seek to shore up cooperation amid shared tensions with the United States. “President Putin is for me a best friend,” Mr Xi told journalists during a joint ... ► Read more

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

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

  • Protests to overshadow May-Trump talks

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

  • Boris Johnson ordered to appear in court over £350 million Brexit claim

    Conservative MP Boris Johnson has been ordered to appear in court over claims he lied during the Brexit campaign by saying the United Kingdom gave the European Union £350 million a week. The frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of misconduct in public office after making the claim during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. Campaigner Michael Ball crowdfunded £200,000 to launch the private prosecution of the ... ► Read more

  • Iraqi court sentences three French IS members to death

    An Iraqi court sentenced three French nationals to death on Sunday, after finding them guilty of joining Islamic State (IS). Thousands of suspected IS members are being tried in Iraqi courts, including hundreds of foreigners arrested as the militant organisation’s strongholds collapse throughout the country. Kévin Gonot, Léonard Lopez and Salim Machou were extradited to Iraq in February and were among the 14 French nationals included in a group of 280 detainees handed over by ... ► Read more

  • US announces new charges against Julian Assange

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

  • 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