Australia has said it is ready to join the US-led coalition to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. On Wednesday, August 21, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country plans to join the US-led international coalition in the Persian Gulf and protect oil tankers and merchant ships “against threats posed by Iran.”
On Wednesday, hundreds of Chinese students at the University of Queensland in Australia got physical during a rally in support of Hong Kong. Pro-China and pro-Hong Kong Chinese students clashed verbally with sporadic physical violence. Students at the school believe that this conflict may lead to more confrontation between the two sides.
On Thursday, a judge voided a search warrant used by the San Francisco Police Department to monitor a journalist’s phone. The warrant was then used to gather information in advance of a controversial raid on the apartment and news operation of Bryan Carmody, who published a leaked police report and refused to divulge its source. Meanwhile, more details are emerging down under on a similar raid on Australia’s public broadcaster. In a troubling time worldwide for press freedoms, this week provided much-needed good news, and a dose of disinfecting daylight.
Negotiations take days in Washington- but still breakthrough is missing. If nothing happens, US tariffs will apply to all imports from Mexico on Monday. The Mexican government is now making concessions.
To appease US President Donald Trump in the migration dispute, Mexico wants to deploy 6,000 National Guardsmen on its Southern border. Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard said this on Thursday in talks with US officials in Washington. This is to prevent the entry of Central American migrants on their way to the USA. The Mexican government wants to prevent with a set of concessions that Trump raises from Monday to punitive tariffs on Mexican imports.
If there’s one thing we learned as children, it’s that terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days can happen anywhere, even in Australia. Evidently, so can attacks on press freedom. Two police raids in two days on the nation’s public broadcaster, ABC, shocked those in and out of the country. For journalists and those concerned with protecting the freedom of the press, the raids are part of an alarming trend across ostensible western democracies.
At around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night on Australia’s east coast, Antony Green, chief elections analyst at the ABC, made his announcement to a half-stunned, half-delirious nation. “At this stage, we think the Morrison Government has been reelected.” Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative Coalition, widely expected to lose to Bill Shorten’s Labor Party after six turbulent years (and three Prime Ministers), instead won a majority government in the House of Representatives. For Labor, it was a crushing and baffling defeat in an election many thought un-losable. For the polling industry, however, the Coalition’s triumph was catastrophic, the latest high-profile miss over an abysmal and embarrassing three-year span.
Australians will be voting for a new Parliament, and possibly, their fourth Prime Minister in six years this weekend. Liberal incumbent Scott Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten have been neck and neck throughout the campaign. However, Aussies don’t seem to like either one of them, with up to a quarter unable to state a preference in the polls. Yet, voting is compulsory Down Under, so they’ll have to vote for one of them.
Australians go to the polls much more often than in other Westminster democracies, at every three years. Still, the frequent changes in party and national leadership have made the country something of an international joke.
- In European elections, liberal Zuzana Caputova defeated Socialist Maros Sefcovic in the second round, to become SLOVAKIA’s first woman President. The election took place in the shadow of the murder of an investigative journalist last year. Meanwhile, in UKRAINE, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko trails Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian who portrays Poroshenko on television.
- POLAND: Delegates from 196 countries concluded talks at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24), Saturday in Katowice, Poland. The agreement will make the Paris climate pact operational by 2020, and aim to limit temperature rises to below 2C.
- YEMEN: After weeklong peace talks in Sweden, the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels agreed to a cease-fire in the port city of Hodeidah, held by the rebels. It is a positive end to the first face-to-face negotiations since the conflict began in 2015.
- AUSTRALIA: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s speech to the triennial Labor Party conference was interrupted by protestors upset over the party’s environmental and migrant policies. Shorten is heavily favored to win next year’s federal election and end six years of conservative Coalition rule.
- DR CONGO: Ten days before long-awaited elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a fire destroyed more than two-thirds of the electronic voting machines intended for use in the capital, Kinshasa, on Thursday. These elections have been delayed more than two years, after President Joseph Kabila refused to leave office.
- CUBA: Leaders of Latin American leftist governments gathered in Havana Friday at the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) summit. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel warned against “right-wing advances” in the region, and expressed solidarity with Venezuela and Nicaragua, both in the midst of political and economic crises.
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