World AM News Briefs For Friday, 11 January 2019
Good Morning Australia!! - The Yellow Vest protest drivers might appreciate - An audacious Houthi attack threatens Yemen's fragile cease-fire - Trump's bizarre view of a country pointing missiles at his military - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
France's "Yellow Vest" protesters are blamed for taking out about 60 percent of the country's highway speed cameras. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the devices had been "neutralized, attacked, or destroyed" and that the vandalism poses a threat to road safety and put lives in danger. But many protesters believe the cameras to be a cynical revenue generating device which unfairly target lower income drivers. The demonstrations began as a protest against fuel taxes, but have been adopted/appropriated by interests from across the political spectrum. The one thing the protesters seem to agree on is that it costs too much to live in France, and that President Emmanuel Macron's neo-liberal tax cuts for the wealthy have made the economy even more unfair.
Houthi rebels managed to fly an explosives-packed drone above a military parade on a base in Yemen, exploding the device above marching troops. Shrapnel killed at least six people, and medics say the deputy army chief of staff and regional governor are among the injured. The Houthi say they were attacking members of the Saudi-led coalition that backs the government. The attack threatens to derail peace talks and efforts to move much-needed food and medical aid to the starving population caught in between the indifference of the government and rebels.
On the 20th day of the US government shutdown, Donald Trump claimed it was better and easier to deal with China than it is to negotiate with Congressional Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Seemingly on cue, China announcing it is mobilizing intermediate-range ballistic missiles to potentially target US Navy ships entering the South China Sea, which China claims as its exclusive territory (despite most of it existing way, way beyond China's internationally-recognized maritime borders). The DF-26 missiles are nicknamed "Guam Killers" by defense analysts because they can easily reach the US Navy facility at Guam, as well as Indonesia.
Trump also announced he was canceling his planned trip to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland so he can concentrate on the US government shutdown. Observers now expect him to declare an emergency at the southern border in order to bypass Congress, where Democrats won't give him a blank check for US$5.6 Billion to start the wall. Critics vow multiple court challenges to stop him if he does that, and Trump would have to explain why he thinks there is a crisis - especially when he could have had the wall funding at any time when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress over the past two years, and cross border undocumented migration is actually down.
Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi is the winner of the DR Congo presidential election, although another opposition contender disputes it. Martin Fayulu will file a challenge that accuses Mr. Tshisekedi of reaching a backroom power-sharing deal with the ruling party - a claim the veteran figure has denied. The Roman Catholic church is also disputing the final tally, claiming that its 40,000 observers on the ground came up with different results.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro finally began his second term in office, months after the disputed election last May. The conservative opposition boycotted the poll and international critics claimed the vote was rigged, which kind of make it sound like Schrodinger's election but whatever. Thousands gathered in the capital to watch the inauguration with guests Daniel Ortega from Nicaragua and Evo Morales from Bolivia - the two other remaining Left-wing leaders after Latin America's swing to the right. "Venezuela is at the center of a world war led by the United States imperialism and its satellite countries," claimed Mr. Maduro before acknowledging the obvious: "There are problems in Venezuela, like in any other country. But we, Venezuelans, have to sort it out, without foreign intervention."
A 16-year old Sydney boy is dead after getting caught in an avalanche while skiing in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria. This happened at St. Anton - his 55-year old mother was able to free herself, but the teen was buried under 2 meters of snow and was dead by the time rescuers got to him.
An alert sniffer dog in South Africa turned his police handlers on to a big cache of illegal rhino horn being smuggled out of the country. The haul at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg is the biggest in years: 36 horns and horn fragments, weighing 116 kilograms, and worth about US$1.3 Million. The smugglers tried to hide it among mundane items such as decorations and doormats. Although rhino poaching is down a bit in the past few years, more than a thousand beasts are killed by poachers every year.