World AM News Briefs For Friday, 8 September 2017
Good Morning Australia!! - Australians give up their guns - Hurricane Irma is living up to its status as a record breaker - Suu Kyi's lame excuse for ethnic cleansing in Myanmar stuns - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The federal government will study possible laws to prevent false and malicious advertising, now that the legal path has been cleared for the same-sex marriage postal survey. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will start mailing out forms from next Tuesday. Voters will be asked: "Should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry?" Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says any news laws would cover "both sides" of the issue, and the government will reach out to relevant parties to determine what the laws should say: "We will explore to what extent it is sensible to put all of the safeguards in place that would normally apply in the context of a federal election," he said.
Australians handed in 25,999 firearms in the nation's first national gun amnesty since the Port Arthur massacre. "The expectation was that we would get a large number, but 26,000 has really exceeded our expectations," said Justice Minister Michael Keenan. It comes out to about 400 guns handed in every day, and about half were turned over to authorities in New South Wales. There's still time to get rid of unwanted guns, because the amnesty runs through the end of the month. After that, getting caught with an unregistered firearm could cost youa fine of up to AU$280,000 and a 14 year prison term.
Disaster Brews off America's East Coast:
Hurricane Irma is destroying past weather records as well as Caribbean islands as it slogs towards landfall in Florida. The Category Five Cyclone devastated Barbuda, where the Prime Minister said the storm destroyed 95 percent of the island's structures and vehicles. There is bad building and infrastructure damage in the Dominican Republic, particularly around Samana town. In Puerto Rico - a US territory already fighting bankruptcy - more than a million have been left without power nearly 50,000 are without water. Saint Martin reported terrible destruction. The US is urging any Americans vacationing in Cuba to leave immediately, and Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in the US Virgin Islands.
At least 13 people have died as a result of Hurricane Irma; one of the Hurricane Irma's victims was an up-and-coming pro surfer who was taking advantage of the big waves churned up by the storm. 16-year-old Zander Venezia is believed to have been knocked unconscious hitting a shallow reef and drowned in the waters off his home in Bridgetown, Barbados. "Zander was such a good, funny kid. He was always joking, and he just loved surfing. He was so jovial, such a joy to be around. I just can't believe he's gone," said Barbados surf legend Alan Burke, now an instructor on the island.
Hurricane Irma is the biggest Atlantic storm in a decade. It has sustained 185-mph winds for 33 hours, "the longest any cyclone around the globe has maintained that intensity on record," according to Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University. It is 800 miles in width - wider than Texas. And it is heading on a direct path up Florida's heavily populated east coast. The Governor of Florida has been on TV every few minutes providing people with storm and preparedness updates, and urging those who can to evacuate. Miami-Dade International Airport is wall-to-wall with people trying to get flights out, and gas stations have gone dry from people filling up their tanks to either brave jammed highways north or hunker down for the duration. Authorities are warning people not to mess around with this storm.
Off to Myanmar..
There are fears that concerted violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state is turning into another Srebrenica Massacre, referring to the genocide in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. More than 146,000 thousand Rohingya have been forced to flee for their lives across the border to Bangladesh into squalid and teeming refugee camps. Journalists who made their way to abandoned Muslim villages found new fores burning days after the residents left, and pages of Muslim texts scattered around - evidence that would seem to refute the insulting claims by the Myanmar military that the Rohingya were burning their own homes down. There are also growing concerns that the military and nationalist mobs are burning the evidence.
Myanmar's ruling party leader - and therefore de facto ruler - Aung San Suu Kyi is defending her lack of action to protect the Rohingya. She told reports that "it is a little unreasonable to expect us to solve the issue in 18 months" since she assumed power. "The situation in Rakhine has been such since many decades," she added, "It goes back to pre-colonial times." Yeah, but it's happening on YOUR watch.
There are growing calls to strip Suu Kyi of her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, earned for defying the previous military government's restrictions on political organizing and free speech, even from some of her fellow laureates. Others just want her to come to her senses: "I still think that she is the same Aung San Suu Kyi that won the Nobel Peace Prize she will wake up to that person," said Professor Muhammed Yunus from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Fairfax Media. "I'm still hoping that she will wake up, be bold and take some leadership, she has not shown that leadership yet," he added, urging Suu Kyi's friends and supporters to urge her into action to protect the Rohingya.
Israel's Defense Minister wouldn't confirm or deny that Israeli warplanes attacked and destroyed a suspected chemical weapons site in Syria, that's just not how Israel rolls. But Avigdor Lieberman did issue an ominous warning: "We are determined to prevent our enemies harming, or even creating an opportunity to harm, the security of Israeli citizens," he said, "We shall do everything in order not to allow the existence of a Shiite corridor from Tehran to Damascus."
French police arrested three men in a terror-linked bomb plot to target banks. A tip from a tradie led them to an apartment in the southern Paris suburb of Villejuif, where cops found in explosives and chemicals. Investigators say the men had contact with groups in Syria.