World AM News Briefs For Monday, 8 January 2018
Good Morning Australia!! - Dozens are missing as a possible environmental catastrophe unfolds in the sea off China - Germany's stability could be on the line this week - Trump's former guru tries to grovel his way back into the fold - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
An Iranian oil tanker is burning off Shanghai, threatening to foul the area with its entire contents - 136,000 tons - if it is not contained. That would put it on the list of top ten oil spills of all time. The 32-member crew of the Sanchi are missing. "Sanchi is floating and burning," said China's ministry of Transport in a statement, "There is an oil slick and we are pushing forward with rescue efforts." Winds are keeping the oil off shore for now, but the sea is only 40 to 50 meters deep in that area, thus the spill poses an immediate and large-scale threat to local fishing operations. The tanker had been sailing to Daesan in South Korea from Kharg Island in Iran when it collided with a Hong Kong-registered freighter carrying grain. The crew of the other ship has been rescued.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard says anti-government protests have been ended. Although last week's unrest spread rapidly in this age of social media and widespread smartphone use, they failed to reached any level that seriously threatened the regime. More than a thousand people remain under arrest and at least 22 people died in the protests.
Israel has banned 20 international NGOs that promote the economic boycott of Israel known as the "BDS" movement (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) which seeks to use economic leverage to force Israel's hard-line government to adopt a more progressive policy towards the Palestinians. These groups include America peace groups "Code Pink" and "Jewish Voice for Peace" (JVP) which were founded by Jewish activists, and the venerable Nobel Peace Prize laureate American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). JVP said the decision was "not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms" under the ultra-conservative Benjamin Netanyahu government.
Bolivia is joining an regional investigation into Operation Condor, the conspiracy of South America's fascist dictatorships in the 1970s to stamp out Leftist movements and murder their members. President Evo Morales has announced that his country will provide resources and investigative experience to reveal more about the CIA-backed and funded plot, joining Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay - where people suffered under the bloody campaign. Estimates of the number of those murdered or disappeared in Operation Condor ranges from 20,000 to 60,000. Many were dropped from helicopters into the ocean, others died in clandestine torture chambers while their children were given away to be raised by right-wing military families.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday began five days of talks with Social Democratic (SPD) leader Martin Schulz on forming a grand coalition government. "I think that it can be done. We will work very swiftly and very intensively," Ms. Merkel told journalists. Germany has been without a government for trhee months since the election, after attempts to form a coalition with the FDP and the Greens futzed out. An opinion poll showed 54 percent believe a revived "grand coalition" of the big parties would be positive for Germany. That sentiment is even stronger elsewhere in Europe which relies on German stability.
US far-right wing political figure Steve Bannon is attempting to re-ingratiate with the orange clown Donald Trump, after Bannon was portrayed in the tell-all book "Fire and Fury" trashing members of the Trump family. "Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man," said Bannon in a statement on Sunday, which also praised the orange clown's imaginary "historical achievements". Author Michael Wolff quoted Bannon saying Junior's meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton were "treasonous" and "unpatriotic". The White House had regarded Bannon's loose talks a "betrayal" and Trump labelled his former political advisor "Sloppy Steve". Bannon pretty much has no place else to go on the right, as the mainstream US Republican party blames him for losing Alabama's senate election last month by backing a candidate known to be a religious loon who was twice sacked from the state's supreme court for violating the US constitutional and was eventually accused of pedophilia.