World AM News Briefs For Thursday, 10 May 2018
Good Morning Australia!! - The world races to clean-up the Orange Clown's mess - Bob Hawke's out of hospital - A major electoral upset in Malaysia - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The European Union is hastily arranging crisis talks with Iran, a day after the orange clown Donald Trump violated the multilateral deal that ended Tehran's nuclear weapons program by pulling the US out. French President Emmanuel Macron, who has emerged as the leader of the West on this issue, phoned his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani to urge both countries to hold up their ends of the agreement, despite the idiot in the White House. Iranian media reported that Rouhani replied, "Under the current conditions, Europe has a very limited opportunity to preserve the nuclear deal, and must, as quickly as possible, clarify its position and specify and announce its intentions with regard to its obligations."
The crisis meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday in London, where UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson insisted that his country will not follow the US and will act to protect British companies from any extra territorial sanctions imposed by the US. Likewise, the EU ministers are acutely aware that the only reason for Iran to stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) is the removal of US-led economic sanctions that choked its economy. Right now, it appears the biggest loser from Trump's ill-advised move is US aerospace giant Boeing, which loses US$20 Billion in orders from Iran.
Russia and China will also be represented at the London meeting. Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing would "maintain communication with all parties and continue to protect and execute the agreement fully". Bloomberg News says a top Russian diplomat is pushing for a summit between Trump and Vladimir Putin, who is one of the big winners out of Trump's incompetence: Russia stands to benefit from a world in which the US is increasingly estranged from its own allies and seen as an unreliable deal-breaker.
A group of Iranian hard-liners couldn't resist the opportunity to troll Trump. Gathering at the podium of the Iranian parliament, conservative MPs literally set a copy of the JCPOA on fire along with a laser-printed American flag, all while chanting, "Death to America." Trump made specific mention of the chant while announcing he was violating the agreement. Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei called Trump "shallow and ludicrous" and predicted a future in which Trump's "corpse will also be worm food while (Iran) stands strong". Trump himself seemed to have no clue as to what comes next: At the White House he claimed that Iran will "negotiate or something" and warned that if Iran resumed the nuclear activities, there would be "very severe consequences".
But here's the heart of the matter: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is confirming that Iran has been holding up its end of the JCPOA. Tehran gave up 95 percent of its low-enriched uranium, put two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, and removed the core of its heavy water reactor. That shuts down the process of producing plutonium for a potential nuclear weapon. Iran is also allowing IAEA inspectors to mount the most rigorous intrusive regime ever devised, "an obligation on Iran that lasts until 2040".
The orange clown's choice to lead the CIA Gina Haspell admitted to destroying video evidence from so-called "enhanced interrogation" sessions of suspected terrorists at a CIA black site torture chamber in Thailand. This happened at the beginning of her appearance before a Senate committee in Washington, DC (less contentious than promised), alternately fielding tough questions from Democrats and softballs from brown-nosing Republicans. Haspell did say she would absolutely not restart the interrogation process "under any circumstances". But she refused to say if she would reject a sitting US president's demand for personal loyalty, pretending the situation was a hypothetical even when everyone in the freaking world knows Donald Trump asked as much from then-FBI director James Comey, who btw refused.
North Korea has freed three US citizens from prison as a goodwill gesture ahead of a historic summit between the orange clown and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim were detained in 2017 after Trump was inaugurated, and Kim Dong-chu was sentenced to hard labor in 2015. All were accused of "anti-state activities".
Malaysia's 92-year old former premier Mahathir Mohamad has staged a stunning upset to return to power after his opposition bloc had won 115 seats in the national election; it clears the threshold of 112 seats needed to form a government. "We are not seeking revenge, we want to restore the rule of law," said Mr. Mohamad of replacing his former protege, outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak who is linked to a multibillion dollar financial scandal at the state fund 1MDB. Thus ends the ruling coalition's 61-year grip on power.
Israel is expelling a Human Rights Watch (HRW) official without a trial, claiming that Omar Shakir - a US citizen - supports the "Boycott, Divest, Sanctions" (BDS) movement meant to change Israel's harsh treatment of Palestinians. HRW insists that neither it nor Mr. Shakir promotes BDS. "This is not about Shakir, but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel's rights record," said HRW's deputy executive director Iain Levine. The group will challenge the order in court. Amnesty International called it "yet another worrying sign of the country's growing intolerance of critical voices".
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has been discharged from hospital and will spend some time in physical therapy. The 88-year old former Labor leader was admitted to Royal North Shore Hospital late on Monday for some "minor tests" after falling down. "He's been thoroughly checked and cleared and he's fine," said daughter Sue Pieters-Hawke.