World AM News Briefs For Thursday, 13 July 2017
Good Morning Australia!! - Antarctica loses a big chunk of itself - Brazil's beloved former president vows to appeal a corruption conviction - Trump ties to leave his problems behind - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
A one TRILLION ton iceberg has calved off of the Larsen C Ice Shelf of Antarctica. Scientists describe as the size of Belgium, or the small eastern US state of Delaware - that's big enough to require existing maps of Antarctica to be redrawn. Likely to be named A68, it's not going to immediately contribute to rising seas because it was already floating; but there could be problems with shipping as it floats out and likely breaks up into smaller chunks. "The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict," said Professor Adrian Luckman of Swansea University and lead investigator of Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf for years.
A judge convicted former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of accepting bribes and sentenced him to almost ten years in prison. Lula will remain free while appealing the verdict, but it's likely to kneecap his bid for the presidency next year - which is why Lula and his supporters say this was blatantly political. He was president between 2003 and 2010, and was phenomenally popular for taxing the rich and spending more on health care, education, and social programs that lifted 20 million Brazilians out of poverty. The bribes supposedly came in the form of renovations a tainted construction company performed on a beach apartment for Lula in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company.
With his family and White House in utter chaos, Donald Trump has left Washington for his second international trip of the month to France to accompany President Emmanuel Macron to Bastille Day observations. Trump tweeted that his son Donald Jr. is "open, transparent and innocent", after emails revealed him to have been in contact with Kremlin-connected Russians seeking political dirt on his father's election rival in 2016 Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile in Congress, California Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman introduced articles of impeachment against Trump. "It now seems likely that the President had something to hide when he tried to curtail the investigation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the wider Russian probe. I believe his conversations with, and subsequent firing of, FBI Director James Comey constitute Obstruction of Justice," Sherman said in a release. Although a largely symbolic gesture, it shows growing discontent and DC's dwindling patience for the Trump clan.
While Trump flew away, his choice to replace former FBI director Comey was on Capital Hill promising lawmakers that he won't just be a Trump crony, if he gets the gig. Christopher Wray said he would refuse to pledge loyalty to Trump, denied Trump's claim that the investigation into Russian election meddling as a "witch hunt," and vowed to quit if asked by the president to do something unlawful. He described Robert Mueller - who is leading the Justice Department investigation - as a "consummate straight shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for".
MPs in Malta voted overwhelmingly to legalize gay marriage in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. It's the latest step in rapid social transformation on the Mediterranean island, where divorce was banned until 2011 and same sex partnerships weren't recognized until 2014. Other changes concern heterosexual marriages, such as eliminating the sexist term "maiden name" and replacing it with "surname at birth", and allowing couples to choose what surname to take after marriage.
Hungary is ending its anti-George Soros propaganda campaign after being accused of gross anti-Semitism. But like good fascists, the far-right government is denying having been forced to end it prematurely. "I am distressed by the current Hungarian regime's use of anti-Semitic imagery as part of its deliberate disinformation campaign," Soros said in a brief statement. "Equally, I am heartened that together with countless fellow citizens the leadership of the Hungarian Jewish community has spoken out against the campaign." The posters cast Soros as a bogeyman intent on forcing immigrated refugees on Hungary.
Somali arrested seven school principals for allegedly meeting with Al Shabaab militants and agreeing to change the curriculum to Islamism. Each official represents a school with as many as 1,000 students aged five to 15 years. Al Shabaab is affiliated with Al Qaeda and has been locked in a war with the Somali authorities for ten years, occasionally spilling over into neighboring countries like Kenya.