World AM News Briefs For Thursday, 16 May 2019
Hello Australia!! - What is the US trying to do in Iran? - Online giants vow to tackle the kind of extremist content that led to the Christchurch Massacre - Aussie Voters believe they know who'll win this weekend - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
US officials keep denying that they're maneuvering towards a war with Iran, and yet the US keeps troubling steps: The State Department ordered all non-essential personnel to evacuate from neighboring Iraq. That includes staff at the Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulate in Irbil. This comes after the Navy ordered a Carrier battle group into the Strait of Hormuz off Iran, and the Defense Department leak it leak that Donald Trump was looking over plans to move 120,000 troops to the region. The Germans and Dutch see what's going on and cancelled training sessions with Iraqi soldiers.
The US is doing all this anyway, even though British military Major General Chris Ghika of the Western coalition in Iraq has already debunked the Trump administration's claim of an increase threat from Iran, saying that "there's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria". The Pentagon took the extremely rare step of publicly rebuking Major General Ghika, but the British military brass are standing by their man. Back in Washington, some Congressional Democrats have expressed their doubts about the administration's claims of intelligence, and noted that Donald Trump has been confirmed as a serial liars for a long time.
The biggest technology companies - Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter - and joining an international effort to crack down on extremist material. Spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, the nine-point "Christchurch Call" puts pressure on the online companies after Facebook's platform was used by the Australian far-right terrorist Brenton Tarrant to livestream the murder of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch in February. In a statement quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age, the companies agree "it was "right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence". However, the White House will not sign on to the Christchurch Call, claiming the need to protect "freedom of speech".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is warning that Europe must position itself to ward off three threats, openly saying the the US is one of them. Ms. Merkel said in an interview, "The old certainties of the post-war order no longer apply." The US monopolizes digital services, China's growing economic clout makes it a concern, and Russia is screwing with everyone's elections, says the woman who presided over a lengthy period of European peace and prosperity in the years before the rise of the far right. Her "greatest worry" is how the European Union can generate enough capital to tackle the looming environmental and global warming crisis.
Mexico City urged people to stay indoors and restricted car movements as air pollution rates soared. In addition to the capital city's notorious smog from traffic (and ancient VW Beetles everywhere), forest fires outside the city added to the extra-chunky particulate matter that you really don't want in your lungs.
Abortion Rights advocates are calling for a national response to the southern US state of Alabama passing a bill to outlaw women's reproductive rights. Alabama's Republican governor is expected to sign the legislation which targets doctors with ten year prison terms for attempting to perform abortions, and 99 year sentences for carrying it out. Backers of the extreme bill - written by an outside religious group, which offensively invokes the Holocaust - freely admit that that the provocatively-worded bill was designed to be taken to the US Supreme Court, where they expect the new far-right majority to allow it to become law.
Most Australian voters believe that Labor and Bill Shorten will come out on top in Saturday's election, according to a Guardian Newspaper Essential poll. The last survey of 1,201 voters before the election puts Labor in front of the Coalition 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent. But when asked who they think would win, Shorten gets 59 percent.