World AM News Briefs For Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Good Morning Australia!! - Strange day in increasingly strange America - Egypt sentences a singer for eating a banana - Poland attacks a US media outlet - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Most of America's political world is focused on the issue of sexual harassment, and whether powerful (which actually means "grossly over-privileged") white men will be allowed to get away with it. In Alabama, election officials report a high turnout in the special election to choose a new US Senator: Democrat and former federal prosecutor Doug Jones, who convicted Ku Klux Klan members of murdering black girls in a fire bombing, is pitted against Republican Roy Moore, accused by several women of pedophilia and twice fired from the Alabama state Supreme Court for violating the US Constitution. And because of Alabama's deep conservative bend, the polls have been all over the place and it's anyone's guess who will win. The race is the only issue on the statewide ballot. Results could be available in a few hours.
Meanwhile, the orange clown Donald Trump is in a Twitter war with New York state US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who (with Sen. Cory Booker and a few other high-ranking Democrats) had demanded that he resign over allegations he sexually assaulted several women over the years. Trump fired back with a Tweet against Gillibrand (and not against the men who made the same demand), calling her a "lightweight" and a "total flunky" for Senate Democratic leaders and claiming she would "do anything" for political donations. The inference of Trump's tweet wasn't lost on anyone, and most Democrats and moderates rallied to Gillibrand, who responded with her own tweet: "You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office."
Many of the very same Senators who demanded Trump resign had earlier pressured their colleague Minnesota Senator Al Franken to quit because of disputed allegations he groped women before he became a lawmaker. But now, Franken - a Democrat - is getting support from a former Republican governor of Minnesota. Arne Carlson isn't as much defending Franken as he is decrying the total lack of due process afforded to the former comedian. "A rush to judgment is, unfortunately, all too human," Carlson wrote, "But a rush to punishment is totally unacceptable." Franken wanted a hearing before the Senate Ethics Committee to clear his name, but his colleague
Carlson echoed concerns that Franken was set-up in an extreme-right wing smear campaign, and impressed that their is a much more insidious threat in the Washington: "Our nation is in peril with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans yielding to his demands. We are increasingly moving towards authoritarianism and continued GOP subservience could possibly lead to the dissolution of the Mueller investigation," referring to the investigation into obstruction of justice and Russia's influence on the 2016 presidential election.
And that's where dumbarse America is today! But it could be worse:
An Egyptian court sentenced singer Shaimaa Ahmed to two years in prison for her music video in which she suggestively eats a banana. The court had convicted her of "inciting debauchery". The sentence can still be appealed in Egypt's incredibly screwed-up justice system. But it's not just sexuality that'll get a singer banned and jailed: Sherine Abdel Wahab faces trial and has had concerts cancelled for saying she didn't want to drink water from the Nile River for fear of getting parasites.
Poland's extreme right government is fining a small US news organization for reporting on anti-government protests last year. The media regulator in Warsaw handed US-owned TVN SA a bill for around $500,000 for "propagated illegal activities and encouraged behaviour threatening security". This heightens concerns about eroding freedom in Poland, where the government has been on a warpath against freedom of the press, the judiciary, and the opposition. Reporters Without Borders says Poland has regressed from 18th on the list of countries ranked by press freedom, all the way down to 54th - and it's getting worse.
French prosecutors are charging the far-right National Front (FN) with giving party members phony jobs in the European Parliament. The FN operatives were actually doing election work back in France while taking around $8 Million salaries from the EU that they hate so much.
Argentina's right-wing (sensing a theme here?) President Mauricio Macri is under heavy criticism for deporting delegates to a World Trade Organization conference in Buenos Aires for social media posts they say never happened. The Argentine government targeted Left-wing groups like Friends of the Earth-International and Global Justice Now for allegedly advocating violence, which is explicity denied by British journalist Sally Burch who was also expelled: "None of the blacklisted NGOs have been advocating violent protest. That would be against their principles and it would be against mine as well." Macri finally relented, but only in the cases of five delegates from France, Belgium, and Norway - whose goverments intervened.