World News Briefs For Friday, 14 February 2020
Howdy Australia!! - One of Trump's loyalists offer a rare rebuke - China condemns Australia's coronavirus travel ban - The Irish establishment returns to its old blockade of Sinn Fein - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The Chinese Embassy in Canberra is slamming the Morrison government's decision to extend the 14-day travel ban on people coming from mainland China past this weekend, when it was supposed to end. The government says it is acting to protect Australia from the spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus disease, which has killed 1,370 people, all but three in mainland China - the rest happened in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Tokyo. More than 60,000 people globally are sick, but again the majority of infections are in China. Australia has 15 confirmed cases. World health authorities believe that travel bans simply do not work: "The World Health Organization has repeatedly stressed that it does not recommend putting travel and trade restrictions on China," read the statement from the Chinese Embassy, "We urge the Australian side to respect WHO's professional recommendations, and lift the restrictions as early as possible." The travel ban impacts 100,000 Chinese students plus temporary workers.
In a rare rebuke and effort to reassert Congressional authority, the US Senate has passed a bipartisan resolution to curb Donald Trump's war powers when it comes to Iran. It's guaranteed to pass the House, but Trump has threatened to veto it - and unless the resolution picks up support after that, sponsors do not have the numbers to override that veto.
US Attorney General William Barr complained to ABC News in the US that Trump's interference in the Roger Stone corruption case is making it "impossible" for the AG to do his job. "I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases," Barr said. The AG has come under intense criticism for overruling his own prosecutors and asking for a lighter prison sentence in the case of Stone, a Republican political operative and friend of Trump, who was convicted of several corruption charges. It came after Trump tweeted his objection to prison time for his pal, and pundits and opposition Democrats decried the blatant politicization of the Justice Department.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is already reshuffling his cabinet, prompting Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell to remark, "This must be a historical record with the government in crisis after just over two months in power." The most notable move is the pretty-much-forced resignation of Chancellor Sajid Javid, just four weeks before he was to present a budget. Javid quit rather than obey an order to sack his staff. The new chancellor is Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak - who just seven months ago was a junior housing minister.
A former Russian prison official killed himself in the courtroom rather than be sentenced to three years in jail. Authorities are investigating how 71-year old Viktor Sviridov managed to smuggle a handgun into the courthouse in Moscow, where he was found guilty of extorting more than US$150,000 from another official.
Ireland's largest political party Fianna Fail says it will not go into a coailition with Leftwing nationalist Sinn Fein, which stunned Irish politics with its very close second place finished in this week's elections. That almost certainly blocks Sinn Fein from entering power for the first time. Voters tired of the same old, same old center-right crud that has led to increased inequality and homelessness turned to Sinn Fein's promises of mass state housebuilding, a rent freeze, and across-the-board increases in public spending. If Fianna Fail can't form a coalition with distant third-place finisher Fine Gael, new elections could be in store.
Baby Polar Bear Alert! Baby Polar Bear Alert! At the Schonnburn Zoo in Vienna.