World News Briefs For Monday, 10 Feb 2020
Hello Australia!! - Sinn Fein's amazing political earthquake in Ireland - Thailand in shock after a mass killing - Taking a clear stand against homophobia in Europe - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Ireland's decades-old political norms were upended in a big way as Sinn Fein appears to have won the election, and will attempt to form a government with smaller parties. The reality is that political gridlock is probably in store, but hey the have to try, right? Despite its pivotal role in the 1998 Good Friday Accords which largely ended The Troubles in the North, Sinn Fein was a political pariah until this weekend because of its past links to the IRA. But in Sunday's returns: Sinn Fein got around 24.1 percent, with Fianna Fail on 22.1 percent, the current and possibly outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's Fine Gael dropped to 22.1 percent; after that came the Greens with 7.4 percent and small Left-wing parties and independents comprising the rest.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - already making history himself as the openly gay son of an Indian immigrant - had hoped to ride what he called a strong economy to another term. But his economy worked well for those who were already doing well - rising homelessness, rent, insurance costs, and hospital wait times drove voters Left towards Sinn Fein and its historic message of equality, and its defining tenet of Irish Reunification. As of Sunday, Mr. Varadkar was still saying that his party would not form a government with Sinn Fein.
But the leader of his outgoing coalition partners in Fianna Fail, Michael Martin, was already leaving that door open with the message, "The country comes first," and, "I'm a democrat. I listen to the people. I respect the decision of the people." Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said that Varadkar "still wasn't listening to the voters" and "this is no longer a two-party system". As for Sinn Fein's youth-driven victory, Irish Times Columnist Fintan O'Toole wrote, "They have gone where they were warned not to go and in doing so they have redrawn the map of Irish politics to include territory previously marked 'here be dragons'." (Go Dragons)
Thousands of people crowded the center of Nakhon Ratchasima for a vigil for the 29 people murdered by a soldier who ran amok on a killing spree. Buddhist monks led chants, and speakers recalled stories of the people who sheltered and rescued children and shoppers from the Terminal 21 shopping mall. Thai police eventually shot and killed the attacker after an hours-long standoff, his motives still unclear.
Brazilian police in Bahia state killed notorious hitman Adriano da Nobrega, who was linked to the assassination of popular Leftist politician Marielle Franco. "Who gained from the death of ex-special forces captain Adriano Nobrega," tweeted Franco's widow Monica Benicio, noting that the killing shuts off any information he could have provided about the March 2018 assassination. Franco's PSOL party is demanding an investigation. One of two men arrested in the Franco killing was reportedly a member of Nobega's gang - and the suspect lived in the same condo building as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and his son.
Voters in Switzerland on Sunday overwhelmingly approved law to make homophobia illegal. Despite right-wing panic of the erosion of free speech rights, the new law has nothing to do with comments made in private among friends or family members, and wouldn't even ban off-color jokes. But it will protect people from harassment by banning public name-calling and discrimination against members of the LGBT+ community, which would include text, speech, images, or gestures.
With the death toll from the 2019-nCoV Wuhan Coronavirus now more than 800, there is some encouraging news from China where it appears as if the infection rate is slowing down. And in Hong Kong, 3,600 people were finally allowed to disembark from a cruise ship after it turned out that all 1,800 crew members were clear of infection. But off of Yokohama, Japan, 70 people on board a quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for 2019-nCoV.