Hello Australia!! - Neil Peart is dead at age 67 - A terrorist group is enjoying the assassination of an Iranian general - The US thumbs its nose at Iraq - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:

Global warming has certainly wide this year's bushfires worse than ever before.  There are now disingenuous efforts to downplay the clear role of climate change in worsening the intensity and severity of the Australian fires, or to blame 'arson' as a way to distract from the growing threat of climate change.  These efforts should be called out for what they are: gross climate denial," said Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and co-founder of Pacific Institute in California.  Keep up with the latest information you need to know about Australia's bushfire crisis (which were caused by global warming) by clicking through to VicEmergency, the SA Country Fire ServiceNSW RFS, and EmergencyWA.  

The legendary drummer for the hard rock band Rush, Neil Peart, is dead at age 67 after a struggle with brain cancer.  Widely considered to be the greatest drummer of the genre, Peart effortlessly mixed jazz, big band, off time signatures, and various world music techniques into his music.  But four decades of extremely physical performances brought on chronic tendonitis and shoulder problems, and Peart retired in 2018.  Peart was also the band's chief lyricist, weaving intricate tales of science fiction, trees having a political row, along with songs about more personal struggles such as his first child's tragic death and the day the father of bandmate Geddy Lee was liberated from a nazi deathcamp at the end of World War II.  Rush wasn't entered into the Rock and Roll Hal of Fame until 2013, largely thanks to the pressure of the band's fiercely loyal fans.

The US State Department bluntly rejected a request by Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister to begin drawing up preparations to pull its troops out of the country.  Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pointed to the American airstrike on Iraqi soil that assassination visiting top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January.  "The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities, and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements," read the statement from the Iraqi government.  The State Department flatly dismissed the idea, claiming that US troops are crucial for the fight against the Islamic State group and it would not discuss removing them.

The so-called Islamic State didn't directly thank the US for assassinating Soleimani, but issued a statement clarifying that the general's death very good for IS, and will speed up its recovery from the blows it took when its "caliphate" was smashed.  IS created a dystopian "caliphate" for itself from mid 2014 through last March by carving out parts of Iraq and Syria with military rule, human slavery, and beheadings and other draconian punishments based on its own insane version of hardline Sunni Islam.  The Kurds and Shiite militias - the latter organized by Soleimani - were IS deadliest enemies on the ground.  Despite losing all of its territory, IS is not gone:  In a snarky editorial in its weekly newspaper, IS said Soleimani died at the hands of his "allies" - a reference to the US.