World News Briefs For Saturday, 15 June 2019
Howdy Australia!! - The US version of events in the Gulf of Oman comes under scrutiny - A Sydney apartment block is evacuated - Did we already boldly go where no one has gone before? - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The Japanese owner of one of the oil tankers attacked in the Gulf Oman earlier this week is refuting the US account of what happened. "We received reports that something flew towards the ship," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, explaining to reporters that his sailors say the damage was caused by some sort of incoming fire. The damage to the Japanese tanker was also far above the water line. Earlier, American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran directly, and the US State Department later released video of what it claimed were Iranian Revolutionary Guards in a smaller boat removing a sea mine from the tanker's hull. The US is claiming right under the nose of its considerable naval presence in the region at a time when the Trump administration is looking for an excuse to attack Iran. Iran insists it is not involved.
All of the residents and their pets from a 131 unit apartment block in Sydney have been evacuated after cracks started appearing in the building. Alarmed residents called out NSW Fire and Rescue to the Mascot Towers on Bourke Street last night. "At this stage there is no thought that the building is going to have a catastrophic failure or collapse," said Superintendent Adam Dewberry. But residents complained to the ABC about a series of "issues" in the building, and opposition spokesperson for Innovation and Better Regulation Yasmin Catley suggested watering down building regulations by "cutting red tape here and cutting red tape there to save a few bucks" played a role.
The World Health Organization held an emergency committee meeting about the Ebola Outbreak in the DR Congo, after it apparently spilled over the border into neighboring Uganda. Officials say it is not yet a global health threat, but international responders need another US$54 Million to battle the killer virus. So far, about 1,411 people out of more than 2,100 confirmed infections have died.
New York state lawmakers have banned religious exemptions to childhood vaccination programs. This is in reaction to a measles outbreak in the state's Orthodox Jewish communities in Rockland and New York City's Brooklyn borough. Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to sign the bill.
The first major labor action since far-right president Jair Bolsonaro took office has brought much of Brazil to a standstill. Workers called the General Strike to protest the government's proposal to "reform" pensions. Bolsonaro wants to raise the minimum retirement age to 65 for men and 62 for women, as well as hike workers' contributions. Strikers burnt tyres and shut down banks and rail lines and a good time was had by all.
Swiss women protested the country's "unacceptably slow" pace at achieving gender equality. Women didn't get the right to vote in Switzerland until 1971, and the Supreme Court recently ordered the last hold-out - the canton of Appenzell - to change its policy. Although there have been eight women government ministers and maternity leave is enshrined in law, women workers generally take home 20 percent less than men.
Earth has yet to send a space explorer to Mars, although it looks like Star Fleet got there first. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed at least three geological formations that look a lot like the Star Fleet symbol on the uniforms of Captains Kirk, Spock, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Sulu, Georgieu, Pike, and others (not you, Archer) on their various Star Trek shows and movies. Scientists say they are "ghost dunes", the remains of ancient volcanic eruption blown into the shape by strong wind.