World News Briefs For Saturday, 18 May 2019
Hello Australia!! - Don't forget to vote in the Federal Election today! - An inquest hears of an Australian nurse's heroism - Taiwan takes the lead in human rights in Asia - The cat that ruled the Internet - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
As Australian voters head to the poll for today's Federal Election, many voters are still digesting the stunning and depressing report released this week by the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF), which says the Koala - a symbol of this great land - is "virtually extinct". AKF says only about 80,000 of the fuzzy marsupial are left, but not enough of them are breeding adult pairs capable of producing a new generation. Similarly, the World Wildlife Fund predicts an end for koalas by 2050, just 31 years from now. "I am calling on the new Prime Minister after the May election to enact the Koala Protection Act (KPA) which has been written and ready to go since 2016," said AKF's chief Deborah Tabart (.pdf link). "The plight of the Koala now falls on his shoulders."
South Australia native Kirsty Boden died a hero, shielding a mortally wounded man while three cowardly terrorists went on a stabbing spree in London's Borough Market area on 3 June 2017. An inquest in the UK capital investigating the attack determined that she was at dinner with friends; when Kirsty saw what was happening she declared, "I'm a nurse, I have to go and help," and rushed into action to assist the wounded. All three terrorists attacked her. Another Australian, 21-year old Sara Zelenak, was also one of the eight people murdered before London police shot and killed all three Islamist terrorists.
Brexit talks between the UK's Conservative Party and Labour have collapsed. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is blaming the Tory's "increasing weakness and instability". PM Theresa May blames Labour's membership for not having a common position on whether to go through with the Brexit or hold a referendum to try to reverse it. May has already laid out a scenario in which she steps down after the fourth attempt to get Parliament pass her plan to extract the UK from the European Union.
Taiwan's parliament passed a measure legalizing same-sex marriage, the first nation in Asia to do so. This comes after the island's Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that the law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman was unconstitutional, and gave lawmakers two years to set things right. The new law comes into force on 24 May.
Rugby Australia went ahead and sacked Israel Folau for his intolerant tweet declaring that "hell awaits" LGBTQ folks unless they repent, assumable to his version of religion. "Rugby Australia did not choose to be in the situation, but Rugby Australia's position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue the course of action resulting in today's outcome," said Rugby Australia's Raelene Castle upon announcing that Israel's $4 Million contract was now torn up.
Poland's far right ruling party is scrambling to contain outrage from a documentary revealing the extent of clergy sexual abuse in the staunchly Roman Catholic country. The PiS party is closely allied with the church, but is rushing through plans to double prison terms for paedophiles, up to 30 years in the worst cases. PiS is doing this days before the European Parliament election in which far right forces hoped to storm the gates of the institution they hate so much for some reason.
Around 6,000 people living near a mining waste dam will hold a safety exercise today, after Brazil's Vale mining company warned that the dam could burst as next week. The dam near the south-eastern city of Barao de Cocais contains waste from a mine that has been inactive since 2016. Some 400 people in the direct path were already evacuated in February, but mining dam bursts tend to cause incredible environmental damage including destroying fresh water supplies. A Vale tailings dam collapsed at Brumadinho earlier this year, killing 237 people and leaving 33 missing. And in 2015, a dam co-owned by Vale and BHP Billiton burst in Mariana killing 19 people. All three are in Minas Gerais state.
A French constitutional court rejected former president Nicolas Sarkozy's appeal to avoid criminal charges for spending too much money on his failed 2012 re-election campaign. Prosecutors said he used fake receipts to cover-up spending around twice the legal limit on the election. Sarkozy's lawyer calls it a "big disappointment".
The Internet legend known as Grumpy Cat is dead. The feline became famous in 2012 for her permanent scowl which has since became the source of zillions of memes shared on social media and was licensed to become an animated TV movie. The family says Grumpy, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, "helped millions of people smile". Grumpy was only seven years old but the memes will live forever.