World News Briefs For Saturday, 22 Feb 2020
Hello Australia!! - Germany confronts its far-right problem - Thailand bans the opposition - Harry and Meghan drop the "royal" moniker - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
There are growing calls for the German government to place the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party under "constitutional surveillance" after this week's racist mass murder near Frankfurt that resulted in eleven deaths. A far-right gunman shot and killed nine people at shisha bars in the suburb of Hanau, before killing his mother and himself. The AfD started out in 2015 as an anti-EU party, but embraced opportunistic xenophobia during immigration crisis of 2016 and has picked up seats in the Bundestag and regional parliaments. It has called for a "rethinking" of Germany's nazi past, and just this week was caught passing out racist materials in the general region of the shisha bar murders.
The leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government, says the AfD had contributed to a "poisoning of society" and its youth wing is already under government surveillance. Green party lawmaker Cem Ozdemir said the AfD was the "the political arm of hate" and it was time that Germany's mainstream political parties take steps to exclude it from government. The AfD responded angrily to the demands for it to recognize any responsibility for the Hanau attacks.
Ahead of a no-confidence vote on the military-led government, Thailand's constitutional court dissolved the opposition "Future Forward" party. Most of its MPs will be able to continue in government under another party, but the leaders have been banned from politics for ten years. The judges ruled that a loan extended to the party by its leader was actually an illegally out-sized campaign donation, even though the party was paying it back. Future Forward won more than six million votes in last year's limited election, the first poll since the 2014 military coup - suggesting that its calls for reform, especially of the military, were too popular for Thailand's rulers.
A yellow, American-style school bus traveled the streets of London, carrying giant photos of Prince Andrew and urging people: "If you see this man please ask him to call the FBI to answer their questions". The bus was paid for by American attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing victims of the pedophile ring run by Jeffrey Epstein, the rich guy with social links to Andrew, Donald Trump, and other prominent men. Andrew has strenuously denied accusations of molesting a 17-year old girl who says she was pimped out by Epstein. "I believe that victims have been denied justice in the case of Jeffrey Epstein," said Ms. Allred, "At the very least, they deserve the truth. Prince Andrew could and should provide what he knows to the FBI." Buckingham Palace has not said if Andrew has responded to US Federal Prosecutors announcement that they'd like to speak with him.
Harry and Meghan will no longer use the trademark "Sussex Royal" for their future business or charitable endeavours. It's currently the name for their popular Instagram account, and they used it on trademark applications for several products. It's not clear exactly what they are getting out of their highly publicized split with Buckingham Palace, but they will continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The prime minister of Lesotho, suspected of murdering his first wife, has left the mountain enclave country and gone to South Africa. A spokesman for octogenarian PM Thomas Thabane says he's just going for a medical check up, and is not trying to flee justice. Thabane was in a bitter divorce dispute with his first wife when she was shot dead in 2017; prosecutors have already charged Thabane's second wife with hiring the hitmen who carried out the murder. Her trial starts next month.