World News Briefs For Saturday, 5 Oct 2019
Howdy Australia!! - Trump is surrounded by evidence of impeachable offenses - The reason why the US has been silent on Hong Kong's violent protests - Boris Johnson is forced to accept the inevitable - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The US Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) top lawyer made a criminal referral to the Justice Department over Donald Trump's attempt to pressure the government of Ukraine to dig up damaging information on his political rival Joe Biden and Biden's son. It means that CIA General Counsel Courtney Simmons Elwood - a Trump appointee - and her top deputies concluded that Trump committed a crime. It raises questions about why the Justice Department didn't lift a finger to investigate or charge Trump. Critics have long worried that Attorney General William Barr is acting as an extra-legal consigliere of Trump first and as America's top law enforcement official second. The referral was separate from the whistle-blower complaint filed by a CIA official with the Director of National Intelligence, but based on the same information. The allegations against Biden are baseless and largely imaginary.
Meanwhile, damning new evidence emerged of Trump's attempted shake-down of Ukraine in the form of text messages that prove top State Department diplomats worked with Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to try to get Ukraine to commit to politicized investigations demanded by Trump. The discussions show the quid pro quo of illegally demanding the investigations in exchange for military aid that had already been approved by Congress. Kurt Volker, the special representative to Ukraine who recently resigned, provided the texts outlining consciousness-of-guilt to Congress in advance of his closed-door testimony Thursday.
And CNN is reporting that Trump ordered cut some sort of deal with China's President Xi Jinping in which US officials will refrain from from supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, while trade negotiations continue. As a result, US general counsel in Hong Kong Kurt Tong was ordered to cancel a planned speech on the protests that have shaken the semi-autonomous city for weeks. It's not clear if that was the reason he quit in July, but has since said that the US government needs to "be frank" and "be truthful about how we view the situation on the ground in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police shot and wounded another protester, at least the second one this week. A 14-year old boy is in a serious condition after getting hit in the leg. Officials didn't acknowledge that an officer fired the shot that hit the boy, but said a police officer had to discharge his weapon when he was surrounded by angry, violent protesters, some wielding petrol bombs. Protesters hit the streets again after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers left over from British colonial law to ban face masks and bypass the legislature to make law.
A week of protests in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities have left at least 65 people dead. The military said "unidentified snipers" had killed four people in Baghdad, including two police officers. Protesters are upset over the government's perceived inability to deal with a wrecked economy and widespread unemployment.
Big protests in Ecuador, as well, over cuts to fuel subsidies.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government will send a letter to the European Union requesting an extension of the Brexit deadline from 31 October to 31 January, as required by legislation passed by Parliament. Johnson famously claimed he'd rather be "dead in a ditch" than to do that, and publicly he is still promise to take the UK out of the EU with or without deals in place to ease the transition on 31 October.