World News Briefs For Sunday, 12 January 2020
Howdy Australia!! - Iran finally admits the obvious - Strikes force Macron to back down on plans to raised France's retirement age - Sinn Fein reenters power in Northern Ireland - A greener future possibly awaits South Africa - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen won a second term in this week's election. She favored a harder line on China, and handily beat rival Han Kuo-yu who advocated cloer ties with Beijing - which considers Taiwan to be a rogue province and rejects its independence. "Peace means that China must abandon threats of force against Taiwan," President Tsai told supporters, "I also hope that the Beijing authorities understand that democratic Taiwan, and our democratically elected government, will not concede to threats and intimidation."
French President Emmanuel Macron blinked and for now is abandoning plans to raise France's retirement age. His pension reform proposals set off a month and a half of well-coordinated, cross-sector strikes that dented the national economy, closed tourist sites, and brought transportation to a standstill. Macron's government is putting off any decision on paying for pensions until it gets a key financial report "between now and the end of April". The toughest of France's labor unions, the CGT, remained in the streets of Paris anyway and said all of Macron's proposed "reforms" need to be scrapped. And there were more clashes with cops, for some reason.
Iran admitted that its military accidentally shot down Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, killing all 176 people on board, because it was mistaken for an incoming American missile - reversing earlier denials. The belated admission confirms what Western intelligence and leaders had been saying since hours after the plane went down shortly after taking off on its scheduled run from Tehran for Kiev, Ukraine and later to Canada. The Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps airspace unit General Amir Ali Hajizadeh says that when he learned of the downing, "I wished I was dead," and that his unit takes "full responsibility". But the general also said that he had requested that government flight controllers had cleared all of Iran's airspace of commercial flights because this happened while Iran was firing missiles at US targets in Iraq in retaliation for the US assassination of a top general days earlier.
The ruler of the small Gulf state Oman, Sultan Qaboos, is dead at age 79. He was the longest-serving monarch in the Arab world, is credited with modernizing the country, and is credited with opening the diplomatic back-channels that allowed the West to strike the Iran nuclear deal - which kept the US and Iran away from the war drums until Donald Trump screwed it up last year. Qaboos' 65-year-old cousin Haitham bin Tariq, formerly Oman's culture minister, was sworn in as the new ruler.
The death toll from last week's jihadist attack on a military base in Niger has been raised to 89 lives lost, making it the deadliest such attack. And in Pakistan, 15 people were killed in a bombing during Friday prayers at a mosque used by the local affiliate of the Taliban.
Northern Ireland's power-sharing deal is back on after a three year stalemate. This, after Sinn Fein accepted a deal that include raising the status of the Gaelic language to put it on par with English. The SDLP also approved the agreement. Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald was "committed" to Irish reunification efforts and to making sure people across the north-south divide enjoyed the same rights.
India razes some luxury high rises because they were built without obeying local environmental regulations. Ka-boom!
South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is calling on the government to legalize cannabis and tax its sale. And he tweeted a pic of a big ol' plant growing on his farm. Last year, South Africa's Constitutional Court decriminalised the private possession, use and cultivation of cannabis. Selling it is still illegal.