World News Briefs For Thursday, 20 February 2020
Hello Australia!! - Putting a dollar sign on the coronavirus outbreak - Did Trump try to buy something with a presidential pardon? - Breaking news, a mass shooting in Germany - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Donald Trump allegedly offered a pardon to Julian Assange in exchange for the Wikileaks founder saying Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails. Assange's lawyer told the Westminster magistrates court in London that the middle-man presenting the offer in 2017 was Dana Rohrabacher, a notoriously hygiene-challenged Republican Congressman from southern California. The White House said the claim was "a complete fabrication and a total lie". Rohrabacher himself told a similar story to the Wall Street Journal in 2017, although that report said the offer was not taken to Trump himself.
Iran has announced two deaths in the Covid-19 outbreak. The health ministry said the two died due to their "old age and deficient immune systems" while being treated in hospital in Qom - but also that they had not traveled outside of Qom province, let alone overseas. No other cases are reported in Iran, but said that schools and universities in the province would be closed on Thursday as a precaution.
The Covid-19 outbreak could cost the world economy as much as US$1.1 Trillion. Oxford Economics points to factory shutdowns in China how spreading to neighboring countries. The economic forecaster warns that the spread of the virus to regions outside Asia would knock 1.3 percent off global growth this year. "Our scenarios see world GDP hit as a result of declines in discretionary consumption and travel and tourism, with some knock-on financial market effects and weaker investment," said Oxford Economics.
Bild is reporting that eight people have been shot to death at two shisha bars (also known as hookah lounges) near the western city of Frankfurt. The attackers reportedly opened fire at the first location in Hanau, a suburb of the European fianncial hub, killing three people. They then drove to the second target to kill five people. Police are hunting the suspects.
Police and prosecutors in western Germany are investigating the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for racial incitement after party officials handed out blatantly racist coloring books. Incredibly poorly drawn, pages included depictions of black people wearing bones in their hair attacking German women in a public pool, and Turkish men waving guns on German streets. The AfD dismissed criticism of the book as an "attack on the freedom of art and satire"; people who saw the book called it akin to "fascist propaganda".
Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani has been declared the winner of last year's presidential election in Afghanistan, after the results were delayed for five months. But Ghani's main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, has also declared himself the winner and says he will form a parallel government. The political chaos comes amid breakthroughs in the peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban, with a peace plan expected to be announced in the coming days.
The United Nations says 22 people including 14 children were killed in a massacre in the English-language area of Cameroon last week. An opposition party is blaming the murders on the army, which the army denied. The massacre comes amid a conflict between the Cameroon army and English-speaking separatist fighters, which has killed thousands of people and has forced more than half a million civilians to flee their homes.