Hello Australia!! - Trump downplays US casualties - Growing fears about the true spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus - Another Python has left us - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is postponing making a decision on declaring a global health emergency over the new coronavirus, even as Chinese officials double the number of known deaths and infections - there are now 544 cases of novel coronavirus reported across China, with 17 confirmed deaths.  Authorities are shutting down public and air transportation in and out of Wuhan City, where the bug made the jump from animals to humans a few weeks ago.  But health officials in Hong Kong and London are concerned that the Chinese are being too conservative in their estimates of how fast this thing is spreading, and suggest there could be 1,300 to 1,700 people infected with 2019-nCoV.

And now...

Donald Trump belittled US troops injured in Iran's missile attack on US targets in Iraq earlier this month, amid concerns the US is covering up the true extent of US casualties.  More US troops were transferred to hospitals in Kuwait and Landstuhl, Germany, the latter being a US military base hospital that specializes in traumatic brain injuries (TBI).  At the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland, Trump had the audacity to say about his own troops, "I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things.. and I can report it is not very serious." 

When questioned about US troops suffering TBIs, Trump said, "No, I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen."  Despite "Dr." Trump's diagnosis, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says, "Each year, TBI causes a substantial number of deaths and leads to life-long disability for many Americans," and, "The consequences of severe TBI can affect all aspects of an individual's life, including relationships with family and friends, the ability to progress at school or work, doing household tasks, driving, or participating in other daily activities."

Meanwhile at his impeachment trial in the US Senate, the Republican majority refused attempt after attempt by the Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses.  All but one of the votes to deny evidence were along party lines, suggesting that the so-called "moderate Republicans" either aren't going to give the charges a fair hearing or they don't exist in the first place.  Trump then bragged about concealing the evidence against him, telling reporters in Davos, "We have all the material, they don't."  Which no innocent person ever said in thousands of years of jurisprudence.  The Democratic Party controlled House accuses Trump of abuse of power and corruption.

Anyway..

In Syria, Russian-led airstrikes killed at least 40 people in the northwestern province of Idlib Tuesday as the Russian-backed Syrian government continues its offensive to take control of the last chunk of real estate held by rebels.  Residents say at least eight children were among the victims.

Lebanon has formed a new government after months of massive anti-government demonstrations against corruption and economic inequality.  The protests had already forced former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign in October.  This week, new Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced a Cabinet of 20 ministers he said were independent.  But experts and protesters say the ministers represent Lebanon's existing parties and entrenched political elites the protesters want gone.

Two United Nations experts want an investigation into allegations Saudi Arabia's Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) hacked the personal telephone of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, stealing personal contacts, JPGs, and text messages.  "At a time when Saudi Arabia was supposedly investigating the killing of (Jamal) Khashoggi, and prosecuting those it deemed responsible, it was clandestinely waging a massive online campaign against Mr. Bezos and Amazon targeting him principally as the owner of The Washington Post," read the statement from the UN investigators.  

Monty Python founding member Terry Jones is dead at age 77 after a few years struggling with a rare form of dementia that robbed him of his memories and ability to speak.  He leaves an incredibly impressive and influential body of work as director of the Python films "The Meaning of Life", "The Life of Brian", and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".  As a performer, we'll always have Jones' various Gumbies, incompetent police officers, Hell's Grannies, the mother of a very naughty boy, the horrifically nauseous Mr. Creosote, and of course...
Terry Jones, 1942-2020