Hello Australia!! - The US moves to confront Russia - North Korea has a brand new missile site - All gone, France abandons the hated fuel tax hike - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:

The US is challenging the Russian Navy on two fronts:  The Pentagon notified Turkey that it intends to send a warship through the Bosporus Strait to the Black Sea, as a response to Russia's actions against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.  Whether it actually does send in a warship remains to be seen, but the Pentagon insists it has the right to go where it's called: "We reserve the right to operate freely in accordance with international laws and norms," said US Navy 6th Fleet spokesman Cdr. Kyle Raines. 

Earlier and on the other side of the world, the US Navy sailed the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell near contested waters in the Sea of Japan.  The "Freedom of Navigation Operation" is bound to irk Russia, which has laid claims to areas that far exceed the 12 miles from the Russian coastline that is guaranteed by international law.  "These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows," said US Navy Lt. Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the US Pacific Fleet.  "That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe."

New satellite images obtained by CNN show that North Korea has significantly expanded a key long-range missile base and is building a new facility not previously known to the West a few kilometers away.  "Construction on the previously unidentified site has continued even after the Singapore Summit" between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, said Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.  Trump who has tried to portray the meeting as a success towards denuclearization, but North Korea's actions would say otherwise.

France has now fully abandoned the fuel tax hike that set off weeks of protests in Paris and around the country, marking a major defeat for President Emmanuel macron.  "The government is ready for dialogue and is showing it because this tax increase has been dropped from the 2019 budget bill," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told lawmakers late on Wednesday.  The demonstrations turned violent at several points, leaving four people dead.

Hundreds of police in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands raided sites associated with the 'Ndrangheta Italian mafia, including suspected drug dealing operations as well as restaurants and ice cream parlors believed to be fronts for money-laundering schemes.  Cops seized more than three tons of cocaine and 140 kilos of ecstasy, arrested at least 90 people in the process.

About 60 percent of the electricity generated in the West African nation of Liberia is stolen via illegal hookups to homes and businesses.  Liberia Electricity Corporation officials told state radio that this costs the utility about US$35 Million per year.  The impoverished country still has one of the lowest rates of electricity access in the world, and it's still trying to catch up after the highly destructive civil war that ran from 1989-2003.

Today's the day that Cuba will finally begin offering 3G cellular telephone service to its people, although its not clear how many people will be able to afford it.  Data plans will range from AU$10 to $40 for 600 MB to 4GB, and that is a lot of money on the island only now seeing a small amount of relief from the US economic blockade.  Prior to this, 3G has been restricted to state-employed journalists and foreign businesses; locals relied on wifi hotspots and internet cafes.