World News Briefs For Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020
Howdy Australia!! - "Horrific" political persecution in Russia - The UK says the Coronavirus is a "serious and imminent threat" - Democracy takes a break when armed troops flood a congress - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
A Russian court issued extraordinarily harsh sentences to seven antifascist and anarchist activists in a controversial domestic terrorism case that human rights activists call fabricated. The men were sentenced to six to 18 years in prison for forming a group called "The Network" which defenders say doesn't even exist, and was basically just a bunch of Left-wing guys playing Airsoft, which is like paintball except without the paint. Cops originally accused them of planning attacks on the World Cup, but none of that was in the vague case presented to the court in Penza, a city about 630 kilometers southeast of Moscow. At least four of the defendants say they were beaten and subjected to electro-shock torture. Human rights groups say the men were targeted for their political activism. Opposition leader Alexy Navalny, himself repeatedly targeted by Russian police, said the sentences were "horrific".
The Pentagon now says more than a hundred US troops suffered "mild" Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) from Iran's 8 January missile strike on an Iraqi airbase where the Americans were stationed. That number keeps getting adjusted up and up in the weeks after the strike. Donald Trump originally said there were no injuries, and then said some of the troops had "headaches", downplaying the seriousness of TBIs. The influential Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is demanding Trump apologize for belittling the troops' injuries: "And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times," said VFW national commander William "Doc" Schmitz, "Our warriors require our full support more than ever in this challenging environment."
Irish politician Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein has some high hopes after her party appears to have won the weekend election. Don't get ahead of yourself.
The UK declared the 2019-nCoV Wuhan Coronavirus a "serious and imminent threat to public health", a step that gives the government additional powers to fight the spread of the virus. "Measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus," UK's health ministry said in a statement. There are four new cases in the UK, bringing the total to eight. Critics warn that taking such unusual and drastic action on the coronavirus is uncharted territory. "(For) the last time we've had quarantine legislation enforced in the mainland UK, you've got to go back as far as to the plague outbreaks of the the 1600s to find actual quarantine legislation being enforced," said Dr. Richard Dawood, medical director of the Fleet Street Clinic. A total of 40,171 infections have been confirmed in mainland China, with 908 deaths - only two other deaths are confirmed in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The US Justice Department charged four Chinese military officers in absentia with cyber crimes for the 2017 Equifax credit bureau hack, which compromised the data of some 150 million people.
El Salvador's congress on Monday suspended all work after President Nayib Bukele marched in there over the weekend with a phalanx of heavily-armed, masked troops and demanded lawmakers pass a US$109 Million "internal security" scheme. Intimidated by troops wearing their full "I'm going to kill you" kit, but refusing to be forced into action, lawmakers shut it down. El Salvador has a recent history of brutish, murderous, US-backed dictatorships and a twelve-year civil war that left more than 75,000 people killed. A UN truth commission found that the military was responsible for the majority of the bloodshed. "This weekend the country went through a pretty dangerous episode," said Jeannette Aguilar, a university researcher on matters of security and violence, "It was on the verge of a rupture in the constitutional order propitiated by the president himself."
Suspected jihadists killed 30 people, burning them to death while their slept in their cars in northeastern Nigeria. This happened in Auno, a town on a critical highway linking Maidugari with the rest of the country. Nigerian officials are reportedly claimed that Boko Haram and its offshoots were defeated, but the terrorists kept coming back in gruesome hit and run attacks in the region.
An elephant got stuck in a pond in Cambodia, so villagers dug a ramp for the big beast to climb out.
Baby Panda Alert! Baby Panda Alert! The twins go outside for the first time at the Pairi Daiza zoo in Belgium.