World News Briefs For Tuesday, 19 November 2019
Howdy Australia!! - The Trump administration throws a spanner into decades of Mideast policy - Hundreds of protesters remain at the battle of Hong Kong Polytechnic - Brazil's worsening environmental disaster - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US will no longer view Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem as "inconsistent with international law", although international law certainly hasn't changed. But the Trump administration's move breaks with more than four decades of established US policy and that of most of its allies, clearly moving the US to back the Israeli side of an issue that has vexed the peace process, and weakens the Palestinian claim to statehood. Pompeo's announcement also rejects both: a 2016 United Nations Security Council resolution that established that Israel's settlements on the West Bank are a "flagrant violation" of international law; and the Fourth Geneva Convention which outlaws transfers of population by an occupying power.
Some Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters resorted to lowering themselves off of a bridge by rope to escape police moving in to retake the Polytechnic University, in a fierce battle that has been waged for two days. Some made it to motorbikes waiting below, others were held back by police rubber bullets and tear gas - and hundreds are still holed-up in the Uni buildings. Earlier the protesters lobbed Molotovs at cops, and even shot at least one in the leg with an arrow. The violence at the Polytechnic University has been some of the worst of the pro-democracy movement that began in June, and school officials say the infrastructure has been "severely and extensively" vandalized. The Central Government has resisted sending in troops or mainland police to stop five months of chaos, but the warnings grow more and more stern: "These rioters, they are also criminals," said Kowloon West Police Commander Cheuk Hau-yip, "They have to face the consequences of their acts."
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera is condemning police abuses in tackling anti-government demonstrations, acknowledging "there was excessive use of force". It's the first time that Chile's government has admitted that "abuses and crimes were committed, and the rights of all were not respected". He said "there would be no impunity" for these cops. So far, 22 people have been killed and more than 2,300 hundred have been injured. The demonstrations began with a now-rescinded subway fare hike of a few pennies - too much for people whose budgets were already stretched to the limit - and have grown into a larger movement against inequality in wealth, education, and healthcare.
Bolivian indigenous communities continue to risk life and limb to demonstrate against the right-wing coup d'etat that forced President Evo Morales from office.
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest has increased by nearly 30 percent in twelve months, according to data from the country's space agency INPE. In the year ending 30 July 2019, some 9,762 square kilometers were lost. That accounts for an area three times the size of New York City and is an increase of 29.5 percent over the previous 12 month period. "It is no surprise this is happening because the president has defended environmental crime and promoted impunity," said Adriana Ramos of the Socio-environmental Institute, blaming far-right President Jair Bolsonaro for "every inch of the increase because it weakened environmental protections, supported loggers, and encouraged land-grabbing".
Global emissions of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) are going up much faster than climate scientists had earlier thought, and that's a big problem because it's a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change reports that countries in east Asia and South America that are making the biggest contribution to the increasing emissions since 2009. Although popularized by the "Fast and Furious" movie franchise - it's the "magic" stuff in the tanks that makes cars fly over bridges or take down helicopters (not in real life please don't try) - the study's Australian author says, "The single, most important source of nitrous oxide is agriculture," specifically agricultural manure and fertilizer.
Australia and New Zealand have dispatched medical teams to assist Samoa with its measles emergency.