World News Briefs For Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Hello Australia!! - Trump goes on a pardoning binge - The Aussie military is cracking down on racist had symbols - The billionaire upsetting the US Democratic race - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Australian military chiefs are warning that any soldier caught using white supremacist hand signals faces immediate suspension from active duty and probably expulsion from the military. And that especially means the former "okay" hand symbol that has been appropriated by nazi scum to send a "white power" message. The ABC this morning is reporting that it has obtained a document sent by Defence Forces Command last year warning any individual who engages in such behaviour has "no place in our Army". To date, no one has actually been kicked out of the military for such offensive symbols, but one Army member has been disciplined "for contravening Defence values by making inappropriate hand gestures".
In the good ol' USA, Donald Trump issued a bunch of pardons and clemency decrees to a who's who of official corruption. Top among these names is Michael Milken, the 1980s "junk bond king" who was convicted of insider trading and violating securities laws, eventually serving two years in prison. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich will be released from prison where he was serving a lengthy term for trying to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama in 2008. Former San Francisco Giants owner Edward De Bartolo gets a pardon from his conviction for paying a bribe to get a casino license. And Bernard Kerik is the scandal-tainted for New York City police commissioner who was convicted of making false statements to the Feds and tax fraud.
And if you're scratching your head and thinking, "hey wait a minute..." YES: Trump campaigned on "draining the swamp" on corruption in Washington, DC.
Many US Democrats are angry over the latest poll showing billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg leap-frogging over several establishment candidates to land in second place in the latest Democratic Party Presidential Poll, meaning he qualifies for the next debate. Bloomberg is still way behind front-runner and progressive icon Bernie Sanders, but his unprecedented spending of his own money on a f**k-ton of TV commercials and internet ads put him ahead of luminaries such as former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. "It's a shame Mike Bloomberg can buy his way into the debate," Warren lamented. Seriously, you can't turn on a TV in the US without a series of Bloomberg commercials falling on your eyeballs.
The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from a torrent of sex abuse lawsuits. The group says it is to create a fund to ensure financial compensation to the victims and there are quite a few: Files going to 1944 were exposed last month containing the names of 7,819 Scout leaders who allegedly preyed on boys, as well as the names of 12,254 victims. "For far too many years, the Boy Scouts of America turned a blind eye to credible allegations of sexual abuse," said Attorney Michael Barasch, who represents hundreds of sex abuse survivors. "Now, instead of recognizing its responsibility to fully compensate survivors, the organization has decided to hide behind the Bankruptcy Code."
The head of a hospital in Wuhan City, China has died of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, is the second top medical official in China to die in the outbreak. At 51 years, he was also much younger than most of the patients who died: New data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) finds that more than 80 percent of the cases have been mild, with the sick and elderly most at risk. The risk of death increases with the age of the patient. The overwhelming majority of Covid-19's 1,873 fatalities and 73,325 infections are in or around Wuhan.
A Turkish court acquitted nine leading activists from the 2013 Gezi Park protests (remember those?), that led to a wider movement that ultimately failed to dislodge autocratic leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prosecutors claimed the activists had committed terrorism because they opposed cutting down trees in an Istanbul Park to make way for a shopping mall. "Today's decision is hugely welcome," said Milena Buyum of Amnesty International, "The only just verdict in this baseless case, devoid of any substance, was always going to be the wholesale acquittal of those who stood trial, but in today's Turkey this was far from guaranteed."