World News Briefs For Wednesday, 8 January 2020
Hello Australia!! - Vultures follow Australia's Wildfire crisis, but not the kind with wings - Dozens are killed at the funeral for Iran's top general - US allies start backing away from the areas near Iran - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Trolls, bots, and online scammers are spreading false information and frankly AWFUL lies about Australia's bushfire crisis. The Queensland University of Technology identified Twitter accounts responsible for hundreds of highly partisan, inflammatory, and inaccurate messages blaming terrorists, the federal government, or imaginary Left-wing arsonists for the fires. In fact, 24 people have been arrested and charged with arson by NSW police - not the hundreds claimed in the right-wing Tweets. "The conspiracy theories going around (including arson as the main cause of the fires) reflect an increased distrust in scientific expertise, skepticism of the media, and rejection of liberal democratic authority," said the university's Dr. Timothy Graham. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology says that climate change is "influencing the frequency and severity of dangerous bushfire conditions in Australia".
The smoke from the fires already turned New Zealand skies orange, now it has gotten all the way across the ocean and reached Chile. For the latest updates on the bushfires, head to NSW RFS or VicEmergency.
At least 56 people are dead and hundreds are injured in a stampede in the funeral procession of Iranian military Major General Qassem Soleimani in his home city of Kerman. The multi-day, multi-city event brought millions of Iranians out in the streets to mourn someone considered to be a national hero who was assassinated by a US airstrike near the Baghdad, Iraq airport last week. Critics say the funeral disaster was avoidable - the procession was routed through tight avenues with closed off side-streets, leaving people no escape as crowds swelled.
With Iran's vowed revenge for the Soleimani assassination hanging over the Middle East like the proverbial sword, some of America'a allies are stepping back. NATO announced it would temporarily take "some personnel" out of Iraq because of the increased danger: "The safety of our personnel is paramount," a NATO official said in a statement. Details of the redeployment are being kept under wraps, but it apparently involved hundreds of troops from Hungary, Romania, Canada, and others. The alliance also suspended an Iraqi training mission with 500 instructors, which will resume "when the situation permits". Germany's Bundeswehr also pulled several non-combat personnel from the region.
Puerto Rico is dealing with the aftermath from a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck before dawn was followed three hours later by an aftershock measuring 6.0. These were even larger than Monday's 5.8 quake that collapsed a few homes in the US island territory's west. At least one man is dead, eight are injured, and damage to the island's electric power grid - still precarious because of the 2018 hurricanes - caused island-wide blackouts.
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez won the parliamentary vote to keep his job and form a new government teaming his Socialist Party with the Left-wing populist Podemos. With a winning margin of just two votes, it's still Spain's first Left-wing government since the end of the ultra-right Franco regime in the 1970s. Sanchez also got the cooperation of Catalan separatists by agreeing to a dialogue on the future of the region at a future date. The new government is promising to raise taxes on corporations, hike the minimum wage, and impose rent ceilings.
Eight men are suing the Boy Scouts of America for allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of scoutmasters and other Boy Scout leaders decades ago. The lawsuit is being filed in Washington, DC, to bypass statute of limitations laws. The lawsuit could pave the way for other survivors of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts to file similar lawsuits in Washington, DC, regardless of where or when the alleged abuse took place.
A court in Delhi set the execution date for four men convicted of one of the country's most-notorious gang rapes, of a 23-year old student aboard a moving bus - the guilty men will hang on 22 January. The heinous nature of the crime in December 2012 and the mortal wounds inflicted on the victim sparked the outrage that quickly swept the nation and led to the movement demanding an end to violence against women.
Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a boatload of new satellites into orbit.