World PM News Briefs For Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Hello Australia!! - An amazing pilot brings a bomb-stricken passenger plane back to the airport - 267 Asylum Seekers in Australia face imminent deportation to Nauru - US officials urge calm after the Zika virus is passed from person to person for the first time - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The High Court has rejected a challenge to the government's refugee policy, meaning that some 260 asylum seekers face the prospect of being deported from Australia to Nauru. This includes the five-year old boy who was raped at the Nauru detention facility, where his attacker remains. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton intends to send the majority of that group in Oz to Nauru. The case was brought by a Bangladeshi asylum seeker who challenged the legality of off-shoring people to a third-party nation. The lawyer leading the case against the Government, Daniel Webb from the Human Rights Law Center, says the government "won in the High Court, but let me tell you, around the country right now there are 267 incredibly vulnerable people who will be terrified". He added, "The legality is one thing, the morality is another."
Health authorities in Texas have registered the first person-to-person transmission of the Zika virus in the US, most likely by sexual contact. The patient in Dallas County had sex with someone who had recently returned from Venezuela and was already infected with the mosquito-borne virus. Health officials are concerned about the news, but caution that the main form of transmission is still via mosquito bite. "What we know is the vast majority of spread is going to be from mosquitoes," said US Centers for Disease Control Dr. Thomas Frieden. "The bottom line is mosquitoes are the real culprit here." Zika is suspected in thousands of birth defects in Brazil.
South Korea is threatening the North with "searing" consequences if Pyongyang goes ahead with a planned satellite launch this month. Seoul and the US say this launch is a violation of the ban on ballistic missile technology. But angry warnings from Washington and North Korea's neighbors usually don't stop the Kim Jong-un regime from doing whatever it wants, as evidenced by the North's detonation of a nuclear weapon last month. The UN is still working on strengthening sanctions on Pyongyang because of that episode.
Tokyo ordered its missile batteries to be ready in case the North Korean launch veers into Japanese airspace. Defense Minister Gen Nakatani says Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan and ground-based US Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missile systems will "destroy any missile fired by North Korea that threatens the country". Mr. Nakatani told reporters that the expected North Korean missile would fly over Japan's southwestern Nansei islands. North Korea says the launch will occur sometime between 8 and 25 February.
An apparent explosive tore a hole in the fuselage of a commercial in mid-flight, and the pilot amazingly kept control of the aircraft and brought it back to the airport. This emergency landing happened at Mogadishu International Airport in Somalia. The pilot says it sounded like a bomb, and an explosives expert confirms the damage on Daallo Airlines was consistent with that assumption. "Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport," said 64-year old Serbian pilot Vladimir Vodopivec. "Something like this has never happened in my flight career. We lost pressure in the cabin. Thank god it ended well," he added. That's an understatement. Only two people out of the 74 passengers and crew were hurt. Here's video from inside the passenger cabin.
Spain's king asked Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez to try to form a government after caretaker PM Mariano Rajoy struck out, because no other party wanted to work with his Popular Party which presided over the country's current economic disaster. Mr. Sanchez will have to cobble together a coalition with fellow Leftists in the upstart and anti-establishment Podemos Party, whose leader already signaled his willingness to work with the Socialists. But the two still won't have enough seats for a clear majority, and might mean they'll have to deal with the Euro-skeptic and very conservative Ciudadanos Party. Podemos and Ciudadanos both made incredible gains in the December elections, at least for now ending the days of the two-party system.