Tue. Jul 23rd, 2019

Oct 29: Bolsonaro takes power, Putin steps up anti-NATO rhetoric, and Saudis blame “rogues” for Khashoggi-gate

All news extracted from BBC

North America

  • President Donald Trump has called on the media “to stop the endless hostility”, after suspected explosives were posted to high-profile US figures. The president’s critics called his comments hypocritical, as he often uses vicious language against his opponents and the press.
  • The US economy has grown faster than expected at an annualised rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of the year, official figures have shown. The US Commerce Department said strong consumer and government spending helped to bolster the economy.
  • Global markets remained in sell-off mode on Friday, as investor worries sent shares in Asia, Europe and the US tumbling. The benchmark S&P 500 index in the US slid more than 1.7%, closing down almost 10% from its September high. The Dow Jones fell 1.2%, while the Nasdaq slumped more than 2%.
  • Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016. In a letter to employees, chief executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a “hard line” on inappropriate conduct.
  • Facebook has uncovered and removed dozens of pages, accounts and groups linked to Iran that the firm says coordinated “inauthentic behaviour”, targeting people in the US and UK. The affected posts focused on divisive topics such as race relations, opposition to President Donald Trump and immigration, it said.

South America

  • Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has won a sweeping victory in Brazil’s presidential election. With almost all the votes counted, Bolsonaro had 55% of the votes against 45% for Fernando Haddad from the left-wing Workers’ Party.
  • Mexico has offered temporary work permits to migrants who register for asylum, as a big caravan of Central American migrants makes its way through the country toward the US. The plan also envisages temporary ID cards, medical care and schooling. But to qualify, migrants must remain in Mexico’s southern Chiapas and Oaxaca states.

Asia

  • One of China’s leading stock indexes has seen its highest daily spike in more than two years following signs that the government will step in to support battered equity markets. The Shanghai Composite closed up 4.1%, its biggest one-day rise since March 2016.
  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court has re-imposed a ban on all Indian TV channels, overturning an earlier order from a lower court. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said the ban was justified as India was damming rivers that flow into Pakistan.
  • Police in India have arrested 2,200 people for protesting against the entry of women into a prominent Hindu temple in the southern state of Kerala. Hundreds clashed with women to prevent them from entering the Sabarimala shrine last week, despite a historic Supreme Court ruling.
  • Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has named his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the country’s new prime minister after the collapse of the governing coalition. He sacked Premier Ranil Wickramasinghe after the president’s United People’s Freedom Alliance party (UPFA) quit the government. Opponents say the move is unconstitutional.
  • A Singaporean trader wanted by the FBI for allegedly helping North Korean entities evade US sanctions has flatly denied “all charges” against him. Tan Wee Beng told the BBC that he had only learned of criminal charges against him via news reports. FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney said the Singaporean “conducted illicit transactions totalling millions of dollars in support of North Korean entities in blatant violation of a host of economic sanctions the United States has established against North Korea and North Korean entities”.

Europe

  • President Vladimir Putin has warned Russia will respond “in kind” if new US nuclear missiles are placed in Europe. Mr Putin said any European countries hosting US missiles would be at risk of Russian strikes.
  • The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on a range of single-use plastics across the union in a bid to stop pollution of the oceans. MEPs backed a ban on plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks.
  • Nato is unlikely to deploy more nuclear weapons to Europe should an arms control treaty between Washington and Moscow collapse, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.Washington accuses Russia of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and says it will withdraw from it.
  • Theresa May has been applauded by Tory MPs after making a “heartfelt” appeal for unity over Brexit and urging her critics to get behind her. The prime minister has been addressing all her MPs in Parliament, many of whom are seeking a change of approach.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland has said it is setting aside £100m to deal with “the more uncertain economic outlook”. RBS is among the first big banks to make such a provision in the run-up to the UK’s exit from the EU.
  • Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Rome to protest at the Italian capital’s run-down state. Mayor Virginia Raggi has been denounced for failing to tackle issues including uncollected rubbish and potholed roads. Ms Raggi took control of Rome in 2016 for the Five Star Movement (M5S), which formed a national coalition government earlier this year.

Middle East

  • Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on a “rogue operation”, giving a new account of an act that sparked a global outcry. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News “the murder” had been a “tremendous mistake” and denied the powerful crown prince had ordered it.
  • The Saudi crown prince has vowed to punish all the “culprits” responsible for the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. Speaking at a business forum in Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman said “the crime was painful to all Saudis” but he would never allow any rift with Turkey.
  • Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was “premeditated”, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has been quoted as saying by Saudi state media. The evidence for this came from a joint Saudi-Turkish task force, broadcaster al-Ekhbariya said.
  • Russia has lent its support to embattled Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that “no-one should have any reasons not to believe them”.
  • Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said the suspects in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia. At a conference in Bahrain, Adel al-Jubeir accused the Western media of “hysteria” in its coverage of the case.
  • Half the population of war-torn Yemen – 14 million people – are facing “pre-famine conditions”, the UN has warned. Humanitarian co-ordinator Mark Lowcock said survey work showed the number entirely reliant on aid for survival was three million higher than thought.

Africa

  • Cameroon has invited bids to build a new house for the president of the Constitutional Council, two days after the council announced the re-election of long-time president, Paul Biya. The $475,000 (£370,000) mansion is in an upmarket neighbourhood of Yaoundé. Last week, the Council dismissed 18 opposition petitions against the running of the elections.
  • Ethiopian members of parliament have elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president. Ms Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat who has now become Africa’s only female head of state. Her election to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women.
  • Morocco has decided to scrap winter time and will instead keep its clocks at summer time, GMT+1, all year around. The announcement comes less than two days before the clocks would have gone back by one hour on Sunday.
  • The academic qualifications of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari are again making headlines because the 76-year-old is seeking re-election in February. According to the constitution, to run for president a candidate must show that they at least have a school-leaving certificate that must be submitted to the electoral commission. In 2015, Mr Buhari, a former military head of state, failed to present the relevant documents.

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