Today’s international news: March 8th

Luka Kenyon brings today’s international stories from across the globe.

 

Indian Pilot released by Pakistan

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A pilot from the Indian Air Force has been released by the Pakistani government after having been captured on Wednesday.

This is amid the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India that have resulted in Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s plane being shot down in the Kashmir region. Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has commented that the move is a “peace gesture” to allow communication to be opened between the two countries.

On Friday Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the events of the past few days had “brought our nations closer”.

“The way the nation has supported our armed forces is extraordinary and I bow to every Indian for that”, he said.

On Thursday, Mr Khan reenforced his call for the de-escalation of the continued military presence along the border between India and Pakistan.

The pilot is now back on Indian soil and being hailed  as a national hero.

Today’s international news: March 1st

Rory Hill brings us today’s international stories.

Thai Princess runs for Prime Minister: podcast with journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall

 

Andrew MacGregor Marshall is an investigative journalist who specialises in Thailand. Marshall was the former Bureau Chief for Reuters in Bankok and previously was Middle East Managing Editor for the news agency. He currently teaches journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.

EN4News News Editor Ailean Beaton spoke to Marshall about the announcement that a member of the Thai royal family, Princess Ubolratana, is running for Prime Minister in upcoming elections.

Marshall was the first journalist to break the news. In this podcast, Marshall outlines the significance of the news, calling it “the biggest news to come out of Thailand in ten years”, and discusses what this could mean for the future of Thai democracy.

Today’s international news

Trump ally arrested in Florida

The former campaign adviser to the US President Roger Stone has been charged with seven counts in Robert Mueller’s investigation, which looks at alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The indictment includes one count of obstruction, one count of witness tampering and five counts of false statements.

US commerce secretary “out of touch”

Wilbur Ross has been mocked online after he suggested workers affected by the government shutdown should take out bank loans.

Federal workers will miss another payday today, following reports that some have had to use food banks.

After the Senate rejected two bills which would have ended the deadlock, this is now the longest US government shutdown in history. The President has defended the culture secretary.

Venezuelan opposition leader considers amnesty for Maduro

Juan Guaidó has said that if President Nicolás Maduro cedes power, he could potentially be given amnesty.

Since declaring himself acting president earlier in the week, Guaidó has said he is reaching out to all sectors to end the crisis, even the military. However, the military’s support remains in favour of Maduro.

Kurdish politician freed after 79-day hunger strike

The Diyarbakir court in Turkey has released Kurdish MP Leyla Guven, 55 after she endured a 79-day hunger strike.

Guven’s release date details have not been released, but the court said they would continue to monitor her after.

The MP is part of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party. The Kurdish and Turkish conflict risen from various Kurdish groups fighting for independence from Turkey.

Guven was imprisoned after she criticised Turkish military’s involvement in Afrin, Syria, which the majority identifies as a Kurdish town.

She had been in jail for a year before beginning her strike in November last year. She claims she started the strike in protest of Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish military leader, Abdullah Ocalan who was imprisoned back in 1999.

Her daughter, via Twitter, announced the MP’s release.

EN4News in Numbers

Too busy to read the news today? Or maybe you want to sound clever at a work function? Here are six interesting statistics we think you should know about, short but sweet.

 

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Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

International Insight

Joanna Hampson brings you the latest EN4 international news brief for Tuesday October 23.

Here are today’s top stories.

  • The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly planned days in advance. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed he has strong evidence to suggest Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the 2nd of October. In his address this Tuesday, to the MP’s of his ruling party, President Erdogan confirmed that 18 people had been arrested in Saudi Arabia over the case, but is yet to release further information regarding the details of the evidence. For live updates from the investment conference in Saudi Arabia head to the Guardian.

 

  • The world’s longest sea-crossing bridge has finally been opened in Zhuhai, China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the bridge, which connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai, spanning 55km (34 miles) of water. The $20 billion bridge took nine years to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns. To watch the video ‘flying over the world’s longest sea bridge’ head to the BBC.

 

  • Poland’s first openly gay politician has said progressive policies can win in the countries local elections. After the ruling Law and Justice party suffered setbacks in local elections at the weekend, Robert Biedroń who stepped down as mayor of Słupsk to launch his own pro-European, “pro-democratic” movement, has now said that progressives can win. Biedroń’s own political trajectory, as a young, former LGBT activist who was elected to the Sejm in 2011, strides towards a modern Poland, advancing on the common view of the Catholic country. The Guardian report on the advancements of the upcoming elections in more detail on their website.

 

  • Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China. Speaking to reporters, the President repeated his belief that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which he has threatened to leave. Russia continues to deny these allegations.

In Business

 

  • UK based vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Dyson, is set to build its new electric car in Singapore. The factory will break ground in Singapore later this year with the first car scheduled to roll off the production line in 2021. Dyson has said Singapore was chosen for the project based on the availability of engineering talent, regional supply chains and proximity to some key target markets. With a vast budget of £2 billion committed to the plant, Dyson will be focussing largely on research and development and test track facilities.

 

  • Co-founder of the Benetton clothing firm, Gilberto Benetton, has died at the age of 77. Benetton founded United Colors of Benetton in Italy, with brothers Luciano and Carlo and sister Giuliana, in the 1960s. Considered as one of the most powerful families in Italy, Benetton himself is credited with diversifying the clothing company into a multi-billion euro giant. United Colors of Benetton is known for its provocative advertising campaigns which have previously featured images of prisoners sentenced to death in America and, more recently, displayed images of migrants being rescued from the Mediterranean.

Second man named in Sailsbury attacks investigation

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A second man has been named for suspected involvement in the Skripal attack.

Investigative Journalism website, Bellingcat, has revealed the name of the second man suspected of carrying out the poisoning in Salisbury in March. Russian military doctor, Alexander Mishkin, is accused of carrying out the assassination attempt on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

He joins Anatoliy Chepiga who was named as the first suspect by Bellingcat last month however Russia denies all claims made by the website. Mishkin was travelling under the alias Alexander Petrov when he travelled to the UK to allegedly carry out the attack. Moreover, Mishkin was revealed to be an agent working for Russian Intelligence, the GRU.

Conservative MP Bob Seely, a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said: “It is appalling that a medical doctor appears to have been part of a team of GRU operatives”

“Whilst this operation has been a botched embarrassment for the Kremlin from beginning to end, it’s worth remembering that we may not know about the GRU’s successful operations.”

Bellingcat made the discovery after looking over testimonies from people Mishkin knew and a scanned photo of his passport. The journalist working on the story had to dig significantly deeper to uncover Mishkin as he did not leave as much digital evidence to his identity or whereabouts as Chepiga.

Forensic tent at The_Maltings,Salisbury in March credit to Peter Curbishley.jpg

Forensic tent at The Maltings, Salisbury in March. Photo credit to Peter Curbishley.

Russia have officially commented that the two men were in Salisbury as tourists but this has been undermined by mounting evidence suggesting these men were highly-trained government agents. With the revelation of the second suspect, questions have been raised at the relative ease of uncovering intelligence officer’s identities.

 

Germany’s two largest parties begin to form coalition

Four months of stalemate have resulted in a German coalition Government, according to media reports.

Germany’s September elections proved inconclusive, as a coalition has not been agreed between the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and Chancellor Merkel’s Conservatives (CDU/CSU).

Thought to be the last major stumbling block to government, the agreement on distributing ministries comes after intense negotiations since Tuesday.

Whilst healthcare and workers’ rights are points still to be settled upon, the non stop talks are expected to end with a coalition.

Previously the SPD leader Martin Schulz had ruled out entering Government with Merkel’s CDU and its’ sister party CSU.

Whilst a government could be in place by Easter, the SPD’s 460,00 members will have final say on a coalition government in a postal vote in the next few weeks.

Within the SPD a opposition group to coalition are calling themselves NoGroKo (no grand coalition).

Far-right party Alternative for Germany (AFD) became the third biggest political force in the country winning 94 seats in September.

Trump declares North Korea ‘State Sponsor’ of Terrorism

In a series of measures toughing down on North Korea, US President Donald Trump has put North Korea back on the list of countries that are believed to have continually provided support for acts of international terrorism.

Stating his intentions in a cabinet meeting yesterday, Trump also announced that it would mean ‘very large’ sanctions would be imposed upon the country. Today, both South Korea and Japan declared their approval to the move stating that it put North Korea under more pressure to stop their nuclear programme.

Yesterday, a special security adviser to the South Korean president told local reporters that the measure seemed more ”symbolic than substance”.

It comes a week after Trump returned from a 12-day trip to Asia with North Korea’s nuclear capabilities the focus of his attention. North Korea joins three other nations — Iran, Sudan and Syria — on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea was first added to the list in 1988, and then removed in 2008 as part of negotiations with the US government of George W Bush.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pointed to the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of his brother and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as a key factor in North Korea being placed back on the list. He did also concede that they were ‘largely symbolic’ compared to the level of sanctions already in action against North Korea.

Tillerson has said that he still hopes for a peaceful resolution, but it is expected that this news will setback talks between the two countries as regards the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

President Trump spoke of the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died on returning to the US after lengthy imprisonment in North Korea, as well as “the countless others so brutally affected by the North Korean oppression.”

North Korea continue to defy the numerous sanctions that have been imposed upon them by the UN Security Council.

 

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