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

salisbury.jpg

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.

 

International Headlines @ 12pm

Saskia Williams presents the international headlines for today.

For more be sure to tune in at 1pm for our next update and follow us on Twitter @en4newsweekly.

Pope Francis meets the people of Myanmar. Source: Aljazeera

 

 

May accuses Putin of election interference

Theresa May has launched her strongest criticism of Russia to date, accusing the Kremlin of meddling in elections.

 

The Prime Minister said Moscow had “mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption” in a speech to business leaders at a banquet in London last night.

 

May went on to say Russia was guilty of “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the West”.

 

In unprecedented comments, the PM said:

“I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us. The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.”

 

Theresa May last met with President Putin in 2016. Source: Wikipedia

 

In contrast to May’s attack, Donald Trump resisted criticising President Putin after the two met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) last week. In an off-script chat on board Air Force One, Trump recounted his conversation with the Russian leader: “He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. But I just asked him again, and he said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they’re saying he did.”

 

Following Mrs May’s comments last night, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted the following response.

 

May said as the UK left the EU and charted a new course in the world, it would remain absolutely committed to NATO and securing a Brexit deal which “strengthens our liberal values”, adding that a strong economic partnership between the UK and EU would be a bulwark against Russian agitation in Europe.

 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Russia next month on a diplomatic visit.

 

Russia Brings Peace Proposal to UN.

Credit to Freedom House (Flickr)

Credit to Freedom House (Flickr)

Russia has submitted a document to the United Nations proposing a complete revamp of the constitution, in an attempt to end the four year civil war, which has claimed the lives of over 250,000 Syrians and displaced many more.

The document claims that this process will last around 18 months, followed by presidential elections. It did not state whether President Bashar al-Asaad would remain in power during the transitional period. The document also stated that a number of Syrian opposition groups should be a part of the peace talks in Vienna this coming Saturday, which Russia believes should focus on differentiating which groups should be considered terrorists, and which should be considered partners in the peace process.

However, Russia’s proposal does not rule out Asaad standing for election, which rebel groups’ claim will make a peace treaty impossible.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government continues to wage its assault on rebel held areas surrounding Aleppo, but has yet to penetrate the city itself.

Russian doping scandal continues

Bryan Jones/Flickr

Bryan Jones/Flickr

 

 

Former International Association of Athletics Federations president Lamine Diack has resigned from his position as an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee.

On Monday, the IAAF was implicated in a World Anti-Doping Agency report that accused Russia of widespread doping.

The French financial prosecutor said in a statement last week: “Diack is suspected of receiving money in exchange for deferring sanctions for several Russian athletes who were found guilty of doping in 2011, ahead of the Olympic Games.”

The investigation is ongoing and will look into whether other persons were involved in suspected corruption.

The findings of the independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency has led to the possibility of Russian track and field athletes being banned from the 2016 Olympic games.

Despite Russia’s anti-doping official condemning the report as “unprofessional, illogical and declarative,” the report has been used to collect evidence for the crime fighting organization Interpol who continues the investigation.

WADA has suspended the Russian laboratory, based in Moscow, which is responsible for analysing the athletes’ urine and blood samples.

The report outlined many striking allegations and has illuminated several issues to be explored, including:

  • Secret police inside the anti-doping laboratory
  • Hundreds of samples destroyed before key inspection
  • Bribes and extortion
  • Intimidation of doping testers
  • Use of false identities to dodge tests

Nikita Kamaev, of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency said the report provided clarity, but no real news to his organization.

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