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Curated top stories
- Australians voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic non-binding poll, announced on Wednesday. More than 12.7 million people voted in the the national postal survey — 79.5 percent of the population. All states and territories recorded vote in favor of change. The Yes camp won with 61.6 percent of the vote. Scenes of jubilation broke out across the country as the result came in. In response, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised marriage equality should be law by Christmas. Same-sex marriage has been banned in Australia since 2004 when the government changed the law to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
- UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of meddling in elections, saying Moscow is trying to “undermine free societies” and sow discord in the West. Evidence of Russian interference in western politics has mounted this year, with U.S. intelligence agencies saying Moscow meddled in the U.S. election. May’s remarks in London came days after President Donald Trump says he thinks Vladimir Putin is sincere when he says Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 vote.
- Zimbabwe military tanks were seen heading towards the capital of Harare and the compound where President Robert Mugabe resides, stoking fears of a possible military coup. Fears of military intervention surfaced after Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his assumed successor who enjoyed the support of the military. Grace Mugabe, wife of the 93-year old president, is considered to be next line for the presidency now, according to analysis by Quartz.
- On November 13, General Constantino Chiwenga, head of the Zimbabwe military, stated that the military was prepared to intervene if President Mugabe continued to fire leaders within his party. In response to the statements General Constantino Chiwenga made, the ruling party of Zimbabwe accused him of “treasonable conduct.”
- Donald Trump Jr., the U.S. president’s oldest son, has released a series of private Twitter messages he exchanged with WikiLeaks around the time of the 2016 election. The release followed a story The Atlantic broke about the messages, which it described as “a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence” between WikiLeaks and Trump Jr. that continued until at least July 2017. Among the messages was a request from WikiLeaks that the president-elect ask Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the U.S. Trump blamed the leak on a congressional committee, which is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to CNN.
- Myanmar’s military said an internal investigation showed no evidence its troops killed, raped or targeted Rohingya Muslims. Amnesty International said the army’s report was an attempt to “whitewash” its crimes. More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh due to what the UN’s human rights chief said seems to be “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.“
- A 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck near the border between Iran and Iraq killed more than 450 people and injured thousands. The death toll rose as aftershocks continued and rescue workers clawed through the rubble. The quake, which was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan, was the deadliest so far this year, according to The New York Times.
What we’re reading
- A Reuters investigation found that lead-poisoning rates have increased in certain neighborhoods of New York City. In 69 neighborhoods, 10 percent of children, screened between 2005 to 2015, were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning in children can cause irreversible neurological damage.
- As expected, U.S. President Donald Trump spent little time on human rights during his first Asian swing, embracing leaders widely criticized for their crackdowns on dissent in their own countries – including China’s Xi Jinping, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Cambodia’s Hun Sen. The grip-and-grins eschewed the political statements of his predecessors on human rights, although the White House said Trump has had some private conversations. On the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, which the UN’s human rights chief has described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” Trump had no public comment. – Jodie DeJonge
- The IRSN, an authority in French nuclear safety, said there’s been a detection of Ruthenium-106 in the atmosphere in Europe. This isotope of Ruthenium, with atomic mass number 106, does not occur in nature but does occur as a fission product from the nuclear industry. It is manufactured in Russia for use in some cancer treatments. – Joel Gallant
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