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Curated top stories
- North Korea fired a ballistic missile that landed close to Japan on Wednesday, officials said. U.S authorities said it was an intercontinental ballistic missile that flew for about 1,000km (620 miles) and fell into the Sea of Japan. The launch comes a week after President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a U.S list of countries that the government says support terrorism. Some experts say the move risked escalating tensions in the region. It also allows the U.S to impose more sanctions on the country. South Korea’s military said it had responded to the launch with a missile exercise.
- The U.S. military claims that North Korea has the missile technology needed to reach the mainland of the United States. Earlier today, Hawaii prepared by reactivating air-raid sirens not used since the 1980s. Emergency management officials said statewide testing of the warning system would begin this week across the Pacific islands some 7,500 km from Pyongyang. The Washington Post described the testing as an “audible example” of growing strife between the U.S. and North Korea, which has been conducting missile testing, including several this year.
- The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case that could determine the legal protections for whistleblowers in the financial sector. An employee of Digital Realty, a data center, claims he was fired for disclosing fraudulent activities to senior management, which he argues is a violation of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court will likely rule that the Obama-era financial law only applies to whistle blowers who speak with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, not with their supervisors.
- Pope Francis didn’t reference Myanmar’s Rohingya minority in his speech in the country, instead calling for “respect for each ethnic group.” Widespread persecution of the Rohingya Muslims, at least partly at the hands of Myanmar’s military, has been called ethnic cleansing by the U.S. and caused more than 600,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since August. Some papal advisers warned Francis against mentioning the Rohingya, according to The Guardian. Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, also didn’t mention the Rohingya in her speech. Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely criticised for not taking a firmer stance on the violence. (Read more: Rohingya crisis a replay of 40 years ago.)
- Ireland’s deputy prime minister Frances Fitzgerald resigned, averting a potential snap election. An election in December could have complicated next month’s UK-EU meeting, when Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister), Leo Varadkar, has to tell EU leaders whether he believes sufficient progress has been made on the future of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland after the UK leaves the EU. Fitzgerald faced pressure to resign during a long-running controversy over attempts by Ireland’s national police force to discredit a whistle-blower. This culminated in an opposition motion of no confidence in her, which would have forced a new vote.
- Prime Minister Saad Hariri is reported by Al Jazeera as saying he will not disclose what happened when he was in Saudi Arabia earlier this month. Hariri offered his resignation via television while in Riyadh and remained there without explanation for two weeks, before returning to Beirut last week. Speaking to French TV channel CNews Hariri said his proposed resignation was intended to give Lebanon a “positive shock,” though many suspect it was part of a broader power play by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
- Hawaii is preparing for a potential missile launch from North Korea by reactivating air-raid sirens not used since the 1980s. Emergency management officials said statewide testing of the warning system would begin this week across the Pacific islands some 7,500 km from Pyongyang. The Washington Post described the testing as an “audible example” of growing strife between the U.S. and North Korea, which has been conducting missile testing, including several this year.
What we’re reading
- Project Veritas, founded in 2010, is a tax-exempt charity that says its mission is to investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct. Its latest mission was to try to give the Washington Post a fake story about a woman purporting to have had a sexual relationship with Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. Instead, once it learned of the true intent of the woman, the Post turned the tables. The result is a deeply reported inside look into how a news organisation tries to ensure its reporting is correct. — Charles Anderson
- At a ceremony honoring Navajo Native Americans for their wartime service, President Trump threw in a joke about Democratic adversary Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas”. In The New York Times‘ account, Russell Begaye, the president of the Navajo Nation, calls Trump’s mention of Pocahontas “derogatory” and “disrespectful to Indian nations”. Warren has some Native American heritage. — Angela Long
What the community is up to
- Earlier this week, the EU Commission’s Appeal Committee agreed to renew the license for the use of glyphosate in Europe. The decision means glyphosate can continue to be used as a weedkiller for another five years. The ruling ended months of deadlock over a controversial substance at the center of health and environmental concerns. In this piece, community member and PhD chemist, Steven Abbott, explores the background to the decision and what it means for the community at large.