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Curated top stories
- Australia’s ongoing citizenship crisis looked to ensnare another nine members of Parliament as the opposition Labor party proposed the nation’s highest court consider the cases of four members of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government and five other lawmakers. One of the Labor party’s own, Senator Katy Gallagher, was referred to the court on December 6 to determine whether she holds British citizenship. The Constitution bars dual citizens from elected office.
- U.S. bombers will fly over the Korean peninsula as part of aerial combat training with South Korea, state news agency Yonhap reported, citing a military source, despite North Korea warnings that such drills would push the region to the “brink of nuclear war.” The training with the B-1B Lancer bombers came as UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman visited Pyongyang in an effort to defuse rising tensions over North Korea’s recent missile launches.
- A court in Malta charged three men in the slaying of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in October by a remote-controlled car bomb. The men, who had previous criminal records, pleaded innocent to charges of murder and possession of explosives. Galizia, an investigative reporter, had written extensively about corruption among Malta’s elite and about Maltese links to offshore financial dealings detailed in the Panama Papers.
- California is facing another raft of wildfires. Fire officials northwest of Los Angeles said hundreds of homes and other structures likely were lost and 150,000 residents were ordered to evacuate. Strong winds pushing the fires also prevented planes from fighting the blazes. The fires and billowing smoke shut down freeways and created a health hazard for millions living in Ventura County, as documented in a series of photos by the San Francisco Chronicle. Two months ago, another set of fires killed 44 people.
- U.S. Congressman John Conyers, an 88-year-old civil rights leader, resigned in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct accusations from women who worked for him on Capitol Hill. The Michigan Democrat denied the allegations, but said he was “retiring” (Detroit Free Press) to preserve his legacy. Colleagues, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, had urged Conyers to end a 53-year political career that included helping to found the Congressional Black Caucus.
What we’re reading
- The case of the wedding cake that triggered a legal battle now before the U.S. Supreme Court, is explored in depth by The New York Times in story that’s as much about America’s culture wars as it is about religious freedom and gay marriage. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is expected to wield the crucial vote in the case that hinges on a Colorado baker’s refusal to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception. – Jodie DeJonge
What the WikiTribune community’s up to
- Journalist Michael Field examines the “last great tuna rush” in the South Pacific in his article, “Murder and abuse: the price of your sashimi.” Field reports that at least eight fisheries observers have died in mysterious circumstances over the past five years, based on reports and his own research, as tuna stocks are plundered.