Briefing: Australian deputy wrongly elected, Saudi Arabia makes robot a citizen

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Curated top stories

  • UN investigators said Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces are responsible for a gas attack on rebel-held town Khan Sheikhun that killed more than 87 people in April, according to the AFP news agency. The announcement came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there is “no future” for the Assad regime and the UN special envoy for Syria announced peace talks would resume on November 28, according to The Washington Post.
  • Australia’s High Court ruled that the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was wrongly elected because he held dual citizenship. His departure means The National Party of Australia no longer has a one-seat majority. But Joyce has pledged to stand for re-election in a by-election in December.
  • Saudi Arabia is the first country to give citizenship to a robot named Sophia, according to TechCrunch. The non-human woman appeared on stage without an abaya, which is a head covering normally required by law.
Sophia, Hanson Robotics Ltd. speaking at the AI for GOOD Global Summit, ITU, Geneva, Switzerland, June, 2017 (ITU/R.Farrell via Flickr)
  • The Spanish Senate is to hold a vote on the government’s plan to take control of Catalonia today. It is expected to pass emergency measures that include sacking the current Catalan government and Madrid controlling Catalonia’s finances, police and public media.
    • Meanwhile, Catalan’s regional parliament has been debating declaring independence since October 26.
  • Thousands, but not all, of the classified documents about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy were released by the U.S. government yesterday. The release prompted a scramble from news organizations to find new stories and leads. WikiTribune outlines the highlights of the documents.

What we’re reading

  • In this insightful piece for the Financial Times, Adam Lebor picks apart some of the challenges and contradictions that face Israel. – George Engels
  • The combined wealth of billionaires has increased to a record $6 trillion, more than twice the GDP of the UK. “We are now two years into the peak of the second Gilded Age,” said Josef Stadler, who led the UBS report on the new figure. – Linh Nguyen
  • Africa’s second most populous country Ethiopia is set to become one of the continent’s economic success stories according to the IMF. Quartz Africa looks at how the country’s economy has turned around, despite relentless political unrest and a heavily-criticised government. – Jack Barton

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