TL;DR – TOP 10 STORIES FOR THE WEEK
- Massive Tennessee wildfire causes evacuations, injuries, deaths
- 11 people injured in Ohio from attack
- Fire at California event kills at least 9
- Trump: Carrier, Taiwan, flag-burning
- First commercial flight between USA and Cuba lands
- Colombian peace deal with rebels approved
- Bolivian plane crash kills 71
- South Korean President may be impeached
- Wikileaks releases documents from USA and Germany
- Fighting continues in Yemen and Syria
Further information and more stories:
Tennessee continued to suffer from severe wildfires. Thousands have been evacuated, dozens have been injured, and 11 people died. Reuters said this was “the highest loss of civilian life from a single U.S. wildfire in 13 years.”
“A man was shot and killed Monday after he struck a group of pedestrians with a car and then got out and cut people with a butcher knife on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio, according to university officials.” (NPR) Eleven people were hospitalized, with one in critical condition.
“Ten people were shot, one of them fatally, in the crowded heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter early Sunday, police said.” (NBC)
“A fire broke out Friday night during a party at a two-story warehouse and artists’ studio in Oakland, killing at least nine people and leaving about two dozen missing, the California city’s fire chief said.” (CNN) It’s thought that 50 to 100 people were inside the building.
Protesting continued over the North Dakota Access Pipeline. “Hundreds of US military veterans have joined activists in North Dakota protesting against the installation of a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline.” (BBC)
“Senators voted 99-0 to approve a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, which includes penalties against Iran’s banking, defense and energy sectors. The law was set to expire at the end of the year.” (TH) “Iran’s Foreign Minister says any extension of US sanctions against Iran constitutes breach of nuclear deal.” (TIS)
Wikileaks released more than 500,000 diplomatic cables from United States officials, all sent in 1979.
President-elect Trump spoke with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Strangely, the U.S. media almost universally condemned the move. Chinese officials said the phone call, made from Taiwan, would not impact US-China ties. “Trump’s conversation believed to be the first time a U.S. president or president-elect has spoken with a Taiwanese leader since 1979.” (NPR)
Trump was also in headlines for comments on Carrier Corporation and flag-burning.
“Colombian legislators approved a peace agreement late Wednesday with the country’s communist guerrillas, ending Latin America’s longest armed conflict, which killed hundreds of thousands of people over the course of 52 years.” (WSJ)
“A chartered plane with a Brazilian first division football [soccer] team crashed near Medellin while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament, killing 71 people, Colombian officials said. Six people survived.” (TT) 20 journalists were also killed in the crash. Reports suggested that the pilot caused the crash from skipping a refueling point. “Their opponents, Colombian team Atletico Nacional, have offered to concede the game to ensure Chapecoense are declared the champions.” (BBC)
“Thousands of demonstrators on Tuesday evening staged one of the strongest protests against Brazilian President Michel Temer and his fiscal-austerity agenda, turning over cars and trying to break into the country’s Senate as police fired tear gas and what appeared to be rubber bullets.” (WSJ)
“About 350 victims have reported child sexual abuse within UK football clubs, police chiefs have said…. The 17 forces looking into allegations of historical child sex abuse in football also include the Metropolitan Police, North Yorkshire Police, Police Scotland and Cheshire Police.” (BBC)
“Politicians have exempted themselves from Britain’s new wide-ranging spying laws.” (TI)
French President Francois Hollande announced he will not seek a second term, possibly due to low popularity ratings. The BBC said he “has become the first sitting president in modern French history not to seek re-election.”
Wikileaks released thousands of documents related to an inquiry into Germany’s foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and its cooperation with the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA).
“Elite Syrian troops moved into east Aleppo ahead of a push into the most densely populated areas, as ally Russia called for corridors to bring in aid and evacuate wounded. Despite global criticism… government forces have pressed an assault to retake control of the divided city. The offensive – backed by heavy artillery – has spurred an exodus of tens of thousands of residents from the rebel-held east.” (AJ)
“Russian officials and Syrian rebel groups are holding talks in Turkey on the fate of east Aleppo as food reserves in the enclave dwindle to zero, opposition and diplomatic sources said on Thursday.” (TG)
“Israel has struck Syrian regime position and a Hezbollah convoy near western Damascus” (TIS)
south & east asia
Over a million people have been protesting, demanding the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. She offered to resign “if parliament finds a plan for safe transfer of power.” Her term expires in early 2018, although many people don’t want to wait until then. “South Korea’s opposition parties filed an impeachment motion against scandal-hit President Park Geun-Hye on Saturday…. [The motion] will be put to a vote in the National Assembly on Friday, lawmakers said.” (AFP)
“At least 200,000 conservative Muslims rallied in the Indonesian capital on Friday in the second major protest in a month against its minority Christian governor who is being prosecuted for alleged blasphemy.” (AP)
world – general news
“Passengers erupted into applause as the first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than 50 years landed in Cuba, arriving as the island begins week-long memorial services for revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.” (ABC)