National & International Headlines by Peach Tao – 18th May 2017

Here is a weekly roundup of national and international news brought to us by 6th Form student; Peach Tao.

  1. Britain’s local elections, held on May 4th, delivered a sizeable increase in the number of council seats held by the ruling Conservative Party. Gaining 563 seats and taking control of 11 councils, the Tories romped home at the expense of the opposition Labour Party and Liberal Democrats. Now that it has achieved its aim of Brexit the UK Independence Party was almost wiped out, as its supporters switched to the Tories. It was a thumping result for the party, but projections based on the results imply that the Tories’ current opinion-poll lead may be overstated when it comes to the general election on June 8th.
  2. Emmanuel Macron won the run-off in the French presidential election with 66% of the vote, beating the nationalist, Marine Le Pen. The 39-year-old former economy minister had never run for office before and was not regarded as a contender a year ago. His victory was a particular relief to the EU. Yet Ms Le Pen nearly doubled the share of the vote that her father achieved in 2002.
  3. More than 200 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya, adding to the 1,300 people who had already died or disappeared in the Mediterranean this year. Meanwhile, the European Court of Justice began hearing a case brought by Hungary and Slovakia against the EU’s relocation of migrants based on quotas.
  4. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, received a further, and unexpected, boost, when her Christian Democratic Union party won decisively in a state election in Schleswig-Holstein. It was the second consecutive loss for Mrs Merkel’s current coalition partners, the Social Democrats, after another state, Saarland, voted for the CDU in March.
  5. James Comey was sacked as director of the FBI by Donald Trump, taking Washington, and Mr Comey, completely by surprise. Mr Trump acted on the advice of the attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, who decided that Mr Comey had botched the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails last year. At the time Mr Trump had praised Mr Comey, but that was before he started investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Democrats, and others, called for the appointment of a special prosecutor.
  6. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, visited the White House for the first time since Mr Trump’s election. Their meeting in the Oval Office was private, except for the presence of a photographer from TASS, the Russian news agency.
  7. Mr Trump urged the Senate not to “let the American people down”, after the House of Representatives passed a health-care bill that dismantles large parts of Obamacare. Fearful of a potential public backlash about the removal of some of the popular elements of Obamacare, such as insurance for pre-existing conditions, senators are in no hurry to pass the bill and may end up drafting their own legislation.
  8. America said it would send arms to the YPG, a Kurdish militia group operating in northern Syria, so it could fight more effectively against Islamic State. Turkey denounced the move, because it considers the group to be an offshoot of the Turkish Kurdish party, the PKK, which both it and America regard as a terrorist organisation.
  9. Thailand has backed off from a threat to ban Facebook for failing to block illegal content, including posts critical of the monarchy.
  10. The ransomware, known as WannaCry used in Friday’s attack wreaked havoc on organizations including FedEx and Telefónica, as well as the UK’s National Health Service, where operations were canceled, X-rays, test results, and patient records became unavailable, and phones did not work.

Thanks,

Peach – Xinran – Tao

18/05/2017 Comments (0)

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