Global Review – 17th August

Quebec Cardinal among 200 clergy members accused of sexual assault

Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec is being accused of sexual assault in a class-action lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec. In court documents introduced Tuesday in Superior Court, an unnamed woman accuses him of kissing her at a cocktail reception in 2008 and sliding his hand down her back and touching her buttocks. The allegations are part of a series of claims made against clergy members included in two class-action lawsuits against the church and authorised by a judge. Montreal-based law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats says that in the first lawsuit, against the Archdiocese of Quebec, about 101 alleged victims have accused about 88 priests or other clergy members of sexual assault. In the second lawsuit, against the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Francophone Canada, 193 alleged victims have accused 116 members of sexual assault. The documents tabled in court Tuesday contain detailed accusations against the clergy members, including Cardinal Ouellet, who at present heads the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for Bishops which advises the pope on which priests should be made bishops. He is on many experts’ short lists of candidates to succeed Pope Francis.

Liz Cheney loses Wyoming primary

Liz Cheney was defeated in the Republican primary in Wyoming by the candidate supported by Donald Trump. According to projections by the’ New York Times’, Harriet Hageman got 61% of the vote against 31% of the daughter of former George W. Bush vice-president Dick Cheney. “The United States cannot be ruled by a social media crowd,” Cheney said after defeat.

EU greenhouse gas emissions on the rise

Greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union rose in the first quarter from a year earlier, but remained just below pre-pandemic levels, the bloc’s statistics office said Tuesday. Reuters quotes Eurostat saying greenhouse gas emissions from businesses, households and government activities amounted to 1,029 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, up 6% year-on-year but below 1,035 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2019. Households contributed 24% of emissions for the period, Eurostat said, closely followed by the energy supply and manufacturing sectors, respectively accounting for 21% and 20%. It added emissions increased in all sectors year-on-year except for households where they were unchanged, reflecting an economic recovery from the pandemic. Almost all member states registered an increase from the same period last year, with Bulgaria showing the largest rise across the bloc with a 38% jump, followed by Malta with a 21% increase. The Netherlands and Finland were the only EU states to record a decrease.

Albanese says Morrison ‘undermined democracy’

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his predecessor Scott Morrison had “undermined our democracy” by secretly appointing himself minister for home affairs and treasury during the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to the health, finance and resources portfolios previously revealed.After a review of the matter by the Prime Minister’s office, Albanese told reporters, “Its completely extraordinary that these appointments were kept secret from the Australian people.” Albanese will receive legal advice on the issue from the solicitor general. Earlier Tuesday, Morrison defended taking on extra ministerial roles without his cabinet’s knowledge during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it was “an unprecedented time” and that the powers served as a safeguard. Morrison, who lost office in a national election in May, said in a radio interview he didn’t make the arrangements public because they were a safeguard only and the ministerial powers for health and finance were not triggered.

Biden signs major climate change, health care Bill into law

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed into law a big climate change and health care spending Bill, giving Democrats another boost ahead of mid-term elections in which Republicans are suddenly less certain of their predicted crushing victory. The law, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, was touted by the White House as the biggest commitment to mitigating climate change in US history, as well as targeting long-sought changes in the way medicines are priced, while adding fairness to the tax system, with a minimum 15% tax for corporations.

Abbas accuses Israel of Holocaust, Scholz ‘indignant’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was outraged by what Paltestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described as ‘apartheid’ and ‘Holacust’ the situation in Israel vis-a-vis Palestinians. In  a joint media conference in Berlin, Abbas said, “Since 1947, Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian localities – 50 Holocausts”. Scholz listened with visible irritation, but without comment. The press conference ended immediately afterwards. Later, Schultz commented, “I want to say clearly that I don’t agree with the use of the word ‘apartheid’ and I don’t think it describes the situation correctly in Israel.”

Talaban’s unfulfilled promises in Afghanistan

A year after the Taliban returned to control of Afghanistan, Amnesty International documented the situation in the country in a report which highlighted violence, human rights violations and broken promises. The organisation’s work shows widespread impunity for crimes such as torture, retaliatory killings and forced evictions of those who oppose the Taliban. In the document “A year of violence, impunity and false promises”, Amnesty notes that the situation on the ground is completely different from what the Taliban leaders had anticipated in August 2021, when they assured that women’s rights and freedom of the press, among other aspects, would be respected. The Taliban have restricted the right to education, darkening the future of millions of Afghan girls, says Amnesty International, which further warns that the authorities “subject women to escalating violence”. Dozens of women have been detained and tortured for participating in peaceful protests to claim their rights and Taliban soldiers have been beating and torturing people they believe have broken Taliban edicts or accuse them of working with the previous government. Hundreds of civilians, including over 80 journalists, have been detained and tortured for reporting peaceful protests over the past year.

New Zealand family ‘find human remains in suitcases’

Police have launched a homicide investigation after a New Zealand family reportedly discovered human remains in suitcases after winning the luggage in an abandoned storage unit items auction. The remains were said to have been found after the family took home the items they had won from the storage locker auction, broadcaster Newshub reported. Neighbours noticed a “wicked smell” coming from the property shortly before police arrived, news outlet Stuff reported. The police are providing the family with support following the discovery. A post-mortem examination is underway and is expected to be completed over the coming days.

Number plates for UK cyclists?

“Cyclists may need number plates” headlines the Daily Mail as it reports on a “growing belief among ministers” that riders should abide by the same speed restrictions as other motorists, amid an increase in cyclists. The paper suggests cyclists could also need insurance and would have to observe speed limits under a shake-up of road laws. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Daily Mail he was proposing setting up a review to stop “turning a blind eye” to cyclists speeding and busting red lights.

“I’ll buy Manchester United” – Musk

Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he would buy Manchester United, the team currently owned by the Glazer family of American entrepreneurs. The announcement came after a series of tweets in which the Tesla boss joked about his political affiliation, so it’s not clear if this is yet another prank of the richest man in the world. “To be clear I support the left of the Republican party and the right of the Democratic party. Also, I’m buying Manchester United!”

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