Global Review – 22nd September

Earthquake rattles southeast Australia

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake has rattled southeast Australia, damaging buildings in the city of Melbourne. The earthquake happened about 09:15 local time (02:15 Malta time) this monring at Mansfield, not far from the Victorian state capital. It was also felt in neighbouring South Australia and New South Wales, and was followed by two aftershocks of 4.0 and 3.1 magnitude. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “we have had no reports of serious injuries”. While this is one of Australia’s largest earthquakes in recent years, it does not appear to have caused significant damage.

Libya’s parliament passes no-confidence vote in unity government

Libya’s eastern-based parliament in Tripoli has passed a no-confidence vote in the country’s unity government in a new blow to UN-backed peace efforts, but said the administration would continue to operate in a caretaker role. 89 out of the 113 members of parliament present in the eastern city of Tobruk voted on Tuesday to withdraw confidence from the Tripoli-based administration of interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah. The decision came amid growing tensions three months in advance of planned national elections.

Biden, Xi on ‘new era of diplomacy and peace’

President Joe Biden wants to open “a new era of relentless diplomacy” and “peace” in the world after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. In his debut as president at the UN general assembly, Biden assured that America was not looking for “a new cold war” with China, even if the warning remains in Beijing not to attack neighbouring countries and not to violate human rights. On his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China was in favor of dialogue with all countries in order to pursue peace and global development in the spirit of multilateralism. He stressed that China would continue to bring new opportunities to the world through its development. Meanwhile, both leaders have annunced new commitments to tackle climate change. President Xi said that China, up to now a major backer of coal-fired plants, would not fund any coal powerstations abroad. Presidnt Biden said he would pledge more than $11 billion each year for climate-related aid to developing nations.

Guterres: ‘We are on the brink of the abyss’

Earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the world has never been more threatened or more divided. He noted, “we are at the biggest series of crises of our life”, citing the pandemic, global warming, the war upheavals, from Afghanistan to Ethiopia to Yemen, the wave of mistrust and disinformation. “While the majority of the richest world has been vaccinated, more than 90% of Africans are still waiting for the first dose; this is an obscenity.”

Biden, Johnson meet at the White House

President Biden and Brirish Prime Minister Boris Johnson have held talks in Washington. They said all diplomatic and humanitarian methods must be used to stop conditions getting worse in Afghanistan. They agreed that any international recognition of the Taliban must be contigent on the groiup respecting human rights. Meanwhile, in a letter to the UN, the Taliban have asked to address the General Assembly. A UN committee will rule on the request.

Russia blamed for Litvinenko assassination

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday that Russian agents were tasked with the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in the UK. Kremlin critic Litvinenko died in 2006 in the UK after drinking green tea laced with poison at London’s Millennium Hotel. Litvinenko had worked for the Russian security services before he defected and was granted asylum in the UK. He was granted UK nationality before his assassination.

Third man faces charged for Novichok attack

British Police say they identified another suspect in the Salisbury Novichok attacks, which left three people critically ill and one dead. Former Russian agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and a police officer, Nick Bailey, were exposed to the substance in 2018. Dawn Sturgess died months later. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that all three suspects “should be handed over for justice”.

Pope Francis says some people wanted him dead

Pope Francis has acknowledged his increasingly vocal conservative critics, saying their “nasty comments” were the work of the devil and adding that “some wanted me dead” after his recent intestinal surgery. Francis made the comments during a private meeting with Slovakian Jesuits soon after he arrived in the Slovak capital of Bratislava during his visit. A transcript of the encounter was published Tuesday by the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica. Francis showed his dark sense of humor throughout the encounter, particularly when a priest asked him how he was feeling. The Hungary-Slovakia trip was Francis’ first international outing since undergoing surgery in July to remove a partof his large intestine. “Still alive,” Francis quipped. “Even though some wanted me dead. I know there were even meetings among prelates who thought the Pope was in worse shape than what was being said. They were preparing the conclave. Patience! Thank God I’m well,” he added.

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