Week in Brief: 6–12 May 2018

13 May 2018

Week in Brief: 6–12 May 2018


Story of the week

United States withdraws from Iran nuclear deal

On Tuesday President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and signed a memorandum reinstating sanctions against Iran.

The JCPOA, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, is an agreement between the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, Germany and Iran, to limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.

Influenced strongly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Iran Lied” presentation, President Trump alleges that there is “definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents, long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.”

Leaders of the US’ fellow Security Council members (China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom), Germany and Iran, as well as representatives of the UN and EU, have criticised the decision, and pledged their continued support.

The US finds itself diplomatically isolated, as traditional allies, including Australia and Canada, have diverged from Presiden Trump’s decision. Only Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen have shown support.

Read OPMG’s coverage and analysis.


4 MPs, 1 Senator out over dual citizenship

Four Federal MPs have resigned from Parliament after the High Court handed down a ruling on a Labor Senator’s dual citizenship. The High Court ruled on Thursday that Labor Senator Katy Callagher (who did not renounce her British citizenship in time for the last election) was a dual citizen disqualified under Section 44 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

Four lower house MPs who have also been under a cloud regarding their dual citizenship – Rebekha Sharkie, Josh Wilson, Susan Lamb and Justine Keay – resigned in the wake of the ruling. With a further MP, Tim Hammond, resigning last week to spend more time with his family, five by-elections will be held to fill the replacements in the House of Representatives, most likely near the end of June.

Video emerges of police vehicle hitting Indigenous teen

West Australian police have recently come under fire as footage has emerged showing one of their unmarked police vehicles clearly knocking an Indigenous man to the ground intentionally. While the case is being investigated, the offending officer, a senior sergeant, has been stood down from duty.

The victim was William Farmer, who is 18 years old. He has been going into hospital for tests since the incident to see what damage has been done. Mr Farmer also had a fit when the car collided with him, which had not happened for him previously, according to his family.

The family is very concerned for his condition, and are intent on ensuring a thorough investigation takes place. Police had previously claimed that Mr Farmer had collided with the car, rather than the reverse.

3 adults, 4 children found dead in Margaret River property

Seven are dead after an apparent murder-suicide in Western Australia.

Katrina Miles, her four children, and her parents Peter and Cynda Miles, were found dead outside their house and in their shed in Margaret River, Western Australia. Two firearms were located at the scene, and gunshot wounds have been confirmed on the victims.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said police were not looking for a suspect, calling the incident “a significant tragedy”. With seven dead, the incident is the worse mass shooting Australia has seen since the Port Arthur massacre of 1996.

Australian horse racing scandal as eight found guilty

Victoria’s Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board has recently found five trainers and three stable employees to be guilty of planning to insert sodium bicarbonate and tripart paste into horses on race day through “top-ups” to give an apparent unfair advantage.

The group had planned to affect not just a single race, but to impact more than a hundred races over the course of seven years. Penalties for these actions will likely be handed down on Thursday.


Dam burst in Kenya sees 41 dead

A dam has burst in central Kenya after weeks of torrential rains, with 41 deaths counted so far.

The eastern bank of the Patel Dam in Solai, near the city of Nakuru, burst on Wednesday evening, wiping out two villages and sweeping away powerlines. 20 of the victims are said to be children, with further rescue efforts hampered by the rain. A further 36 people have been hospitalised.

This comes on the back of a further 172 deaths in Kenya from flooding and mudslides caused by the downpour.

16 year old raped and burned alive in India

For the third time in a week, a teenage girl has been raped and burned alive in the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, India.

The 16 year old was soaked in fuel and set on fire after telling her attacker she would be informing her family of her rape. A suspect, 28 year old Ravi Chadhar, has been arrested. This follows the burning of a 16 year old and a 17 year old this week, the latter of whom is in a critical condition in hospital.

Despite the enacting of the death penalty for child rape where the victim is under 12 and increased prison terms for the rape of older girls and women, reported rape cases in India (of which child rape accounts for 40%) has been rising steadily to 40,000 a year as of 2016.

Dr Mahathir sworn in as 7th Malaysian PM

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been sworn in as Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister after a shock victory in elections on Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir ‘s alliance has won 113 seats out of 222 in the Malaysian Parliament, with the previous government, the Barisan National (BN) coalition, winning 79. This ends 60 years of BN rule, with outgoing prime minister Najib Razakstating in a televised media conference that he accepted the “choice of the people”.

Dr Mahathir previously ruled Malaysia for 22 years until 2003, emerging out of retirement following a corruption scandal involving previous prime minister Najib.

Credited with modernising Malaysia, Dr Mahathir’s authoritarian rule also saw political opponents imprisoned. The new Prime Minister pledged that he would not seek “revenge” against political opponents under his rule, but stated that his government would seek to restore the rule of law, and prosecute those who had breached it – “includ[ing] journalists”.

Torrential flooding in Turkish capital

A large amount of rain that was expected to come down over three hours instead hammered down in nine minutes in the Turkish capital of Ankara. Cars and trucks were being swept away in the floodwaters; the Turkish Social Security minister has said that 160 cars and 25 businesses have been damaged by the disaster.