english news

France issues arrest warrant over Japan ‘parental kidnap’


Officials in France have issued an international arrest warrant for a Japanese woman accused of keeping her two children from their French father, AFP news agency reports. The case has revived debate about “parental kidnapping” in Japan, where there is no concept of shared custody. Vincent Fichot says his wife disappeared from the family home in Tokyo with their two children three years ago. He has not seen his children since. France has now issued a warrant over allegations including parental abduction, the AFP news agency reports. Mr Fichot made international headlines when he staged a three-week hunger strike during the Tokyo Olympics this year to draw attention to the issue.(BBC)…[+]

Australian parliament: One in three workers sexually harassed, says report

sex traffic

A third of employees in Australia’s federal parliament have been sexually harassed, a landmark report has found. The report was commissioned after a former staffer, Brittany Higgins, said she had been raped by a colleague in a minister’s office. Her story earlier this year triggered a wave of wide-ranging allegations of misconduct in Canberra. The victims were disproportionately women, said Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. The report, titled Set the Standard, found 51% of staffers had experienced some form of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault. “Such experiences leave a trail of devastation for individuals and their teams and undermine the performance of our parliament to the nation’s detriments,” said Ms Jenkins, the report’s author. Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the findings as “appalling”, adding: “I wish I found it more surprising”.(BBC)…[+]

Yazidi genocide: IS member found guilty in German landmark trial

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An Iraqi member of the Islamic State (IS) group has been found guilty of genocide against the Yazidi religious minority in a landmark German trial. A court in Frankfurt sentenced Taha al-Jumailly to life for crimes including the murder of a Yazidi girl in Iraq. The jihadist was accused of enslaving the five-year-old in 2015, chaining her up and leaving her to die of thirst. Al-Jumailly is the first IS member to be convicted of genocide against the Yazidis. During the trial his defence lawyers rejected the allegations. The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority, were persecuted by IS after the jihadist group seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq beginning in 2014.(BBC)…[+]


US and Iran seek to break impasse at talks on reviving nuclear deal

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Critical talks with Iran to prevent the collapse of a nuclear deal have resumed in Vienna after a five-month pause. Officials are discussing the possible return of the US to the 2015 accord, which limited Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions. Iran has violated key commitments since then-President Donald Trump pulled out in 2018 and reinstated US sanctions. Joe Biden is willing to lift them if Iran reverses the breaches. But Iran wants the US to make the first move. Western diplomats have warned that time is running out to negotiate a solution because of the significant advances Iran has made in its uranium enrichment programme, which is a possible pathway to a nuclear bomb. Iran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.(BBC)…[+]

Jussie Smollett: Jury selection begins in actor’s trial


Jury selection in the high-profile trial of US TV actor Jussie Smollett begins on Monday, nearly three years after he claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. Mr Smollett, 39, claimed in January 2019 that he was attacked by two men who yelled pro-Donald Trump slogans and tied a noose around his neck. Authorities accused him of staging the attack on himself as a publicity stunt. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Authorities allege that Mr Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 (£2,630) to carry out the attack to promote his career because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”. Mr Smollett has claimed that the payment was for one of the brothers to work as a personal trainer. The former Empire show actor was indicted by a special prosecutor in Illinois last year on six counts of lying to police.(BBC)…[+]

Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial begins in New York City


British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has appeared in a New York City court to face sex trafficking charges.She is expected to challenge claims she groomed underage girls for convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein for sexual abuse. He died in prison in 2019. Ms Maxwell, 59, has been in a US jail since her arrest last year, awaiting the high-profile six-week trial. Ms Maxwell, who also has American and French citizenship, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against her. Lawyers for Ms Maxwell, as well as family members, have repeatedly complained about her conditions in jail and her legal team has made several unsuccessful applications for bail. Epstein died in a New York prison cell on 10 August 2019 as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges.(BBC)…[+]

Clashes as protesters demand end to violence against women


Riot police in Turkey and Mexico have fired tear gas and smoke bombs at protesters calling for an end to violence against women. In the Mexican city of Guaymas, three people were shot dead in an apparent attack on the city’s female mayor. And in the Turkish city of Istanbul, clashes broke out with security forces. There were also large rallies in Barcelona, Paris and London to mark the international day for the elimination of gender-based attacks. Mexican media say the incident in Guaymas saw armed attackers storm the city’s municipal palace, shooting dead a female protester and two men – a government worker and a bodyguard for Mayor Karla Córdova, who was in the palace at the time. Eyewitnesses told local journalists that they heard something like a grenade exploding at the door of the building, before gunshots rang out.(BBC)…[+]

Channel migrants: Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson clash over crisis


Emmanuel Macron has reacted angrily to Boris Johnson’s public call for France to take back migrants who reach the UK. The French president accused the UK prime minister of not being “serious” by making the call on Twitter, after the deaths of 27 people on Wednesday. The diplomatic row erupted after France withdrew a summit invitation to Home Secretary Priti Patel. The UK government urged it to reconsider, with the PM saying: “This is a problem we have to fix together.” Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission are due to attend Sunday’s talks in Calais, which Mr Macron set up to try to deal with the recent surge in migrant crossings of the Channel. The diplomatic spat comes as French fishermen are organising a day of action, including blockades, to disrupt cross-Channel traffic, in protest at post-Brexit fishing rights granted by the UK.(BBC)…[+]

Poorest face food crisis amid fertiliser shortage

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A global shortage of fertilisers is driving up food prices and leaving poorer countries facing crisis, says the boss of a major fertiliser firm. Svein Tore Holsether, chief executive of Yara International, said higher gas prices were pushing up fertiliser costs and affecting food prices worldwide. Fertiliser requires large amounts of gas in its production. Mr Holsether said Yara had been forced to cut some production due to higher gas prices, which had led to shortages. The chief executive said developing countries would be hit hardest by the shortages, with crop yields declining and food prices rising. “It’s really scary, we are facing a food crisis and vulnerable people are being hit very hard,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. “It’s impacting food prices all over the world and it hits the wallets of many people. But for some people, especially in the developing world, this is not only a question about the wallet, but it’s a question of life or death.”(BBC)…[+]

Kyle Rittenhouse says his case ‘has nothing to do with race’


A teenager who was cleared of murder during racial unrest in the US has said his case “has nothing to do with race”. “It had to do with the right to self-defence,” Kyle Rittenhouse told Fox News, adding that he supported the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Jurors cleared the 18-year-old of killing two men and wounding a third with a military rifle after accepting claims that he had feared for his life. A patriot to some and a vigilante to others, his acquittal divided the US. Much US media commentary of the case dwelled on race, although Mr Rittenhouse is white, as were all three men he shot. “No black teenager who kills two people and leaves one seriously injured, would be treated, no matter what the law says about self-defence, like Rittenhouse. He would be dead”, wrote Eddie S. Glaude Jr in the Washington Post.(BBC)…[+]