Trump travel ban goes into effect; Irish hitch on Brexit deal

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  • The US Supreme Court ruled that President Donald Trump’s administration can implement a travel ban on six mainly Muslim countries. Seven of the nine justices granted the White House’s request to lift injunctions imposed by lower courts blocking the ban. Trump has issued three versions of the policy since taking office.
  • A somewhat predictable hitch on the issue of cross-border traffic on the island of Ireland threw an expected deal allowing Britain to enter the next phase of Brexit talks into doubt, Reuters reported. Ireland declined late in the talks to approve this phase despite earlier reports that a deal was done. British and EU officials suggested further talks this week could unblock agreement on the border issue which in turn would allow the EU and Britain to enter a second level of talks. (Read earlier report: Could Ireland stop Brexit in its tracks?).
    • A new opinion poll for newspaper The Mail on Sunday  found half of those surveyed support a second vote on Brexit. This comes after it was revealed that the UK would have to pay about €50 billion ($59 billion) to the EU before trade negotiations begin. Since the 2016 referendum, opponents of Britain’s exit have urged a reversal.
  • Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was shot dead by Houthi fighters, whom he had previously been allied with. Saleh was killed following a firefight that erupted while he was trying to escape the country’s capital, Sanaa. His death comes only two days after Saleh switched sides in Yemen’s civil war — from aligning with Iran-backed Houthis to announcing he was ready for a “new page” with the Saudi-led coalition.
  • The Honduran electoral tribunal has still not officially announced a winner for the country’s contentious presidential race despite two ballot counts coming in favor of incumbent leader, Juan Orlando Hernandez. International election monitors recommended a wider recount due to continued irregularities in an election that has been plagued with violence.
    • The Guardian reported that the national police have explicitly refused to enforce a nationwide curfew, seeing the policy as a political decision.
    • Reuters reported that the U.S. State Department certified Honduras as adequately fighting corruption and crime, allowing the Central American nation to receive $644 million in aid, originally allocated under the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration supports the incumbent President Hernandez.
  • A Madrid court denied bail to the former regional vice-president of Catalonia and three other separatist leaders. The four face potential charges of rebellion, sedition, and misallocation of funds by the Spanish government for their part in the Spanish constitutional crisis. A bail of €100,000 was set for another six former separatist ministers, also facing several charges. All had supported a controversial independence referendum law, held on October 1, that was suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court. In Belgium, former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four of his former ministers will have to wait until December 14 for a Belgian judge to rule on whether the five should be extradited to Spain to face rebellion charges, according to Sky News.
  • Days after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States’ mainland, the U.S. and South Korea launched joint aerial drills involving hundreds of planes, including stealth fighters. According to North Korean state media, Pyongyang warned the exercise would push tensions toward a “flare-up” and be met with retaliation.
    • The Associated Press reviewed 1,500 news stories from North Korea’s state media and found nuclear war and leader Kim Jong Un were the dominant themes. The AP posted a word cloud of what it described as the propaganda in the nation’s rhetorical wars with Washington.
  • Maltese police arrested 10 people in relation to the killing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died after a bomb under her car exploded while she was driving on October 16. She was known for investigating corruption, including her involvement in the Panama Papers investigations.
  • Broadcaster 21st Century Fox re-opened talks (Guardian) to sell parts of its entertainment and international assets to Walt Disney Inc. in a deal that could rise to $50 billion. Fox is one wing of Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire, and is currently the third-biggest media group in the U.S. The deal would see 39 percent of Fox’s European offering, Sky, pass over to Disney. (MarketWatch)

What we’re reading

  • The Financial Times provides a breakdown of Russia’s upcoming elections, with profiles of the candidates and previous election results. With the assumption that Putin will remain in power seemingly a safe one, the paper asks what to expect from his next term.
  • The Guardian carries a series of dispatches from Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani, who is being held in the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. His letters tell of beatings and threats as the situation in Australia’s off shore facility for processing migrants approaches a humanitarian crisis.

What the WikiTribune community’s up to

  • “It may sound like something Switzerland did in World War II, but net neutrality is actually a shorthand term for regulation designed to keep the internet as open and free as possible.” Community member Eric Fershtman’s useful guide to what’s happening about net neutrality rules in the U.S. has been attracting discussion. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link.

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