Ten viral world happenings you need to know this morning

December 10, 2015 6:11 am

than 275,000 people have signed a petition to call on the British
Government to keep Donald Trump out of Britain. Photo / AP

Your wrap of the world stories that broke overnight.
Donald Trump is very unpopular in Britain. More than 275,000 people
have signed a petition to call on the British Government to keep the US
presidential hopeful out of the country for hate speech over his call to
ban Muslims from entering the US. Trump owns two golf courses in
Scotland. But Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said Trump
should not be banned from Britain and should be confronted by democratic
argument instead. Trump says he will “never leave this race” despite
calls for him to step aside. “My whole life is about winning. I don’t
lose often. I almost never lose,” he told the Washington Post. There are
fears in the US that Trump could end up splitting the Republican Party.
He has threatened to run as an independent.

2. An angry British soldier’s Facebook rant
against Islamophobia is drawing attention, the BBC reports. Chris
Herbert lost a leg in a roadside bomb in Iraq and said he wrote the post
after an “Islamophobic group tried to recruit me as a poster boy”.

His post praises Muslims who served next to him and helped him
recover from his injuries. “Blaming all Muslims for the actions of
groups like [Isis] and the Taliban is like blaming all Christians for
the actions of the KKK or Westboro Baptist Church. The post concludes:
“Get a grip of your lives, hug your family and get back to work.”

The San Bernardino attackers spoke of jihad and martyrdom as early as
2013, the FBI chief says. Director James Comey said Syed Farook and
Tashfeen Malik were radicalised before they started dating and discussed
these topics online before they were engaged and she came to the United
States. Reuters reports that Farook may have contemplated an attack on a
US target as early as 2011 or 2012. And Frenchman Foued Mohamed Aggad,
23, has been identified by police as the third assailant at the Bataclan
music hall during the Paris attacks last month. From Strasbourg, Aggad
went to Syria with his brother and friends in late 2013, the Guardian
reports. It says the was further confirmation the attacks that
killed 130 people on November 14 were carried out largely by Europeans
trained by Isis (Islamic State) in Syria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named Time’s Person of the
Year. She’s the first woman to receive the honour since 1986. The award
is in recognition of supporting refugees in the face of huge opposition
and leading the continent through the debt crisis. She is only the
fourth woman to be named Person of the Year. Time editor Nancy Gibbs
explained why Merkel was chosen: “Leaders are tested only when people
don’t want to follow. For asking more of her country than most
politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as
expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where
it is in short supply.” Other finalists included the founder of Uber,
the leader of Isis, Republican Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan

5. The founder of the North Face outdoors
clothing brand has died in a kayaking accident. Douglas Tompkins, 72,
was on General Carrera Lake in the Patagonia region of Chile with five
others when their kayaks capsized. He suffered severe hypothermia.

The BBC reports that Kim Jong Un has sent his North Korean girl-band to
China in an apparent effort to boost relations. The Moranbong Band is
to perform with the State Merited Chorus orchestra. The BBC says that
wearing military-style uniforms, the propaganda musicians were seen off
at Pyongyang train station by senior party officials and will perform in
Beijing this weekend.

7. New York has started a
crackdown on gig speculators after Bruce Springsteen tickets were
touted for thousands of dollars over the expected price before they went
on sale. The office of state Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman wrote
to three major ticket resale websites asking for the removal of
speculative tickets which were at more than US$5000. The actual tickets
go on sale on Saturday for a nine-week Springsteen tour with his E
Street Band. AFP reports that Springsteen plans to play the entire 1980
album The River as well as other hits.

8. The
Independent in an article entitled ‘six things that could send you to an
early grave’ says a new University of Sydney study has revealed that
there may be hidden dangers in everyday things we don’t think about,
like sitting down too much and how much we sleep. Sitting for more than
seven hours a day and sleeping for more than nine hours a night were
particularly bad when combined with other risk factors. The six factors
are smoking, alcohol use, dietary behaviour, physical activity,
sedentary behaviour and sleep.

9. Thirty seven
people were killed when Taliban in military uniforms stormed Kandahar
Airport in Afghanistan. A lengthy siege and gunbattles followed and this
morning one of the 11 militants was holding out. Witnesses said that
Taliban had taken families hostage and used them as human shields, AFP

10. Fifteen busloads of Syrians
including 300 rebel fighters left the last insurgent-held area of Homs
under a truce that will consolidate regime control of the city. The
rebels and 400 family members are being moved to rebel held areas in the
northwest near the Turkish border.

Pro surfer Evan Geiselman catches the wave that he fell on and nearly drowned at Pipeline, near Haleiwa, Hawaii. Photo / AP

North America

Hawaii officials are crediting a
South African with saving the life of a professional surfer who almost
drowned after a wipeout. Two-time world bodyboarding champion Andre
Botha found the surfer, Evan Geiselman, unconscious in the water off
Oahu’s Ehukai Beach. “His face was a dark blue, almost purple.
was foaming at the mouth. His eyes were rolled back and his body was
completely limp,” Botha said. “The first thing that went through my mind
at that point was that he was dead.” Botha attempted to resuscitate
Geiselman while trying to swim to shore.
Safety officials
estimate that the pair travelled about 300m before other surfers and
lifeguards reached them. “All the oncoming waves crashing on him, he was
able to just hold on to that surfer’s body and help until we got there
and got to him. It was amazing,” said Captain Vitor Marcal of the Ocean
Safety and Lifeguard Services Division.

Botha said that staying afloat while clinging to the
22-year-old Geiselman took a “huge amount of energy”. Geiselman regained
consciousness after he was brought to shore. He was rushed to hospital
in critical condition.


A car
has slammed into a house in Sydney’s southwest and landed on a sleeping
woman’s bed. The 50-year-old woman driving the car first hit a parked
car before reversing into the side of a home in Green Valley.
A 46-year-old woman inside the home was sleeping when the car crashed through her bedroom wall.
son, Grant Alexander, said she suffered bruising and swelling. “The car
was parked on my mum’s bed. I checked she was all right and ran outside
to check the (other) woman was all right and shut the car off because
it was pumping fumes into the house.”
The driver also suffered
minor injuries.Prince William is close to a breakthrough in his battle
against the illegal wildlife trade after China agreed to send a
delegation to discuss the subject in London tomorrow.
China is
the world’s biggest market for ivory and rhino horn, and stamping out
demand for body parts of endangered species is essential to ending
poaching and saving them from extinction.
The Duke of Cambridge
visited China this year and appeared on a current affairs programme
devoted to the issue of the wildlife trade. The charity Save the
Elephants this week reported a sharp drop in the price of ivory in China
– a result of falling demand and the slow-down of the economy.
William Hague will chair a meeting of the Duke’s United for Wildlife
task force on the transportation of banned wildlife products, where
China’s presence will provide a huge boost to the chances of success.
the past year China has committed to phasing out its legal trade in
ivory products made from old stock, destroyed 600kg of seized ivory and
prosecuted traders.
Save the Elephants said that over the past 18
months the price of illegal raw ivory in China had fallen from $3170
per kilo to $1660 per kilo.


has started building a fence along its border with Slovenia. The
Austrian Army is erecting a fence 2.1m high and 3.7km long near the
Spielfeld border crossing – the first such barrier erected within the
passport-free Schengen travel zone.
Austria insisted the move was
merely to channel refugees, rather than halt them. It follows the
erection of fences by Hungary on the border with Serbia, and Bulgaria on
its border with Turkey. Slovenia has built a fence on its border with
As the art of sending letters declines, the Netherlands
has come up with a novel way to keep its postmen occupied: making them
the “eyes and ears” of the community.
PostNL, a Dutch postal
delivery service, is conducting a trial in which postmen use a
smartphone to take pictures of overflowing bins or unwanted dog mess,
and use an app to send the pictures to the city council for remedy.
service is running a two-month trial in the southern province of
Schiedam. PostNL said that declining volumes of post – down by more than
10 per cent a year due to competition from free e-cards and other
postal firms – meant that it had to find more services it could offer.
The business contacted city councils to talk about what other duties its 30,000 posties could perform.

Middle East

US is reviewing and seeking to confirm reports that Iran launched a
ballistic missile last month in violation of UN Security Council
resolutions, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says.
added that if Washington confirmed the reports that Iran tested a
medium-range ballistic missile on November 21, the US would bring the
issue to the 15-nation council and seek appropriate action.
anonymous Western diplomatic source last week said that the test of a
Ghadr-110, a spinoff of the Shahab-3 missile, was held near Chabahar, a
port city near Iran’s border with Pakistan. He said it was a
liquid-fuelled missile with a 1900km range and was capable of carrying a
nuclear warhead.
All ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned under a 2010 Security Council resolution.


number of people killed by malaria dropped below half a million in the
past year, reflecting vast progress against the mosquito-borne disease.
The World Health Organisation’s annual malaria report showed deaths
falling to 438,000 in 2015 – down from 839,000 in 2000 – and found an
increase in the number of countries moving towards the elimination of
Malaria prevention measures – such as bednets and indoor
and outdoor spraying – have averted millions of deaths and saved
millions of dollars in healthcare costs in many African countries, the
report said.

It’s a bit odd

Authorities in Florida believe 22-year-old Matthew Riggins died after an attack from an alligator. Photo / Supplied
Authorities in Florida believe 22-year-old Matthew Riggins died after an attack from an alligator. Photo / Supplied
Authorities in Florida believe a 22-year-old man died after
an attack from an alligator, which has since been euthanised. The body
of Matthew Riggins was discovered in a lake in late November, the
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said.
Investigators believe
Riggins, of Palm Bay, Florida, drowned following an encounter with the
animal. Some of Riggins’s remains were missing when his body was
recovered, and there were bite marks present, Major Tod Goodyear, of the
sheriff’s office, said.
“When the body was found, it had
injuries that were consistent with an alligator attack. When we opened
[the alligator] up, there were some remains inside that were consistent
with injuries found on the body.”
In mid-November, Riggins told
his girlfriend that he and another man were going to the area of
Barefoot Bay and planned to commit burglaries.
received an emergency call from a local resident, who said two men clad
in black were walking near homes there. The suspects ran when they
spotted law enforcement, and authorities weren’t able to locate them.
Riggins never returned home.

From the past

have come up with a theory why Stonehenge in Wiltshire, is partially
made from Welsh stones hewn about 320km away away. The idea is that
Stonehenge was built in Wales, and sat there for hundreds of years
before being moved.
University College London researchers published evidence in the journal Antiquity that two quarries in Wales are the source of the distinct ‘bluestones’ used in Stonehenge.
dating of remnants from campfires indicates that the sites were mined
around 3200 and 3400 BC. The rocks didn’t make it to Stonehenge until
2900 BC. “It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500
years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable,” UCL
professor Parker Pearson said.
“It’s more likely that the stones
were first used in a local monument, somewhere near the quarries, that
was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire.”

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