News in English
British parliament to authorise airstrikes in Iraq
The British parliament is set to vote today on whether to join US led airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. The vote is expected to pass easily with cross party support. British Prime Minister David Cameron opened the parliamentary debate, saying the Islamic State represented a major threat to peace and security. “ISIL is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before. The brutality is staggering: beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the dark ages.” The EU's Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove says more than 3000 European citizens are currently fighting or have fought with Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Taliban fighters capture key Afghan district
Officials in Afghanistan say Taliban fighters have seized control of a strategic district in Ghazni province, just south of the capital Kabul. Around 100 residents of Ajrestan district are believed to have been killed during five days of fighting, including 15 people suspected of collaborating with the authorities, who were beheaded.
Indonesia scraps local and provincial elections
Indonesia's parliament has approved a controversial measure, scrapping direct elections for provincial governors and mayors. The move has been described as a big step back for democracy by incoming President Joko Widodo.
US creates world’s largest marine reserve
US president Barak Obama has signed a memorandum to create the largest marine protected area in the world. The memorandum expands the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument between Hawaii and Western Samoa, banning fishing and deep sea mining around the island network. Dr Lance Morgan is the President of the US Marine Conservation Institute. “This area now represents about 10 percent of the US economic exclusive zone. It’s one of the areas that are actually still relatively pristine wilderness and these areas are going to remain protected for marine life, for the sea birds and the fishes and the sharks and the other animals.”
Police end cruise ship standoff in Cyprus
Police in Cyprus have boarded a cruise ship in the port of Limassol and removed around 300 people, thought to be Syrian refugees, who were rescued off the coast of Cyprus on Thursday. Officials say the refugees were refusing to leave the boat and insisting that they be taken to Italy.
Hungary stops gas deliveries to Ukraine
Hungary's gas pipeline operator says it has suspended emergency gas deliveries to Ukraine indefinitely. Ukraine has been receiving gas from its neighbours amid a dispute with Russia over unpaid bills. The Energy Ministers from Ukraine and Russia are holding talks today in Berlin in an effort to resolve the standoff.
Generally overcast conditions have been forecast for this afternoon, with the chance of rain, and short sunny periods in the west and south. Top temperatures will range from 11 to 20 degrees.