Grand coalition agreed in Germany +++ N. Korea sends Kim sister to Olympics +++ Taiwan hit by major earthquake

Grand coalition agreed in Germany +++ N. Korea sends Kim sister to Olympics +++ Taiwan hit by major earthquake +++Trump orders military parade +++ Space X launch successful +++ S. Africa’s Zuma under pressure to resign +++ The weather

News | 7 February 2018

Joanna King

Grand coalition agreed in Germany

Germany’s conservatives led by chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats led by Martin Schulz have reached a deal on forming a new coalition government, in a final marathon round of talks. Reports say the SPD is to take the powerful foreign, finance and labour ministries, with the CDU holding the economy and defence portfolios. Chancellor Merkel’s Bavarian ally Horst Seehofer of the CSU is reportedly to be named interior minister. The agreement is still subject to a vote by postal ballot of the SPD’s over 450,000 members. There are hopes Germany could have a government in place by the end of March, following elections last September.

N. Korea sends Kim sister to Olympics

South Korea has announced that the younger sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is to attend Friday's opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the South. Kim Yo-jong is a senior official in the ruling Workers’ party and will be the first immediate Kim family member to cross the border. United States vice president, Mike Pence, who is to attend the Games, has said the US is about to unveil the most aggressive sanctions on North Korea it has yet faced, over its nuclear and missile programme. He was speaking after talks in Japan: “We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games. We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region.”

Taiwan hit by major earthquake

Rescue efforts are underway in Taiwan where at least six people have died and dozens are missing, following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. Hundreds have been injured in the quake which struck the tourist centre of Wah-Leen.

Trump orders military parade

US President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to plan a large-scale military parade, to be held in Washington sometime later this year. Some veterans groups, including former generals, have strongly criticised the plan saying it showed Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and would be a waste of money. Trump reportedly wants a parade like the Bastille Day celebration he was invited to attend in Paris last year.

Space X launch successful

The world’s most powerful new space rocket has successfully blasted into space from a launchpad in Florida. The rocket known as Falcon Heavy, launched by the private aerospace company Space X founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, is planned to go into orbit around the sun and pass by Mars.

S. Africa’s Zuma under pressure to resign

In South Africa the parliamentary speaker has said an announcement is expected soon on the future of president Jacob Zuma who faces corruption allegations. Zuma has been holding discussions with the new leader of his governing ANC party Cyril Ramaphosa and is under growing pressure to resign.

The weather

Overcast with snowfalls, clearing from the south. Top temperatures minus 3 to plus 3 degrees.


  • Joanna King