RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/February 2019

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February 2019[edit]

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15AfghanistanOsama bin Laden's son Hamza emerging as new al-Qaeda leader.
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43United States"Herbalist" sentenced to prison time after his advice convinced a child's parents to stop giving their son insulin, resulting in the child's death.
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45IsraelThe Israeli attorney general has announced his intent to indict PM Netanyahu for bribery.
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22United StatesNorth KoreaNorth Korea nuclear summit ends abruptly with no deal.
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26United StatesMichael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight Committee
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28United StatesU.S. House approves expanded background checks for gun sales
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14United StatesFormer governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, who fought against the union at Boeing's SC plant, is nominated to Boeing's board of directors.
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12FranceSportswear retailer Decathlon has decided not to sell arunning hijab” in its French stores, after outrage by politicians who said that the product contradicts France's secular value of « laïcité ».
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32United Kingdom Far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon has been permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram, after being declared a hate preacher.
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36AustraliaCardinal George Pell the Vatican’s treasurer and the third most senior Catholic has been convicted in Melbourne county court of five counts of sexually abusing two choirboys while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996. The conviction was only released today due to a gag order by the court to protect a possible mistrial. The cardinal is liable to a prison sentence of up to 50 years, which will be handed out next week.
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23United NationsBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryThe UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice in the Hague has criticised the British government for not decolonizing the British Indian Ocean TerritoryWikipedia, and the expulsion of thousands of Chagossians to provide a military base for the American government.
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22United StatesIsrael A major pro-Israel American PAC AIPACWikipedia has criticised the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu for supporting the far-right party Jewish Power. The organisation using the party’s Hebrew name Otzma Yehudit (עוצמה יהודית‬) was “racist and reprehensible”.
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38United StatesA federal judge has ruled that the male-only draft is unconstitutional.
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5United KingdomA protest against the BBC by supporters of far-right provocateur Tommy Robinson takes place in Manchester, England, because BBC current affairs program Panorama program is investigating him; UKIP friend-of-racists Gerard Batten speaks too.
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28"I own you": wide-angle bigot and Fox pundit Keith Ablow is, to little surprise, sued for being a sexual predator
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10United KingdomMalaysiaA gay Malaysian asylum seeker is having his asylum application to the UK turned down, on the grounds that the 67-year-old isn’t in a same-sex relationship as so can’t be gay.
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5VenezuelaTwo dead after Venezuelan soldiers open fire on opposition supporters. The Maduro administration claimed the border town residents were aiding foreign governments in smuggling arms into the country.
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48United States After posting a photo of the federal judge in charge of his case with what appears to be the cross hairs of a gun near her head, Roger Stone is still out on bail, now subject to a full gag order concerning his case. He may only say he is innocent of the charges and request legal defense funds. Talking or posting online about his case or other parties investigating the case such as Robert MuellerWikipedia will be a violation.
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13Vatican CityVatican opens landmark sex abuse summit.
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27United StatesSupreme Court limits police powers to seize private property
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22United KingdomFormer Conservative MP Anna Soubry has mentioned in an interview on BBC’s Newsnight that in her opinion, Theresa May is a irrational pathological xenophobe.
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23United States Saudi Arabia A draft report made by the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said that Trump officials, primarily Michael Flynn, tried to fast-track nuclear tech transfer to Saudi Arabia. The plan would have led to the construction of 40 nuclear power plants and facilities to enrich uranium , which could help the Saudis build their own nuclear weapon.
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18United StatesAccording to the SPLC, the number of hate groups in the US has risen 30% in the past four years.
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31United Kingdom3 Conservative MPs have resigned from the Party to join an independent group, set up by former Labour MPs.
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-6United KingdomColombiaVenezuelaSir Richard Branson will sponsor a Live AidWikipedia style concert on the Colombia-Venezuela border. Maduro will have one of his own as well.
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10North KoreaUnited StatesKim Jong-un purges wealthy elite and opponents of outreach to the US.
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37United StatesTrump administration launches global effort to end criminalization of homosexuality.
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7European UnionHungaryThe European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said he would like the ruling Hungarian party Fidesz, to leave the the centre-right European People's Party.
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17SyriaUnited KingdomBangladeshThe family of Shamima Begum, the British-born teenager that left the UK to join Islamic State in Syria, who now is trying to get back into Britain, have received a letter from the Home Secretary Sajid Javid saying he has revoked Shamima’s British citizenship. Their conflicting reports alleged that she would end-up stateless, that could cause legal problems.
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37United StatesBernie Sanders launches second presidential campaign
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37China India United States The Earth has become greener in the last two decades thanks to human activities in India and China. In related news, the U.S. Senate passed a bill setting aside one million acres of land (4047 square kilometers) for conservation.
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17United States The governor of Wisconsin proposes the decriminalization of marijuana possession and legalization of its medical use. He also wants to align with federal standards for cannabidiol (CBD oil), believed to reduce anxiety and pain. President Trump helped push the oil into mainstream use with his farm bill in December 2018.
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33United KingdomA group of British MPs says Facebook "intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws."
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11United StatesTrump accuses McCabe and Rosenstein of plotting a "very illegal act" against him due to discussions of invoking the 25th amendment.
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8United KingdomSeven Labour MPs have quit the party and formed an "Independent Group" in protest of the party's handling of Brexit and antisemitism. This number is a minority of the original thirty who planned.
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3Bulgaria Hungary Sweden Germany Hundreds of Neo-Nazis from Hungary; Germany and Sweden attend a candle-lit march in honour of General Hristo Lukov.
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9HungarySwedenHungary has summoned the Swedish ambassador after the Swedish Social Affairs minister criticised the Hungarian government plans to encourage larger families, saying that they "reeked of the 1930s".
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45GermanyGermany’s Health Minister in a newspaper interview, said he is planning to put forward a bill through parliament to ban gay conversion therapies. It is hoped the legislation will pass by the middle of the year.
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41United StatesTrump's national emergency declaration is already facing several legal challenges.
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17United Kingdom A campaign to encourage Hindi and Punjabi-speaking victims of sexual violence to come forward has led to far-right harassment after Stephen Yaxley-Lennon accused the campaign of automatically supporting the rape of white people.
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14IndiaPakistanIndia has said it will ensure the "complete isolation" of Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed 46 paramilitary police in Indian-administered Kashmir.
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24United StatesAlaska’s Supreme Court has rejected two laws which restricts Medicaid coverage for abortions. This is based on the equal protection clause in the state’s constitution.
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27United States West Virginia delegate Eric Porterfield faces condemnation for his claims that the LGBTQ+ community is a terrorist group comparable to the KKK.
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20United StatesThe federally-owned Tennessee Valley AuthorityWikipedia has voted to retire its last two coal plants of Paradise Bull and Bull Run by 2023. Ironically, Paradise Bull's main supplier of coal is Bob MurrayWikipedia's Murray Energy, a major Trump donor.
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22United Kingdom United States The LIGO gravitational-wave detectors are receiving an upgrade allowing them to detect collisions of compact objects from almost twice as far.
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-3New Zealand Man accused of killing 10 month old baby may be considering Sovereign Citizen" defence - not your usual one, but one based upon New Zealand's ongoing "discussion" about the status of the founding Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and indigenous Maori
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6United KingdomCriticism has been made by nursing groups and pro-choice supporters after the BBC did not put out its information and support line at the end of an episode of hit television show Call the MidwifeWikipedia. The show’s episode in question mentioned in its storyline an illegal backstreet abortion.
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14United StatesTrump 'to sign border security bill and declare emergency' over wall
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31AustraliaInsanity grips Australia's One Nation party, the far-right nutters led by Pauline Hanson. Hanson's chief of staff James Ashby is banned from parliament after "an altercation", following which former One Nation senator Brian Burston smeared blood on Hanson's office door. The precise meaning of this gesture is as yet unclear.
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31United StatesDemocrats go after political "dark money" in anti-corruption measures
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9SyriaGermanyFranceThree Syrians arrested in Germany and France for suspected crimes against humanity.
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23United StatesJudge rules Manafort intentionally lied multiple times to the FBI and Mueller.
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-12PakistanAn American trophy hunter reportedly paid $110,000 for a hunting permit to kill a rare Pakistani mountain goat. Face-bad.svg
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24United States Flag of Mars.svg NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is dead after 15 years, making it the longest-lasting Mars rover ever.
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14United StatesLyndon LaRouche is dead. No word yet on whether it was the Rothschilds or the House of Windsor who assassinated him.
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16Canada United StatesProjected climate equivalence map of North American cities in just one generation shows that cities move hundreds of miles south. By 2080 (two generations), cities' climates will move an average of 500 miles (800 km) if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Check how your city will feel here.
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11United StatesTrump-like Governor Dunleavy of Alaska has proposed privatizing the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. The ferry is for many communities in the state’s panhandle including the capital Juneau, the sole method of getting in and out by land.
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10PhilippinesHead of Philippine news site critical of the government arrested on "cyber-libel" charges.
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10United StatesThe US national debt has surpassed $22 trillion.
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21Finland Switzerland Italy Finland's basic income trial boosted happiness but not employment. The economist leading the trial said this was not a surprise for economists, given that the jobless tend to lack marketable skills, have health issues or decision-making problems. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned that implementing such a scheme nationwide requires higher taxes, which could upset voters, and might even increase poverty. While Swiss voters rejected it in 2016, Italy plans to introduce a "citizens' wage" this April.
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16North MacedoniaIt is now official! The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is now the Republic of North Macedonia.
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23the WorldPlummeting insect numbers "threaten collapse of nature."
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11MexicoUnited StatesMexican cartel boss El Chapo has been convicted for drug trafficking by a US court.
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9SpainSupreme Court trial of Catalan separatist leaders begins.
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7United StatesA bipartisan agreement on the construction of additional barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border has been reached to avoid another federal government shutdown. Instead of the $5.7 billion demanded by Trump, this deal allocates only $1.4bn.
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7VenezuelaThousands march for Guaido as Maduro promises "better times"
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27United StatesHarrison Ford - 'Leaders who deny climate change are on the wrong side of history'
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15North KoreaSouth KoreaNorth and South Korea both under joint bid to host 2032 Summer Olympics
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15United StatesFacebook under pressure to close anti-vaccination groups to curb tide of misinformation being spread around about vaccines in the first place.
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7HaitiPolice clash with demonstrators in Haiti demanding the president quits over corruption claims.
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27SwitzerlandSurprise! Mars One is bankrupt.
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6United StatesThe promise and peril of 5G wireless Internet.
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12Germany"Ridiculously" rare case of cancer found in Triassic-age turtle excavated from deposits in Germany
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14United StatesDenver teachers strike over base pay
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18RussiaRussian islands declare emergency after mass invasion of polar bears
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18United StatesThere have been over 700 victims of sexual assault at the hands of Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers in the past 20 years,
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28Angola Angola has approved a new civil code which will decriminalise homosexuality, after criminalizing it 133 years ago as a Portuguese colony. This act means that currently same-sex relationships in all Portuguese-speaking countries worldwide are now legal.
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-2EgyptEgypt's Sisi takes over as new Chairperson of the African Union.
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10United StatesArizona lawmakers are pushing to declare pornography a public health crisis.
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22United KingdomSeaborne Freight, the company that was given a £14 million contract to provide cross-Channel ferry services despite having no ships, has had its contract withdrawn by the government. This was due to one of its financial backers, an Irish shipping company, pulling out of the deal.
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12ThailandThe Thai king’s older sister Princess UbolratanaWikipedia has put herself forward as a prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming general election to bridge the gap between the royal family and the populist red-shirt movement. However, her brother has asked her to stand down, citing the breaking of constitutional protocol. Update: The party that put her forward as a candidate, has withdrawn her candidacy.
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25Canada Quebec City mosque mass shooter sentenced to life in prison. In related news, a serial killer of gays in Toronto received a similar sentence.
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14NetherlandsA court in the Netherlands has ruled that teff flour, a flour made from the ancient Ethiopian grain of teffWikipedia which is traditionally used to make a type of bread called injeraWikipedia cannot be patented.
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20GermanyUnited StatesChinaPolling has found that Germans trust China more than the USA, with just 23% trust in America over China compared to 42% the other way round. Plus, currently only 10% have a positive view of the States compared to 85% having a negative view.
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25United States Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of extortion over the release of sensitive photographs.
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25United States The United States Supreme Court temporarily struck down 5-4 a Louisiana law that restricts abortion by requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts gave the deciding vote. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer argued that forcing so many abortion clinics to close imposes an undue burden on women.
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20United StatesThe New Mexico governor pulls the National Guard from the border, citing a "charade" at the federal level.
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15IrelandOutrage in Ireland, after a petition was put on the British parliamentary petitions site for making the Republic of Ireland rescind independence and becoming part of the United Kingdom. It gathered over 2500 signatures before it was later pulled.
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9RussiaDenmarkRussia jails Dane for six years in Jehovah's Witnesses purge.
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11United StatesIsraelThe Senate has approved a bill that would allow state and local governments to sanction those who boycott Israel, sending it to the House.
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19Vatican CityThe Pope publicly acknowledges clergy sexual abuse of nuns.
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26United KingdomHope not Hate reports that John Mappin, a major supporter of the British branch of alt-right Turning Point, is a Trumpian, King Arthur-obsessed Scientologist. Even his Brexit supporting buddies think he is “a total fruit loop”.
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23United StatesSaudi ArabiaUnited Arab EmiratesYemenUS arms sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE have ended up in the possession of the Houthis and groups with ties to al-Qaeda.
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24United StatesLawsuit reveals how Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, intentionally helped exacerbate the US opioid epidemic
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23United StatesGavin McInnes is suing the SPLC for designating the Proud Boys as a hate group.
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30AustraliaVictoria to become first Australian state to ban gay conversion therapy
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27United StatesFederal judge orders Pentagon to stop discriminating against naturalized citizen soldiers
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8United StatesPentagon announces nearly 4,000 additional troops heading to US-Mexico border.
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20Central African RepublicA peace deal has been reached between the Central African Republic government and 14 rebel groups.
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8RussiaUnited StatesPutin announces Russian suspension of the INF treaty in response to the US doing the same.
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16VenezuelaVenezuelan air force general defects from Maduro government.
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19UkraineA petition on supporting the legalisation of medical marijuana in Ukraine has reached the national parliament. It has been received support from the country's acting health minister.
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37United KingdomFirst conviction for female genital mutilation in the UK.
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24United States A measles outbreak in the Northwestern United States prompts the reconsideration of non-medical vaccination exemptions. California and Vermont eliminated such exemptions in 2015. Oregon and Washington State tried to do the same but failed due to stiff opposition.
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13European UnionUnited KingdomThe EU has passed legislation allowing Britons visa-free travel in the event of a no-deal Brexit, though the UK objects to it describing Gibraltar as a colony.
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7United StatesSecretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the United States is pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces TreatyWikipedia from February 2nd.
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23United StatesCatholic leaders in Texas name 286 accused of abusing minors.
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20United Kingdom The Information Commissioner’s OfficeWikipedia, the body which regulate on data protection has fined Leave.eu and the insurer Eldon Insurance in total £120 000 (US$156 700) for breaches of data protection law, and demands an audit on Arron Banks’ finances.
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-5ChinaNews agency AFP reports that the Chinese mercenary company Frontier Services Group which is linked to the founder of Blackwater Erik Prince, is building a huge new facility in Xinjiang province.