1. FIRE, DROUGHT, HEATWAVES: AUSTRALIA PREPARES FOR TOUGH SUMMER
Australia’s fire and drought-ravaged east will suffer continued hot and dry conditions this summer, increasing the chances of severe weather events.
According to The Bureau of Meteorology, the country could expect more heatwaves and little rain in the east during the summer, which runs from December through February, following one of the driest springs ever.
The hot, dry spring led to an early start to Australia’s bushfire season, with people killed and more than 500 homes destroyed since September. The forecast offered no relief to Australia’s devastated farming sector, with the country’s largest and most lucrative crop, wheat, facing the worst damage in the third straight year of drought. Fire authorities however have warned there is worse to come.
2. CHINA THREATENS RETALIATION OVER US LAW ON HONG KONG
China on Thursday threatened to retaliate after US President Donald Trump signed legislation supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, just as the world’s top two economies edge towards a trade truce.
Trump had seemed reluctant to sign the legislation, but came under heavy pressure from Congress, where the issue has attracted rare bipartisan support.
In a statement, Trump spoke of “respect” for Chinese President Xi Jinping and said he hoped the “leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences”. Beijing however reacted furiously, warning it was ready to take unspecified “firm countermeasures”.
3. UK PM JOHNSON ON COURSE TO WIN MAJORITY OF 68
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on course to win a majority of 68 in parliament at the Dec. 12 election.
Johnson has pledged to deliver Brexit by Jan. 31 if he wins the election after nearly four years of political crisis that has shocked allies of what was once considered one of the pillars of Western economic and political stability.
According to the YouGov model, his Conservative Party could win 359 seats out of 650, up from 317 in the 2017 general election and the best result for the party since Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 victory.