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19 Jun
2019

Victoria becomes first Australian state to allow euthanasia

AUSTRALIA (WNF) - Terminally-ill Victorians will be able to end their own lives legally, making Victoria the first state in Australia to legalize assisted suicide. Western Australia and Northern Territory are among the states debating euthanasia.
Victoria’s legislature passed the law in Nov 2017, but mandated an 18-month wait implementation period. Substantial amendments had been agreed to overcome opposition, including lowering the proposed life-expectancy threshold from 12 months to six and committing more money to palliative care.

Australia’s sparsely populated Northern Territory in 1995 became the first jurisdiction in the world to legalize doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. But the Australian Parliament overturned that law in 1997 after four people had been helped to die. Britain’s Independent points out that parliament does not have power to overturn the law in several other states.

The push to allow medically-assisted death on a wider scale in the country faces high-profile objections among the medical community and fears that the program’s safeguards do not go far enough to protect the vulnerable.

The parliament of Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, rejected a doctor-assisted suicide bill in Nov 2017 by a single vote. A euthanasia bill also was defeated by a single vote in the South Australian House of Assembly a year earlier, and similar legislation was rejected by two votes in Tasmania’s House of Assembly in 2013. #22834 Updated: 11/16/2018 UPDATED MAY 15 WITH CONFIRMED DATE

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21 Jun
2019

New Toy Story movie introduces Forky

UNITED STATES (WNF) - Toy Story 4 hits theaters more than 20 years after the smash original in the franchise. The tale reportedly revolves around the gang learning to accept Forky, a spork, while also figuring out what makes something a toy.
Many fans expected the franchise to end with the third installment, according to MovieWeb, but the studio decided that a fourth movie was needed to wrap everything up.

The gang has a new home and is apparently happy again, living with Bonnie. The arrival of Forky, a spork (a hybrid of spoon and fork), with pipe-cleaner arms, throws everything off balance as he doesn’t consider himself to be a toy. Tony Hale voices the character.

The familiar characters are back: Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks; Buzz Lightyear by Tim Allen; and Jessie by Joan Cusack. Their new friends are Ducky, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, and Bunny by Jordan Peele. MovieWeb reports that Keanu Reeves will join the gang as a surprise mystery toy. #22983 Published: 01/30/2019

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23 Jun
2019

IOC opens Olympic House headquarters on milestone Olympic Day

SWITZERLAND (WNF) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) inaugurates new headquarters in Lausanne on the 125th anniversary of an organization founded by Pierre de Coubertin on high ideals. They included fostering peace through sport, a legacy of the Olympic Truce. The world glimpsed the legacy at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
A crucial component of the Ancient Greek Games, the Olympic Truce made the competition possible as it allowed athletes and spectators from warring city-states to travel to the event and participate in complete safety. Athletes from the two Koreas, technically at war more than six decades after the Korean War, entered the stadium together for the opening ceremony, and competed together as part of a combined women’s hockey team. In Sep 2018 North and South Korea announced that they would jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

The International Olympic Truce Foundation, inaugurated in 2000, formally builds the legacy into the IOC mission, with the aim of promoting “the Olympic ideals to serve peace, friendship and understanding in the world.”

The IOC selected Danish architecture firm 3XN to design the headquarters in 2014 after an international competition. Construction began in 2016. Named Olympic House, it will bring the 500 staff in four locations around the city under one roof. The Olympic Museum in the same city will host the general public. #23046 Published: 03/14/2019

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23 Jun
2019

Turkey president reruns Istanbul mayoral election won by opposition

TURKEY (WNF) - The ruling AKP party narrowly lost the Mar 31 election for mayor of Istanbul, and the country’s electoral authority has ordered a rerun at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request.
Erdogan, whose hometown is Istanbul, had argued that the margin of votes was too small for the opposition party win to be valid. The man who won the vote, Ekrem Imamoglu of the opposition CHP, said the electoral body had made a “treacherous decision.”

The decision by the High Electoral Council, which cited irregularities in how officials were chosen to oversee voting at some polling stations, left the opposition with the difficult decision of whether to take part in a new election that it considers illegitimate. #23100 Published: 05/10/2019

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24 Jun
2019

IOC holds 134th session with election of 2026 Winter Olympics host on agenda

SWITZERLAND (WNF) - The 134th International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Lausanne will select the host city for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. There are just two contenders, Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy and Stockholm-Åre in Sweden, a worry for the IOC.
Sion, Graz, Sapporo and Calgary dropped out, and Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo and Stockholm-Åre, had to struggle for political support. The Stockholm 2026 campaign ran into a wall because of opposition to taxpayer funding, but business leaders have come forward with a rescue – assurances that the hosting will be self-funding. The Italian bid ran into the same kind of opposition, but recent reports from Italy suggest assurances will be forthcoming in time for the June meeting.

The cost of hosting any Olympics is prone to increase beyond the host city’s control. Britain’s Independent points out that not so long ago there were 11 cities bidding to host the 2004 Olympics, which was eventually won by Athens; yet only two cities bid to host the 2022 Winter Games, and only two are now left in the running for 2026.

The Winter Olympics are particularly niche, according to the newspaper, because not many major cities are in close proximity to a mountain range with reliable snowfall, even fewer have available the highly specialized facilities for winter sports and the cost of building them is expensive. #23047 Published: 03/14/2019

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24 Jun
2019

List of presidential contenders in Argentina election due for release

ARGENTINA (WNF) - The release of the names of presidential contenders in June is the prelude to the July campaigning and August party primary phases of the country’s October election, and offers a preview of the shape of the poll. Unexpectedly, Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, immersed in a corruption scandal, won’t be competing for the presidency.
Many thought center-left former-president Kirchner of the Justicialist Party, the largest component of the Peronist movement, would be the main rival for incumbent center-right President Mauricio Macri of the Republican Proposal party. Kirchner has chosen instead to run for the vice presidency alongside Alberto Fernández, a little-known moderate Peronist who is described as a consensus-builder. He will need to unite a fractured opposition to take on Macri.

The first case against Kirchner goes to court in May. She is implicated in more than 10 corruption investigations, which she insists are politically-motivated. Partial immunity as a senator shields her from imprisonment, but not prosecution. Polls taken before she announced the vice-presidential run, had shown her to be the closest rival to Macri.

The dire state of the Argentine economy and the austerity measures Macri has introduced, which were the International Monetary Fund’s price for bailing out the country, hamper his re-election chances. Tens of thousands of Argentines demonstrated on Apr 30 in a partial strike that grounded airplanes and shut banks and other businesses to protest the Macri policies. The partial strike followed a protest called by trade unions in early April. The reported divisions in the opposition Peronists and the labor movement might offset Macri’s handicap.

Candidates well-positioned to benefit from the woes of the leading candidates are expected on the June list. They include: Buenos Aires governor Maria Eugenia Vidal, who is seen as a strong contender should Macri’s popular support dwindle additionally throughout the year; Roberto Lavagna, who is considered an elder statesman above partisan politics; Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey, a self-defined moderate who is selling himself personally and politically as similar to Macri; and Sergio Massa, who benefits from a strong social media presence. Americas Quarterly, which reviewed the probable candidates on the list, reports that Massa has taken to filming Facebook live videos on road trips and may be the best known among the opposition Peronists hoping to break through the Macri-Kirchner polarization.

The August party primaries will trim the list of contenders. #23099 Updated: 05/19/2019 WRITE THROUGH UPDATE MAY 19 TO REFLECT DEVELOPMENTS

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25 Jun
2019

Drug kingpin Guzman returns to court for sentencing

UNITED STATES (WNF) - Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, found guilty on all charges at his international drug-trafficking trial in New York on Feb 12, returns to court for sentencing. He can anticipate a maximum-security prison.
Reuters reports that Guzman’s lawyers want his conviction set aside and a new trial. They argue that juror misconduct deprived him of his constitutional right to a fair trial.

Guzman, 61, broke out of Mexican prisons twice before he was finally recaptured and extradited to the United States in 2017. Most reports see him locked away at the so-called Alcatraz of the Rockies, the federal government's remote escape-proof prison in Florence, Colorado.

Federal prosecutors called more than 50 witnesses over the almost three-month trial. They detailed how Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel amassed billions of dollars importing tons of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana into the United States.

Witnesses detailed assassinations and political payoffs, and how drugs were smuggled using tanker trucks, rail cars and even shipments of canned peppers. #23010 Published: 02/14/2019

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25 Jun
2019

King of Pop died 10 years ago and new documentary will test power of his spell

UNITED STATES (WNF) - Michael Jackson died aged 50 in California 10 years ago from a prescription drug overdose and hasn’t been allowed to rest in peace. The child molestation scandal that trailed him to the grave has exploded again, with the release in Mar 2019 of Leaving Neverland, a documentary focused on two of his accusers. Described as harrowing, it will test the strength of the Jackson spell.
In the documentary, Wade Robson and James Safechuck both say Jackson abused them when they were children. Associated Press reports that angry fans of the singer unsuccessfully tried to get the documentary pulled from the Sundance Film Festival in Jan 2019, and that the filmmaker, Dan Reed, has received death threats.

Members of the late Michael Jackson’s family defend the late King of Pop in a new documentary seen as a rebuttal to Leaving Neverland. eOnline reports that Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary, spans 30 minutes and was recently released on YouTube. It features interviews with individuals who worked at Neverland Ranch, where Jackson’s accusers said much of the alleged abuse took place.

The number and scale of the Jackson anniversary tributes around the world will be a rough guide to whether the spell can survive the revelations in the documentary.

Ahead of his death and of the release of the documentary, the allegations have made little or no impact on the Jackson spell. Some 1.6 million fans applied for 17,500 tickets to his memorial service in Los Angeles in 2009. Over 30 million viewers tuned in to watch the event on cable TV, while millions more viewed it online. In Nov 2018, Jackson was named the top-earning dead celebrity for the sixth year in a row. He has now made some U.S. $2.4 billion since he died.

One of 10 children, Jackson was born on Aug 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, He joined his family’s popular Motown group, the Jackson 5, at 5 years old, and went on to a solo career of astonishing worldwide success. He delivered No. 1 hits from the albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. Biography.com lists Thriller as the best-selling music album of all time, and Jackson’s This Is It as the highest-grossing concert film of all time.

Jackson, who had been dogged for years by accusations of child molestation, was acquitted in 2005. The charges did not involve Robson or Safechuck. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom by his doctor, Conrad Murray, just before launching a comeback tour in 2009. Murray, who had administered the drugs to Jackson, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and spent two years in prison. #23036 Updated: 05/19/2019 UPDATED MAY 19 TO INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT JACKSON FAMILY DOCUMENTARY REBUTTAL

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25 Jun
2019

Trump Deal of the Century a take-it-or-leave-it offer for the Palestinians?

BAHRAIN (WNF) - The details of President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are expected to be released at an investment conference in Bahrain. It is believed to offer economic inducements to Palestinians while doing nothing to satisfy their political aspirations.
The so-called two-state solution, the underlying aspiration, describes a Palestinian homeland based on pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return for refugees. It is nowhere to be found on the agenda of Benjamin Netanyahu, recently re-elected as prime minister and looking at forming a government with parties that demand annexation of the West Bank.

The Israeli publication Haaretz reports that the plan envisions large-scale investment and infrastructure work in the Palestinian territories, much of it funded by wealthy Arab countries.

A Bloomberg editorial sees the Palestinian leadership with very little leverage. A refusal to engage will be an invitation to the United States and Israel to unilaterally establish a new order in the West Bank, according to the news service.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reports that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is collapsing, due to Israel’s freeze on funds owing to the body, and that annexation could follow. It observes that Israeli settlers may end up realizing their annexation fantasy by way of the pocketbook.

Several publications echo a suspicion voiced by a senior PA official in an interview with Haaretz: “The Palestinian Authority’s fear is what Palestinian officials call the Israeli, American, Saudi and Egyptian conspiracy, whose goal is to divide Gaza from the West Bank and provide an economic solution for Gaza while strengthening Hamas, thus avoiding diplomatic negotiations over the future of Palestine.” #23088 Updated: 05/20/2019 UPDATED May 20 TO INCLUDE DATE AND PLACE FOR RELEASE OF THE PLAN

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26 Jun
2019

Twenty Democratic presidential candidates in first debate ahead of 2020 election

UNITED STATES (WNF) - The Democratic Party (DNC) kicks off its 2020 presidential primary debates in Miami. They will be held over two nights to accommodate 20 candidates in the ever-expanding field. The debates, to be broadcast live, represent the first opportunity for candidates to differentiate themselves from the pack.
The lineup in June represents historic diversity: at least six women will be debating; candidates’ ages will range from 37 to 77; and platforms will range from centrist to leftist.

As of mid-May, 18 presidential candidates had qualified to participate in the debate. They are: former vice-president Joe Biden; South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke; former Gov. John Hickenlooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Sen. Cory Booker; Sen. Kamala Harris; ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; former Rep. John Delaney; author Marianne Williamson; and former tech executive Andrew Yang.

The list of declared presidential hopefuls continues to grow. The latecomers will have less time to meet the prerequisites for the debate, in which only two places remain.

To qualify for the debate stage, candidates must earn at least 1 per cent of respondents in three national or early-state polls conducted between Jan 2019 and two weeks before the given debate, or have received donations from at least 65,000 individuals across 20 different states, with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state. #23086 Updated: 05/19/2019 UPDATED MAY 19 TO INCLUDE CONFIRMED QUALIFIERS FOR THE DEBATE

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26 Jun
2019

Glastonbury Festival back at Worthy Farm after a fallow year

UNITED KINGDOM (WNF) - Some 175,000 music lovers will descend on Worthy Farm, Somerset, for the 2019 Glastonbury Festival after a year away to allow the fields to recover. The organizers have answered criticism that only four of the 24 acts on the main stage in 2017 were female stars or female-fronted bands: in 2019 there will be at least eight.
On the Pyramid Stage, the Cure and the Killers join previously-announced headliner Stormzy. Others on the confirmed lineup include Janet Jackson, Tame Impala, Lauryn Hill, Vampire Weekend, Christine and the Queens, the Streets, Rosalía, Hot Chip, Lizzo, Sharon Van Etten, Little Simz, Kamasi Washington, Jorja Smith, the Chemical Brothers, Cat Power, Neneh Cherry, Low, Kurt Vile, Interpol, Janelle Monáe and Kylie Minogue.

A Woodstock-like event that started in 1970, Glastonbury has grown into the largest green field open-air music and performing arts festival in the world. The venue takes an environmental thrashing from the hordes of fans and from periodic downpours, which turn the site into a bog. Festival founder Michael Eavis said it would be moved some 100 miles away every five years to help the land at his farm recover. The 2019 festival will be held at its traditional site. #22804 Updated: 05/19/2019 UPDATED MAY 19 TO INCLUDE CONFIRMED LINEUP

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NEW GRAPHIC NEWS - a new website for a new era.

28 years ago — April 2, 1991 — the original Graphic News launched using a precursor to today’s websites that used email technology. These enabled infographics to be delivered electronically around the world over telephone lines. What was possible was very limited - It took 10 minutes for a 100K file to download.

Since then delivery speeds and website technology have moved on. The new website will offer the best online experience possible now, adding many new features (and offering new opportunities for the future), but still enabling existing users to select and download infographics and enjoy the distinct brand of visual journalism that is Graphic News.


Over the coming weeks I will give further information. Please contact me if you have any questions. Fiona Roberts, froberts @ graphicnews.com



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