NewsFix: Thursday September 9, 2021
Imagine being Gavin Williamson’s spokesperson and explaining his gaffe, imagine the legal prep done ahead of a nine-month trial, imagine making it to the semi-finals in your second ever Grand Slam - and can you believe John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ album is 50 years old today.
The UK’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appeared to confuse footballer Marcus Rashford with a Black rugby player called Maro Itoje, in an embarrassing gaffe that went viral on Wednesday.
“Many of his critics have been high profile, including Marcus Rashford…Has he met the footballer? “We met over Zoom and he seemed incredibly engaged, compassionate and charming but then he had to shoot off…. Later Williamson’s team tell me he actually met the rugby player Maro Itoje.” - From the original article in The Evening Standard
The trial of those accused of carrying out the Paris attacks in November 2015 got underway on Wednesday with a high level of security around the courthouse. Salah Abdeslam is the only person suspected of carrying out the attacks believed to still be alive. The others on trial are accused of assisting the attackers with weapons and vehicles etc.
Remember: These attacks left 130 people dead, as multiple locations across Paris were targeted.
How long will this trial list? A verdict is not expect until late May, 2022.
Phillippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has accepted a nomination for him to run as vice-president in next year’s election.
Remember: Under the country’s constitution, Duterte can only serve two terms as president. Many critics view this as an attempt to retain power, while he maintains he is doing it simply because he cares about the country.
Who would be president? His party’s choice, Christopher "Bong" Go, declined the offer to run on Wednesday, but some reports say he will be asked to reconsider. There is also a lot of speculation about whether or not Duterte’s daughter would run for the position.
- The former president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, issued an apology to Afghans for fleeing the country almost a month ago as the Taliban captured Kabul. Ghani - who is currently in the UAE - also denounced accusations he fled the country with millions of dollars, saying the accusations were “completely and categorically false”.
CELEBS MAKING HEADLINES
- Rihanna has dropped a lawsuit against her father days before trial was supposed to begin. Background: The singer was suing her father, Ronald Fenty, for allegedly using his daughter’s name to make money without her permission. For example, court filings accused Ronald of booking the singer for shows - including a $15m tour - despite not being her agent, and without her knowing.
- English rapper Wiley has been charged with burglary and assault, and is expected to appear in court next week. According to BBC News, the charges stem from an alleged attack on a man in east London on August 28.
ON TODAY’S AGENDA…
The leader of Northern Ireland’s DUP party, Jeffrey Donaldson, will today outline his opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol. As RTÉ News also noted, the speech coincides with the EU's Maroš Šefčovič two-day visit to the region.
- BBC News: Patel authorises turning back of migrant boats
- The Guardian: Michael Schumacher’s wife provides update on former F1 world champion
- The Financial Times: Yellen warns US Treasury risks running out of cash in October
- Al Jazeera: Head of new Afghan government calls on ex-officials to return
- The Irish Times: Drew Harris criticises ‘draconian’ Government plans to reform Garda
The UK Government has been criticised after a leaked memo revealed they had agreed to drop a reference to climate commitments in order to secure a trade deal with Australia.
Early in the summer, the prime minister and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, said they agreed in principle on a trade deal. According to Sky News, the Australian government has since requested that references to particular commitments made under the Paris climate agreement be removed.
One of those goals was to keep global warming below 2C, preferably 1.5C.
In contrast, the trade deal signed between the UK and EU explicitly states that if either side fail in their commitments to the Paris Agreement, the trade deal would be suspended.
Bigger picture: Much of the backlash centres around the fact the UK will host the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow later this year. Many critics say the trade deal highlights a lack of commitment by the government to stick to climate commitments made.
SERVING UP SOME NEW TALENT…
- British tennis star Emma Raducanu has qualified for the semi-finals of the US Open after beating the 11th seed in straight sets on Wednesday. Raducanu has burst onto the scene in recent months, and this is only her second ever Grand Slam. As Wimbledon tweeted, she is now the “first qualifier to ever reach the US Open semi finals”.
WHAT TO WATCH
Blood Brothers - a look at the extraordinary relationship between civil rights activist Malcolm X and boxer Muhammad Ali - is available on Netflix from later today.
“From a chance meeting to a tragic fallout, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s extraordinary bond cracks under the weight of distrust and shifting ideals.” - Netflix description
50 years since John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ album was released.
ON A GREEK NOTE…
News broke overnight that Michael Constantine, the actor who played the loveable patriarch in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has died at the age of 94. Below is one of his best scenes in that classic movie.