Rights Abuses: Facebook bans Myanmar army chief, top brass
Facebook on August 27 banned Myanmar's army chief and other top military brass after a UN investigation recommended they face prosecution for genocide for a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. The site is the prime source of news and information for many in a country that only recently came online following nearly half a century of military rule. But it has also been a platform for the army and Buddhist hardliners to spread hate speech and incendiary posts against the stateless Rohingya and other minorities. "We are banning 20 Burmese individuals and organizations from Facebook -- including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces," the platform said, adding that it wants to prevent them from using the service to "further inflame ethnic and religious tensions".
Senator John McCain dies
John McCain, a war hero and towering figure in US politics known for reaching across the aisle in an increasingly divided nation, died on August 25 following a battle with brain cancer. He was 81. The senator's passing marked the end of a 35-year political career that brought the independent-minded Republican within reach of the White House as his party's presidential nominee. "I've known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war and helped make peace. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times." McCain spent more than three decades in the Senate, looming large in debates over war and peace and the moral direction of the nation. Earlier he served as a US representative 1983-1987.
Mnangagwa takes oath as Zimbabwe president
Emmerson Mnangagwa took the oath as Zimbabwe's president in front of a stadium crowd on August 26 after a divisive election. The Constitutional Court confirmed Mnangagwa as president in a ruling released on Friday, dismissing a challenge by the man he defeated in the July 30 ballot, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. Thousands of people, some bussed in from outside the capital, and foreign leaders gathered at Harare's national stadium for the swearing-in of Mnangagwa, who just secured the 50 percent of votes he needed to avoid a runoff against Chamisa. He took the oath before Chief Justice Luke Malaba who, together with eight other Constitutional Court judges had dismissed Chamisa's petition.
Business as usual for Australian economy under new PM
Scott Morrison is respected by investors and his elevation to Australian prime minister is a good outcome, analysts say, with the latest bout of political instability unlikely to hurt the economy. The 50-year-old outgoing treasurer took the top job after a Liberal Party revolt instigated by hardline conservatives, led by Peter Dutton, to unseat moderate Malcolm Turnbull. Morrison was an ally of Turnbull's and presided over the economy as the government sought to return the budget to surplus and simultaneously cut personal income and small-business taxes. Analysts see him continuing along the same economic path now that he has climbed into the prime minister's chair. "He did not bring on the challenge so can't be blamed for the instability," said AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.