Morrison considers 'comprehensive inquiry' into national bushfire crisis
(See translation in Arabic section)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has canvassed the prospect of a comprehensive inquiry into Australia's ongoing bushfire crisis. The prime minister defended his government's response to the fires during a testy television interview. "I've been out on fire grounds and meeting people since September... these fires started back in Queensland when I was up in Canungra meeting those affected," he said. Mr Morrison has faced criticism globally for his handling of the emergency as well as a decision to take a holiday with his family. The government has since increased funding for firefighters as well as bushfire recovery and has made defence assets available to the states and territories.
Fahd receives GCC Secretary General
MUSCAT: On behalf of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, on Thursday received Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani, Secretary General of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to bid him farewell at the end of his term of office as Secretary General of the GCC.
Dr Al Zayani expressed his greetings and best wishes to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. He thanked His Majesty the Sultan for his continuous support to the GCC and to him personally, noting that such support contributed to the success of his mission.
The meeting discussed ways of enhancing the GCC march and reviewed developments in regional and international arenas.
HH Sayyid Fahd reiterated the Sultanate’s appreciation for the efforts made by Dr Al Zayani during his tour of duty. He wished Dr Al Zayani further success in his mission as Foreign Affairs Minister of Bahrain. The meeting was attended by Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs.
US officials 'confident' Ukrainian plane was shot down by Iranian missile
US officials say they are "confident" the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Tehran - killing all 176 passengers and crew on board - was shot down by an Iranian missile. Two officials said Washington believed the strike on the aircraft was accidental, with US President Trump saying "somebody could have made a mistake" shooting down a passenger plane. Iran refused to hand over the aircraft's black box to Boeing or US authorities amid ongoing tensions between the two nations. One US official said US satellites detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion, Reuters news agency reported.
Pelosi resists calls to transmit articles of impeachment to Senate
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to resist calls to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. She insisted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must outline the trial rules before impeachment managers were appointed. A growing number of Democrats publicly called on her to allow the trial to begin, but Ms Pelosi said the articles would not be held indefinitely and would be sent soon.
Harry and Meghan 'disappoint' Queen by stepping back from the royal family
Prince Harry and Meghan are understood to have disappointed the Queen after failing to consult her about their decision to "step back" from their position as senior royals. The couple issued a bombshell statement on Wednesday where they also announced their decision to divide their time between the UK and North America. Despite saying they will "fully support" the Queen, Buckingham Palace was not informed about the statement prior to its release.