Daily News Roundup

April 24, 2019

Image: QUT

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will visit the UK for three days in June after accepting a state visit invitation from The Queen.

The visit, confirmed by Buckingham Palace, coincides with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings during WWII.

A visit by Mr Trump to the UK last year prompted widespread protests and the “baby blimp”.

Mr Trump and Melania will make the trip from June 3–5 and meet with the Queen, the palace said, adding that further details would be announced in due course.

Mr Trump will hold a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May whom he has repeatedly criticised over the way she was handling Brexit.

“The UK and United States have a deep and enduring partnership that is rooted in our common history and shared interests,” Mrs May said in a statement.

“The State Visit is an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead.”

Mr Trump is just the third US president to be given the honour of a state visit.

Though many other presidents have visited the monarch, only two — George W Bush and Barack Obama — were honoured with a state visit, which typically features royal pomp including a banquet with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Mr Trump made an official trip to the UK last year, though that was not a state visit.

On that occasion, tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of central London to protest his presence, flying a six-metre high balloon depicting Mr Trump as a screaming baby.

This trip is likely to be controversial given many Britons deeply dislike his policies on issues such as immigration, and organisers said they were planning a “huge demonstration” against his state visit.

Emily Thornberry, UK Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, criticised the upcoming visit in a statement.

“This is a President who has systematically assaulted all the shared values that unite our two countries,” she said.

“Unless Theresa May is finally going to stand up to him and object to that behaviour, she has no business wasting taxpayers’ money on all the pomp, ceremony and policing costs that will come with this visit.”

After leaving Britain, Mr Trump and his wife will travel to Normandy, in northern France, as a guest of President Emmanuel Macron to attend D-Day ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.

While in France, Mr Trump will also meet separately with Mr Macron.


Saudi Arabia has beheaded 37 Saudi citizens in a mass execution  across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes.

While the government defends such executions as a powerful tool for deterrence the executions are likely to stoke further regional and sectarian tensions between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran as the majority of those killed were Shiites.

Saudi dissident Ali al-Ahmed, who runs the Gulf Institute in Washington, identified 34 of those executed as Shiites, based on the names announced by the Interior Ministry.

“This is the largest mass execution of Shiites in the kingdom’s history,” he said.

A Sunni extremist was among those executed with his body and severed head publicly pinned to a pole as a warning to others.

Amnesty International also confirmed the majority of those executed were Shiite men. The rights group said they were convicted “after sham trials” that relied on confessions extracted through torture.

It marked the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since January 2, 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people for terrorism-related crimes in the largest mass execution carried out by Saudi authorities since 1980.

Among those executed three years ago were four Shiites, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death sparked protests from Pakistan to Iran and the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Saudi-Iran ties have not recovered and the embassy remains shuttered.


A new DNA test developed by Queensland researchers could help identify the remains of some of the thousands of Australian soldiers who have been lying unidentified in battlefields across the Pacific since World War II.

The Australian Army will trial the new procedure, which is more accurate and reliable than current DNA testing, on remains found recently in PNG

It has been almost five years since an Australian WWII soldier’s remains were positively identified

Tens of thousands of Australian soldiers fought the Japanese in the Asia-Pacific and more than 70 years later, 5,000 soldiers still have no known grave.

The remains of soldiers are still being found on Pacific battlefields, mainly in Papua New Guinea.

Forensic biologist Dr Kirsty Wright leads a team at Brisbane’s QUT Genomic Research Centre, who developed the new DNA test to identify historical remains more accurately and reliably than current DNA testing methods.

The new targeted DNA test can successfully predict Australian or Japanese ancestry in 79 per cent more cases than current mitochondrial DNA testing methods, and can even identify hair and eye colour.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.