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International news briefs

Australians vote in favour of same sex marriage

On November 15, the results of a nation wide survey showed that Australians are in favour of same sex marriage. Since September the 16 million Australians registered to vote were invited to participate in the “Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.” 12.7 million, or 79.5% of the voting population, responded with roughly 61% in favour of and 38% against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Unlike typical electoral endeavours in Australia, voting was not compulsory. This was because the survey was not a formal election administered by the Australian government, but rather conducted and administered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Therefore, the results are not binding. However, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised to legalize same-sex marriage by the end of the year. In response to the results, Turnbull said, “They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love. And now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it.” Despite the results, the two month long survey period heightened political tensions. There has long been a favorable public consensus on the topic of same-sex marriage in Australia. Many members of the LGBTQ community felt that the survey was unnecessary and might cause the community more harm than good. “No” campaign mailers contained warnings about “radical sex-education” for children that would follow a “yes” victory. These mailers also included concerns about the supression of free speech and religious freedom. At one point during the survey period, swastikas were found spray painted on rainbow flags.

“Mild” Coup in Zimbabwe

On Wednesday November 15, Zimbabwe experienced what is being called a “mild” coup. This was in response to last week’s sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president of Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa, the presupposed successor of president Robert Mugabe, fled to South Africa and has not returned to Zimbabwe since. Mnangagwa’s sacking was an action taken by Mugabe to further secure his wife’s position as his successor. This came as a surprise to most who thought that Mnangagwa would assume the presidency. At 93, Mugabe is the oldest world leader, and is currently confined to his house in Harare, the nation’s capital, with his wife Grace. Dislike of Mugabe has been spreading in Zimbabwe as he continues his 37 year long tenure. Zimbabwe is currently facing economic issues, which Mugabe has been blatantly negligent in addressing. Grooming his wife for the presidency further exacerbated discontent among the public. Grace Mugabe has been known to make lavish purchases, in addition to having a history of outbursts, including assaulting a woman she found in a hotel room with her sons. Citizens were frustrated with Mugabe’s’ rule and now find relief in the abrupt overthrowing of the regime. Military officials took to national TV on Wednesday morning to inform citizens of the actions taken against president Robert Mugabe, assuring citizens that everything would remain peaceful in the coming days. Neighbouring South Africa is said to be aiding the Zimbabwean government in “peacefully” setting up a new government, one that will likely see Mnangagwa as president.