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Sub spat – France recalls ambassadors to Aus, US

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After a week where the French lost a $90 billion dollar submarine contract, the French government will recall its ambassadors to Australia and the United States.

In a sign the diplomatic relationship is worsening between Australia and the Europe, France will take the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors.

It comes as the new defence pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States infuriated French President Emmanuel Macron.

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The unprecedented move comes after Australia tore up a $90 billion contract to buy 12 French submarines and instead buy a fleet of new nuclear-powered subs using technology from the US and United Kingdom.

Jean-Pierre Thebault, the French ambassador to Australia, and Philippe Etienne, the ambassador to the US, will return to France.

GALA DINNER CANCELLED

The French embassy in Washington also cancelled a gala dinner.

“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a statement.

French Embassy in Canberra, Australia

“The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that had linked Australia to France since 2016, and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States aimed at launching studies on possible future co-operation on nuclear-powered navies constitute unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners – the consequences of which affect the very conception that we have of our alliances, our partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.”

FRENCH FURY

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the Australian decision, which effectively canceled a $66 billion agreement to buy 12 French diesel-powered submarines, “unacceptable” and “incomprehensible.”

As for the United States, “this unilateral, sudden and unforeseeable decision very much recalls what Mr. Trump would do,” he said in an interview..

The French Embassy in Washington promptly canceled a Friday night gala commemorating the country’s naval assistance to American forces during the Revolutionary War. In what Paris clearly saw as an added insult, Britain is also part of the U.S.-Australian deal.

World

Five former Trump staffers speak with House

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January 6 capital riots investigation continues

As the investigation into the January 6 capitol riots continues, new reports allege that at least five former Trump staffers have come forward to speak voluntarily with the House committee.

This comes as the committee’s lawyers continue to reach out to further Trump aides as to whether they would be interested in speaking at the hearing without the threat of SUPENA.

The committee has been tasked with investigating the actions of former President Donald Trump prior to the riots occurring.

This most recent outreach is not likely to signify that the committee believes the staffers had any involvement in sparking the riots… but rather they may have more context as to what was happening inside the White House that day.

It all comes as Trump continues his legal battle against the investigation… suing both the committee and the National Archives in an attempt to withhold documents.

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Queen Elizabeth not attending COP26 climate event

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Buckingham Palace says the Queen is accepting doctor’s advice to rest

Following a health scare just last week… Queen Elizabeth will not be attending the upcoming COP-26 climate event in Glasgow.

This comes as doctors advise the royal to rest and comes just hours after she carried out her first official engagements since being admitted to hospital.

On Tuesday, Elizabeth met virtually with the ambassador of Korea and Switzerland.

Last week, Buckingham Palace revealed the monarch spent a night in hospital for “preliminary investigations”… but returned home in “good spirits”.

Meanwhile, the Queen was due to attend an evening reception in Glasgow on Monday but will deliver a video message instead.

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Jeff Bezos unveils plans for commercial space station

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Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, Blue Origin, has announced plans to launch a space station in Earth’s orbit.

The station will be named “Orbital Reef,” and is projected to be built and operational by the end of the decade.

The company says the station will be serve as a “mixed-use business park” in space and will host up to 10 people.

Promotional material released by the company revealed the 32-thousand square foot station will provide customers with an ideal location for “filmmaking in microgravity”, or “conducting cutting-edge research”.

It’s also speculated that the space station will include a “space hotel”.

The company will partner with Sierra Space and Boeing to build the outpost.

The announcement comes amid NASA efforts to find a proposal to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is now more than 20 years old and in desperate need of repair.

This will include $400m in private contracts to space companies to help the agency replace the ageing outpost.

There is likely to be stiff competition for the funding, and Blue Origin is the latest firm to unveil their space station concept, joining space firms Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, who have teamed up to launch a station into low orbit by 2027.

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