Australian prime minister's approval rating slumps as bushfires rage
By Sonali Paul MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's approval rating has declined sharply in the face of horrendous bushfires that have killed 28 people and destroyed 2,000 homes, a closely watched poll showed on Monday. Morrison has come under attack for being slow to respond to an unprecedented crisis, even taking a family holiday to Hawaii while fires were burning, and acknowledged on Sunday he had made some mistakes.
By Sonali Paul
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's approval rating has declined sharply in the face of horrendous bushfires that have killed 28 people and destroyed 2,000 homes, a closely watched poll showed on Monday.
Morrison has come under attack for being slow to respond to an unprecedented crisis, even taking a family holiday to Hawaii while fires were burning, and acknowledged on Sunday he had made some mistakes.
"There are things I could have handled on the ground much better," he said in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp on Sunday.
After months of raging bushfires that have ravaged more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land, an area roughly the size of South Korea, Morrison in early January announced a A$2 billion ($1.4 billion) bushfire recovery fund and called out 3,000 army reservists to back up state emergency workers.
The response was seen as too slow. The Newspoll, conducted from Wednesday to Saturday after those announcements, showed Morrison's approval rating dropped 8 points to the lowest level since he took over leadership of the Liberal Party in August 2018.
His approval rating was overtaken by opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese in the poll, which surveyed 1,505 voters.
Labor also overtook Morrison's Liberal-National Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, where votes for minor parties are distributed between the major parties, for the first time since Australia's election last May. No margin of error was provided, although it was about 2.5 percentage points in previous Newspolls.
The same poll last year, however, incorrectly predicted Labor would win the election.
Morrison said on Sunday he would take a proposal to Cabinet to hold a Royal Commission national inquiry into the bushfires, including examining the response to the crisis, the role and powers of the federal government and the impact of climate change.
While some fires came under control over the weekend, thanks to cooler conditions and some light rain, the state of Victoria had two emergency warnings on Monday, urging residents in the eastern part of the state to evacuate.
Here are key events in the crisis:
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Peter Cooney)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
By Elena Rodriguez and Belén Carreño MADRID (Reuters) - Authorities struggled to clear ice and fallen trees from the streets of Madrid on Tuesday and temperatures in parts of Spain hit record lows after a snowstorm wrought havoc across the country at the weekend. Early jubilation at the historic snowfall, which saw skiers gliding through the streets and mass snowball fights, gave way to frustration as most public transport remained stalled and pedestrians avoided the icy streets. "You in Madrid are not ready for this," said Demetrio, a Ukrainian living in Madrid, who did not give his last name.
By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, facing impeachment on a charge of "incitement of insurrection" on Tuesday disavowed responsibility for his supporters' violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol last week and said his remarks before the siege were appropriate.
PARIS (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault and U.S. hydrogen specialist Plug Power have joined forces to develop hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles, they said on Tuesday. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a France-based 50-50 joint venture by the end of the first half of 2021, targeting more than 30% share of the fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle market in Europe, their joint statement said