Friday news roundup May 17, 2019
Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage. On Friday, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Taiwan’s parliament became the first in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage with the passage of legislation granting gay couples the right to marry. Lawmakers passed part of a bill that will allow gay couples to enter into “exclusive permanent unions” and apply for marriage registration with government agencies. Three bills were introduced for voting; two, backed by conservatives, avoided the word marriage. The government’s successful bill, the more progressive, also offers adoption rights to same-sex couples. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, tweeted after the vote: “We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country.”
The US President unveiled his new immigration plan. On Thursday, President Trump announced a plan to reform border security and legal immigration in the US. He is calling for changes that will favor young, educated immigrants instead of those with family ties to the US. The measure calls for replacing longstanding family-based immigration rules with a points-based system that favors highly-skilled, financially self-sufficient immigrants who learn English and pass a civics exam. It does not propose any legal status for young immigrants brought to the US as children, known as Dreamers. Trump’s proposal is not expected to provide the immigration breakthrough that has eluded lawmakers for the past three presidential terms.
A driverless electric truck started delivering freight on public roads in Sweden. Developer Einride and logistics customer DB Schenker described the event as a world first. Freight operators around the world are under pressure to reduce delivery times and cut emissions; they also face a growing shortage of drivers. Einride’s T-Pod electric truck does not have a driver cabin and weighs 26 tonnes when full. The company estimate it reduces road freight operating costs by around 60% when compared with a diesel truck with a driver.
Australians go to the polls on Saturday. In what could be a closely fought general election, Australians will decide whether to vote in the conservative Liberal-National Coalition for a third term or replace them with a Labor administration led by Bill Shorten. All 151 seats in the House of Representatives will be contested, and half of the 76 seats in the Senate. Climate change and the economy are key areas of contention. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says: “Now is the time to get on and keep on with the work of building our economy, by backing in the choices Australians are wanting to make every day.” Following a year of extreme weather events, Mr Shorten has highlighted climate change and urged voters to push for change.