A summary of today's impactful news stories from around the world hand-picked by our staff at TRT World.
*) Russia claims Luhansk, Ukraine vows return Russia has gained full control over Ukraine's Luhansk region after capturing the last major city, Lysychansk, following weeks of fierce fighting with Kiev's forces. The Ukrainian army said its soldiers had retreated from the strategic eastern city in order to preserve the lives of Ukrainian defenders. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to restore control over the area. Ukrainian authorities said Russia would shift the main focus of its offensive to trying to seize all of the Donetsk region. *) Ukraine recovery meet to open in Switzerland Leaders from dozens of countries, international organisations and the private sector have gathered in Switzerland to hash out a plan to rebuild conflict-hit Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy warned that the work ahead in the areas that have been liberated alone was "colossal". He added that over 2,000 villages and towns in the east and south of Ukraine still had to be freed. The two-day conference had been planned well before Russia launched its full-scale offensive on February 24, originally slated to discuss reforms in Ukraine. *) Copenhagen mall shooting A gunman has opened fire in a Copenhagen shopping mall, killing three people and wounding several others. The suspected gunman, a 22-year-old Danish man, is in custody. Danish police believe the shooting was not terror-related. They said the gunman acted alone and appears to have selected his victims at random. *) Evacuations in Australia's Sydney Australia has ordered thousands of people in Sydney to evacuate as overflowing rivers have swamped swathes of land. Australian authorities said about 32,000 people were under evacuation orders or warnings in New South Wales. On the third day of torrential rains on the east coast, rescuers said they had saved about 20 people in the past 12 hours, many trapped in cars on flood-swept roads. And finally… *) Biggest hajj pilgrimage since pandemic Muslims from across the world have packed the streets of Mecca as Islam's holiest city prepares to host the biggest Hajj pilgrimage since the coronavirus pandemic. One million people, including 850,000 from abroad, are allowed at this year's Hajj after two years of drastically curtailed numbers due to the pandemic. Authorities say at least 650,000 overseas pilgrims have arrived so far to converge on the holy city to retrace the Prophet Muhammad's last pilgrimage.
*) Missile strikes leaves many dead in Ukraine's Odessa Seventeen people have been killed in missile strikes on an apartment building and recreation centre in southern Ukraine's Odessa region, authorities said. Fourteen were killed and 30 wounded in the strike on a nine-storey apartment block, the emergency services said on Telegram. Odessa military administration spokesperson said the missiles were fired by aircraft that flew in from the Black Sea. Greece says Türkiye has 'reasonable concerns' on terrorism Türkiye has legitimate concerns about terrorism, the Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, telling media at the NATO summit that Ankara "paid a heavy price". He said Türkiye has some reasonable concerns when it comes to the issue of terrorism perpetrated by organisations like PKK or YPG. “Türkiye has paid a heavy price for such terrorist acts," Mitsotakis told a press conference at the summit in Madrid. *) China's Xi swears in new Hong Kong chief on its handover anniversary Chinese President Xi Jinping has officiated the swearing-in ceremony of Hong Kong's new leader John Lee as the city marked the 25th anniversary of its return from Britain to China. Xi said Hong Kong's "true democracy" started after the city's handover to China from colonial Britain 25 years ago. He said after reuniting with the motherland, Hong Kong's people became the masters of their own city. *) Anti-coup protests turn deadly in Sudan as thousands take to streets Four Sudanese demonstrators have been killed with thousands of anti-coup protesters taking to the streets demanding an end to the military rule. Protesters urged the reversal of the October military coup by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan that prompted foreign governments to slash aid, deepening an economic crisis. Security forces were reported to have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrations. And finally… *) N. Korea suggests balloons flown from South brought Covid-19 North Korea has suggested its Covid-19 outbreak began in people who had contact with balloons flown from South Korea. Activists for years have flown balloons across the border to distribute hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un South Korea's Unification Ministry said there was no chance South Korean balloons might have spread the virus to North Korea. #Ukraine #Odessa #Russia #Missile #Greece #Türkiye #Terror #Nato #China #HongKong #Sudan #Coup #Covid19 #NorthKorea
*) Finland, Sweden get official invite to join NATO after Türkiye's consent NATO has officially invited Finland and Sweden to become members of the alliance. The announcement came as part of the Madrid summit declaration following the meeting of NATO heads of state and government. NATO welcomed the conclusion of the trilateral memorandum between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden. Israel lawmakers dissolve parliament, set election for November 1 Israel's parliament has voted to dissolve itself and send the country to the polls in November for the fifth time in less than four years. Yair Lapid, Israel's foreign minister and architect of the outgoing coalition government, will become the country's caretaker prime minister just after midnight on Friday. He will be the 14th person to hold that office, taking over from Naftali Bennett, Israel's shortest serving prime minister. New elections will be held on November 1. *) Amnesty accuses Russia of bombing Mariupol theatre A theatre sheltering civilians destroyed in March in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol was likely hit by a Russian air strike in a "war crime," says Amnesty International report. Oksana Pokalchuk, head of Amnesty's Ukraine branch said "We were speaking about an alleged war crime. Now we can clearly say it was one, committed by the Russian armed forces," She dismissed the Russian claims that the theatre was hit in a false-flag attack by the city's Ukrainian defenders. *) US govt 'supports' F-16 fighter jet sales to Türkiye The Biden administration has thrown its support behind the potential sale of US F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye. Celeste Wallander, Assistant Secretary for Defense for International Security Affairs at Pentagon, told media that strong Turkish defence capabilities would reinforce NATO's defences. Wallander said that the US supports Türkiye's modernisation of its fighter fleet because that is a contribution to NATO security and therefore American security. And finally… *) First ever 'Africa Fashion' exhibition opens in UK UK's most extensive exhibition of African fashion is set to open in London, showcasing designers past and present, as well as the continent's diverse heritage and cultures. "Africa Fashion", at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is the country's first exhibition dedicated to the medium. The exhibition includes objects, sketches, photos and film from across the continent, starting from the African liberation years to up-and-coming contemporary designers.
*) Türkiye's memorandum with Sweden, Finland Turkiye has lifted its objection to the NATO membership bids of Sweden and Finland, after a breakthrough in talks in Madrid. Ankara had previously blocked the two countries from joining the military alliance over concerns about arms exports and terrorism. In a memorandum, Finland and Sweden agreed to fully co-operate with Türkiye in the fight against terror groups, including the PKK, its offshoots and the FETO. Sweden and Finland also agreed not to impose embargoes on the Turkish defence industry. *) Ukraine's Zelenskyy calls for Russia's expulsion from UN Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Russia's expulsion from the United Nations. Zelenskyy urged the UN to establish an international tribunal to investigate "the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil" and to hold the country accountable. "We need to act urgently to do everything to make Russia stop the killing spree," Zelenskyy said. *) US, allies creating 'Asian NATO' – NK media North Korea has said that joint drills by the United States, South Korea and Japan are part of a dangerous prelude to the creation of an "Asian version of NATO". Pyongyang accused the US of having a "sinister aim" toward North Korea. It also accused Washington of fomenting a new Cold War. *) Inmates die in Colombia prison fire At least 52 inmates have been killed and 26 more injured after a fire broke out during a prison riot in southwestern Colombia. The tragedy occurred when rioting inmates set a fire, attempting to prevent police from entering their enclosure at the prison in the city of Tulua. Authorities had initially said they were investigating whether the incident occurred as part of an escape attempt, but later said it was a riot. And finally… *) Hamilton, F1 condemn Nelson Piquet Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Formula One have condemned former world champion Nelson Piquet's racially offensive term against the British driver. Piquet reportedly uttered the Portuguese version of the N-word against Hamilton. Hamilton said that these archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in the sport. Formula One backed Hamilton, stressing that discriminatory and racist type of language "has no part in society".
*) Russian missile strike hits crowded shopping mall in Ukraine A Russian missile strike on a crowded mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk has killed at least 16 people. 59 others were wounded in the strike, the head of Ukraine's emergency services said. Russia's Defence Ministry said it fired missiles against a weapons depot, with the subsequent explosion of ammunition triggering a fire in a nearby shopping mall. The Group of Seven leaders had condemned the attack as a “war crime", saying Russian President Putin and those responsible would be held to account. *) G7 vows to stand with Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes' G7 leaders have pledged to continue supporting Ukraine "for as long as it takes" in the face of the Russian onslaught. In a statement from the G7 summit in Germany, the group said they would continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine. They also urged Moscow to allow grain shipments to leave Ukraine. *) Dozens found dead in trailer in US state of Texas At least 46 migrants have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer in the US state of Texas. The cause of death was indicated as suffocation. The incident appears to be one of the most deadly recent incidents of human smuggling along the US-Mexico border. A local fire department official said 16 people, including 12 adults and four children, were transported to the hospital. Police said three people were detained. *) Toxic gas explosion at Jordan's Aqaba port A toxic gas explosion has killed at least 10 people and injured more than 250 in Jordan's Aqaba port. A container of 30 tonnes of toxic gas plunged from a crane on a moored vessel as an iron rope that was carrying it broke, resulting in the escape of the poisonous substance. Officials said specialists and the civil defence were dealing with the incident. Nearby areas were evacuated and residents told to stay indoors. *) Tokyo faces worst June heatwave since 1875 Japan's capital Tokyo has faced the worst heatwave for June in more than 150 years. The city saw three successive days of temperatures topping 35C, marking the worst streak of hot weather in June since records began in 1875. At least two people are believed to have died from heatstroke, media said, as the number of hospitalisation cases from heat stroke rose. Authorities asked residents in the Tokyo area to conserve electricity to avoid a looming power cut. #Russia #Ukraine #G7 #texas #Smuggling #migrants #Jordan #Explosion #Tokyo #heatwave
*) Ukraine urges G7 to provide more weapons The Ukrainian government has urged G7 leaders to provide more weapons to Kiev and impose further sanctions against Moscow. "G7 summit must respond with more sanctions on Russia and more heavy arms for Ukraine. Russia's sick imperialism must be defeated," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. The call comes as Russia steps up its offensive in Ukraine and the world's seven leading economies gather in Germany to discuss the conflict-related food and energy crises. *) Russia ‘defaults' on foreign debt Russia looks set for its first sovereign default in a century as a grace period of 30 days expired on payments of 100 million dollars in interest on two bonds. Some bondholders say they have not received overdue interest, while the Kremlin has repeatedly said there are no grounds for Russia to default. Moscow says it is unable to pay bondholders because of sanctions, accusing the West of trying to drive it into an "artificial default". *) G7 launches $600B project to counter China The United States has announced a G7 project to rival China's Belt and Road Initiative. "Together with G7 partners, we aim to mobilise $600 billion by 2027 in global infrastructure investments in poor countries,” said the White House. The plan will target countries desperately needing everything, from roads to harbours, and that have until now often relied on the Chinese. *) African Union calls for probe after migrants die The African Union has called for an immediate investigation into the deaths of dozens of migrants trying to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla. The AU commission chairperson reminded “all countries of their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to prioritise their safety". Around 2,000 migrants, many from Sudan, tried to cross the militarised border between Morocco and Spain on Friday and were met with force. Moroccan authorities said at least 23 people died in the violence. And finally… *) Lockdown for Australian bees as pest detected near port Beehives in southeast Australia have gone under lockdown as authorities race to prevent the spread of a potentially devastating parasite plague. The Varroa Mite was detected at the Port of Newcastle, prompting authorities to throw up a strict biosecurity zone to stop the spread. Keepers inside the 50-kilometre biosecurity zone will not be able to move hives, bees, honey or comb until further notice. The tiny red-brown mites attack and feed on honey bees, killing entire colonies.
*) US welcomes Türkiye's efforts in Ukraine grain The United States welcomes Türkiye's involvement in brokering an agreement to get grain out of Ukraine, John Kirby, the national security spokesman said. Kirby said that the US is working with allies and partners to get some grain out of Ukraine, exports that have been thwarted by Russia's incursion on Ukraine. *) Athens fuels up crisis with naval base expansion in Crete Island Athens is ramping up its ongoing armament programme, with plans to step up the military buildup on the island of Crete and upgrade its arsenal, according to a Greek media report. Greece will allocate about $200 million to upgrade and expand a naval base at Souda Bay, the daily Kathimerini reported. Greek Defense Minister informed the Parliamentary Committee on Defense Affairs about the additional allocation for the naval base, the report said. *) Tunisia's police arrest former PM Jebali over money laundering allegations Tunisian police arrested former prime minister Hamadi Jebali, who is also a former senior member of the Ennahda party, on suspicion of money laundering, his lawyer said. Police in the city of Sousse seized Jebali's phone and his wife's phone and took him to an unknown location, according to a statement by his family. Jebali's arrest raises opposition concerns over human rights record since President Kais Saied seized control of executive power last year. *) UK Tory party chairman resigns after twin by-election losses The chairman of Britain's ruling Conservatives quit after the party lost two parliamentary by-elections. Oliver Dowden wrote in a resignation letter to Prime Minister and Tory leader Boris Johnson that party's supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings. He added, "We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, it would not be right for me to remain in office." And finally… *) FIFA increases squad limit to 26 players for 2022 Qatar World Cup FIFA will allow countries to select up to 26 players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, increasing the maximum squad size by three for the tournament. FIFA stated, "The number of players to be included on the final list has been increased to at least 23 and a maximum of 26.” World football's governing body said the decision to expand squads was made "given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing" of this year's competition.
*) Casualties soar as Afghanistan reels from deadliest earthquake in decades A powerful earthquake devastated a rural, mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 1,150 people and injuring 1,600 more. The magnitude 6.1 temblor hit near the Pakistan border, but quakes of that strength can cause severe damage in areas where buildings are poorly constructed. Rescue workers continue clearing the rubble to release the injured and recover bodies. *) Ukraine crisis sounds alarm for humanity — China The conflict in Ukraine has “sounded an alarm for humanity,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said, as China continues to assume a position of neutrality while backing its ally Russia. “Countries will surely end up in security hardships if they place blind faith in their positions of strength, expand military alliances, and seek their own safety at the expense of others," Xi said. In other comments, Xi said imposing sanctions could act as a “boomerang” and a “double-edged sword,” and that the global community would suffer from “politicising, mechanising and weaponising” global economic trends and financial flows. *) Türkiye, Saudi Arabia stress 'new era of cooperation' in boost to ties Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared their determination to launch a new era of cooperation in bilateral ties, including in the political, economic, military, security and cultural spheres. According to a joint declaration, the leaders emphasised the countries' determination to start a new era of comprehensive cooperation in many areas. Ankara and Riyadh decided to deepen consultation and cooperation in regional issues to strengthen stability and peace, it said. *) UN: Greece creates 'atmosphere of fear' for migrants, rights organisations Human rights defenders in Greece are “under severe pressure” while trying to protect the refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in the country, the UN human rights body said. “Geopolitical circumstances and a lack of support by the EU have led to questions being posed of Greece that many other States have not been asked concerning migration,” Commenting on the difficulties faced by the human rights defenders in Greece, UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor said that the government's current approach creates an “atmosphere of fear – particularly a fear of criminalisation.” And finally… *) Musk 'losing billions of dollars' in Berlin, Austin Tesla factories Tesla's new car factories in Texas and Berlin are "losing billions of dollars" as they struggle to increase production because of a shortage of batteries and China port issues. Chief Executive Elon Musk said "Both Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces right now.” adding, “It's really like a giant roaring sound, which is the sound of money on fire," Musk also said he expected Tesla would start production of its Cybertruck electric pickup trucks in mid-2023.
*) East Ukraine weathers bombardment Russian attacks have laid down a curtain of fire across areas of eastern Ukraine where pockets of resistance are denying Moscow full military control of the region. The governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region described the situation saying “everything that can burn is on fire.” The Russian military currently controls about 95 percent of the Luhansk region, but Moscow has struggled for weeks to overrun it completely. *) East Afghanistan earthquake A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has shaken parts of densely populated Afghanistan. The country's state-run news agency reported that at least 255 people have been killed in the east. The quake struck about 44 kilometres from the city of Khost in eastern Afghanistan at a depth of 51 kilometres. *) Saudi crown prince to meet President Erdogan Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is visiting Türkiye for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to further strengthen ties between the regional powers. Erdogan has told reporters that Crown Prince bin Salman's visit to the capital Ankara would see discussions on taking bilateral relations to a much higher level. Energy, economy, trade, defence cooperation and tourism are expected to be at the top of the agenda and new agreements are also expected to be signed. Relations between Ankara and Riyadh had seen a drop in recent years due to political tensions, but both countries are now seeking to revive ties. *) US landmark gun safety bill US Senate negotiators on gun legislation have released a landmark gun safety bill to address mass shootings. The 80-page bill will be encouraging state red flag laws, enhancing mental health services, and adding juvenile records to background checks on gun buyers. The measure does not go as far as Democrats including President Joe Biden had sought. But, if passed, it would still be the most significant action to combat gun violence to emerge from the US Congress in years. And finally… *) Conflicts push millions of children out of school The number of children forced out of school or who have seen their education disrupted in conflict-torn countries has nearly tripled in six years to 222 million. That is up from 75 million children estimated to be in the same situation in 2016, the United Nations global fund for education found in a fresh report. A full 78.2 million of the children are estimated to be completely out of school due to often protracted conflicts and emergencies. 54 percent of them are girls, while 17 percent are children with disabilities, the report found.
*) Russian journalist auctions Nobel Peace Prize Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov has auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize gold medal for 103 million dollars to benefit children displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. Muratov donated all of the proceeds from the sale of the medal to UNICEF's Humanitarian Response for Ukrainian Children Displaced by War. The Nobel prize was snapped up by an as yet unidentified phone bidder according to Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale. *) Russian television broadcasting in southern Ukraine Television towers in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson have been reconfigured to broadcast Russian television as Moscow's offensive in Ukraine enters its 118th day. The Russian armed forces said they had "reconfigured the last of the seven television towers to broadcast Russian television channels" for free. In Ukraine's southern Kherson region, the Russian army has already introduced the rouble and begun distributing Russian passports as well. *) Macron to host French opposition party leaders French President Emmanuel Macron will host political party chiefs in a bid to break the impasse created by the failure of his coalition to win a majority in parliamentary elections. In a rare encounter, Macron will host Marine Le Pen, his rival in presidential elections and leader of the far-right National Rally. He will also meet with right-wing, Socialist and Communist party chiefs, while the far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon is not scheduled to do so. The meetings are the first attempts by Macron to extract himself from a situation that risks wrecking his second-term reform plans. *) PKK supporters hold demonstration in Sweden A group of supporters of the PKK terror group has held a demonstration in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, calling on Sweden to impose an arms embargo on Türkiye. Reacting to the development, Mikail Yuksel, chairman of the Party of Different Colors in Sweden, said "the Swedish government says it considers the PKK a terrorist organisation, but implements a two-faced policy." The protest came as negotiations about Finland and Sweden's NATO bids and Türkiye's security concerns continued. Türkiye objects to the membership bids, criticising Finland and Sweden for supporting the PKK terror group, which has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people across the country. *) Biggest rail strike in 30 years brings UK to standstill UK's biggest rail strike in three decades kicks off as tens of thousands of staff walk out in a dispute over pay and jobs. Picket lines appeared at dawn and will be lined by some of the more than 40,000 rail workers who are due to strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, bringing the network to a standstill. Unions have said the rail strikes could mark the start of a "summer of discontent", with teachers, medics, waste disposal workers and even barristers moving towards industrial action over surging prices.
*) Zelenskyy warns of Russian 'hostile activity' Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia is likely to intensify its offensive this week. "Obviously, this week we should expect from Russia an intensification of its hostile activities," Zelenskyy said. Ukraine applied to join the EU four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. The European Commission recommended last Friday that Ukraine receive candidate status. Leaders of the 27-nation union will consider the question at a summit this week. *) China's oil imports from Russia soar to a record China's crude oil imports from Russia have soared 55 percent from a year earlier to a record level in May, displacing Saudi Arabia as the top supplier. Imports of Russian oil totalled nearly 8.42 million tonnes, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed. Russia took back the top ranking after a gap of 19 months as refiners of the world's biggest crude oil importer cashed in on discounted supplies amid sanctions on Moscow. *) Macron's alliance loses majority French President Emmanuel Macron's Together alliance has lost its majority in the French parliament, winning 245 seats in the 577-member chamber in elections. The outcome, well short of the 289 seats needed for an overall majority, severely tarnished Macron's April presidential election victory. The setback for the French president could throw the country into political paralysis unless Macron is able to negotiate alliances with other parties. *) Colombia elects Petro as new president Ex-guerrilla Gustavo Petro has been elected the first ever left-wing president of Colombia, after beating millionaire businessman Rodolfo Hernandez. With all votes counted, Petro beat Hernandez with an unexpectedly wide margin of more than 700,000 votes. Petro has pledged to fight inequality with free university education, pension reforms and high taxes on unproductive land. And finally… *) Russian journalist sells Nobel Prize for Ukrainian children Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov is set to auction off his Nobel Peace Prize medal to help children displaced by the Ukraine conflict. Muratov said the idea of the donation “is to give the children refugees a chance for a future.” As of early Monday morning, the highest bid was $550,000. The purchase price is expected to spiral upward, possibly into the millions. Muratov will donate proceeds directly to UNICEF.
*) EU to give fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine membership bid The European Commission meets on Friday to give its fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine's EU bid, a step closer to membership for the country battling Russia's forces. The meeting comes a day after French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian premier Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis visited Kiev. They met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who later promised that Ukraine was ready to put in the work to become an EU member. *) Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, injure eight others in raid At least three Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli raid in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Eight others were injured in the raid, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement. Eyewitnesses said Israel's forces opened fire on a vehicle with four Palestinians. After the incident, Israeli soldiers targeted protesting Palestinians with live ammunition and tear gas grenades. *) Covid vaccines, food, fisheries figure in WTO's deals package The World Trade Organisation has concluded hard-won deals on fishing subsidies, food insecurity and Covid-19 vaccines in a landmark bundle of agreements. WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the trade ministers' conference had struck an "unprecedented package of deliverables" which would "make a difference". The conference also agreed on deals on e-commerce, responding to pandemics and reforming the organisation itself. *) Two dead, one wounded in another US shooting A shooting at a church during a potluck dinner has left two people dead and one wounded in the US state of Alabama. The incident took place at St Stephen's Episcopal Church in the town of Vestavia Hills and a suspect was taken in custody, the town's police department said. The US is in the midst of a gruesome chapter of its gun violence epidemic. On May 24, a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers. And finally… *) Azteca Stadium, Los Angeles among 2026 World Cup venues Mexico City's iconic Azteca Stadium and the Los Angeles Rams' multi-billion-dollar SoFi Stadium are among 16 venues to stage games at the 2026 World Cup. The tournament will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It will be the first ever World Cup shared between three nations and also the first to feature 48 teams. At a televised announcement in New York, officials confirmed 11 US cities as host venues, along with three venues in Mexico and two in Canada.
*) Biden announces $1 billion in new military aid for Ukraine US President Joe Biden has announced a new package of arms and ammunition for Kiev after speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the phone. The package of $1 billion includes howitzers, ammunition, anti-ship missile systems and additional rockets for new artillery systems that Ukraine will soon put in the field. Biden said "the US will stand by Ukraine as it defends its democracy" against a Russian onslaught. Zelenskyy said he was "grateful" for the new American arms package. *) Xi assures Putin of China's support for Russian 'sovereignty, security' Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of Beijing's support for Moscow on "sovereignty and security" during a phone call. Xi praised the "good momentum of development" in bilateral ties since the start of the year "in the face of global turmoil and changes", state broadcaster CCTV reported. It was the second reported call between the two leaders since Putin launched his offensive against Ukraine on February 24th. *) Police: Amazon fisherman confesses to killing missing pair A fisherman has confessed to killing a British journalist and an Indigenous expert in Brazil's remote Amazon, taking police to a site where human remains were recovered. The development closes out 10 days of suspense as teams searched for the missing pair. Authorities say that more arrests would be made soon in the case. Dom Phillips and his guide Bruno Pereira went missing June 5th in a remote part of the Amazon that is rife with crimes including illegal mining as well as drug trafficking. *) US Fed announces biggest interest rate hike since 1994 The US Federal Reserve has announced the most aggressive interest rate increase in nearly 30 years in a battle to drive down surging inflation. After the 0.75-percentage-point hike, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said it was "essential" to lower inflation and that the goal was to achieve that without derailing the economy. The Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee raised the benchmark borrowing rate to a range of 1.5-1.75 percent, up from zero at the start of the year. And finally… *) Netflix seeks recruits for real-life 'Squid Game' Netflix is looking for recruits to compete in a real-life "Squid Game". The worst fate for a contestant will be going home empty-handed — unlike in the original, ultra-violent show. With the largest cast in reality TV history, 456 real players will enter the game in pursuit of a life-changing cash prize of $4.56 million, the streaming platform said. "Squid Game: The Challenge" is looking for English-speakers from around the globe, aged at least 21 and free to travel for up to a month in early 2023.
*) Ukraine's need for more weapons major focus as defence ministers meet Defence ministers from NATO and other parts of the world will meet in Brussels on Wednesday where they are expected to discuss weapon deliveries to Ukraine. Ukraine seeks a significant increase in arms to help hold off Russian troops. Kiev says it needs 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1,000 drones, among other heavy weapons. Western countries have promised NATO-standard weapons, including advanced US rockets. But deploying them is taking time. *) UK Rwanda asylum-seeker flight cancelled after European court ruling A first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of a controversial UK policy has been cancelled due to a last-minute ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. British Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was disappointed that the legal challenge meant the plane did not take off, but vowed to pursue the heavily criticised policy. The flight cancellation is seen as an embarrassment for the government after it insisted the Kigali-bound plane would leave no matter how many people were on board. *) WHO to assess if monkeypox an international health emergency The World Health Organisation will hold a meeting to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. The emergency committee will meet on June 23 to discuss the designation, which is the highest alarm. The UN agency is also working to change the name of the disease. The announcement comes after more than 30 scientists wrote that there was an "urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising nomenclature for monkeypox". *) Ethiopia sets up committee for Tigray peace negotiations Ethiopia's federal government has formed a committee to negotiate with forces from the rebellious northern region of Tigray. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has confirmed the key step towards peace negotiations. The committee has 10 to 15 days to hammer out details of negotiations. The nearly two-year conflict in Ethiopia has displaced more than nine million people, plunged parts of Tigray into famine conditions and killed thousands of civilians. And finally… *) Emotional BTS tell fans they're taking a break to 'figure things out' Members of K-pop supergroup BTS have announced they are taking an indefinite break from one of the world's most popular acts to focus on solo pursuits. They have cited exhaustion and the pressures of success in an emotional video appearance. The seven members, credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy, dropped the bombshell at a group dinner. The video was posted on YouTube.
*) Fierce fighting in Ukraine's Donbass region President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the battle for the eastern Donbass will go down as one of the most brutal in European history. The region, comprising the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, is claimed by Russian separatists. Zelenskyy said "for us, the price of this battle is very high. It is just scary," adding, "we draw the attention of our partners daily to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage." *) Sievierodonetsk under siege Russian forces have laid siege to the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, destroying the last bridges into the industrial hub. The cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk have been targeted for weeks as the last areas in the eastern Donbass region of Luhansk still under Ukrainian control. Ukraine's forces had been pushed back from Sievierodonetsk's centre after a weeks-long Russian offensive, said regional governor Sergei Gaidai. *) Türkiye to start transferring gas from Black Sea in early 2023 Türkiye will start transferring 10 million cubic metres of natural gas daily from the Sakarya Gas Field in the Black Sea to the national transmission system in the first quarter of 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. First gas transmission is planned to be delivered through a 150-kilometre-long subsea pipeline that Türkiye will construct to run from the field to onshore where it will be connected to the national gas grid. Türkiye sees energy as "the key to regional cooperation, and not an area of tension and conflict," Erdogan said. *) UK to send first refugees to Rwanda The British government is preparing to send a first plane carrying failed asylum seekers to Rwanda despite legal bids and protests against the controversial policy. A chartered plane was to leave one of London's airports overnight and land in Kigali on Tuesday, campaigners said on Monday, after UK judges rejected an appeal against the deportations. Claimants had argued that a decision on the policy should have waited until a full hearing on the legality of the policy next month. And finally… *) Hollywood stars seek responsible on-screen gun depictions Hollywood stars including Amy Schumer, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo have signed a letter, calling for movies and television shows to depict responsible gun ownership and to limit scenes involving children with firearms. The open letter penned in response to recent US mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, was also signed by top producers J.J. Abrams ("Lost"), Shonda Rhimes ("Bridgerton") and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.
*) Ukrainian, Russian forces fight for 'every metre' in Sievierodonetsk Ukrainian and Russian forces are fighting for "literally every metre" in Sievierodonetsk, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says, as fighting intensified in an eastern region where the country's top commander said the land "is covered in blood". Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk have been targeted for weeks as the last areas in the Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. Russia's massed artillery in that region gave it a tenfold advantage, said Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian military. But, "despite everything, we continue to hold positions", he said. *) Amnesty alleges Russia killed hundreds in Kharkiv 'war crimes' Amnesty International has accused Russia of "war crimes" in Ukraine, saying attacks on Kharkiv, many using banned cluster bombs, had killed hundreds of civilians. The rights group said in a report on Ukraine's second biggest city: “The repeated bombardments of residential neighbourhoods in Kharkiv are indiscriminate, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians, and as such constitute war crimes." *) US Senators announce tentative deal on gun control A bipartisan group of US Senators has announced the outline of a deal on gun control. The plan for legislation includes support for tougher criminal background checks for gun buyers -- but only those younger than 21 -- and a crackdown on illegal gun purchases. Senators also want to see more funding for mental health care and school security. Calls for stricter gun control have grown after a recent string of mass shootings. *) Macron party neck and neck with leftists in parliamentary vote French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance appears to be slightly ahead in the first round of parliamentary elections. The Left has been gaining on him, throwing into serious doubt whether Macron will be able to secure a majority in parliament. If not, that would make it virtually impossible to drive through his reform agenda. And, voter abstention in this round was at an all-time high, nearly 53 percent. And, finally… *) Justin Bieber suffering from partial facial paralysis Justin Bieber says a rare disorder that paralysed half of the superstar performer's face is the reason behind his tour postponement. The multi-Grammy winner is suffering from Ramsay Hunt syndrome, he said in video he posted on Friday on Instagram. The syndrome causes facial paralysis and affects nerves in the face through a shingles outbreak.
*) British, Moroccan fighters captured in Ukraine sentenced to death Pro-Moscow separatists have sentenced to death two British fighters and a Moroccan, who were captured by Russian troops while fighting for Ukraine. A court in self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ordered the death penalty after the three were accused of acting as mercenaries, Russian news agencies reported. The three men will appeal the decision. Ukraine has dismissed the proceedings as "placing propaganda interests above the law". *) US Capitol riot probe puts Trump at heart of 'attempted coup' A House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol has laid the blame firmly on Donald Trump. It said the assault was hardly spontaneous but an “attempted coup”, and a direct result of the defeated president's effort to overturn the 2020 election. Thursday's session and five subsequent hearings will focus on Trump's role in the multi-pronged effort to return him to the Oval Office by disenfranchising millions of voters. *) UN elects new council members including Japan, Switzerland UN member nations have elected five countries to join the powerful UN Security Council, which focuses on matters of international peace and security. Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland have made the cut in a secret ballot vote in the 193-member General Assembly. Their terms will start on January 1. They will join the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France — the five veto-wielding permanent members of the council. As well as five others elected last year. *) IAEA: Iran removal of monitoring cameras may scupper nuclear talks The UN atomic energy watchdog has said that Iran is removing 27 surveillance cameras at its nuclear facilities, warning it could be a "fatal blow" to talks to revive a 2015 deal. Talks began last year to bring the US back into that nuclear deal, after then president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018. But dialogue has been stalled since March. An International Atomic Energy Agency resolution has recently censured Iran over lack of cooperation. Tehran has condemned the move and removed some of the surveillance cameras. And, finally… *) Grammys set to introduce new award categories The 2023 Grammy Awards will feature new honours, including for the year's best video game soundtrack and Songwriter of the Year. In a significant change, the Songwriter of the Year prize will not be open to performing or producing artists, but rather focus on working songwriters who receive little recognition. Artists will also be able to submit their work for Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Americana Performance and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.
*) Moscow 'ready to ensure' safe passage of ships leaving Ukrainian ports Moscow is ready to ensure the safe passage of vessels from Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said amid concerns over grain stuck in Ukrainian ports. Lavrov also said Moscow would not use the situation surrounding grain shipments in and around the Black Sea to advance its military operation in Ukraine. He was addressing a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara. Cavusoglu said a United Nations plan to restart Ukrainian grain exports along a sea corridor was "reasonable" and requires more talks. *) In a first, China and Russia defend North Korea vetoes at UN China and Russia have defended their vetoes of a strongly backed US resolution that would have imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea. China and Russia reiterated their opposition to more sanctions, blaming the US for tensions on the Korean peninsula while backing dialogue with North Korea. Their defence came at a debate held under new rules requiring the UN General Assembly to examine any veto wielded in the Security Council by one of its five permanent members. *) Algeria suspends 2002 friendship pact with Spain, bans imports Algeria has announced it will suspend a two-decade-old friendship treaty with Spain and ban all imports from the European country. Algeria alleged that Spain was abusing its role as an "administrating power" in Western Sahara and "contributing directly to the degradation of the situation" in the region. Spain's government said it regretted Algeria's decision and reaffirmed its commitment to the friendship treaty. *) IAEA adopts anti-Iran resolution The International Atomic Energy Agency has adopted a resolution criticising Iran for refusing to provide answers about uranium traces at three undeclared sites. The 35-member IAEA Board of Governors passed the resolution with 30 votes in favour. Russia and China voted against it, while India, Libya and Pakistan abstained. Meanwhile, Iran turned off two surveillance devices used by UN inspectors to monitor its uranium enrichment, as talks between Tehran and world powers on a nuclear deal remain stalled. And, finally… *) 'Unburnable' copy of Handmaid's Tale auctioned for $130,000 A specially commissioned, unburnable edition of Margaret Atwood's “The Handmaid's Tale" has been auctioned for $130,000, Sotheby's has announced. Proceeds will be donated to PEN America, which advocates for free expression worldwide. The 384-page book consists mainly of Cinefoil, a specially treated aluminium product, and was announced last month at PEN's annual fundraising gala.
*) Russia draws closer to capture of Ukraine's Donbass region Russia is drawing closer to its goal of fully capturing Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories. The Kremlin has claimed to have taken control of 97% of one of the two provinces that make up the eastern Donbass region. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says that Moscow's forces hold nearly all of Luhansk province. Russia is also believed to be occupying roughly half of Donetsk province. *) World Bank slashes 2022 global growth forecast to 2.9% The World Bank has slashed its growth estimate for the global economy to 2.9 percent, 1.2 percentage points below the January forecast. The world is expected to experience its sharpest deceleration following an initial recovery from global recession in more than 80 years, the bank has said in a report. Growth recovered to 5.7 percent in 2021 following disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. But the Russian offensive against Ukraine has caused a severe downturn. *) Ending Israel's occupation key to halting violence: UN report UN investigators have blamed Israel's continued occupation and discrimination against Palestinians for the endless cycles of violence in the decades-long conflict. A team of investigators, appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to probe "all underlying root causes" in the conflict, has pointed the finger squarely at Israel. Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the report "a waste of money and effort" that amounted to a witch hunt. *) US stresses allied cooperation in face of North Korea threats US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has met with her counterparts from South Korea and Japan. Sherman has emphasised the US commitment to defend its allies and trilateral security cooperation. The top-level meeting comes amid apprehensions that North Korea is pressing ahead with preparations for its first nuclear test explosion in nearly five years. And, finally… *) Ice skating governing body raises minimum age to 17 Ice skaters will have to be at least 17 to take part in senior competitions after the governing body voted to raise the minimum age from 15. The decision by the International Skating Union came months after a drugs scandal at the Beijing Winter Olympics involving then 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. A hundred countries voted to support the new measure, while only 16 opposed. Jan Dijkema, the skating union's president, called the decision historic.
*) Russia sanctions dozens of US citizens Russia's Foreign Ministry has said that it is imposing sanctions on 61 US nationals. It said the move was being taken "in response to the ever-expanding US sanctions against Russian political and public figures, as well as representatives of domestic business." The list includes US officials and former and current top managers of large American companies, such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. *) UK providing Kiev with 'exactly' the right weapons Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the United Kingdom has been providing weapons Kiev needs to fight Russia. Britain, in coordination with the United States, will supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away as part of a new UK military aid for Kiev. *) Johnson survives no-confidence vote Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has narrowly survived a confidence vote instigated by members of his own party. Johnson wins backing of 211 out of 359 Conservative lawmakers, more than simple majority needed to remain in power, but still sees a significant rebellion of 148 MPs. The simmering discontent with Johnson is a result of his participation in illegal parties during the coronavirus lockdown. The so-called Partygate scandal led to a daming report and Johnson becoming the first serving British Prime Minister to have broken the law. *) Iran close to making nuclear bomb The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog says Iran is "very close" to enriching nuclear material to required levels for nuclear weapons. He stressed the need to work with the country to combat its "very ambitious nuclear programme". The IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told journalists in Vienna that there is evidence that suggests Iran is continuing to develop new centrifuges. And, finally… *) Türkiye's Cappadocia hosts 1M tourists Türkiye's globally renowned Cappadocia region in the central Nevsehir province has attracted one million tourists in the first five months of this year. A total of 1.03 million domestic and international visitors came to explore the charming touristic hub, famed for its distinctive fairy chimneys, underground cities, cave hotels, and hot air balloon rides. While it hosted over 1.1 million visitors in the same period of 2019, the number of tourists who visited Cappadocia decreased drastically in 2020, to around 323,000, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
*) Putin warns the West Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the West against sending long-range missile systems to Ukraine. His warning came as Russian forces claimed to have destroyed Western military supplies in their first such air strikes on Ukraine's capital in more than a month. Putin said all this fuss around additional deliveries of weapons to Ukraine has only one goal, that is, to drag out the armed conflict as much as possible. *) UK to give Ukraine long-range missile systems Britain says it will mirror the United States and send long-range missile systems to Ukraine. The UK Ministry of Defence said London has coordinated closely with Washington over its gift of the multiple-launch rocket systems to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. *) Dozens dead in Nigeria attack Nigerian officials say at least 50 people are dead, and dozens of others are injured in Nigeria's southwestern Ondo State after gunmen opened fire inside a church. The attackers entered the church as the service got under way, firing live rounds on congregants before detonating explosives that were already planted inside. People who managed to escape were also shot by attackers waiting outside. Authorities have accused nomadic herdsmen of carrying out the attack as a warning to the local governor. *) Deadly fire in Bangladesh A massive fire swept through an inland container depot in southeastern Bangladesh, killing at least 49 people and injuring more than 300, local officials say. The fire broke out at a container facility early on Saturday at Sitakunda, 40 kilometres from the port city of Chittagong, triggering multiple container explosions after a huge blast at the site. The death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition, according to civil service officials. And, finally… *) Zendaya's 'Euphoria' and 'Spider-Man' win at MTV awards Zendaya dominated the MTV Movie and TV Awards as her teen drama "Euphoria" and big-screen superhero blockbuster "Spider-Man: No Way Home" were voted best show and best movie respectively. Zendaya won best performance in a show for "Euphoria," HBO's often bleak and hard-hitting look at modern teen life, which also won offbeat awards for "best fight". "Spider-Man: No Way Home" - by far the biggest box office hit since the pandemic - won best movie. The film has earned almost $1.9 billion worldwide, and is the third -biggest hit for domestic theaters ever.
*) Russia's offensive in Ukraine enters 100th day as fighting rages Ukraine has marked 100 days of Russia's offensive as fighting rages across the east of the country and Moscow's forces tighten their grip on Donbass. The sombre milestone came on Friday as Kiev announced Moscow was now in control of a fifth of Ukrainian territory. This includes Crimea and parts of Donbass seized in 2014. Following White House talks with US President Joe Biden, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that Ukraine's allies needed to brace for a gruelling "war of attrition". *) Biden makes emotional appeal for action on gun violence US President Joe Biden has made a fervent appeal for lawmakers to pass tougher gun control laws, including a ban on assault weapons. Biden made the address with 56 lighted candles arrayed along a corridor behind him, representing US states and territories suffering from gun violence. After a spate of deadly attacks, Biden condemned the refusal of a majority of Republican senators to support tougher laws. *) Yemen's warring parties agree to renew two-month truce Yemen's warring parties have agreed to renew a nationwide truce for another two months, a rare bright spot for a country plagued by eight years of war. The ceasefire between Yemen's internationally recognised government and the Houthi rebels first came into effect on April 2nd. The new announcement came just a few hours before the original truce was set to expire. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg welcomed the move. *) Four Kenyans shot dead in protest against dangerous wildlife Four protesters have been shot dead during a demonstration in Kenya against threats posed by wildlife. Protesters blocked a highway and clashed with security forces, resulting in Thursday's fatal shootings, authorities said. Police are set to investigate the incident. Residents have repeatedly called on the Kenya Wildlife Service to find a solution to conflicts between people and animals. Farmers are upset that elephants destroy their crops and at times kill people. *) Rolex worn by prisoner during WWII 'Great Escape' up for auction A Rolex watch worn by a British prisoner during a daring escape from a Nazi concentration camp is going on sale in New York. The watch was worn by RAF Flight Lieutenant Gerald Imeson on March 24, 1944, when a group of Allied soldiers undertook the escape. Christie's said the steel watch with a black luminous dial and hands was "instrumental in the planning and execution" of their bid for freedom. The company expects the timepiece to fetch between $200,000 and $400,000 at the June 9 auction.
*) Zelenskyy: Russia forcefully took 200,000 Ukrainian children Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has alleged that 200,000 children are among the Ukrainians who have been forcefully taken to Russia. They include children from orphanages, children taken with their parents and those separated from their families, he said. In a video address, Zelenskyy called it a "criminal policy". He alleged that the purpose of the move "is not just to steal people but to make those who are deported forget about Ukraine and unable to return". *) Gunman kills four at Tulsa hospital in new US mass shooting: Police A gunman has killed at least four people at a hospital campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police said. It was the latest in a string of deadly assaults by gunmen in America. The suspect, who was armed with a rifle and a handgun, was killed in Wednesday's attack at the St. Francis Health System hospital campus. The incident comes close on the heels of an 18-year-old gunman killing 21 people, including 19 young children, at an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde. *) Erdogan: Türkiye, Pakistan to boost cooperation at all levels Türkiye and Pakistan are determined to increase bilateral cooperation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. He said the two sides have comprehensively discussed relations as well as regional and global issues. He was addressing a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Ankara. Türkiye and Pakistan are ready to further strengthen ties "with a strategic perspective in line with the history, friendship and potential of the two countries", Erdogan added. *) Tunisia's Saied sacks 57 judges Tunisia's president has sacked 57 judges, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists in a purge of the judiciary. In a televised address, President Kais Saied said on Wednesday he had "given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself". Last summer, Saied dismissed the government and seized executive power in a move his critics called a coup. And, finally… *) Depp jubilant, Heard 'heartbroken' after split defamation verdict A US jury has found both Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard liable for defamation, but sided more strongly with Depp following an intense trial. The seven-member jury in Virginia awarded the 58-year-old actor $15 million in damages after finding that a 2018 article penned by Heard was defamatory to Depp. The jury also found that Depp had made defamatory claims against the 36-year-old Heard and awarded her compensatory damages — but a much lower amount of $2 million.
*) US to send Ukraine advanced weapons President Joe Biden has said the United States will send more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine to help it fight off Russia's forces. A US official said the weapons being sent are High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, which have precision-guided munitions and a longer range than those currently deployed by Ukraine. While some analysts suggest they could be a "game-changer", others say they should not be expected to suddenly turn the tables for Ukrainian forces facing heavy Russian fire in the east. *) Cavusoglu: Lavrov to visit Türkiye for talks on Ukraine exports Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Türkiye for talks on unblocking grain exports from Ukraine, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said. Cavusoglu said Lavrov — accompanied by a military delegation — will arrive in Türkiye on June 8 "for talks on the issue of opening a security corridor" in the Black Sea. Dozens of ships are blocked in Ukrainian ports that are surrounded by Russian forces, choking off exports of wheat, sunflower oil and other foodstuffs. *) Australia PM Albanese gets a diverse cabinet Australia's new ministry has been sworn into office with a record 13 women. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's cabinet also includes religious minorities and Indigenous Aboriginals. Youth Minister Anne Aly is Australia's first female Muslim minister, while Industry Minister Ed Husic is another Muslim face in the government. Linda Burney became the first Aboriginal woman to hold the Indigenous Australians ministry. *) Hurricane kills 11, leaves 20 missing in south Mexico Hurricane Agatha has caused flooding and mudslides that have killed at least 11 people and left 20 missing in Mexico's southern state of Oaxaca. Officials said rivers overflowed their banks and swept away people in homes, while other victims were buried under mud and rocks. Agatha was the strongest hurricane ever recorded to come ashore in May during the eastern Pacific hurricane season. It made landfall on Monday, but quickly lost power as it moved inland. *) Nadal downs Djokovic to reach 15th French Open semi-final Rafael Nadal has edged a classic against old rival Novak Djokovic in four sets to reach his 15th French Open semi-final. The 13-time Roland Garros champion won the pair's 59th career meeting 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) after a four-hour-and-12-minute quarter-final. "I'm very emotional. For me it's incredible to play here," the 35-year-old said, sealing his eighth victory in 10 French Open matches against last year's winner, Djokovic.
*) Russian forces face stiff resistance in Ukraine's Donbass A Moscow-backed separatist leader has said that Russian forces had not advanced as rapidly as they had hoped in the battle for Sievierodonetsk. Russia has been seeking to seize the entire Donbass region, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk, which Moscow claims on behalf of separatist proxies. Capturing the easternmost city of Sievierodonetsk would give Moscow effective control of Luhansk and allow the Kremlin to declare some form of victory after more than three months of the conflict. *) EU agrees ban on 'more than 2/3' of Russian oil imports European Union leaders have reached a compromise to impose a partial oil embargo on Russia at a summit focused on helping Ukraine with a delayed package of sanctions that was blocked by Hungary. The watered-down embargo covers only Russian oil brought in by sea, allowing a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline. EU Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter the agreement covers more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, "cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine…” *) Nepal recovers all bodies from site of plane crash Civil aviation authorities in Nepal have said they recovered the last body from the wreckage site of a small passenger plane carrying 22 people that went missing over the weekend. "We have found the last missing body," Deo Chandra Lal, a spokesperson for Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority said. Lal also said preliminary investigations have found that the cause of the crash could be "adverse weather conditions." *) Biden to meet Fed chair as inflation bites pocketbooks President Joe Biden is set to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as soaring inflation takes a bite out of Americans' pocketbooks. The meeting will be the first since Biden renominated Powell to lead the central bank and comes weeks after his confirmation for a second term by the Senate. The White House said the pair would discuss the state of the US and global economy and especially inflation, described as Biden's “top economic priority." And, finally… *) 3,400-year-old city discovered in northern Iraq Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient city dating back to the Mittani Empire around 3,400 years ago in the Tigris River in Duhok province, Iraq. Bekes Birifkani, director of historical artifacts and culture in the province explained that the area was inhabited until 1985, before the Mosul Dam was built in 1990, leaving the area submerged under water. Noting that more than 2,000 historical sites have been discovered in the city so far, Birifkani said this year's excavations also yielded important results.
*) Russia damaged 1997 Founding Act by attacking Ukraine – NATO NATO is no longer bound by past commitments to hold back from deploying its forces in eastern Europe, the US-led alliance's deputy secretary general has said. Moscow itself has "voided of any content" the NATO-Russia Founding Act, by attacking Ukraine and halting dialogue with the alliance, Mircea Geoana said. "Now we have no restrictions to have robust posture in the eastern flank and to ensure that every square inch of NATO's territory is protected by Article 5 and our allies,” Geoana said. *) European Union leaders to reiterate support for Ukraine European Union leaders will meet to reiterate support for Ukraine as Russian forces intensified attacks to capture Sievierodonetsk, a key city in the Donbass region that Moscow has prioritised taking full control over. Incessant shelling has left Ukrainian forces defending ruins in the city, but their refusal to withdraw is stalling a massive Russian offensive across the Donbass. "Some 90 percent of buildings are damaged. More than two-thirds of the city's housing stock has been completely destroyed. There is no telecommunication," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised speech. *) 14 bodies retrieved from Nepal plane crash site: aviation authority Fourteen bodies have been recovered so far from the wreckage of a plane that crashed into a mountainside in Nepal with 22 people on board, the country's Civil Aviation Authority has said. "...Search continues for the remaining. The weather is very bad but we were able to take a team to the crash site…." the Authortity's spokesperson told reporters. *) China looks for security pact in Pacific Island summit Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with leaders and top officials from ten Pacific Island nations, stirring deep Western concern. The virtual summit is expected to discuss proposals for China to increase its involvement in the security, economy and politics of the South Pacific. Wang is in the Fijian capital Suva, where he will co-host a virtual meeting with regional foreign ministers. And, finally... *) Thousands celebrate Real Madrid's Champions League win in Spain About 400,000 Real Madrid fans flocked to the Spanish capital to join the players for a celebration of their record-extending 14th European Cup triumph. Traffic restrictions had been in place all over Madrid since the weekend as supporters started celebrations for the team's fifth Champions League crown in nine years. The winning team paid their traditional visit to the Almudena Cathedral to offer the trophy to the Virgin of Almudena, patroness of Madrid.
*) Ukraine's Zelenskyy accuses Russia of 'genocide' in Donbass Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Moscow of carrying out a "genocide" in the eastern region of Donbass. In a televised address, Zelenskyy said Moscow's bombardment could leave the entire region "uninhabited". Pro-Moscow separatist groups have since 2014 controlled parts of Donbass, but Russia now appears set on taking the whole region. *) Palestine: Israeli troops deliberately killed Al Jazeera reporter Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by a bullet fired directly at her by an Israeli sniper, Palestinian attorney general Akram Al-Khatib has said. Al-Khatib shared the details based on the Public Prosecution's report in Ramallah city. He said an Israeli sniper fired the bullet at Abu Akleh's head while she was trying to escape. Fifty-one-year-old Abu Akleh was shot and killed on May 11 while she was covering an Israeli military raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. *) Blinken says US doesn't seek 'conflict or new Cold War' with China US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for vigorous competition with China to preserve the existing global order, but said his country doesn't seek a "new Cold War". Blinken also said that Beijing posed "the most serious long-term challenge to the international order" despite months of US focus on Russia's assault on Ukraine. The long-awaited speech on Thursday is being seen as the most comprehensive statement to date on China by President Joe Biden's administration. *) Türkiye: Military ops on southern border necessary for national security The Turkish National Security Council has said operations across Türkiye's southern borders do not target neighbours' territorial integrity, but are necessary for its national security. In a statement after a meeting on Thursday, the council also urged countries violating international law by supporting terrorism to "put an end to this attitude". On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would take steps to complete the remainder of a 30-kilometre safe zone along its southern border. And, finally... *) 'Goodfellas' actor Ray Liotta dead at 67 Actor Ray Liotta, who starred in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic "Goodfellas," has died in the Dominican Republic at the age of 67. Liotta, whose portrayal of mobster Henry Hill in Scorsese's crime masterpiece won universal admiration, was shooting a new film in the country when he died. Police said emergency services were called early on Thursday morning to a hotel in Santo Domingo where they found Liotta already dead.
*) Zelenskyy rebukes West, seeks more weapons Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused the West of not doing enough to help Kiev. In an address to the nation, Zelenskyy sought more weapons to fight off Russia's forces, calling for help without exceptions or limits. The Ukrainian president also blasted those in the West suggesting that Ukraine might have to sacrifice some territory to end the conflict. *) Pakistan ex-PM Khan demands new elections be set in 6 days Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned Pakistan's government to set new elections in the next six days or he will again march on the capital. Khan spoke at a rally of thousands of demonstrators in Islamabad aiming to bring down the government and force early elections. The government earlier summoned troops to guard important buildings, including the parliament and offices of the president and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. *) UK's Johnson blasted for 'Partygate' culture UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson presided over a cult ure of lockdown-breaking parties that featured drunken fighting among staff, according to a long-awaited inquiry. Johnson is among dozens of people in Downing Street who have received police fines for breaching Covid regulations since 2020. "I take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch," he told MPs in response to the report. Johnson said he was absent from most of the events and once again rejected calls to resign. *) Texas gunman warned he was going to shoot up school The gunman who massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas warned about the attack in online messages. Eighteen-year-old Salvador Ramos first wrote that he was going to shoot his grandmother and then posted that he had shot her. In the last note, he said he was going to shoot up an e lementary school but did not specify which school, authorities said. The bloodshed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde has renewed calls for tighter restrictions on firearms in the US. And, finally... *) Salah staying at Liverpool next season 'for sure' Mohamed Salah has confirmed he will see out his contract at Liverpool next season, but remains non-committal on his future at Anfield beyond 2023. The Egyptian forward's contract expires at the end of next season and talks over a new deal have dragged on for months. Ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid, Salah said his full focus is on winning the biggest prize in European football. Salah said: "I don't want to talk about the contract. I'm staying next season for sure, let's see after that."
*) Biden says 'we have to act' after Texas school shooting US President Joe Biden has delivered an urgent call for new restrictions on firearms after a gunman shot and killed at least 19 children at a Texas elementary school. Biden spoke Tuesday night from the White House barely an hour after returning from a five-day trip to Asia that was bracketed by mass shootings in the US. He pleaded for action to address gun violence after years of failure - and bitterly blamed firearm manufacturers and their supporters for blocking legislation in Washington. *) Zelenskyy: Situation in Donbass is very difficult Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia is using everything at its disposal in the fight for four cities in the eastern Donbass region. "The situation in the Donbass now is very difficult," Zelenskyy said in his address to the nation. "Practically the full might of the Russian army, whatever they have left, is being thrown at the offensive there,” he said. Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian army is fighting back, but "it will take time and a lot more effort by our people to overcome their advantage in the amount of equipment and weapons." *) Russian parliament okays foreign companies bill The Russian parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the government to appoint new management of foreign companies that pulled out of Russia after its assault on Ukraine. The new law would transfer control over companies that left Russia not for economic reasons but because of "anti-Russian sentiment in Europe and the US. State news agency T-A-S-S said foreign owners would still be able to resume operations in Russia or sell their shares. *) World Bank says no new financing for Sri Lanka without policy framework The World Bank has said it is not planning to provide any new financing to cash-strapped Sri Lanka until an adequate economic policy framework has been put in place. In a statement, the multilateral development bank said it was repurposing resources from previously approved projects to help the Sri Lankan government pay for essential medicines, temporary cash transfers for vulnerable households and other support. It said recent media reports had inaccurately stated that the World Bank planned to provide Sri Lanka with a new bridge loan or other loan commitments. *) Premier League approves Chelsea takeover by Boehly group The Premier League board has announced it had approved Todd Boehly's proposed takeover of Chelsea from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who was sanctioned by the British government. A Premier League statement said on Tuesday: "The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium."
*) Russia presses Donbass offensive as fighting enters fourth month Russian forces have stepped up their offensive on the last pocket of resistance around Luhansk in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region, as the conflict enters its fourth month. In his nightly address on Monday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the coming weeks will be challenging. He added "the most difficult fighting situation today is in Donbass", which is currently the focus of Russia's offensive. The governor of Luhansk has said Russia has sent thousands of troops to capture his entire region. *) Ukraine jails Russian soldier for life at 'war crimes' trial A court in Kiev has sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing a Ukrainian civilian. The court found Vadim Shishimarin, a Russian sergeant, guilty of killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in north-east Ukraine in the first days of Moscow's offensive. It was the first guilty conviction for what Ukrainian authorities describe as “war crimes” by Moscow's forces. Shishimarin's lawyer said he will appeal the verdict. *) Kishida: Quad plans $50B infrastructure investment in Asia-Pacific The United States, Japan, India and Australia plan to invest at least $50 billion into infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida has said. Leaders of the four countries have met in Tokyo for a summit of the Quad grouping. It looks to counter China's growing military and economic influence in the region. After the summit, Kishida said that Russia's offensive against Ukraine is shaking the fundamental principles of the international order. Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force will never be tolerated anywhere, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, Kishida added. *) Sri Lanka increases fuel prices to address economic crisis Cash-strapped Sri Lanka has sharply hiked fuel prices to a record high, causing further pain to the country's 22 million people in its worst crisis since independence. Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said a newly appointed "economic war cabinet" has approved the new rates to stem huge losses at the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp. Diesel prices have increased 230 percent and petrol has gone up 137 percent in the past six months. Economists say fuel and transport price increases will inevitably flow through to food and other goods. *) Osaka says she may skip Wimbledon over ranking points row Former world number one Naomi Osaka has said she may skip Wimbledon over the decision to strip the Grand Slam tournament of ranking points. The four-time major winner said that she was "leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances". The ATP and WTA tours have removed ranking points from Wimbledon after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players in response to the Ukraine crisis. Osaka crashed out of the French Open in a first-round loss on Monday. This came a year after her withdrawal from the clay court Grand Slam amid mental health issues.
*) Biden launches Asia trade initiative, reinforces Japan ties President Joe Biden has said that the US would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan, warning China against what he called "flirting with danger". In Tokyo, Biden also announced the launch of a new Asia-Pacific trading network with 13 countries, including India and Japan. Ahead of the unveiling of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Biden met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He praised Japan as a "key global leader" for joining US-led pressure on Russia over its Ukraine offensive. *) UN: More than 100 million people forcibly displaced Russia's assault on Ukraine and other deadly conflicts have pushed the number of forcibly displaced people around the world above 100 million for the first time ever. UN refugee agency UNHCR said the "alarming" figure must shake the world into ending the conflicts. Since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, over eight million people have been displaced within the country, while more than six million have fled across the borders. *) First 'war crimes' verdict looms in Russia-Ukraine conflict A panel of judges in Kiev will determine the fate of Russian Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, who has admitted to killing a 62-year-old civilian. The verdict expected on Monday will be the first in a case involving what Ukrainian authorities describe as Russia's war crimes. Shishimarin's lawyer has argued for an acquittal, saying his 21-year-old client was carrying out what he perceived to be a direct order that he initially disobeyed. Prosecutors, who have asked for a life sentence, said he was "well aware" he was executing a "criminal order". *) Anthony Albanese sworn in as Australia's prime minister Australia's new centre-left Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has taken office a few hours before flying out to attend an international summit in Tokyo. The 59-year-old prime minister was sworn in at a brief ceremony in Government House, Canberra. Albanese, who says Australia is willing to engage with the world on climate change, will join a summit on Tuesday with the US, Japanese and Indian leaders, known as the Quad. And, finally... *) Man City win Premier League title after epic fightback on final day Manchester City have won the Premier League for the fourth time in five seasons after a close title race reached a dramatic conclusion. Pep Guardiola's side were on the brink of blowing the title after falling 2-0 behind against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. But the champions staged an incredible comeback to beat their opponents 3-2. City finished with 93 points, just one ahead of Liverpool. And that's your daily news brief from TRT World. For more, head to trtworld.com
*) Zelenskyy: Donbass completely destroyed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian forces have completely destroyed the eastern Donbass region. He also accused Moscow of carrying out senseless bombardments as it intensified its military offensive. Zelenskyy claimed Russia was trying to exert even more pressure in the Donbass, saying “it is hell there - and that is not an exaggeration." *) US Congress approves $40B for Ukraine US Congress has approved a 40-billion dollar aid package for Ukraine, the latest share of assistance under President Joe Biden's promise of unwavering support for Kiev. The bundle includes 6 billion dollars earmarked for Ukraine to boost its armoured vehicle inventory and air defence system. Nearly 9 billion dollars is set aside to help with Ukrainian "continuity of government," among other items, including humanitarian aid. The vote was an unusually bipartisan move for harshly divided Washington. *) NATO addressing Türkiye's concerns over Finland, Sweden bids NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is in close contact with Finland, Sweden, and Türkiye as they work to address Ankara's security concerns. Stoltenberg said when an important ally as Türkiye raises security concerns, the only way to address the issue is to find a common ground on how to move forward. Türkiye has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, criticising the Nordic countries for supporting the terror group PKK and its Syrian offshoot YPG. *) Biden, South Korea's Yoon to meet amid worries about North Korea US President Joe Biden has landed in South Korea to meet the country's new President Yoon Suk-yeol. North Korea is expected to be at the top of the agenda, with leader Kim Jong-un abandoning a freeze on intercontinental ballistic missile testing. Pyongyang appears poised to resume testing of nuclear bombs, perhaps while Biden is in the region And, finally... *) Oscar-winning composer Vangelis passes away Vangelis, the Greek electronic composer who wrote the unforgettable Academy Award-winning score for the film “Chariots of Fire”, has died at the age of 79. According to several Greek media outlets, Vangelis died of the coronavirus in a French hospital, where he lived part-time. The maestro influenced the development of different musical genres, and is considered a pioneer of electronic sound.
*) Russia uses laser weapons, alleges Ukraine Russia has begun using the prototype of a new laser weapon in Ukraine that is capable of hitting a target 5 kilometres away. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said the prototype of a new laser weapon was tested against a drone, incinerating it within five seconds. Ukraine claimed that the Russians started to use the laser weapons systems due to a lack of missiles. *) Ukraine ‘shells' village in west Russia, killing one civilian Russia says Ukrainian forces have shelled a border village in Russia's western region at dawn, killing at least one civilian and injuring others. Shells hit an alcohol factory in a village and several other buildings, the regional governor wrote on the messaging app Telegram. The governor said at least one civilian was killed, others were wounded and receiving medical attention. *) Türkiye demands Sweden, Finland shun support for terror groups Türkiye demands Sweden and Finland shun support for terror groups after the two Nordic countries submitted applications to join NATO. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Türkiye has legitimate security concerns that these governments have been supporting terrorist organisations. He added that Ankara understands their security concerns, but Türkiye's security concerns should also be met. Türkiye has criticised Finland and Sweden for supporting terror groups such as PKK and its Syrian offshoot YPG. *) North Korea's suspected Covid-19 cases near two million South Korea says North Korea's first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak has spreaded after April's massive military parade in capital Pyongyang. The report came as the country's pandemic caseload neared 2 million. North Korea acknowledged its first Covid-19 infections early in May. The country's leader Kim Jong-un has called the outbreak a “great upheaval,” berated officials for letting the virus spread and restricted the movement of people. *) Eintracht Frankfurt beat Rangers in shootout to win Europa League final Eintracht Frankfurt has won the Europa League final after holding their nerve to beat Rangers 5-4 in a clinical penalty shootout. The German football team claimed their first European trophy in 42 years. Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner said they will celebrate the victory for the next few days. The win also secures Frankfurt's first appearance in the Champions League next season.
*) Finland and Sweden submit NATO membership application Finland and Sweden have handed in their bids to join the US-led alliance NATO. The alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, "I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners.” The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but Türkiye has also voiced its objections to the nordic countries' membership bids, criticising them for supporting terror groups. In order for a country to join NATO, unanimous approval is required, which equals the approval of all 30 existing allied countries. *) Hundreds of Ukrainians defending Azovstal plant surrender Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters have surrendered to an uncertain fate after weeks holed up in the tunnels below Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant. Russia's Defence Ministry said 265 fighters had surrendered, including 51 who were seriously wounded. Ukraine says it's working to save its fighters still trapped inside or evacuated from the southern city. However, the speaker of the lower house of Russian parliament said the Ukrainian fighters should be brought to “justice”. *) North Korea's Kim blasts officials for failing to deal with Covid North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has lashed out at state officials for failing to combat the coronavirus as the number of known cases crossed 1.7 million. Chairing a meeting of the ruling party's Politburo, Kim said there was "immaturity in the state capacity for coping with the crisis", the official Korean Central News Agency said. He also slammed the "non-positive attitude, slackness and non-activity of state leading officials", the agency reported. *) Bashaga to run rival administration from Libya's Sirte Libya's eastern parliament-appointed premier Fathi Bashagha has said he will base his administration in the northern city of Sirte. The move came after Bashagha attempted to forcibly enter the capital Tripoli to seat his government there, but was repulsed by the UN-backed government. The attempt triggered fierce clashes between fighters on both sides, forcing Bashagha to leave the city. Libya has had two rival administrations since March when the east-based parliament appointed Bashagha as prime minister despite UN-supported Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah. And, finally... *) Russian gymnast banned for pro-war 'Z' symbol A Russian gymnast who sported the ‘Z' symbol on a medal podium has been banned for one year from International Gymnastics Federation events. 20-year-old artistic gymnast Ivan Kuliak's singlet had the letter 'Z' prominently placed as he stood next to Ukrainian contender at a World Cup event in Doha in March. Kuliak must also return his bronze medal and prize money of $500. The 'Z' has been seen daubed on Russian tanks and vehicles in Ukraine and has come to symbolise support for the offensive.
*) Rescue mission under way at Azovstal as hundreds evacuated Ukrainian authorities said a rescue mission to extract the last defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol was under way, after hundreds of soldiers were evacuated earlier. More than 260 fighters were evacuated through humanitarian corridors to areas under Russian and Moscow-backed separatists' control. Ukraine's defence ministry said a further "exchange procedure" would take place later and that all necessary rescue measures are being taken by the state. *) Erdogan: Türkiye will not greenlight NATO membership of Sweden, Finland President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Türkiye will not greenlight NATO membership for Sweden and Finland. He said the two countries have failed to take a clear stance against terrorism. In a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart in Ankara, Erdogan said "We will not say ‘yes'” to those who impose sanctions on Türkiye. Erdogan added that Swedish and Finnish delegations should not bother coming to Ankara to convince Türkiye to approve their NATO bid. *) Libya's rival PM Bashagha leaves Tripoli after clashes Libya's rival prime minister Fathi Bashagha has left the capital Tripoli, hours after his attempt to enter the city triggered clashes. Bashagha had entered Tripoli overnight accompanied by allied militias in the hope of taking over government. But his attempt was met with opposition by forces aligned with Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who was appointed through a UN-backed process last year. *) Rashida Tlaib brings resolution in US House to recognise Palestinian Nakba US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has introduced a resolution to the US House of Representatives to recognise the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe in Arabic. Nakba refers to the invasion of Palestinian lands by the Zionist militias on 15 May 1948, which led to the expulsion of at least 750,000 people from their homes. Tlaib added that the Palestinian people since then have been living "under oppression and violent racism and that Nakba is well-documented and continues to play out today. *) Cannes Film Festival kicks into full swing for 75th anniversary The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up for a bumper 75th anniversary edition with a selection of big Hollywood names, buzzy newcomers and previous Palme d'Or winners. The festival runs from May 17 to 28, resuming its traditional calendar following two years of pandemic disruptions. It was canceled in 2020, and last year moved to July, when it was held under strict Covid protocols.
*) Ukraine prepares for new Russian Donbass push Ukraine is preparing for a new Russian push in the eastern Donbass region, as Kiev said its army's counterattack around Kharkiv has gained momentum. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is preparing for new attempts by Russia to attack Donbass and intensifying its movement in the south of the country. Zelenskyy said, "the occupiers still do not want to admit that they are in a dead-end.” *) Sweden delegation to arrive in Türkiye to discuss NATO membership Sweden will send a delegation of diplomats to Türkiye to discuss the Scandinavian country's decision to apply for NATO membership. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde confirmed that the delegation will visit Ankara very soon to evaluate the ruling Social Democratic Party's decision in favour of joining NATO. On Russia's reaction to Sweden's application for NATO membership, Linde said Russia “violated our confluence area” and made disinformation campaigns against Swedish people. *) Palestinians mark Nakba Day amid tension with Israel Palestinians rallied to mark the "Nakba," or catastrophe, on Sunday with condemnation spreading over a police raid on the funeral of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Demonstrations were held in several countries on the Nakba Day when nearly 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes by then Zionist Israeli paramilitaries in 1948. During rallies in occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza, protesters flew balloons bearing the names of cities occupied by Israel. Some protesters held pictures of journalist Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American, who was killed last week by Israeli troops *) Ex-Somali leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud wins presidency Somalia has handed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud the presidency for a second time following a long-overdue election in the troubled Horn of Africa nation. After a marathon poll involving 36 candidates, parliamentary officials counted over 165 votes in favour of former president Mohamud. Mohamud faces a daunting task in the country of 15 million people which is suffering drought, hunger and seemingly never-ending conflict. And, finally... *) Box Office: 'Doctor Strange 2' rules again as 'Firestarter' flames out "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is again the Number 1 movie at the North American box office. In its second weekend of release, the latest instalment in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe has collected $61 million from over 4,500 theatres. Universal's disturbing remake of Stephen King's "Firestarter" fizzled with $3.8 million from more than 2,400 screens while landing simultaneously on Peacock.
*) Russia warns of consequences after Finland announces NATO bid The Kremlin has warned about taking retaliatory “military-technical” steps after Finland's leaders came out in favour of applying to join NATO. Finland has been militarily neutral for decades, but it shares a 1,300 kilometre border with Russia. The Nordic country is expected to approve the plans to join the alliance next week and its neighbour Sweden could do the same within days. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden with open arms. *) Kiev in talks to evacuate 38 wounded Azovstal fighters As Ukraine continues to push back against Russia, an explosion hits the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. Ukraine general staff said that Russia's military hit the embattled port city and the plant with artillery and air strikes. Kiev earlier said it was holding "difficult" talks with Russia to secure safe passage for dozens of wounded fighters from the plant Azovstal is the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated southern port city. *) Slain Al Jazeera journalist to be buried in Jerusalem The UN has said the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh may be a war crime. And, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would refer it to the International Criminal Court. The Al Jazeera correspondent has been remembered in a state ceremony in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Witnesses say she was shot in the head by Israeli forces while covering an army raid on a refugee camp in Jenin. *) North Korea confirms first Covid-19 death in explosive outbreak North Korea has reported its first Covid deaths and said 350-thousand people are infected with the virus. The country has expanded its lockdown to try to stop the virus spreading. Pyongyang says almost 200-thousand people are in quarantine after six people died in the past few days. North Korea has declared the outbreak an emergency and tighter restrictions are expected to continue to be rolled out And, finally... *) Scientists for first time grow plants in soil from the Moon Scientists for the first time have grown seeds in soil from the moon. The ground-breaking experiment has given researchers hope that it may be possible to one day grow plants directly on the Moon. However, scientists said the plants in the lunar samples grew more slowly and had stunted roots. Still, much remains to be studied on the topic and the researchers intend to leave no stone unturned.
*) EU: Russia ‘most direct threat to world order' Russia is the "most direct threat" to the international order because of its attacks on Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said. Russia "is today the most direct threat to the world order with the barbaric war against Ukraine, and its worrying pact with China," von der Leyen said after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. For his part, Kishida said Russia's offensive in Ukraine is not just a matter for Europe, but it shakes the core of the international order including Asia. *) Ukraine to hold first ‘war crimes' trial of captured Russian As fighting continues in Ukraine, Kiev's top prosecutor has disclosed plans for the first "war crimes" trial of a captured Russian soldier. The 21-year-old soldier is accused of gunning down a 62-year-old civilian in February, four days into Russia's attack on the country. While he could get up to 15 years in prison, it is not known when the trial will start. The prosecutor general's office added it has been investigating more than 10,700 alleged "war crimes" committed by Russian forces. *) North Korea confirms first Covid outbreak, orders nationwide lockdown North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for thorough nationwide lockdowns as the country confirmed its first-ever case of Covid-19. The country has detected an outbreak of a sub-variant of the highly transmissible Omicron version of the coronavirus, state news agency said. The agency called it a "severe national emergency incident" after more than two years of keeping the pandemic at bay. *) Calls for probe into killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh grow louder The killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank has drawn global condemnation. The United States, United Nations, European Union and Türkiye separately called for a fair probe into the incident. Al Jazeera said 51-year-old Palestinian-American Abu Akleh was killed "in cold blood" and demanded Israeli forces be held accountable. But Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett suggested "armed Palestinians" were "likely" responsible for the killing. And, finally... *) Oil giant Saudi Aramco overtakes Apple as world's most valuable company Oil giant Saudi Aramco has dethroned Apple as the world's most valuable company as surging oil prices drive up shares and tech stocks slump. The Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company was valued at 2.42 trillion dollars based on the price of its shares at close of market on Wednesday. Apple, meanwhile, has seen its share price drop over the past month and was valued at 2.37 trillion dollars when official trading ended.
*) Ukrainians make gains in east Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russian troops are being pushed away from Ukraine's second city Kharkiv. In his nightly address, Zelensky said "the occupiers are gradually being pushed away" from the Kharkiv region. Ukrainian authorities in the region said four villages near Kharkiv were cleared from Russian troops. "Fierce battles" were ongoing in the region, and that the city itself was under heavy fire, they added. *) US lawmakers approve $40B military, economic aid for Ukraine US lawmakers have voted to send a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine. The defence, humanitarian and economic funding passed the House of Representatives by 368 votes to 57. It will likely pass the Senate by the end of the week or next week. All the dissenting votes came from the Republican ranks. *) Israeli troops shoot dead Al Jazeera journalist in occupied West Bank Israeli forces have shot dead an Al Jazeera reporter in the occupied West Bank. Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli forces while reporting on a raid in the city of Jenin, Palestinian officials said. The Palestinian Health Ministry said a second reporter, Ali Samodi, working for the Jerusalem-based Al Quds newspaper had been wounded. Israeli army confirmed that it had conducted an operation in Jenin refugee camp, saying that reporters were hit “possibly by shoots fired by Palestinian gunmen." The occupied West Bank city of Jenin has seen intensified army raids in recent weeks as violence in the region has surged. *) UN urges restraint, calls for dialogue to quell deadly Sri Lanka unrest The UN has condemned the spiralling violence in Sri Lanka, calling on authorities to prevent further unrest and pursue “meaningful dialogue.” “I am deeply troubled by the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka after supporters of the prime minister attacked peaceful protesters in Colombo” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said. Eight people, including a parliamentarian, have been killed and over 250 wounded in initially peaceful demonstrations as the country battles its worst economic crisis in history. And, finally... *) Apple pulling the plug on iPod after 20 years Apple is discontinuing the iPod more than 20 years after the device became the face of portable music. The company said in a blog post that the current generation of iPods will only be available as long as current supplies last. The trend toward streaming music services has made devices designed just for carrying digital tunes around less enticing for customers.