Global Review – 10th February

Libyan Prime Minister survives assassination attempt

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah survived an assassination attempt after his car was riddled with bullets early this morning, a source close to him told Reuters. The gunmen struck as Dbeibah was returning home, said the source, who described the attack as an attempt to kill the prime minister. The incident comes amid intense wrangling over control of the Libyan government. Dbeibah has said he will ignore a vote scheduled by the eastern-based parliament later on today to replace him.Parliament members are scheduled to pick between powerful former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, 59, and former interior ministry official Khaled Al Bibass, 51. Dbeibah was installed in March as head of the UN-backed Government of National Unity that was meant to unify the country’s divided institutions and oversee the run-up to an election in December as part of a peace process. Rival factions have been jostling for positions after the election process fell apart over disputes to rules including the legitimacy of Mr Dbeibah’s candidacy for president after he pledged not to run.

Hungary won’t accept more NATO troops

Hungary will not accept further NATO troops on its soil as part of manoeuvres over the Ukraine crisis, its foreign minister has told Euronews. The US sent extra soldiers to Poland and Romania while Germany has bolstered troop numbers in Lithuania. NATO troops are already stationed in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Poland. But Péter Szijjártó said no extra troops would arrive on Hungarian soil. He said the Hungarian army and armed forces were in proper shape to guarantee the security of the country. Russia has massed troops near Ukraine’s border and the US has warned it is preparing to invade. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.

EU ready for dialogue on security

“The European Union, together with its NATO partners, is ready to continue the dialogue with Russia on ways to strengthen security for all.” Following up on Moscow’s recent request for clarification, which however required answers “from individual states”, a letter prepared by the European diplomatic service says the EU believes that “the OSCE is the appropriate forum to address the security concerns of all stakeholders, together with other existing formats, including the NATO-Russia Council”.

Russia sees room for diplomacy

Meanwhile, Russia’s EU ambassador has told the BBC his country still believes diplomacy could help de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine. Vladimir Chizhov said Moscow had no intention of invading anybody, but warned it was important not to provoke Russia into changing its mind. It comes after a flurry of diplomatic activity on Monday and Tuesday.

Gas reserves at a ‘worrying’ level Germany

The level of gas reserves in Germany, in a context of tensions with Russia, has dropped to a “worrying” level, a spokesman for the German Ministry of Economy and Climate is quoted as saying. “We are following the situation of storage levels, and at the moment it is certainly worrying,” said the spokesman, specifying that at the moment they stand at between 35 and 36%. Only a short time ago they had already dropped to 40% compared to 82% in 2020.

Pope: ‘no right to die’

“There is no right to death. In fact, life is a right, not death, which must be accepted, not administered. This ethical principle concerns everyone, not just Christians or believers.” In his general Wednesday audience, Pope Francis promoted palliative care and warned: “We must be careful not to confuse this help with unacceptable drifts that lead to killing”, underlining that “we must be grateful for all the help that medicine is trying to give, so that through the so-called ‘palliative care’, every person who prepares to live the last stretch of the road of his life, may he do it in the most humane way possible.” 

El Salvador releases woman jailed after miscarriage

Authorities in El Salvador have released a woman who had served 10 years of a 30-year sentence for aggravated homicide after suffering an obstetric emergency. She had been accused of aborting her pregnancy. Elsy, whose last name was not disclosed for privacy reasons, had suffered a miscarriage in June 2011 while she was working as a domestic worker. A local rights group said she was immediately arrested and charged with aggravated homicide shortly after. Abortion, under any circumstances, is banned in El Salvador. The country has also criminally prosecuted 181 women who suffered obstetric emergencies.

WHO calls on rich countries for antiCOVID plan funds

The World Health Organization has urged rich countries to urgently provide the $16 billion that are still missing to finance its anti-COVID plan. WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “if shared globally in solidarity, we can end COVID-19 as a global health emergency this year”. He said if high-income countries pay their fair share, the programme can help low and middle-income countries overcome low rates vaccination of COVID-19, the insufficiency of tests and the shortage of drugs.

US Congresswoman confuses gazpacho with Gestapo

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene became a laughing “stock” Wednesday after confusing gazpacho with the Nazi Gestapo. The Republican congresswoman mixed up the chilled tomato soup with Nazi Germany’s secret police force while slamming the House Select Committee investigating the January6 Capitol riot. On One America News, Greene first compared the “DC jail” to the “DC gulag”, before ranting against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her “gazpacho police spying on members of Congress, spying on the legislative work that we do, spying on our staffs, and spying on American citizens that want to come talk to their representatives”. The gaffe spread on Twitter and sparked several jokes, many of them invoking Seinfeld’s infamous “Soup Nazi” gag.

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