Malta elected to UN Security Council
The UN General Assembly elected Malta, Ecuador, Japan, Mozambique and Switzerland to the UN Security Council for two-year term starting on January 1, 2023. Reuters reports all five countries ran unopposed for a spot on the 15-member body, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security. They will replace India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway. To ensure geographical representation, seats are allocated to regional groups. But even if candidates are running unopposed in their group, they still need to win the support of more than two-thirds of the General Assembly.Ecuador received 190 votes, Japan 184, Malta 185, Mozambique 192 and Switzerland 187. The Security Council is the only UN body that can make legally-binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorising use of force. It has five permanent veto-wielding members: the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia.
Trump spurred ‘attempted coup’ at US Capitol
The House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol laid the blame firmly on Donald Trump Thursday night, saying the assault was hardly spontaneous but an “attempted coup” and a direct result of the defeated president’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. With a never-before-seen 12-minute video of the deadly violence and startling testimony from Trump’s most inner circle, the House committee provided gripping detail in contending that Trump’s repeated lies about election fraud and his public effort to stop Joe Biden’s victory led to the attack and imperilled American democracy. Republican Bennie Thompson, chair of the panel, laid out the committee’s initial findings that Trump led a “sprawling, multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election”. The panel’s vice chair, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, called it a “sophisticated seven-part plan”. “January 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after, to overthrow the government,” Thompson said. “The violence was no accident. Democracy remains in danger,” he told the hearing, timed for prime time to reach as many Americans as possible. There was an audible gasp in the hearing room, when Cheney read an account that said when Trump was told the Capitol mob was chanting for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged, Trump responded that maybe they were right, that he “deserves it”. Trump was angry that Pence, presiding in the House chamber, refused his order to reject the certification of Biden’s victory.
Three dead in Maryland shooting
At least three people were killed in a shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland, at a machinery company with international customers. The perpetrator of the shooting was shot during a firefight with a policeman. He is now in hospital but his condition is not known. The officer was slightly injured.
Putin compares his actions to Peter the Great’s conquests
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday compared his current actions to Peter the Great’s conquest of the Baltic coast during his 18th-century war against Sweden. After visiting an exhibition in Moscow dedicated to the 350th birthday of tsar Peter the Great, Putin told a group of young entrepreneurs that “you get the impression that by fighting Sweden he was grabbing something. He wasn’t taking anything, he was taking it back.” When Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg and declared it the Russian capital “none of the countries in Europe recognised this territory as belonging to Russia,” Putin said. “Everyone considered it to be part of Sweden. But from time immemorial, Slavs had lived there alongside Finno-Ugric peoples,” the Russian leader added. “It is our responsibility also to take back and strengthen,” Putin said, in an apparent reference to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
No agreement reached in Ankara on wheat exports
No agreement was reached on the export of Ukrainian grain loads across the Black Sea following negitiations between Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Turkish counterpart SergeyLavrov in Ankara, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pesko. Turkey is pushing for an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to alleviate the global food crisis, negotiating a safe passage for the blocked wheat in the Black Sea ports.
Britain, Ukraine condemn death sentences in Donetsk
Both Britain and Ukraine have sharply condemned the death sentences handed down by proxy courts in Donetsk. Two Britons and a Moroccan were captured while fighting for Ukraine. The court found the three men – Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun – guilty of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR),” the Interfax news agency quoted a court official as saying. Their lawyer said they will appeal the decision.
Sanctions hit the oligarchs and the Russian economy
“The G7 and the EU have shown remarkable unity and solidarity in supporting Ukraine and in putting pressure on Russia to resume negotiations.” Opening the OECD ministerial meeting in Paris, this year chaired by Italy, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi pointed out the EU alone has approved sixsanction packages that have dealt a severe blow to the oligarchs close to the Kremlin and to key sectors of the Russian economy.”
‘Baby Holly’ found safe over 40 years after parents’ murder
A child dubbed “Baby Holly”, after going missing in the 1980s when her parents were apparently murdered in Texas, has been found alive more than 40 years later, officials said Thursday. Cold case group Identifiers International located Holly Marie Clouse, now 42, “alive and well” just months after using genetic genealogy to positively identify her parents, murder victims Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., officials revealed. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office made the stunning announcement during a media conference, when investigators stressed that they needed the public’s help in getting answers. Paxton’s office said, “Holly has been notified of the identities of her biological parents and has been in contact with her extended biological family and they hope to meet in person soon.”
World’s biggest Pride event in London
Pride in London’s 2022 parade has topped the list of global Pride celebrations this year, as it prepares to return for the first time since 2019. This year’s celebration will also mark 50 years since the first Pride took place in the UK. According to a new survey by ‘Gay Times’ and Airbnb, tens of thousands of nights have been booked across the world coinciding with Pride weekends this summer. The most common date for Pride weekend, 24 June, is one of the most searched-for check-in dates. The survey, which involved more than 15,000 LGBTIQ people around the world, found that nearly two-thirds of respondents are continuing to embrace international travel as restrictions eased throughout the Covid pandemic.
Blatter tells court of ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ with Platini
Sepp Blatter struck a “gentleman’s agreement” with Michel Platini to pay him a million Swiss francs (€960,500) a year as an adviser, the former world football chief told their trial on Thursday. The French football legend had jokingly asked Blatter for a million, without specifying the currency, and the then-FIFA president agreed, with part of the money – outside of the contract they signed – to be paid “later”, Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court heard. Blatter and Platini are being tried over a two-million-Swiss-franc payment in 2011 to the former France captain, who by that time was in charge of European football’s governing body, UEFA. The trial in the southern city of Bellinzona, following an investigation that began in 2015 and lasted six years, opened on Wednesday. The trial will conclude on June 22, with the three judges expected to deliver their verdict on July 8. If convicted, the pair could face up to five years in jail or a fine.