Thousands rally for US gun control
Thousands of people rallied across the United States on Saturday in a renewed push for gun control measures after recent deadly mass shootings from Uvalde, Texas, to Buffalo, New York, that activists say should compel Congress to act. Speaker after speaker in Washington called on senators, who are seen as a major impediment to legislation, to act or face being voted out of office, especially given the shock to the nation’s conscience after 19 children and two teachers were killed May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. “If our government can’t do anything to stop 19 kids from being killed and slaughtered in their own school, and decapitated, it’s time to change who is in government,” said David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 shooting that killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A co-founder of the March For Our Lives organisation that was created after that shooting and held its first rally in Washington not long afterward, Hogg led the crowd in chants of “Vote them out.”
EU to finalise position on Ukraine ‘next week’
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised Prresident Zelensky on Saturday her executive would “by the end of next week” finalise its opinion on whether Ukraine should be a candidate country to join the EU. She made an unannounced visit to Kiev where she assured Zelensky that Ukraine would get an answer by the end of next week. “We want to create a very clear road map on reconstruction” of Ukraine, she said in a joint statement. Von der Leyen reiterated the need to combine “investments and reforms”.
‘We await yes from the EU’ – Zelensky
On his part, Zelesky said he “expects a positive response” from the EU on the Ukrainian candidacy. “We await this support for the European summit which promises to be historic,” he added. “This is a decisive moment not only for Ukraine but for the whole European continent: Russia wants to divide and weaken the EU. Europe is its goal.” EU leaders are due to meet next Friday, June 17, ahead of an upcoming summit on June 23 and 24. The Commission is expected to recommend Ukraine’s candidacy to join the EU. However, observers point out this is just a preliminary step; there are many more along the road. Notably, all 27 member states would need to agree on Ukraine becoming a candidate and it is a fact that already there have been divisions among EU member states on the issue.
Protesters against WTO role in agriculture
Some 500 people demonstrators in Geneva Saturday slamming free trade’s role in a global food security crisis, as the World Trade Organization prepared to host global trade ministers in the city. “Our food is not merchandise” and “Speculation: the beginning of hunger” read some of the banners paraded through Geneva, a day before the WTO’s opening of the first ministerial meeting in five years. Global food security will be high on the agenda at the four-day meeting, with WTO’s 164 member states under pressure to produce a common response to the risk of a global hunger crisis that has been dramatically amplified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
‘Up to 300,000 tonnes of grain destroyed’
Up to 300,000 tonnes of grain may have been stored in warehouses that Kyiv says were destroyed by Russian shelling last weekend, deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskyi said on Saturday. Speaking on national television, Vysotskyi said, according to records, at the start of the war on February 24 the warehouses at one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural commodities terminals in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv held between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes of grain, mainly wheat and corn.
French left challenges Macron
France is going to the polls today in the first round of parliamentary elections, with a resurgent and newly-unified left seeking to thwart President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for reform. Elections for the 577 seats in the lower house National Assembly are a two-round process. The shape of the new parliament will become clear only after the second round, a week later, on June 19. The ballots provide a crucial coda to April’s presidential election, when Macron won a second term and pledged a transformative new era after a first mandate dominated by protests, the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine. After a dismal performance in April, the French left has unified in a coalition for what its leader Jean-Luc Melenchon dubs “the third round” of the presidential elections.
Voting in 971 Italian municipalities
8.5 million Italians are voting for five referenda questions on justice and for the renewal of the elected bodies in 971 municipalities. The municipalities in which the polls are open are 971 in all, for a total number of voters that is close to 9 million. There are 26 capital municipalities, of which four are regional capitals. The referendum question – on which 50,915,402 voters can express their opinion, of which 4,735,783 abroad – are five and concern the separation of functions for magistrates, the limits for pre-trial detention, the rules for candidacies to the CSM and the assessments of the judges.
US judge dismisses rape suit against Ronaldo
A US district judge in Las Vegas has dismissed a rape lawsuit against football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, castigating the legal team behind the complaint. Judge Jennifer Dorsey threw out the case brought by Kathryn Mayorga of Nevada, who alleged she was assaulted by the Portuguese soccer star in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. In her ruling, the judge accused Mayorga’s attorneys of “abuses and flagrant circumvention of the proper litigation process” and said that as a result, “Mayorga loses her opportunity to pursue this case.” Her attorneys had actually moved to dismiss the case voluntarily last month, but Dorsey decided that the case had to be dismissed “with prejudice” – meaning it cannot be revived.