Middle East conflict “escalating towards a full-scale war”
AFP reports the UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting today on the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as violent clashes continue. UN envoy for Middle East peace, Tor Wennesland, said the spiral of violence was “escalating towards a full-scale war”. He was speaking at the end of a day that saw Palestinian militant groups fire more than 600 rockets at Israel, which responded with hundreds of air strikes. The Israeli airstrikes reportedly killed dozens of Palestinians in Gaza, including children, while several rockets fired by Hamas breached Israel’s air defense system, killing three civilians. Rockets also damaged a key Israeli pipeline.
Israeli, Palestinian supporters clash in New York
The New York Times says supporters of both Israel and Palestine clashed on the streets of New York City on Tuesday, following the violent attacks in the Middle East. New York police officers attempted to keep the groups separated. Rallies in support of Palestine have popped up globally, with several events scheduled in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom and other European cities. Another “All Out For Palestine” protest is expected in New York today.
EU sues AstraZeneca, again!
According to Le Soir, the European Union has launched a new lawsuit against AstraZeneca that could lead to financial sanctions for the company which the EU alleges has breached a supply contract for COVID-19 vaccines. The lawsuit is the EU’s second against AstraZeneca after the bloc took action at the end of April over delayed vaccine supplies. Meanwhile, an early findings from researchers at Atlanta’s Emory University showed Coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna appeared to remain effective against a subtype of the Indian virus variant.
Military exercises in Japan
AFP announces Japanese, US and French troops kicked off their first-ever joint military drill on Tuesday in southwestern Japan, as concerns rise over China’s growing assertiveness in the region. An Australian naval ship is also taking part in the week-long air, land and sea exercises involving 300 ground troops from the three countries.
UK: 31 bills, from planning laws to police powers
Queen Elizabeth has presided over the State Opening of Parliament for the 67th time, making her first major public ceremonial appearance on Tuesday since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, to lay out the government’s legislative priorities for the year ahead. The Guardian says the Queen gave a brief 10-minute address to a sparsely-populated House of Lords in which she outlined 26 laws ministers hope to pass in the coming months – a to-do list which includes planning reforms, voter ID and limits on right to protest, but sidesteps social care and rental reform.