Global Review – 12th September

Postal votes could thwart Sweden’s right slimm lead

With 85% of the votes counted, the centre-right are in the lead in the Swedish elections, winning three more seats than the centre-left. However, the postal votes and those from abroad will be counted on Wednesday and therefore, with such a little difference between the two blocs, the final result could spring further surprises. If these results are confirmed, Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates, would be the next Swedish prime minister thanks to the support of the ultra-right which has raised about 20%. With the ballots for about a 1,000 seats remain, the difference between the two coalitions is just 50,000 votes. The Moderate party would now be the third party in parliament but, thanks to the support of the right-wing nationalist party, with their 20%, and the smaller parties, it could win the leadership of an upcoming conservative government. However, it is too early to determine a definitive result and it is still possible that the current Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson may continue to govern within a centre-left coalition.

Macron urges Putin to withdraw Russian forces from Zaporizhzhia

French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the few Western leaders to keep an open dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine, urged the Kremlin leader, in a phone call on Sunday, to withdraw forces from the besieged Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for shelling at the plant, which the UN nuclear watchdog has warned could have “very, very catastrophic” consequences. Putin, meanwhile, blamed Ukraine for putting the plant in jeopardy.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant halts operations

Meanwhile, the plant halted operations on Sunday as a safety precaution, according to a statement issued by the Ukrainian nuclear energy agency Energoatom. According to the statement, the facility “completely stopped” after it was disconnected from the number 6 power unit. The agency added that preparations were underway for the cooling of the plant, transferring it into a “cold state”. The term “cold state” refers to the shutdown of the reactor, which would prevent a chain reaction and a nuclear disaster. Energoatom stressed that the risk of further damage to the plant “remains high”.

Blackouts blamed on Russia attacks

Russia aims to “deprive people of light and heat” by causing power cuts across eastern Ukraine in revenge for a Ukrainian counter-offensive, President Zelensky has said. The blackouts have reportedly affected around nine million people in eastern regions including Kharkiv and Donetsk. It comes after Ukraine said it had retaken over 3,000 sq km during a rapid counter-offensive in the east. Ukrainian troops on Sunday successfully pressed their swift counter-offensive in the northeastern part of the country, forcing the Russian units into withdrawal. Ukraine’s quick action to reclaim Russia-occupied areas in the northeastern Kharkiv region forced Moscow troops to pull in a bid to prevent them from being surrounded and leave behind significant numbers of weapons and munitions in a hasty retreat as the war marked 200 days on Sunday.

Grief, solidarity as US marks 21st anniversary of 9/11

The United States on Sunday observed the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with President Joe Biden recalling Americans’ sacrifice and honouring the nearly 3,000 people killed when hijacked planes hit the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Relatives of victims, police officers, firefighters and city leaders gathered at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, where the names of those who died there were read aloud in an hours-long ritual that has occurred annually since the deadliest single attack on US soil. They rang bells and held moments of silence six times. Biden commemorated the anniversary at the Pentagon, where Al-Qaeda hijackers crashed a plane into the massive building that serves as Defence Department headquarters. In remarks following a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon, Biden said that the “greatest lesson of September11 is that we “regain the light by reaching out to one another, and finding something all too rare: a true sense of national unity”.

King Charles III proclaimed monarch in rest of UK

King Charles III has been formally proclaimed the monarch in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The proclamations on Sunday come a day after the same declaration was made at an elaborate ceremony in London. In Belfast, the proclamation was followed by a 21-gun salute and a military band playing the anthem, “God Save the King.” Earlier, proclamations were held in other parts of the Commonwealth – the group of former British Empire colonies – including Australia and New Zealand.

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin begins journey to London

Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Sunday after a 100-mile drive over the rugged Scottish countryside from her beloved Balmoral Castle. As the hearse traveled through towns and villages on its way to the Scottish capital, hundreds of residents quietly lined the streets to say their final goodbyes to the late monarch. “She meant such a lot to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see,” said Victoria Pacheco, a guest house manager. On Monday, the late queen’s casket will be taken from Holyroodhouse palace to nearby St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, where it will remain until Tuesday, when it will be flown to London

EU plan to cut energy consumption

The European Commission will soon present its plan to reduce consumption by 5% at peak times. According to reports from ‘Il Messaggero’ , the European regulation will indicate a precise way to achieve the goal: to reduce consumption. This means that in a few hours it will not be possible to keep two appliances on at the same time, such as a dishwasher and washing machine or oven, because the energy distributors will operate a sort of electric current lockdown. With smart meters, it is therefore impossible for families to “escape” from rationing. Yet, according to some observers, the plan could have unwanted effects. For example, the power cut of the meters could be set between 6 and 7 pm, but after a while people would get used to the new rules and use the appliances at the same time later, thus effectively shifting the peak. 

New wildfire spreading in central California mountains

California’s latest wildfire has spread rapidly in the US state’s central mountains, just as firefighters were bringing a big blaze south of Los Angeles under control, authorities said Sunday. The Mosquito Fire has now swept through an area of more than 41,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada range northeast of San Francisco in just four days, the official Cal Fire website reported. It said the blaze, covering parts of El Dorado and Placer counties, is just 10%  contained.

Gina Lollobrigida in hospital, broken femur after fall

Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida is in a Roman hospital following the fracture of the femur reported in a domestic accident that took place Saturday. Her lawyer Antonio Ingroia said the condition of the 95-year-old is not a cause for concern, but she will have to undergo surgery scheduled for today, Monday.

Tennis: Alcaraz wins US Open

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz completed his rapid rise to the top of the tennis world on Sunday, claiming his first Grand Slam title and taking the number one ranking with a 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 win over Norway’s Casper Ruud in the US Open final. Alcaraz, 19, fell to his back and cupped his hands to his face before jumping up to embrace Ruud at the net. He then climbed past photographers and into the stands to celebrate in his box with his team. The 19-year-old is the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion since Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2005.

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