Global Review – 13th August

Rushdie likely to lose an eye, nerves in arm severed, liver injured

Salman Rushdie, the Indian writer and essayist author of ‘Satanic Verses’, risks losing an eye after being stabbed at a literary event in New York State on Friday, according to his agent Andrew Wylie. “Salman will likely lose an eye, the nerves in his arm have been severed and his liver has been injured and damaged,” the New York Times quotes Wylie saying. After hours of surgery, Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak yesterday evening after an attack condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an assault on the freedom of expression. “The news is not good,” Wylie wrote in an email.

Rushdie, 75, was attacked in Chautauqua, New York, while giving a lecture and the man who attacked him, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, was quickly apprehended by police. His assailant was named as Hadi Matar and he entered the event like all other spectators, police said at a media conference reconstructing the dynamics of the attack.

Born in Mumabi in 1947 and already winner of the Booker Prize, Rushdie is the author of the novel ‘Satanic Verses’, the book that was banned in Iran in 1988 and which many Muslims consider blasphemous. A year after its first release, then Ayatollah Khomeini delivered a fatwa against Rushdie, also offering $3 million in reward to anyone who killed the writer. Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei renewed the fatwa in 2017, and in 2019 via Twitter. The anti-Rushdie sentiment remained in the Islamic republic, so much so that in 2012 a semi-official Iranian religious foundation increased the bounty on him to $3.3 million.

The novel written by Rushdie in 1988, which became an unprecedented literary case, tells the story of two Indian Muslims who survived a plane crash. The two characters symbolise good and evil that face each other in a continuous and unresolved struggle, between fiction and reality. The pages contain a fictionalised re-interpretation of some aspects of Islamic culture and, in particular, of the episode of Mohammed’s inspiration. The fictional but allusive story towards the figure of Muhammad unleashed the anger of the Islamic world, which accused the author of blasphemy.

FBI investigates Trump for espionage

After having examined the search warrant of the former president’s residence in Florida, ‘Politico’revealed that Donald Trump is being investigated by the FBI for espionage. Trump and his lawyers have given the green light for the publication of the FBI search warrant of his residence in Mar-a-Lago. There are three counts of accusations: potential violation of the Espionage Act, or ‘collection, loss or transmission to unauthorised parties of information relating to national defense’; theobstruction of justice; and finally the data destruction to obstruct the investigation.

The Justice Department told the court that it believed disclosure of confidential investigative documents was in the public interest.

Writing on his social account ‘Truth’, Trump said all documents were declassified and the FBI “didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have obtained it when they wanted without getting involved in politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago.

Meanwhile, a New York judge has given the green light to the criminal trial against his Trump’s company, the Trump Organisation, and against its former chief financial officer. Prosecutors argue that the defendants are guilty of fraud and tax evasion. The jury selection is set for October 24.

New US exercises in the Taiwan strait

The US will carry out new “air and marine exercises” in the Taiwan Strait, according to Kurt Campbell, White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific and advisor to President Joe Biden, making it clear the US intends to deepen economic ties with Taiwan. “The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law permits, consistent with our long-standing commitment to freedom of navigation,” he explained. “We are developing an ambitious roadmap for trade negotiations which we will announce in the coming days,” he said.

Moscow ready to help Aiea visit to Zaporizhzhia

Russia is ready to help organise a visit by experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (Aiea) to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Russia’s permanent representative Mikhail Ulyanov wrote yesterday on Telegram,  according to Interfax. During Thursday’s meeting of the UN Security Council, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi explained in detail why an international mission visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was urgently needed. “Russia has immediately confirmed its willingness to provide assistance in organising this mission,” Ulyanov said.

Europe drought could be ‘worst’ in 500 years

Europe could be experiencing its worst drought in 500 years, a leading scientist has warned. Andrea Toreti, a senior researcher at the European Drought Observatory, said this year’s dry conditions will worsen and will most likely eclipse the unprecedented drought of 2018. There is “very high risk” that the current lack of rainfall in western and central Europe will continue for the next three months, he said. The warning came as the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) predicted that the drought could end up affecting 47 per cent of the continent. As a result of scorching temperatures, water levels have plummeted across Europe, leading some authorities to impose restrictions on water use.

Anne Heche is dead

US actress Anne Heche is legally dead but will remain on life support to allow for a possible organ donation, her representative has said. The 53-year-old had been in a coma for a week after crashing her car into a house in Los Angeles. Heche appeared in films including Volcano, Donnie Brasco and the 1998 remake of Psycho. The mother-of-two also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, the US equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing, in 2020. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, Heche’s vehicle “erupted in heavy fire”, which took 59 firefighters more than an hour to fully extinguish. The two-storey home she crashed into was left “uninhabitable”.

Gunman kills 11 in Montenegro

At least 11 people have been killed in a shooting following a family dispute in the city of Cetinje in Montenegro. According to officials, a single gunman shot dead three members of the same family before shooting at passers-by. A mother and her two children all staying in the shooter’s house were killed, prosecutor Andrijana Nastic told journalists. The attack finally ended when the 34-year-old gunman was shot dead by a civilian.

Football: Messi out of 2022 Ballon d’Or list

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi paid a high price for an underwhelming first season with Paris Saint-Germain when he was left off the 30-strong list for this year’s coveted football award. Messi, who won the title last year, had been an ever-present amongst the nominations since 2006 and a regular feature in the top three since 2007 with the exception of 2018. But Messi, 35, has missed out on the 2022 award following his switch from Barcelona to the French capital. A change in the format has also worked against the Argentine superstar with the Ballon d’Or no longer acknowledging the best player over a calendar year. Instead, it is based on a season’s record highlighting “the individual performances” and the “decisive and impressive character” of the nominees, according to the criteria. French international striker Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favourite after being the architect of Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League title. He finished the European campaign with 15 goals and in the 2021/2022 season, Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 appearances for a Madrid side which also won the Liga title. His goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Super Cup took the 34-year-old to 324 goals for the Spanish giants. “He’s in line for the Ballon d’Or. Is there any doubt? For me, no,” said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.

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