Global Review – 13th February

Brits protest against soaring cost of living

Thousands across the UK took to the streets calling on the government to intervene in the cost of living crisis as they highlighted the impact of soaring bills and taxes on struggling families. The People’s Assembly co-ordinated the demonstrations, supported by trade unions, in towns and cities around the country. Protests came following calls for a windfall tax on energy giants as they reap hefty earnings while households and businesses struggle to pay soaring energy bills, along with a National Insurance increase and a record inflation high. Laura Pidcock, national secretary of the People’s Assembly, said older people will be cold in their homes, people will be struggling to feed their children, when none of this is a crisis of their making.

Staples have risen by 8% in Britain’s main grocery stores

Supermarket staples like pasta, tinned tomatoes and strawberry jam shot up by around 8% in just one year, analysis has suggested. According to new figures, the overall price of a basket of 15 standard food items rose by £1.32. The data came from retail research firm Assosia, which tracked the average cost of grocery items at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. The company recorded more than 17,000 price increases across the main supermarkets in January, more than double the number in the same month last year, and across every category.

BidenPutin talks: a conversation without news

Efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine through a frenzy of telephone diplomacy failed to ease tensions, with the White House insisting that Russia faces “swift and severe costs” if its troops carry out an invasion. The hour-long telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, on the Ukrainian crisis, was “professional and substantial” but did not produce “any fundamental change”,  a senior US official told the media. Biden and Putin spoke amid high tension over a Russian military buildup near Ukraine that has fuelled fears of a looming invasion. Russia has repeatedly denied any such plans. President Biden repeated earlier threats that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the US and its allies would impose swift and severe costs on Russia. He urged President Putin to engage in de-escalation and diplomacy instead.

Russia’s ‘key’ security demands unmet – Kremlin

The Kremlin has said President Putin told President Biden that ideas he laid out to address Russia’s security demands still did not tackle Moscow’s key concerns. In a briefing, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov described the call as businesslike, but said it had taken place against a backdrop of “hysteria” in the West about a looming Russian invasion that he said was absurd. Yuri Ouchakov, Putin’s diplomatic adviser told the media, “The (American) hysteria has reached its peak”, adding that “in the last few days and hours the situation has been brought to absurd levels: the Americans have even announced the date of the Russian invasion”. However, the two leaders have agreed to continue contacts at all levels. Before talking to Biden, Putin spoke to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, underlining that the accusations that Russia planned to invade Ukraine were “provocative speculations”.

EU missions in Ukraine do not close Borrell,

As more than a dozen countries have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine amid warnings from Western powers that an invasion by Russia could be imminent, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell has said the EU diplomatic mission and those of the member states are not closing. “They remain in Kiev and continue to operate and support the Ukrainian authorities,” he said.

Boy kills parents, sibling over poor school results

A Spanish 15-year-old boy shot his parents and 10-year-old brother to death following a quarrel with the mother for his poor school performance, with the latter removing his wi-fi as punishment. The boy, who confessed, lived with the corpses in the house for three days, during which he absconded school.‘El Pais’ said the discovery of the crime occurred after a casual question of a neighbour who met the boy by chance. The woman told him that she hadn’t seen his parents for a few days and the boy calmly replied that he had killed them a few days earlier. The neighbour then alerted a relative who went into the house and called the police and emergency services.

Standoff at US-Canada border bridge continues

A standoff between Canadian police and protesters blocking a key bridge to the United States continued on Saturday, even after authorities moved in seeking to end the blockade of the important trade corridor through which trade worth $400 million pass every day. Crowds of protesters are reported to be building up again at the Ambassador Bridge in the Canadian province of Ontario. Police managed to clear the area of big trucks but a small number of pick-up vehicles remain and the operation appeared to have stalled. The protests have inspired similar convoys in the United States, France, New Zealand and Australia.

Hundreds fined, dozens arrested as convoy enters Paris

French police have intercepted hundreds of vehicles trying to enter Paris as part of a protest against France’s coronavirus regulations. Tear gas was fired in the city as demonstrators defied an order banning the “Freedom Convoy”. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said more than 300 tickets had been handed out and 54 people arrested.

Football: Chelsea win FIFA World Club Cup

European Champions Chelsea have won the FIFA World Cub Cup beating the Brazilian side Palmeiras 2-1 after extra-time in a tight match played in Abu Dhabi. A 117th-minute penalty by Kai Havertz – who also scored their 2021 Champions League winner – means the Blues have now won every possible trophy under the ownership of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Romelu Lukaku opened the score with a header in the second half before Raphael Veiga levelled from the spot. Palmeiras defender Luan was sent off in added time as the Blues sealed victory.

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