Macron to win most seats in parliamentary elections
French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance held a narrow lead according to early projections in the first round of voting in the country’s parliamentary elections on Sunday. The Ensemble alliance is running neck-and-neck with the new left-wing union NUPES in initial estimates.Ensemble received 25.75% of votes, while the left alliance had won 25.66% of votes. Initial projections put the president’s party at 25.2 to 25.6%, while the left alliance had 25.2 to 26.1%. According to French media, a record 52.8% of french voters did not turn out to vote. NUPES leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon reacted to the results of the first round by saying that Macron had been “beaten and defeated”. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne welcomed the results, saying Ensemble was “the only political force capable of getting a majority in the National Assembly”. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged her supporters to stop Macron from reaching an absolute majority. She called on her supporters not to vote for either NUPES or Ensemble candidates in run-off contests between the two.
US bipartisan gun control deal
A bipartisan group of 20 US senators on Sunday proposed steps to curb gun violence following devastating mass shootings in Texas and New York, but the limited measures fall far short of the president’s calls for change. Republican lawmakers, who have repeatedly blocked tougher measures, are still resisting major changes to gun regulations, instead pointing to mental health issues as the root of the problem. The new proposals include tougher background checks for gun buyers under 21, increasing resources for states to keep weapons out of the hands of people deemed a risk, and cracking down on illegal gun purchases.
‘Enough evidence to indict Trump’
Members of the US January 6 committee believe they’ve uncovered enough evidence to indict former President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press. The assertion is a dramatic step in the committee’s work to argue to the American people that Trump and his allies knowingly spread misinformation about the 2020 election, particularly leading up to the deadly attack on the Capitol in January 2021. With two more hearings scheduled for this week, lawmakers say they plan to unveil new evidence to back their claims, which they think “reasonable” people will believe. If the Department of Justice chooses to pursue charges, Trump would be the first president to be indicted.
‘Russia blocks grain export negotiations’ – Dombrovskis
Russia is responsible for the negative outcome so far of the negotiations started for the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine through its ports on the Black Sea, according to the vice president of the EU Commission. Speasking on the sidelines of an event in support of Ukraine held in Geneva before the start of the WTO ministerial conference, Valdis Dombrovskis said, “It is up to Russia to stop the ongoing aggression and the blocking of exports. In the meantime we will do everything possible to find alternative routes through earthly corridors”. Food security jeopardized by the stop to exports of cereals from Ukraine will be one of the topics at the centre of the WTO four-day meeting.
‘Two land corridors activated to export grain’
Ukraine has created two land corridors through Poland and Romania to export wheat and avoid a global food crisis, even if ‘bottlenecks’ slow down the supply chain. Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dmytro Senik reiterated that global food security is at risk because the Russian invasion of Ukraine has stopped Ukrainian wheat exports from the Black Sea. Ukraine, he said, is also in talks with Baltics states to add a third corridor for food exports.
Erdogan to speak to Putin, Zelensky this week
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to speak with Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky this week to discuss the situation in Ukraine. According toTass, Erdogan intends to address the issue of the “grain corridor” to the safe grain exports from Ukraine. “We have five million tons of grain in our warehouses, but we would like to increase these volumes and would participate in the work on creating a safe corridor for shipments of agricultural products, not only for ourselves, but also for third countries”.
Russian war crime bombing – Amnesty
Amnesty International has accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, stating that hundreds of civilians have died in Kharkiv in attacks carried out with cluster bombs. The human rights NGO says it has found evidence showing that in at least seven attacks on neighbourhoods in the second largest city in northeastern Ukraine, Russian forces used 9N210 and 9N235 type bombs and fragmentation mines, two categories of weapons prohibited by international treaties. In a latest report, Amnesty said, “People were killed in their homes and on the streets, on playgrounds and cemeteries, while waiting in line for humanitarian aid or shopping for food and medicine.”
Scholz, Macron, Draghi plan Ukraine visit
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi are all planning to travel to Kiev before the G7 meeting at the end of June. But none of the leaders has yet confirmed that the visit will go ahead, Bild am Sonntag reports. If it does happen, it will be the first time the three have visited Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, now holding about 20% of the country under its control.
Russia rebrands McDonald’s restaurant chain
The former McDonald’s restaurants in Russia, acquired by the company Sistema Pbo have been renamed “Vkousno i totchka”, or ‘Delicious and that’s it’. McDonald’s fled Russia after more than 30 years, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Owner Alexandre Govor assured that the 51,000 former McDonald employees across Russia would keep their work place.
British Bill to scrap N.Ireland trade rules
Britain will today propose a Bill in parliament overriding the rules that govern post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes has damaged trade within the United Kingdom and has threatened political stability in Northern Ireland. When Britain left the EU, Johnson agreed to a deal that effectively kept Northern Ireland in the EU single market and customs union to preserve the open border with Ireland specified in the Good Friday peace agreement. Brussels believes any unilateral change could breach international law.
Queen reigns supreme… almost!
Queen Elizabeth II officially became the world’s second-longest serving monarch of all time on Sunday, having officially reigned as head of state for 70 years and 126 days. Her majesty, 96, has overtaken Thailand’s late king, the ninth monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016. Louis XIV of France, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, still holds the title for longest-serving sovereign with 72 years and 110 days. He was on the throne from 1643 until 1715. On May 9, Elizabeth surpassed Johan II of Liechtenstein, who served for 70 years and 91 days, until his death in February 1929. The queen became the longest-reigning British monarch in September 2015, surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. Elizabeth was crowned on June 2, 1953.
Sheep drown as Sudan ship sinks
An overladen ship crammed with thousands of sheep sank Sunday in Sudan’s Red Sea port of Suakin drowning most animals on board but with all crew surviving, officials said. The livestock vessel was exporting 15,800 sheep from Sudan to Saudi Arabia when it sank. The ship was supposed to carry only 9,000 sheep. The total value of the lost livestock is around €3.7 million.