Kurz investigated for corruption
Der Standard reports Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his head of cabinet Bernhard Bonelli are being investigated by Vienna’s anti-corruption prosecutor over allegations of false declarations. Investigators are looking into statements made by Kurz and Bonelli in a parliamentary commission of inquiry regarding the appointment of the head of the Austrian state holding company Oebag. Kurz has rejected the accusations and excluded resignation.
Diplomatic frenzy to stop Israeli-Palestine conflict
As rising tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians escalated into open warfare and rising tensions, The Hill reports US President Joe Biden has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later he told journalists his national security and defense staff had been in “constant contact” with their counterparts in the Middle East, including Egypt, the Saudi Arabia and the UAE. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a telephone conversation with Palestinian leader Abu Mazen asking him to stop the launch of Hamas rockets towards Israel. The Americans also sent Israeli-Palestinian envoy Hady Amr to the region to meet with the parties and seek de-escalation.
Israelis kill four Hamas military leaders
Times of Israel reports a top Hamas leader, Bassem Issa, was among four of the Islamic group’s highest-ranking military officials killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Wednesday. The Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, said 10 other Hamas operatives involved in weapons production and research were also killed in the attack which leveled a downtown high-rise building, housing the group’s offices.
Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has met UN Special Envoy to Libya Jàn Kubis and confirmed the Italian government’s intense and continuous commitment to “consolidating the security framework in Libya”, including in order to “strengthen Libyan authorities’ ability to manage land and sea borders”. Lamorgese highlighted the need for the EU to “be more involved in managing the migratory issue”.
COVID “a preventable disaster”
The COVID pandemic was a preventable disaster that need not have cost millions of lives if the world had reacted more quickly. The Guardian says an independent high-level panel report concludes that preparation was inconsistent and underfunded, the alert system too slow and too meek while the World Health Organization was under-powered. It castigates global leaders and calls for major changes to bring it to an end and ensure it cannot happen again.
Liz Cheney fired
CNN says that in an extraordinary bow to former President Trump, House Republicans have voted to purge GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from her leadership post, punishing the conservative Wyoming Republican for daring to refute Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Sources inside the closed-door vote said it was an overwhelming vote against Cheney.