EU meeting on migration in the Med
The European Commission will convene a meeting dedicated to the situation of the flow of migrants in the central Mediterranean on 31 August. Ansa quotes European sources saying the meeting will be attended by Member State authorities and European agencies and will discuss search and rescue operations at sea, and relocations.
UN chief calls on Taliban to halt offensive
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Taliban to immediately halt their offensive in Afghanistan, and warned that “Afghanistan is spinning out of control.” He said this was the moment to start serious negotiation. Taliban insurgents have seized Afghanistan’s second and third biggest cities as resistance from government forces crumbled, stoking fears that an assault on the capital Kabul could be just days away. Guterres called on all parties to do more to protect civilians.
Thousands to be airlifted out of Kabul as Taliban strengthens control
The US is making preparations to airlift thousands of people a day out of Kabul as Taliban continues to advance towards the Afghan capital. Taliban tightened its territorial stranglehold around Kabul on Saturday, as refugees from the insurgents’ relentless offensive flooded the capital and US Marines returned to oversee emergency evacuations. The first members of an American military evacuation force have already arrived at the city’s airport to help diplomatic staff and others leave. The UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway are also sending troops to help in the evacuation of their nationals.
US on terrorism alert because of 9/11
The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a terrorism alert citing potential threats coming from outside and inside the United States. The alert mentions the risk of “targeted violence” on the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the next religious holidays.
Gun licence questions after ‘senseless massacre’
The Times is among several London papers to report that the gunman who killed five people, including a three-year-old girl, Sophie Martyn, and his own mother, had his gun licence returned by police last month after it was revoked over an assault allegation. The paper reports that Devon and Cornwall Police are being investigated after Jake Davison’s shotgun certificate and shotgun were returned to him. The Daily Telegraph says police face “mounting questions” over why he was free to own such a weapon despite concerns over his mental health. Davison, who killed five people during a 12-minute “rampage” in a residential part of Plymouth, had posted videos espousing extreme misogynism, the paper says. “Senseless” is the front-page headline on the Daily Mirror, which features an image of Sophie Martyn.
July was world’s hottest month on record
July was the hottest month globally ever recorded, a US scientific agency said on Friday, in the latest data to sound the alarm about the climate crisis. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded,” said Rick Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 0.93 degrees Celsius above the 20th-century average of 15.7 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest July since record-keeping began 142 years ago. The month was 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous record set in July 2016, which was equaled in 2019 and 2020.
Merkel’s privileges after leaving politics
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive a pension of €15,000 a month, according to an estimate by the German Taxpayers Association. Merkel, 67, is retiring from political life following the September parliamentary elections. Like all former chancellors and presidents, Merkel will have the right to an official office, a secretary, two assistants, a typist and a driver. Angela Merkel has been Germany’s permanent chancellor since 2005.