Italian President refuses Mario Draghi’s resignation
Italy’s shaky government was thrown a lifeline Thursday after the country’s president refused to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, insisting he addressed parliament in a bid to avoid snap elections. Draghi had earlier vowed to resign after a party in his coalition government – the Five Star Movement (M5S) – sat out a confidence vote, sending tremors through the eurozone’s third largest economy.
Draghi said the “pact of trust” on which the government was based had been broken, and the conditions to carry on were “no longer there”. He said he had made “every effort” to “meet the demands that have been put to me”, but the vote showed “this effort was not enough”.
President Sergio Mattarella, a figurehead who takes on a key role in moments of political crisis, asked Draghi not to throw in the towel but instead “assess” the situation in parliament. Draghi is expected to address both the lower and upper houses on Wednesday.
The confidence vote was called on an aid package worth about €23 billion, designed to help combat rampant inflation. But it also included a provision to allow a garbage incinerator to be built in Rome – something the M5S has long opposed, saying it could not stomach voting for the incinerator, but still supported Draghi. The crisis could still end with Italians heading to the ballot boxes later this year.
Tory leadership hopefuls face showdown in crucial TV debate
Channel 4 is hosting the first showdown for the prospective PMs after MPs voted in the second round of the contest – with Rishi Sunak coming top with 101 votes and Penny Mordaunt second with 83, adding 16 to her previous tally. After another frenzied day at Westminster, in which she pleaded for right-wingers to back her, Liz Truss was still well behind on 64, up 14, while Kemi Badenoch received 49. Tom Tugendhat, who has portrayed himself as the moderates’ champion, lost support with 32 votes. Although he insists he has no intention of pulling out he will be favourite to exit in the next round on Monday. Ms Truss’s team have been heaping praise on Suella Braverman, the latest to be eliminated Thursday, and urging her 27 supporters to shift their allegiance to the Foreign Secretary. But Ms Mordaunt looks in a strong position to reach the last two, who will go to a run-off ballot of Conservative members. The focus will now shift to the series of TV debates scheduled for the next few days. ITV’s version is happening on Sunday and Sky News on Monday.
Saudi Arabia to open airspace to all carriers
Saudi Arabia announced Friday it was lifting restrictions on “all carriers” using its airspace – an apparent gesture of openness towards Israel ahead of US President Joe Biden’s arrival this afternoon. It was the latest conciliatory move by Riyadh concerning the Jewish state, which it has refused to recognise despite intensive efforts by the Israelis to establish ties with Arab countries. A White House statement said Biden “welcomes and commends the historic decision” by Saudi Arabia. “This decision is the result of the President’s persistent and principled diplomacy with Saudi Arabia over many months, culminating in his visit today,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in the statement.
US-Israel deal to deny Iran nuclear weapons
Meanwhile, President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge on Thursday to deny Iran nuclear arms – a show of unity by allies long divided over diplomacy with Tehran. “We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Biden told a news conference following the signing of the declaration. Thursday’s statement reaffirmed US support for Israel’s regional military edge and ability “to defend itself by itself”.
Russian missile strikes on central Ukraine
Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia in central Ukraine Thursday, killing at least 23 people including three children, in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called “an open act of terrorism”. The attack on the city, hundreds of kilometres from the frontlines and invading Russian troops, came as EU officials convened in The Hague to discuss war crimes in Ukraine. In his daily address to the nation late Thursday Zelensky confirmed the toll and said it was likely to rise, with dozens still missing and many hospitalised in critical condition. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by the attack, while the EU slammed it as an “atrocity.” Both called for accountability.
Americans told: ‘Leave Ukraine now’
The US embassy in Kiev has asked Americans in Ukraine to “immediately leave” the country using private ground transportation if there is a chance to do so safely. An urgent notice on the embassy’s website also invited those who are unable to leave the country to avoid “gatherings and organised events that could be considered objectives by Russia”. Americans were told not to leave for Ukraine.
Ukraine war to dominate G20 finance chief meeting
Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs from top economies will meet in Indonesia Friday for talks on the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has roiled markets, spiked food prices and stoked breakneck inflation. The two-day meeting takes place on the resort island of Bali under the shadow of war a week after the forum’s foreign ministers rounded on Moscow’s top diplomat, prompting him to walk out of the talks. The impact of the Ukraine war, weighing on an already brittle global recovery, will now top the agenda.
China’s Covid effect on GDP: + 0.4% in the second quarter
China marked an annual GDP growth of 0.4% in the second quarter, paying a very high bill for the ‘zero tolerance’ policies at Covid-19, which cost Shanghai, among other things, the total block in April and May. The data is the worst since – 6.8% at the beginning of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, and is lower than analysts’ expectations (+ 1%) and in the first quarter (+4.8 %). On a cyclical basis, however, there is a drop of 2.6% against the expected – 1.5% and the + 1.4% revised in the first three months of 2022. These are complicated scenarios in view of the XX Congress of the Communist Party at the end of the year.
Colombia landslide buries school
At least eight children are believed trapped in northwest Colombia after a landslide buried a school on Thursday. Video footage shared on social media showed dozens of villagers with shovels trying to remove a heap of felled trees and rubble. Daniel Quintero, mayor of Medellin, said, “Initial information mentions eight children trapped.” The message included video footage of people begging for earth-moving equipment.
Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana dies aged 73
Ivana Trump – Donald Trump’s first wife and mother of his three elder children – has died at the age of 73, the former president announced Thursday on his social media platform Truth Social, without providing the cause of death. “She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life,” said Donald Trump. Ivana Trump, a model who grew up under communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia, married Trump, then a budding real estate developer, in 1977.
Euro 2022: Italy’s hopes hanging by a threat
France reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s European Championship after sinking Belgium 2-1 who were down to 10 players after Amber Tysiak was shown red in the closing minutes of normal time. Meanwhile, Italy suffered a 1-1 draw with Iceland. Today’s matches: Group A: Austria v. Norway and Northern Ireland v. England (both matches start at 9 pm).