France deplores US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine pact
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has described as “deplorable” Australia’s decision to build nuclear submarines in a new partnership with the US and Britain, saying this was “contrary to the letter and the spirit of cooperation that has prevailed between France and Australia”. A note reads that the removal of a European ally and partner like France from a long-standing partnership with Australia marks “a lack of coherence of which France can only regret.” Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the country would purchase US long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles as they strengthen military defenses in the face of a growing China. He also confirmed that the country would not finalise a 90 billion Australian dollar agreement with France to supply submarines, but will build its own, nuclear-powered, using US-UK technology.
Johnson ‘wields axe’ as he ‘lays ground for next election’
The UK front pages are dominated by the prime minister’s reshuffle of his cabinet. The Daily Expressdescribes it as Boris Johnson’s “biggest shake-up yet”, calling it a “ruthless cull”. According to the Daily Mail, the move was designed to get him a second term in power in an election “possibly two years off”. “Johnson sacks blundering cabinet allies” is the headline in the iNewspaper, which says Dominic Raab was “angry” and refused to accept his demotion from foreign secretary to justice secretary until he was also given the title of deputy prime minister.
Hong Kong activists get jail sentences
Nine pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong were sentenced to between six and 10 months in prison for promoting and participating in the June 4 vigil in memory of the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, banned for the first time by the police since 1990. All had pleaded guilty to the charges of participation in an unauthorised demonstration with a view to a softer sentence.
Talibans seized €10 million from ex-government officials
Cash and gold amounting to over €10 million have been taken in raids by the Taliban on former members of the Afghan government. Afghanistan’s central bank said raids included the residence of former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, and “a number of high ranking government officials”. Meanwhile, The Pashtun Times reports on Twitter that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, deputy prime minister of the Taliban government, is in a Kandahar hospital after being injured in a clash with members of the Haqqani network last week in the presidential palace in Kabul.
SpaceX launches first all-civilian crew into orbit
Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has reached orbit – carrying, for the first time, a crew of only four civilians without any professional astronaut. It took off from the Kennedy Space Centre for a three-day mission at a height of 575 kilometers, well beyond the International Space Station.
Chinese astronauts break record
Three Chinese astronauts completed a three-month space mission, the longest ever carried out by China at its space station. The three men had left Earth in late June aboard the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft. The official news agency did not specify when their return to Earth is expected.