Global Review – 22nd June

US Senate passes bipartisan Bill on gun safety

US senators have given the first procedural ok to the Bill addressing gun violence with 64 votes in favour and 34 against. The authors of the initiative hope for definitive approval by Saturday, to then transmit the provision to the Chamber. Chris Murphy, the senator leading negotiations for the Democrats, hailed the Bill as the “most significant piece of anti-gun violence legislation in nearly 30 years – a Bill that is going to save thousands of lives”. The lawmakers had been up against the clock – aware that any delay risked losing the sense of urgency ignited by the fatal shooting of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas and of 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, upstate New York, both last month.A cross-party group of senators agreed on a framework on June 12 that includes enhanced background checks for buyers aged under 21, $11 billion in funding for mental health and $2 billion for school safety programmes. The Bill also calls for funding to implement “red flag” laws to remove firearms from people considered a threat.

Uvalde school will be demolishedTexas Mayor

The Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a young man killed two teachers and 19 pupils, will be demolished. City Mayor Don McLaughlin announced this during a tense city council with citizens demanding answers after the massacre. The mayor did not specify when the school will be razed to the ground, a hypothesis also evoked by President Joe Biden in his visit to the site of the tragedy. “You can’t ask a child or a teacher to go back to that school,” explained McLaughlin.

Capitol riot hearing: workers detail death threats

Trump supporters threatened election officials and their families after they refused to quash his 2020 defeat, a congressional panel has heard. The Speaker of Arizona’s statehouse, Rusty Bowers, told the committee probing last year’s Capitol riot that the harassment continues to this day. A Georgia voter counter said she was afraid to leave home after ex-President Donald Trump specifically targeted her.The House of Representatives panel accuses Mr Trump of an attempted coup. The select committee has conducted a year-long investigation into how Trump supporters invaded Congress on January 6,2021, to disrupt lawmakers as they certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

EU’s ‘total consensus’ on granting Ukraine candidate status

EU ministers on Tuesday backed granting war-torn Ukraine candidate status to join the bloc ahead of a summit expected to formally greenlight the move later this week. France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune said after a meeting with his counterparts that there was “a total consensus on moving these issues forward, and in particular for Ukraine the possibility of confirming candidate status as soon as possible”.

Germany calls Russian gas cut an ‘attack’

Russian energy giant Gazprom’s slashing of gas supplies to Europe amounts to an “attack” by Moscow, German economy minister Robert Habeck said Tuesday. “The reduction of gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is an attack on us, an economic attack on us,” Habeck said in a speech to a German industry conference. Gazprom said last week it would reduce supplies of the fuel to Germany via the pipeline due to delayed repairs, while the German government has called the decision “political”.  As a result of the cut, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, decided to reactivate mothballed coal power plants to reduce their gas consumption. Germany has also mandated the filling of gas reserves to 90% ahead of the European winter, to hedge against a further reduction in supply.

Russia slashing EU gas flows ‘for illegal reasons’

Ukraine accused Russian energy giant Gazprom on Tuesday of illegally cutting natural gas supplies to European countries in a move that has seen EU member states scramble to fill the energy shortfall. “Gazprom has limited gas supplies to Europe for far-fetched and illegal reasons, justifying this by saying Nord Stream 1 is not operating at full capacity,” said Yuriy Vitrenko, the head of Ukraine state energy company Naftogaz. “This is unscrupulous behaviour on the part of Gazprom,” he added.

Turkish team to discuss Black Sea grain corridor

A Turkish military delegation will travel to Russia this week to discuss details of a possible sea corridor in the Black Sea for Ukrainian grain exports, Turkish broadcasters said on Tuesday. Russia’s TASS agency confirmed plans for the talks, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Broadcaster Haberturk said a four-way meeting between Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations would be held in Istanbul within 10 days, and President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres could join the meeting. The sources cited by Haberturk said three corridors could be created under the plan at four separate ports in Ukraine’s Black Sea city of Odesa, and that both Ukrainian and Russian food products would be shipped from there. They said between 30 and 35 million tonnes of grain were expected to be shipped from there in the period of between six and eight months.

Ukraine strike Russian Black Sea oil platform

Ukraine admitted striking an oil drilling platform in the Black Sea, saying Tuesday it was being used by Russian troops as a military installation. Sergiy Bratchuk, spokesman for Odessa’s regional military administration said Russia was using the platform as a military installation for storing “equipment for air defence, radar warfare and reconnaissance” which was “helping the Russians achieve full control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea”.

Russians capture Toshkivka settlement

In fighting on the ground, Ukraine said it was encountering difficulty in the east as Russian forces captured more territory and intensified pressure on two cities. Russian forces captured the settlement of Toshkivka southeast of the embattled city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, its pro-Kyiv governor said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the enemy threw at it huge amounts of armament and soldiers, and captured Toshkivka,” governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukraine’s national broadcaster.

Brazil’s Lula unveils social, green campaign priorities

Brazil’s leftist former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who heads the presidential election race, announced Tuesday that his priorities in power would be social policies and protecting the Amazon.Polls show Brazil’s far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro lagging behind Lula ahead of a two-round presidential election next October. “We will have to rebuild this country, with construction based on a sound foundation,” Lula said during a ceremony in Sao Paulo when he presented a 121-point programme to “get Brazil back on track”. Surveys show Lula favoured to win a first round vote with 48 percent against 27 percent for Bolsonaro. According to Lula’s programme, the first priority of his government would be to improve “the living conditions of the vast majority of Brazil’s population” including tackling hunger and a decline in purchasing power.

Jury finds Bill Cosby sexually assaulted teen

Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a teenager at the Playboy Mansion almost 50 years ago, a jury in California found Tuesday, in the first civil ruling against the veteran entertainer following dozens of allegations. Judy Huth, now aged 64, was awarded $500,000 in damages after the jury in Santa Monica determined that Cosby had molested her in 1975 when she was just 16 years old after meeting her on a movie set and plying her with alcohol. The case is the only successful legal action against Cosby, 84, who has been accused of using his fame to prey on women over several decades. Formerly known as “America’s Dad”, Cosby was jailed in Pennsylvania for drugging and molesting a woman in a separate criminal case in 2018, but was freed last year when his conviction was overturned on a technicality.

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