Global Review – 23rd July

Russia, Ukraine sign grain export agreement

Russia and Ukraine, with the assistance of Turkey, signed a “product deal” in Istanbul, which will allow the export of grain from the area of the military conflict along the Black Sea. UN Secretary General António Guterres called the signing of the document a “beacon of hope in the Black Sea” and expressed hope that the agreements reached would be fully respected. Earlier, it was reported the EU feared the start of mass starvation if an agreement on the export of grain could not be reached. Russia and Ukraine are the largest suppliers of grain. Without their participation in the grain trade, the world’s food security could be jeopardised. Ukrainian President Zelensky said the agreement would allow the export of about 20 million tons of last year’s harvest in addition to that of the current year.

Child among 13 killed as Tripoli militia clash

Thirteen people, including an 11-year-old child, died and another 30 were injured in renewed clashes between Libyan militias in Tripoli that broke out in the night between Thursday and Friday and resumed at noon. The fighting degenerated into heavy firefights in the east of the city, near the campus of the University of Tripoli and the Tripoli Medical Centre, where many people had sought refuge during the night to escape the violence. The fighting sowed panic in busy streets and gardens during hot summer nights between two influential armed groups in western Libya: the al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade. Libyan Airlines flights from Cairo and al-Alamia from Benghazi, which were to land at Mitiga airport, not far from the clashes, were diverted to Misrata, 200 kms east of Tripoli. The management of Mitiga airport has therefore suspended air traffic until further notice.

Berlusconi is back!

Silvio Berlusconi is back and, according to his deputy, “like a cricket”, is preparing for his ninth electoral race, at the age of 85. He thus tries to mend the canvas torn in turn by Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, hosting the leader of Fratelli d’Italia for lunch – after months of distance, misunderstandings and digs. And they agreed on a three-way summit at the beginning of next week. The founder of Forza Italia announced an eight-point programme, which he attributed to the entire centre-right. Among them is the promise of pensions “of at least €1,000 a month for 13 months” (including mothers and housewives) and to plant a million trees a year in Italy. Not only the old battle horses (taxes, less bureaucracy, fewer processes, more security) but also the climate change. And for himself the dream of returning to the Senate, after the ‘expulsion’ of 2013 due to the ban from public office. “He is certainly a candidate for the Senate,” reveals his deputy Antonio Tajani, trusting that the spirit of the Cavaliere is high. “He is like a cricket. He exalts himself in the electoral campaign”.

1,700 heat-related deaths in Spain, Portugal

An extreme heat wave that brought record temperatures to parts of Europe has caused over 1,700 deaths on the Iberian peninsula alone, WHO’s Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said Friday, adding the figure would “increase further over the coming days”. In Spain, the heat wave is predicted to end Monday but temperatures remain above 40OC in large parts of the country. In Portugal, temperatures reached 45OC degrees on July 13 in the city of Leiria. WHO said wildfires in the two countries and parts of Europe only worsened matters. In the first seven months of this year, flames destroyed more than 197,000 hectares of forest in Spain alone. Meanwhile, in Italy, the fire brigade said it had been called out much more often for forest and bush fires so far this summer than last year. Between June 15 and July 21, more than 32,900 operations were counted nationwide – about 4,000 more than in the same period last year, the fire brigade said.

EU launches new legal moves against UK

The European Commission on Friday launched four new legal proceedings against Britain over London’s failure to implement Brexit divorce terms to govern trade with Northern Ireland. The proceedings by Brussels add to the legal case load after a year-long truce as the EU challenges a British government bid to scrap parts of post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland. London called the move “disappointing”. The government would review the EU’s arguments “and respond in due course”. Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the leading candidate to succeed Boris Johnson as British prime minister, promised to scrap all remaining European Union laws that still apply in Britain by 2023 if she wins the Conservative Party leadership contest. Truss is up against former finance minister Rishi Sunak in a race to court the 200,000 members of the Conservative Party who over the course of the summer will vote to choose the country’s new prime minister.  “EU regulations hinder our businesses and this has to change,” Truss said.

Bannon guilty of contempt after skipping Capitol riots hearing

Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon has been convicted of contempt charges for skipping a hearing on the US Capitol riots. Bannon, a long-time ally of Trump, defied subpoenas from the January 6 House committee investigating the riots at the US Capitol in Washington DC. Bannon had initially argued that his testimony was protected by  Trump’s claim of executive privilege. He was convicted after a four-day trial in federal court in Washington on two counts: one for refusing to appear for a deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena. He could be jailed for up to two years when he is sentenced on October 21. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Dead baby’s mother ‘had no scruples’

Alessia Pifferi, the 37-year-old who is in prison accused of aggravated voluntary murder for having left her 18-month old daughter at home for more than six days to carry on her relationships and having fun, had no qualms about leaving the little girl in the house, knowing full well that she could die of starvation. The Milan prosecutor contested precautionary requirements because the woman is considered “a dangerous person with no scruples”.

UN warns Africans of organ harvesters

The UN has raised the alarm about the booming black market for human body organs in the Middle East, warning Africans to beware of traffickers who disguise as job providers in the area. It however did not mention the name of any country in the Gulf region. The document notes black marketers pay $262,000 for a kidney, $119,000 for a heart and $157,000 the liver. “Beware of fake foreign agencies promising to make you work abroad. They process your papers, pay your plane ticket and just take you abroad pretending they want to find you a job, but instead, they kill their victims, and recover all the precious parts of their bodies. Many people have been offered jobs in the Middle East and so far their families have been unable to locate them,” the UN alert read.

Sex in public more frequent in Sochi

Russian police have  called on residents and guests of Sochi, the largest resort city on the Sochi Riveralong the Black Sea, to “observe at least some norms of decency” and not to engage in indecency in public places. The warning comes as two couples were noticed making love on a sap right into the seaand under the palm trees. The department added that the incident at sea does not fall under their area of responsibility. Actions under a palm tree are a violation of the administrative code and can be interpreted as petty hooliganism. Violators face a fine of 1,000 roubles (€16.5c) or arrest for up to 15 days.

Euro 2022: Late winner sets up Sweden-England semi-final

Linda Sembrant’s dramatic stoppage-time winner earned Sweden a 1-0 victory over Belgium and the chance to face England in the semi-finals of Euro 2022 on Tuesday. Stina Blackstenius was denied a goal by VAR midway through the first half and Sweden were made to wait until the dying seconds to see off a valiant Belgian effort. Today’s last quarter-final is between France and the Netherlands (kick-off 9pm) and the winner will face Germany in the semi-final on Wednesday. The final will be played on Sunday July 31 at 6pm.