Global Review – 23rd October

Xi receives third mandate

Chinese President Xi Jinping has received an unprecedented and historic third consecutive term as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. This was announced by Xi himself, meeting the Chinese and international media at the end of the first plenary of the Central Committee. He said the party yesterday successfully concluded its congress, “holding high our banner, pulling together our strength and forging ahead in unity”. He also noted that the international community had been following the congress “with great interest” and heads of state had sent congratulatory messages and letters, and he thanked all of them. He then introduced his new line-up in the Politburo standing committee, adding “they are all quite familiar to you”. The seven-person committee members walked out behind Xi in order of rank, first and foremost Li Qiang, the new prime minister, replacing Li Keqiang. On Saturday, China’s former president Hu Jintao was unexpectedly escorted out of the closing ceremony of the congress. The 79-year-old was led off the stage by two stewards. China has since attributed the incident to concerns for Mr Hu’s health. Delegates on Saturday also enshrined in the party’s constitution opposition to Taiwanese independence. Beijing has always pledged to re-take the self-ruled democratic island, by force if necessary.

Taiwan urges China to shed off ‘old mentality of aggression

Taiwan has urged China to resolve the issue of the Strait peacefully, urging it to “abandon the old mentality of aggression and confrontation”, after the Communist Party expressed firm opposition to the hypothesis of independence during its 20th Congress. The Taiwan Continental Affairs Council said it was the responsibility of both sides to stabilise the situation in the Taiwan Strait and resolve differences “in a peaceful, mutual and pragmatic way”.

China, Vatican extend deal on bishops’ appointments

China and the Vatican have extended a secretive deal regarding the appointment of bishops in the communist country. Under the agreement, which has never been made public, the Vatican and Beijing agreed jointly to appoint bishops but Pope Francis has the final say. The deal was signed in September 2018 and is still provisional but has been renewed twice. The Vatican views the agreement as a necessary compromise to keep Chinese Catholics united. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said since its implementation, the deal has allowed for “important steps toward the progressive healing of the wounds inflicted” on the church in China.

Massive blackouts in Ukraine after strikes

More than a million households in Ukraine are without power after a Russian attack on energy infrastructure. President Zelenskyy said Russia carried out a “massive attack” on Ukraine overnight.“The aggressor continues to terrorize our country. At night, the enemy launched a massive attack: 36 rockets, most of which were shot down… These are vile strikes on critical objects. Typical tactics of terrorists,” Zelenskyy said on social media. State grid operator Ukrenergo said the attacks targeted transmission infrastructure in western Ukraine, but that power supply restrictions were being put in place in 10 regions across the entire country, including in the capital, Kiev.

Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson hold 11th hour talks

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have held talks as they edge closer to tomorrow’s deadline for nominations in the contest to replace Liz Truss as Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister.Two separate sources told the BBC the meeting took place, but neither camp disclosed what they discussed. Sunak continues to forge ahead in the leadership race, gathering the support of 128 MPs.Johnson is currently in second place with 53 backers, according to the BBC’s tally. However his campaign claims he has the support of 100 MPs – the number required to officially enter the race.Sunak’s supporters raised doubts over this. Penny Mordaunt is the only candidate to officially declare she is in the race, but she lags behind on support with 23 MPs.

First Italian cabinet meeting today

The new Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni will hold her first cabinert meeting this morning. It will be preceeded by the bell ceremony (officially called the inauguration ceremony of the new government) – a traditional symbolic rite that takes place at Palazzo Chigi on the occasion of a change of government. Today’s ceremony will involve the delivery, by former Prime Minister Mario Draghi to Meloni, of the bell that calls the cabinet meeting to order.

Potentially life-threatening rain’ to drench Australia’s east coast

Communities that have already been ravaged by floods are bracing for “potentially life-threatening” quantities of rain as widespread downpours and thunderstorms impact eastern Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of massive rainfall across the east coast on Sunday, which may persist until mid-week as wet weather systems combine. More than 100 flood warnings were current around the state on Saturday night. Rain, showers and thunderstorms are forecast across much of NSW, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania in coming days as a series of troughs make their way across south-eastern Australia. Many catchments remain under flood warnings, and upcoming rain will likely cause renewed or prolonged flooding. Meanwhile, heavy rainfall in Brisbane was expected to increase and peak on Sunday morning.

2 Nurses killed in Dallas Hospital shooting

Two nurses were killed in a shooting at the Methodist Dallas Medical Centre in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday. “A Methodist Health System Police Officer arrived on the scene, confronted the suspect, and fired his weapon at the suspect, injuring him,” hospital spokesman Ryan Owens said in a statement. He added that the suspect was taken to another hospital in undisclosed condition and was under police custody. Police identified the suspect as 30-year-old Nestor Hernandez, who is currently on parole for aggravated robbery. He faces capital murder charges in relation to the shooting.

Lampedusa: search for the newborn lost at sea suspended

Sea searches in Lampedusa for a missing baby who he fell into the sea from a boat carrying about 70migrants, have been suspended. The boat capsized near the island of Lampione. A police patrol boat intervened, rescuing 72 migrants: 39 men, 25 women and 8 minors, of sub-Saharan nationality.

Iran solidarity rallies in US, Europe

Chanting crowds have marched in the streets of Berlin, Washington DC and Los Angeles in a show of international support for demonstrators facing a government crackdown in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police. On the US National Mall, thousands of women and men of all ages shouted: “Be scared. Be scared. We are one in this”, before marching to the White House. In Berlin, nearly 40,000 people gathered turned out to show solidarity for the women and activists leading the movement for the past few weeks in Iran.

Two American customers sue Barilla

Two $2-boxes of pasta have led to a possible class action that could cost Barilla millions of dollars, writes the Washington Post. A couple of buyers of the famous Italian pasta, Matthew Sinatro and Jessica Prost, sued the Parma company claiming to believe that the pasta was produced in Italy. The boxes are branded with “The #1 pasta brand in Italy” and logos that show the colours of the Italian flag, but instead “the pasta is made in Iowa and New York”. The two customers argued that “they would not have bought the pasta if they had known that it was not produced in Italy, which is appreciated not only for the creation of pasta but also for having the high-protein durum wheat necessary to make a product of quality”. US magistrate Donna Ryu has ruled that the case has enough merits to prosecute. The Post writes: “Barilla is based in Illinois but was born as a company that sold bread and pasta in Parma, Italy. The facilities in Iowa and New York use ingredients from countries other than Italy, according to documents held by the court”. Barilla has still not released any comment on the matter.

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