G7 summit in the shadow of Ukraine war
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will today host this year’s G7 summit of leaders from France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the United States. The five-star hotel, Schloss Elmau, where Chancellor Scholz will host his guests, has already proved itself to be the ideal summit venue during Germany’s previous G7 presidency in 2015. At least 18,000 police officers and a 16-kilometre-long security fence is be in place to ensure no demonstrators can disturb the gathering. Germany’s federal government and the state of Bavaria have budgeted €180 million for security alone. The idyllic venue stands in stark contrast to the pressing problems which will be discussed: war, climate change, hunger, poverty and health. “Progress towards an equitable world” is the motto of the summit, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its far-reaching and existential consequences will dominate the talks.“The G7 is of outstanding importance this year,” emphasised Chancellor Scholz, who is hoping to send the signal that the G7 is resolute and united.
14 US states will ban abortion in the next 30 days
Seven US states have banned abortion immediately after the Supreme Court ruling that abolished it at the federal level and another seven will do so in the next 30 days. These are Republican-led states that had already enacted very severe restrictions on the termination of pregnancy but there are in all 26 those in which abortion could be banned forever. In Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota the abortion ban went into effect immediately after the Supreme Court ruled, while in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma hours later following official certification by prosecutors. In Alabama, a court declared valid a ban that had been blocked. The ban will also come into force in North Dakota and Utah after the green light from the state authorities which is expected to arrive in the next few days. In Mississippi and Wyoming it will take longer: Mississippi will ban abortion 10 days after the attorney general declares constitutional law and in Wyoming five days after the governor certifies that the Roe ruling has been revoked. In Idaho. Meanwhile, the flow of demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court in Washington continues. Denver, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia are some of the cities where peaceful demonstrations also took place. But a Christian crisis centre for pregnant women in Longmont, Colorado, was vandalised and set on fire a day after the Supreme Court reversed federal protection of abortions.
Biden signs gun control Bill
President Biden on Saturday signed the most significant gun control bill in nearly 30 years less than 24 hours after it passed through the Congress with unusual haste. “Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved,” Biden said in an address to the nation. “From Columbine to Sandy Hook to Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo, Uvalde and for the shootings that happen every day in the streets. How many times have you heard that, ‘Just do something, for God’s sake just do something?’ “Today, we did.” The House passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Friday by a 234-193 vote with 14 Republicans crossing party lines just one day after the Senate passed the legislation in a 65-33 vote Thursday night.
Missile attack on Kiev
There are reports of explosions being heard at dawn in Kiev at 6.30 local time. The Kiev Independent speaks of three explosions while according to what reported on social media the explosions would have been more numerous, at least four, and were caused by Russian cruise missiles. The warning of the air attack rang out several times during the night in the Ukrainian capital. “Several explosions took place in the Shevchenkivskyi district. Rescuers and ambulances intervened on the spot,” Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on a telegram. Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko tweeted: “Four explosions have been heard, now there is black smoke over the city. The missiles have hit residential buildings, there is still no information on possible victims.”
Russia hits Ukraine with air strike from Belarus
Russia fired missiles from Belarus “for the purpose of further dragging Belarus into the war against Ukraine”, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said in a statement on Facebook, adding that “a massive missile and bomb attack” was launched across the country, and that “Russian bombers ‘worked’ directly from the territory of Belarus”. The Ministry of Defence said that six aircraft launched 12 missiles, and that the blow was carried out in Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions. “This is the first case of an air strike across Ukraine directly from the territory of Belarus. Today’s shelling is directly related to the efforts of the Kremlin authorities to drag Belarus into the war in Ukraine as a direct participant,” the ministry stated. Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been trying to put pressure on [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko and force him to take a more aggressive stance to launch more aggressive actions out of Belarus, involving Belarusian troops”. Belarus has been one of Russia’s closest allies during the invasion of Ukraine.
Putin to supply Iskander-M missiles to Belarus
Russia will supply Belarus with Iskander-M short-range missiles, among the most modern in Moscow’s arsenal and also capable of carrying nuclear warheads. This was announced by President Putin, quoted by Russian agencies, after a meeting in St Petersburg with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
‘Severodonetsk entirely occupied by the Russians’
Severdonetsk mayor Oleksandre Striouk has announced that the Russians have “total control” of the city. The mayor spoke on Ukrainian television, while pro-Moscow separatists confirmed that they also occupied the Azot chemical plant, where the last Ukrainian soldiers remained, and that over 800 civilians hiding inside have been “evacuated”.
Activists march for LGBTIQ rights in Warsaw
Ukrainians were among tens of thousands of LGBTIQ activits who took part in the Polish capital’s Pride parade Saturday, in a country hosting tens of thousands of Ukrainians who have fled the Russian invasion. The march however started with a minute of silence for two people killed in a shooting near a gay bar in Norway’s capital Oslo in the early hours of Saturday. Norwegian police have arrested a man suspected of “Islamist terrorism” over the shooting, which also wounded 21 and caused Oslo’s Pride to be called off. But Norway’s ambassador to Poland Anders Eide said love and justice would “prevail”. “Our fight for equal rights for all and our support for the LGBTIQ+ community is unequivocal and it will remain so,” he told AFP at the start of the procession.
Gabon and Togo join Commonwealth
Gabon and Togo joined the Commonwealth on Saturday, becoming the latest nations with no historic ties to Britain to enter the English-speaking club headed by Queen Elizabeth II. The 54-nation group of mostly former British colonies accepted Togo and Gabon’s application for membership on the final day of its leadership summit in Rwanda. The French-speaking West African states are the first new members to join the Commonwealth since Rwanda in 2009. Born out of the British Empire, the Commonwealth represents one-third of humanity and spans nations across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Mozambique – a former Portuguese colony – became the first Commonwealth member without historic links to Britain when it joined in 1995.
Monkey pox is not a health emergency… for now – WHO,
Monkeypox is not, for the moment, to be considered a health emergency, the World Health Organisation has declared. In a note released after a meeting of experts, director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that monkeypox is a health threat whose evolution is worrying, but that it has not yet reached the stage of a global health emergency. “For the time being, the event does not constitute an international public health emergency, which is the highest level of alert that WHO can issue,” said Tedros.