Worldwide anger at deaths of Texas students
The killing of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers at Uvalde, Texas, has prompted an outpour of anger in the United States and around the world, with increasing questions about the United States’ gun-control policies. Democrats have bitterly accused the Republican leadership in Texas of doing nothing to prevent gun crime. Representatives of US allied foreign governments have expresed their bewilderment at the level of gun violence. The horror, expresed in the US over the shooting, has been echoed around the world: the Pope, the presidents of France, Ukraine and the head of the UN have all expressed their revultion. The tresurer of Australia’s new government, Jim Chalmers, said it was hard to imagine a great country like the US going on like this. Australia and neighbouring New Zealand both tightened their gun control laws in the wake of separate massacres. And China called the spate of gun violence in the US ‘unacceptable’ as a Foreign Ministry spokesman questioned how the US could falter the human rights’ record of other countries when it did not care about the human rights of its own people.
‘Jill and I are going to Uvalde’ – Biden
US President Joe Biden has announced that in the next few days he and the First Lady will fly to Texas to meet the families of the victims of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting as he called for gun control. Vice-President Kamala Harris has again called for the US to pass reasonable gun laws.
84% Americans want more gun controls
Most Americans want stricter gun laws, according to Reuters / Ipsos poll conducted after the massacre at the Uvalda elementary school in Texas. Out of 940 respondents, 84% said they were in favour of controls on the profile of those who want to buy a firearm, 70% supported emergency measures that allow authorities to confiscate weapons from people considered a threat, and 72% said they support raising the minimum age to purchase a weapon from 18 to 21. Only 35, however, said they were “confident that Congress will tighten gun laws this year”.
Russia lets foreign ships leave Ukraine
The Russian Defence Ministry has announced the opening of two humanitarian corridors for the safe exit of foreign ships from the port of Mariupol towards the Black Sea and six other ports in southern Ukraine. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defence Control Centre, said following a series of measures taken by the Russian Navy, the danger of mines in the waters of the port of Mariupol has been eliminated and measures are being taken to restore the port infrastructure. He said 70 foreign ships from 16 states remain blocked in six ports.
‘War in Ukraine could trigger global recession’ – World Bank
World Bank President David Malpass has warned Russia’s war in Ukraine and its impact on food and energy prices could trigger a global recession. He told the US Chamber of Commerce the economies of Ukraine and Russia were both expected to see a significant contraction, while Europe, China, and the United States were experiencing slower growth. Developing countries were being hit even harder given shortfalls of fertilizer and food stocks, and energy supplies.
EU wants to secure additional LNG supplies
The EU is engaged in talks with Qatar, Egypt, the US and Israel to secure additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies, according to The Associate Press. The EU is betting big on LNG to replace the millions of tonnes of gas it currently buys from Russia, its main provider. As part of an ambitious plan to strengthen energy independence and deprive the Kremlin of its lucrative fuel sales, the bloc is breaking monthly records for LNG imports. A recent deal with the United States will provide an extra 15 billion cubic metres (bcm) by the end of the year, with the goal of bumping annual supplies to 50 bcm before 2030. LNG is produced by a variety of suppliers, including the US, Qatar, Egypt, Israel, Nigeria and Australia, offering the bloc a way to diversify its supply chains while avoiding new dependencies.
Oklahoma passes the most restrictive abortion laws
Republican Governor of Oklahoma Kevin Stitt has signed America’s most restrictive abortion law, which prohibits termination of pregnancy upon fertilisation and allows private citizens to sue anyone who “knowingly” practices or induces it. Under the provision, abortion is prohibited at any stage of pregnancy, except for medical emergencies or when it is the result of rape, incest and sexual assault.
‘I will not quit’ – Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he will remain as prime minister despite the “bitter and painful” judgement of a report into parties held in Downing Street during COVID restrictions. Excessive drinking, mistreatment of cleaners and security staff and Covid rule-breaking was highlighted in civil servant Sue Gray’s report. She said the leadership in No 10 “must bear responsibility” for its culture. Some opponents have repeated their calls for Mr Johnson to quit.However, he ruled out resigning, saying: “I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Prosecutors seek 6-year jail term for Berlusconi
Milan prosecutors on Wednesday requested former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi be jailed for six years for allegedly bribing witnesses in a 2013 underage prostitution case. Berlusconi is accused of paying 24 people, mostly young guests at his evening parties, to lie in a previous trial where he was charged with paying for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan nightclub dancer in those so-called ‘Bunga Bunga parties’. He was eventually acquitted in that case and he pleaded not guilty in the subsequent bribery trial.
… and for 27 other defendants
The prosecutors also sought sentences of between one and six years for 27 other defendants in the case. These included the nightclub dancer, Karima El Mahroug, better known in Italy as ‘Ruby Rubacuori’, who the prosecutors said should spend five years behind bars for allegedly accepting bribes. Prosecutors said the court should confiscate €10.8 million from Berlusconi and €5 million from El Mahroug, representing alleged bribes, and also seize four houses in Milan that Berlusconi allegedly made available to those they say he paid to lie. The 85-year-old tycoon faces two similar cases of alleged bribery in courts in Rome and Siena. Berlusconi was originally found guilty of paying to have sex with El Mahroug, who at 17 was considered a minor by Italian law, and sentenced to seven years in jail. The verdict was overturned in 2014 by an appeals court, which ruled there was no proof he had known her age.
Football: Roma win Europa Conference League
Roma won their first major European trophy by beating Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League final in Tirana. Josè Mourinho’s first season in charge of the Italians ended with a trophy after Nicolò Zaniolo beat goalkeeper Justin Bijlow with a clever flick. Mourinho, who has won the Champions League, Europa League and the Uefa Cup, is the first manager to win all of Uefa’s major European trophies. This win continued the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager’s perfect record in European finals, having now overseen five wins in five finals.
Real Madrid remain Europe’s most valuable football club
Real Madrid remain Europe’s most valuable football club despite the ever-increasing dominance of the English Premier League, according to a report published Thursday by analysts Football Benchmark. Real, who face Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final, came out on top for the fourth consecutive year of the report, with a valuation of €3.184 billion. Manchester United (€2.9 billion) and Barcelona (€2.8 billion) rounded out the podium, with Bayern Munich fourth and Liverpool fifth (€2.556 billion). According to the report, football is showing signs that the downturn caused by COVID is over.