Global Review – 28th August

23 dead, 140 injured as militia clash in Tripoli

At least 23 people died and another 140 were injured in violent clashes between rival Libyan militias across Tripoli. The Libyan Ministry of Health said Saturday heavy fighting erupted overnight as rival factions exchanged intense gunfire and several loud explosions resounded across the city. Pictures and videos circulating on social media showed the extent of the clashes with dozens of buildings, including residential areas, destroyed and several cars smashed and burned.

The UN-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) said on its official Facebook page the clashes “were triggered by a military group firing randomly at a convoy passing in the Zawia Street area, while armed groups were gathering at the 27th gate west of Tripoli and the Jebs Gate south of Tripoli”.

The country’s interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, the head of the GNU, is based in Tripoli in the western part of Libya.

The parliament building in Tobruk in the east of the country is the seat of a rival government led by Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha, who has been trying to enter and take over Tripoli as he claims the GNU is illegal and should step aside. The GNU has refused and claimed power should be handed peacefully through elections, not force.

The municipality of Tripoli held both the UN-recognized Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army responsible for the deteriorating situation in the capital, according to Libyan News Agency LANA, the official news agency of the internationally-recognized government. It also called on the international community to protect civilians.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday called for an “immediate cessation” to the violence. The UN Support Mission in Libya said  it was “deeply concerned about ongoing armed clashes including indiscriminate medium- and heavy-shelling in civilian-populated neighborhoods in Tripoli”.

Pope names 20 new cardinals

Pope Francis appointed 20 new Roman Catholic Cardinals at a ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday. The new cardinals come from Britain, South Korea, Spain, France, Nigeria, Brazil, India, the United States, East Timor, Italy, Ghana, Singapore, Paraguay and Colombia. During the ceremony, the Pontiff told the new cardinals to show concern for ordinary people despite the high rank that will bring them into contact with the powerful of the earth. It’s the eighth time since becoming pope in 2013 that Francis has named a new group of cardinals. Sixteen of the 20 are under the age of 80, and thus they would be eligible to vote for a new pope from among the ranks of cardinals should when a papal conclave takes place. The youngest cardinal in the new group is just 48: he is Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, an Italian missionary working in Mongolia, which boasts only around 1,300 Catholics.

Australian defence minister to visit Europe to boost ties

Australia’s defence minister said Sunday he would work to deepen defence ties with France, Germany and Britain on a visit this week to the European partners, saying war in Ukraine has increased the importance of cooperation with like-minded nations. Reuters quotes the government saying the five-day visit, starting Monday, was a chance to show Australia’s commitment to stronger European defence ties.

France evaluates a tax on companies’ extra profits

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has said she does not rule out the introduction of a tax on copanies’ extra profits. She told ‘Le Parisien’, “I do not close the door to a tax on extra profits”, adding that she considered more effective the hypothesis that companies lower prices to consumers and thus increase their purchasing power. “Everyone must be responsible; no one would understand exceptional profits while the French people are worried about their purchasing power,” she stressed.

NASA’s unmanned moon mission set for launch

Between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors are expected to attend the launch of NASA’s unmanned moon mission, Artemis 1, on Monday, which will mark the initial launch in an ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon for scientific discovery and economic development. The space capsule will travel for 40 days, reaching as close as 60 miles from the moon, and then 40,000 miles above the moon when orbiting over its dark side, before landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.

Several killed as lorry crashes into BBQ in Netherlands

Several people have been killed after a lorry crashed into a neighbourhood barbecue in the Netherlands. At least three people died in the incident in the village of Nieuw-Beijerland on Saturday, Dutch broadcaster NOS said. Police said they were investigating what caused the lorry to leave the road in the village, just south of Rotterdam, and continue down the side of a dyke. Pictures published by local media showed a heavy truck from a Spanish transport company at the bottom of a small dyke, with broken picnic tables at the scene. Dutch newspaper de Gelderlander said the lorry driver – a 46-year-old man from Spain – was taken to the station for questioning. According to police, he was said to be “very shocked,” the newspaper said.

1,000 dead from Pakistan floods

The death toll from catastrophic flooding in Pakistan has risen to nearly 1,000 since June, officials said Saturday. More than 33 million people have also been displaced from flash floods triggered by destructive monsoon rains. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked for international help in battling the flood damage. Rescuers have struggled to evacuate people as many parts of Pakistan have become inaccessible.

UN nuclear weapons talks fail over Russian objections

The latest nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference has ended in failure after Russia blocked agreement on the final document. After almost a month of discussions at the United Nations in New York, the conference closed without adopting its final document, as Russia considered it too “politicised”. The document referred to the trouble at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine but without naming Russia.

‘Russia-Iran relations grow with Western sanctions’

Russia and Iran are strengthening their relations in the light of Western sanctions against the two states. According to ‘The Wall Street Journal’, “Iran and Russia are forging closer ties than ever, as their international isolation pushes America’s two sworn enemies to greater trade and military cooperation, alarming Washington.”

Russia to build two nuclear reactors in Hungary

Russian public nuclear power company Rosatom will start building two new nuclear reactors in Hungary in the coming weeks, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced Saturday. The agreement aims to expand the existing Paks nuclear power plant, which currently generates 40% of Hungary’s electricity supply. With the two additional reactors, it would double its production capacity. The €12.5 billion project, largely financed by Russia, is expected to be completed by 2030.

Lady Diana’s Ford Escort sold for €869 in auction

Lady Diana’s Ford Escort sold for €869 in auction by Silverstone Auctions at the Silverstone circuit, northwest of London. It was put up for sale at a base price of £100,000 and was sold at £650,000 for a total amount that with commissions and VAT amounts to £737,000. A normal example of Ford Escort RS Turbo, 130 horsepower, can be found on the market at a price of around £10,000. According to the auction house, Diana drove this car herself through the streets of London, albeit accompanied by an escort agent. The Ford is in excellent condition and has only driven 40,000 kilometers. The Princess of Wales died in a horrific traffic accident in Paris on AUguist 31, 25 years ago.

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