Biden tells Delaware grads to step up
US President Joe Biden has told graduates at his alma mater, the University of Delaware, that “now it’s your hour”, as he encouraged young people in the United States to help the country live up to its ideals. Speaking to more than 6,000 graduates, Biden referred to the recent mass shootings in Uvaldeand Buffalo: “Too much violence. Too much fear. Too much grief,” Biden said. “Let’s be clear: Evil came to that elementary school classroom in Texas, to that grocery store in New York, to far too many places where innocents have died.” The president said that “we cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer.” He called on “all Americans at this hour to join hands and make your voices heard, to work together to make this nation what it can and should be.” The president is due to visit Uvalde today to attend a church service for the victims: 19 students, two teachers as well as the grief-stricken husband of one of them.
Kamala Harris calls on ban on assault weapons
US Vice President Kamala Harris, in Buffalo for the funeral of one of the victims of the supermarket massacre, has called for a ban on assault weapons, which, she said, have “the goal of killing a lot of people quickly”, adding, “They are weapons of war that have no place in civil society.” She said the massacres “cannot continue and we should have the courage to do something about weapons”. She adds: “Our society is governed by rules, many of which have been designed to promote security and common order.”
EU evaluates naval mission to escort Ukrainian wheat
The European Union is considering launching a naval mission to escort the passage of wheat ships from Ukraine across the Black Sea, accordig to ‘El Pais’. The sea is infested with mines and manned by Russian ships and submarines. The Spanish daily was quoting European sources ahead of Monday’s summit in Brussels, where, the wheat crisis will be addressed. Meanwhile, in Odessa and in the ports on the Black Sea, about 22 million tons of cereals remain blocked and risk rotting in the warehouses. A global food crisis is looming, especially to the detriment of the poorest countries in Africa and Asia.
Putin warns over arms supplies to Ukraine
President Putin has warned President Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz against increased arms supplies to Ukraine, saying it could lead to further destabilisation. The Kremlin said Putin made his comments during a three-way telephone call on Saturday in which also blamed the conflict’s disruption to global food supplies on Western sanctions. During the 80-minute call, Macron and Scholz, in return, urged an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine and a withdrawal of Russian troops from the country. They also urged Putin to engage in serious and direct negotiations with President Zelensky to end the fighting. The Kremlin said the Russian leader affirmed “the openness of the Russian side to the resumption of dialogue”, without mentioning the possibility of direct talks between the two presidents.
Russia tests launches hypersonic Zircon missile
The Russian navy on Saturday conducted another test of a prospective hypersonic missile, a demonstration of the military’s long-range strike capability amid the fighting in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry said the Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Northern Fleet in the White Sea launched the Zircon cruise missile in the Barents Sea, successfully hitting a practice target in the White Sea about 1,000 kilometers away. President Putin has said that Zircon, which is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound, will significantly boost the capability of Russia’s military.
Russia pummels eastern towns
As Kyiv intensifies its calls for longer-range weaponry from the West to help it fight back in the Donbas region, Russian forces are stepping up their assault on the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, after claiming to have captured the nearby rail hub of Lyman. The invading forces appear close to seizing all of the Luhansk region of Donbas, one of the more modest war goals the Kremlin set after abandoning its assault on Kyiv in the face of Ukrainian resistance. On Saturday, Russia said its troops and allied separatist forces were now in full control of Lyman, the site of a railway junction, west of the Siverskyi Donets River in the Donetsk region that neighbours Luhansk. Control of that hub would also give Russia’s military another foothold in the region. However, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister, Hanna Malyar, said the battle for Lyman continued.
Children, pregnant woman among 31 killed in Nigeria
A stampede Saturday at a church charity event in southern Nigeria left 31 people dead and seven injured – a shocking development at a programme that aimed to offer food to the needy. The dead included a pregnant woman and many children, five from one family. First responders were able to evacuate the bodies of those trampled to death and take them to a morgue. Some event organisers were attacked and injured by relatives of the victims after the stampede.
35 dead amid heavy rainfall in Brazil
At least 35 people died amid heavy rainfall in northeastern Brazil, as downpours lashed two major cities on the Atlantic coast, in what is the South American nation’s fourth major flooding event in five months. In the state of Pernambuco, at least 33 people had died as rains provoked landslides that wiped away hillside urban neighbourhoods. Another 765 people were forced to leave their homes, at least temporarily, according to the state government. Authorities in the neighboring state of Alagoas had registered two deaths, according to Brazil’s federal emergency service.
Pope’s July visit to Africa to go ahead
Pope Francis is set to make a gruelling trip to two African countries in July despite knee problems that have forced him to use a cane and wheelchair in recent weeks. The Vatican issued a full programme on Saturday for the July 2 to July 7 trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. There had been speculation the pope’s visit to Africa might be postponed, as he has been undergoing treatment for knee pain, believed to be caused by a torn ligament.
Ruben Östlund wins second Palme d’Or
Ruben Östlund won his second Palme d’Or for his film “Triangle of Sadness,” bringing the 75th Festival de Cannes to a close on Saturday. The sharp satire about class conflict earned Östlund one of cinema’s most prestigious prizes for the second time, having already taken it in 2017 with “The Square.” The Grand Prix was shared between Lukas Dhont’s tender boyhood drama “Close” and director Claire Denis’ film “Stars at Noon.” The award for best director went to South Korea’s Park Chan Wook for “Decision to Leave.”
Real Madrid beat Liverpool in Champions League final
Liverpool have been beaten in the Champions League final, losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in Paris. The Reds were denied a seventh European victory as Real Madrid became kings of the continent for the 14th time, thanks to Vinicius Junior’s strike in the 59th minute. It was a night marred by chaos as fans clashed with police outside the Stade de France, with some supporters pressed against fences and tear-gassed as they tried to get inside. The security issues outside the stadium meant kick-off had to be delayed by 36 minutes, and the police made 68 arrests and 238 were injured. Liverpool have called for an investigation, as Uefa said tear gas had been used to disperse supporters who were blocking entry to the ground after purchasing fake tickets. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were unable to find a response to the second-half strike as Carlo Ancelotti, managing a record fifth Champions League final just a year after leaving Everton, oversaw the Spanish giants’ triumph. Real’s victory was in no small part down to the heroics of Los Blanchos’ Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. He was credited with a total of nine saves. “When a goalkeeper is man of the match you know something is going wrong for the other team,” admitted Klopp ruefully.