Eurozone inflation hits record 8.9%
Inflation in the Eurozone shot up to another record in July, pushed by higher energy prices, but the economy still managed better-than-expected, if meager, growth in the second quarter. Annual inflation in the eurozone’s 19 countries rose to 8.9% in July, an increase from 8.6% in June, according to the European Union statistics agency. Energy prices surged in July by 39.7%, only slightly lower than the previous month due to gas supply concerns. Prices for food, alcohol and tobacco rose by 9.8%, faster than the increase posted last month due to higher transport costs, shortages and uncertainty around Ukrainian supply. The eurozone’s economy, meanwhile, grew from April through June, expanding by 0.7% compared with the previous quarter, despite stagnation in Germany, Europe’s traditional economic engine. France avoided fears of a recession by posting modest 0.5% growth, while Italy and Spain exceeded expectations with 1% and 1.1% expansions, respectively. Malta’s inflation rate was 6.5% – an increase of 0.4% on June.
US House approves the ban on assault weapons
The US Houise of Representatives has approved the Bill to ban the sale of assault weapons in the United States, which expired in 2004 and was never renewed. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the measure, passed with 217 votes to 213, a “crucial step in the fight against the deadly epidemic of armed violence in our nation”. President Biden rejoiced, saying: “It will help save many lives.” However, the Bill has no chance of being passed by the Senate, where the support of 10 Republicans would be needed. Only two Republicans voted in favour alongside the Democrats in the House.
Pope spotlights environmental concerns in Arctic
Pope Francis concluded the final day of his weeklong “penitential pilgrimage” through Canada Friday at one of the most remote locations he has visited since election as pope in 2013. He again apologized for abuses Indigenous peoples endured in Catholic Church-run residential schools, and used his location in the Arctic to spotlight environmental concerns. The pope acknowledged the painful testimonies he had heard from Indigenous survivors. In addition to his primary focus on apologising for the Church’s treatment of Indigenous peoples, Francis’ time in the isolated town of Iqaluit allowed him an opportunity to underscore one of the central themes of his papacy: care for the environment.“Care for the earth, care for your people, care for your history,” the pope pleaded, as he bid farewell to Canada.
First European to die from monkeypox
A Spanish citizen is the first European to die from monkeypox. The news has been confirmed by the Madrid Health Ministry. In Spain, 4,298 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported so far. Of the 3,750 infected on which information is available, only 120 people were hospitalised. Brazil also reported the first monkeypox-related death outside the African continent on Friday, shortly before Spain confirmed Europe’s first known death in the outbreak. The current outbreak started in May, with 20 cases recorded in the United Kingdom. Since then it has grown to more than 20,000 cases in 78 countries.
Zelenskyy condemns attack on POW prison
Moscow and Kiev traded blame for shelling a POW prison in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy denounced as a war crime what he said was the Russian shelling of a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs). “It was a deliberate Russian war crime, a deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war. More than 50 dead,” Zelenskyy said in a late-night video address. Russia’s Defence Ministry earlier claimed that Kiev’s forces had carried out the attack, in which 40 reportedly died, to prevent its soldiers from surrendering due to low morale. Separatist authorities and Russian officials said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian POWs and wounded another 75. The Ukrainian military denied making any strikes in Olenivka.
Blinken, Lavrov talk for the first time since war began
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Blinken told reporters afterward: “We had a frank and direct conversation. I pressed the Kremlin to accept the substantial proposal that we put forward.” Blinken was referring to a proposal the Biden administration made public Thursday to exchange Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout who is in prison in the US, for the detained Americans: US Olympian and women’s basketball star Brittany Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan.
Volunteer fireman accused of starting forest fires
French authorities on Friday held a fireman from the south of France accused of being behind a series of wildfires in the region which he says he started in a quest for adrenaline. The man, a volunteer fireman from the Herault region, was arrested on Wednesday. Montpellier prosecutor Fabrice Belargent said in a statement that the man had admitted starting fires with a lighter on May 26, July 21 and most recently over the night of July 26-27.
3 women among 32 people executed by Iran – BBC
Iranian authorities put three women to death on Wednesday for murdering their husbands, a human rights charity says. According to the Iran Human Rights Group they were among 32 people executed in the past week alone. A former child bride, convicted of later killing the man she had married at the age of 15, was among them.
Brazilian woman, children freed after 17-year kidnap ordeal
A Brazilian woman and her two adult children, all suffering from dehydration and malnutrition, were freed by police following 17 years of captivity by her husband, authorities said on Friday. Police had been alerted to the case in a poor neighbourhood in the west of Rio de Janeiro by an anonymous tip-off. “The two youngsters, who are the children of the woman and the suspect, were tied up, soiled and starved,” Rio’s military police, who arrested the father, said in a statement.
Hitler’s watch sells for $1.1m
A watch said to have belonged to Adolf Hitler has sold for $1.1million (€1,076,310) at an auction in the US. The Huber timepiece, which sold to an anonymous bidder, shows a swastika and has the initials AH engraved on it. Jewish leaders condemned the auction ahead of the sale at Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland. However the auction house – which has sold Nazi memorabilia in the past – told German media its aim was to preserve history. The product catalogue for the watch says it was possibly given to Hitler as a birthday present in 1933, the year he became Chancellor of Germany. Other articles in the auction included a dress that belonged to Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun, autographed pictures of Nazi officials and a yellow cloth Star of David imprinted with the word “Jude”, which is German for Jew. An open letter signed by 34 Jewish leaders described the sale as “abhorrent” and called on the Nazi items to be pulled from the auction.
Ukrainian to referee Euro 2022 final
Kateryna Monzul will referee the Women’s Euro 2022 final between England and Germany at Wembley Sunday, European football governing UEFA has announced. The 41-year-old Ukrainian is the first referee from her country to take charge of a Women’s Euro final. An experienced official, Monzul was also the first women to referee an England men’s game when she oversaw their World Cup qualifier against Andorra in October 2021. Prior to that, she had already made history as the first female referee for matches in the Ukraine men’s Premier League in 2016. Monzul has also officiated at three Women’s World Cups including being the referee for the 2015 final when the United States beat Japan 5-2, as well as men’s matches in the Europa League and Europa Conference League and the Nations League.