Biden urges ban on assault weapons, magazines
President Joe Biden called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines during a Thursday address on gun violence following a spate of shootings in the country. Biden also said that the age to be able to purchase a gun should be raised to 21. He called for the implementation of safe storage laws and personal liability for not locking up a gun. Biden urged lawmakers to strengthen background checks and pass red flag laws that would allow law enforcement to take guns away from people with mental ilnesses. He said that such laws could have prevented some of the recent shootings in the United States. “For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?” Biden asked. “Let us finally do something!”
Queen kicks off historic jubilee celebrations
Queen Elizabeth on Thursday kicked off the first of four days of celebrations marking her record-breaking 70 years on the throne, to cheering crowds of tens of thousands of people. But the 96-year-old sovereign’s appearance at the Platinum Jubilee – a milestone never previously reached by a British monarch – took its toll, forcing her to pull out of a planned church service on later today. “The queen greatly enjoyed today’s birthday parade and flypast but did experience some discomfort,” Buckingham Palace said. “Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty with great reluctance has concluded that she will not attend.” Dressed in dove blue, her hands clasped on a walking stick, she appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony to take a salute after the centuries-old Trooping the Colour military parade. After gun salutes and a fly-past of military aircraft, she made a second appearance on the balcony with three generations of her heirs, princes Charles, William and George, and other close family members. In bright sunshine, The Mall below was awash with red, white and blue union flags, with some die-hard royal fans camping for days to be in prime position for the display of pomp and pageantry.
Russia now occupies a fifth of Ukrainian territory
Russia tightened its grip on a key target in a battle for control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region while President Zelensky pleaded for more Western arms to help Ukraine reach an “inflection point” and prevail in the war. Zelensky told Luxembourg’s parliament via videolink on Thursday that Russian forces now occupied about a fifth of Ukrainian territory, with battle lines stretching more than 1,000km. But separately addressing a forum in Slovakia, Zelensky said more weapons supplies would “ensure an inflection point in this confrontation” in Ukraine’s favour. Russian forces, backed by heavy artillery, control most of the eastern industrial city of Sievierodonetsk – now largely in ruins – after days of fierce fighting, Britain’s defence ministry said in its daily intelligence report. Ukraine’s armed forces general staff said that besides its assault on the city, Russian troops were also attacking other parts of the east and northeast.
‘Adding fuel to the fire’
As the invasion enters its 100th today, Russia accused Washington of adding “fuel to the fire” with a new US$700-million-weapons-package for Ukraine that will include advanced rocket systems with a range of up to 80km. While Moscow denies targeting civilians it says it regards Ukrainian infrastructure used to bring in Western arms as a legitimate target. Still, it insisted those supplies would not change the course of what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of ultra-nationalists the Kremlin says threaten Russian security. “Pumping (Western) weapons into Ukraine does not change all the parameters of the special operation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “Its goals will be achieved, but this will bring more suffering to Ukraine,” Peskov said when asked whether US plans to sell Ukraine drones that can be armed with missiles could change the nature of the conflict. Four Russian missiles hit railway infrastructure targets in two places in the western Lviv region bordering Poland late on Wednesday, injuring five people and causing significant damage, its governor said. President Biden hopes extending Ukraine’s artillery reach will help push Moscow to negotiate an end to a war in which thousands have been killed, cities and towns flattened and more than six million people forced to flee the country. His administration said it had Ukraine’s assurances it would not use the rocket systems to hit targets inside Russia.
Italians pay record price for retail goods
Retail prices recorded new very heavy records in May, with some items marking annual increases between 70% and 100%. This was reported by Assoutenti who, on the basis of the latest Istat inflation data, has drawn up a map of the increases that have hit the pockets of Italians in the last month. In May, record price increases belonged to international airline tickets, which on an annual basis have increased by 103.3%. Electricity has risen by 73.5% while for seed oil it is necessary to spend the 70.2% more. Gas increased by 66.3% compared to May 2021, diesel oil for heating by 47.5% while LPG and methane rose by 43.6%. In particular in the food sector, in addition to seed oil, heavy increases were recorded for butter (22.6%), flour (18.6%), pasta (16.6%), chicken (13.8%), eggs (12.3%) and ice cream (11.2%).
OPEC + agreement to increase oil production
In what has been seesn as a ‘surprise decision of OPEC + on oil production’, yesterday’s meeting of the organisation has agreed on an increase in production of 648,000 barrels a day for the months of July and August – much more than expected. This is a turning point and an increase in production compared to 432,000 barrels a day in recent months. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the decision, saying “this makes it easier for us to get rid of our dependence on Russian oil, and to go to other parts of the world for our oil supplies”. OPEC+ brings together the main crude oil exporters, led by Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation.
EU ambassadors approve sixth sanctions package
The sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions, which includes the gradual embargo on oil arriving by sea in Europe with derogations for crude oil transported via pipelines, was adopted by the meeting of the ambassadors of the 27 member states.
Merkel urges allies to stop Russia’s ‘barbaric war’
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has slammed Russia’s attack on Ukraine and suggested a possible return to the limelight in her first semi-public comments since leaving office, the country’s dpa news agency reported Thursday. Speaking at a trade union event late Wednesday, Merkel reportedly said she felt the need to address the war in Ukraine despite not wanting to provide any commentary from the sidelines, having stepped down as chancellor last December. Dpa quoted the former long-time leader saying she supported “all efforts by the German government as well as the European Union, the United States, our partners in the G-7, in Naato and the UN to stop the barbaric war of attack by Russia.” Merkel also expressed solidarity with Ukraine and said she supported Kyiv’s right to self-defense, dpa reported.
First 3D printed ear transplant
For the first time, 3D printing has been used to create a part of the human body with the patient’s cells, according to ‘The New York Times’. A biotech company in Queens created an ear moulded and made with human cells, which the doctors then transplanted on a 20-year-old woman born with a small and misshapen right ear. Transplantation represents an extraordinary advance in the field of tissue engineering. Independent experts said the transplant, part of the first clinical trial of a successful medical application of this technology, was an extraordinary progress in the field of tissue engineering. The new ear, transplanted in March, was moulded in a shape that exactly matched the woman’s left ear, the regenerative medicine company explained.