Israel opposition parties to form new unity government
The Jerusalem Post reports Israeli opposition parties have reached an agreement to form a new government that would end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as Prime Minister. Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, announced an eight-faction coalition had been formed. Under a rotation arrangement, the head of the right-wing Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, would serve as prime Minister first before handing over to Lapid. There still needs to be a parliamentary vote before government is sworn in. Meanwhile, Isaac Herzog was earlier elected eleventh President of the State of Israel. He defeated Miriam Peretz in a 87 to 27 vote, becoming the first son of a former president to become president.
Iranian navy ship catches fire, sinks in Gulf of Oman
One of Iran’s largest warships caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman during a “training mission” – as a series of mysterious explosions have targeted commercial vessels in the sensitive region since 2019. The British-built Kharg, which measured more than 650 feet long, erupted into flames Tuesday off the strategic port of Jask, Reuters reported. Iran’s Tasnim news agency quotes the navy saying the ship was in “domestic waters” during “a training mission”. No further details were given and the cause of the blaze was “still not clear.”
Melbourne lockdown extended
The Age says a lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, has been extended for a second week due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. A total of 60 new infections have been reported, with officials warning the B.1.617.1 variant they are dealing with is “quicker and more infectious than we’ve seen”. The variant, now called Kappa under the WHO’s new system, was first identified in India and is “more serious”, the state’s acting Premier James Merlino said.
Celebrations for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee unveiled
Celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 will include a concert at Buckingham Palace, a special pageant, street parties, a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, the lighting of beacons and horse racing. The Times reports the four-day Bank Holiday weekend, from June 2 to 5, will mark the Queen’s 70th anniversary as monarch and “provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone”. The Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee on February 6, 2022.
Trump escapes fine in Playboy model payment case
The publisher of the National Enquirer, accused of burying a story about an alleged former lover of Donald Trump in 2016, has agreed to pay a fine of $187,500 (€153,500) for violating US election laws. CNN says the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled Trump will not be punished or subject of further inquiry. The former president has previously denied having an affair with Ms McDougal, who had said she sold her story to the Enquirer for $150,000, in an agreement that banned her from talking publicly about the alleged 2006 affair with Mr Trump.
UEFA Under 21 semi-finals this evening
Holders Spain face Portugal in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals in Maribor this evening at 18:00. They aim to reach a third consecutive final but are up against a Portugal side used to these occasions. In the other semi-final, Germany are eyeing a third straight final as they are rematched with the Netherlands in Székesfehérvár at 21:00. The final will be played on Sunday.