Global Review – 5th July

Suspect arrested after US deadly mass shooting

Highland Park’s police chief said the 22-year-old man identified as a person of interest in the shooting that killed at least six people, wounded 30 and sent hundreds of people fleeing from an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday has been taken into custody. Police earlier said Robert E. Crimo III should be considered armed and dangerous and was pulled over by police on Monday evening after a brief pursuit. The July 4 shooting was just the latest to shatter the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing grounds in recent months. This time, the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together. The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had staked out prime viewing points early in the day for the annual celebration. Dozens of fired bullets sent hundreds of parade-goers – some visibly bloodied – fleeing.

2 officers wounded in Philadelphia shooting

There is a manhunt in Philadelphia after someone opened fire on the people taking part in the July 4th parade, a few hours after the massacre at the American Independence party on the outskirts of Chicago. At the moment the toll is two injured policemen. There are videos circulating on Twitter in which shots are heard and the crowd dispersed, while the fireworks display continues in the background.

Norwegian oil and gas workers start strike

Norwegian offshore workers on Tuesday began a strike that will reduce oil and gas output, the union leading the industrial action told Reuters. The strike, in which workers are demanding wage hikes to compensate for rising inflation, comes amid high oil and gas prices, with supplies of natural gas to Europe especially tight after Russian export cutbacks. The Norwegian government has said it was following the conflict “closely”. It can intervene to stop a strike if there are exceptional circumstances.

Ukrainian forces undeterred after Russia claims Luhansk

Ukrainian President Zelensky said on Monday his armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to “break” Moscow’s will to pursue a nearly five-month war, even as Russia claimed victory in the gruelling battle of Luhansk. With the war entering its next phase, Ukrainian forces took up new defensive lines in the eastern part of the country. “There have been no significant changes on the battlefield in the past 24 hours,” Zelensky said in a nightly video message. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine respond, push back and destroy the offensive potential of the occupiers day after day.  We need to break them. It is a difficult task. It requires time and superhuman efforts. But we have no alternative.”

‘Rich Russians should pay for reconstruction of Ukraine

The cost of rebuilding Ukraine following Russia’s invasion could reach $750 billion and rich Russians should help to meet the cost, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Monday. “We believe that the key source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs,” he told a conference in the Swiss city of Lugano, citing estimates that frozen Russian assets were worth between $300 and $500 billion. “The Russian authorities unleashed this bloody war. They caused this massive destruction and they should be held accountable for it.”

Ukraine renews its invitation for Pope Francis to visit

Ukraine has renewed its invitation for Pope Francis to visit Ukraine and urged the pontiff to continue praying for the Ukrainian people, a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday. “It is time to deepen connections with those who sincerely desire it. We renew the invitation to Pope Francis to visit our country and urge you to continue praying for the Ukrainian people,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said when asked for comment about an interview Francis gave to Reuters. The pope said in the interview that he hoped he would be able to go to Moscow and Kyiv after a trip to Canada as part of efforts to end the war in Ukraine.

Pope Francis: “One day I could resign…”

Pope Francis has denied rumours he intends to resign shortly. In the exclusive interview with Reuters, the Pontiff took the opportunity to clarify his health conditions, denying that he has cancer and dismissing the news as “court gossip. Doctors haven’t told me anything about it,” he said jokingly. Francis, however, reiterated that if one day his health conditions made it impossible for him to manage the Church, he could consider his resignation. When asked when this eventuality might occur, he replied: “We don’t know. God will tell.”

Sydney floods force thousands more to flee

Rain-swollen rivers spilled mud-brown waters across swathes of Sydney on Tuesday, swamping homes and roads while forcing thousands to flee. Emergency services have now instructed about 50,000 people to evacuate or to prepare to escape the rising waters in New South Wales, officials said.Emergency workers carried out 22 flood rescues in Sydney overnight, they said, with the support of 100 army troops deployed to the state. The floods, heavy rain and powerful winds led to power cuts for 19,000 homes, officials said. Australia has been at the sharp end of climate change, with droughts, deadly bushfires, bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef and floods becoming more common and intense as global weather patterns change.

Macron urges minority government to ‘hang in there’

French President Emmanuel Macron reshuffled his government on Monday after losing his majority in the National Assembly, notably dropping Damien Abad, the solidarity minister accused of attempted rape. Macron is looking to reset a second term that was derailed by his failure to win a parliamentary majority in June elections. He urged his reshuffled cabinet to “hang in there”, saying opposition parties had turned down his offer to be part of a broader coalition government. He turned to Olivier Véran, the health minister who steered France through the Covid-19 pandemic, to sell the government’s policies to wary voters, appointing him government spokesperson. Véran said Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne would not seek a vote of confidence following her policy speech later this week – a departure from tradition that underscored the fragility of a minority government that will need to negotiate support from the opposition Bill by Bill, for each reform.

‘Shot that killed Al-Jazeera journalist likely fired by Israel

US officials have concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions likely killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh but that there was “no reason to believe” her shooting was intentional, the State Department said Monday. The finding, in a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price, came after what the US said was inconclusive tests by independent ballistics experts under US oversight of the bullet fragment recovered from Abu Akleh’s body. “Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion” as to who fired the shot, Price said in the statement. Abu Akleh, a veteran correspondent and US and Palestinian citizen who was well known throughout the Arab world, was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid on May 11 in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian eyewitnesses, including her crew, say Israeli troops killed her and that there were no militants in the immediate vicinity.

Markets react badly to new Argentina economy minister appointment

Argentina’s peso fell sharply against the US dollar in the informal market on Monday following the appointment of new Economy Minister Silvina Batakis. The black market exchange rate, which although strictly illegal is tolerated, closed at 267 pesos, after ending Friday at 239 pesos. It opened on Monday at 280 pesos. Batakis, 53, was named as the new economy minister on Sunday following the shock resignation the day before of Martin Guzman, who had led Argentina’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on restructuring the repayments of a $44 billion debt. Batakis must tackle an economic crisis in which inflation over the last 12 months topped 60%, the poverty rate is at 37%  and unemployment is 7%.

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