Global Review – 7th June

Agreement reached on EU minimum wage directive

“The presidency of the Council and the members of the European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on the draft directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU,”announced a note by the European Council. “The new law, once definitively adopted, will promote the adequacy of legal minimum wages and thus contribute to achieving decent working and living conditions for European employees”, states the statement. “Member States are required to put in place a procedural framework for setting and updating minimum wages according to a set of clear criteria”. The Council and the European Parliament have agreed that updates of the legal minimum wages will take place at least every two years (or at the latest every four years for those countries that use an automatic indexing mechanism). The social partners will have to be involved in the definition procedures and updating of legal minimum wages.

Weakened Johnson scrapes through confidence vote

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing demands for a wholesale cull of his cabinet after scraping through a vote of no confidence in his leadership by 211 votes to 148. The Independent says the prime minister’s victory in the ballot of Tory MPs spared him the humiliation of ejection from 10 Downing Street by his own party. The tally of 41.2 per cent of Tory MPs opposing the leader was far worse than expected by Johnson’s allies and significantly higher than the 36.9 per cent voting no confidence in Theresa May six months before she was forced from office. Speaking in Downing Street moments after the outcome was announced, Johnson said the government could now “move on” following a “convincing” and “decisive” result. “We’re going to bash on,” said the prime minister. Labour leader Keir Starmer has blasted the ‘divided Tories’ and named Johnson ‘utterly unfit for the great office he holds’. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called the UK leader ‘a lame duck’ and pointed out his lack of support across Scotland, saying “it just underlines the democratic deficit – only two of 59 MPs have confidence in the PM’.

Bennett government loses vote in the Knesset

The Israeli parliament has rejected at first reading a Bill that was supposed to renew Israeli civil regulations for residents of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The measure was rejected with 58 votes to 52 with two coalition deputies voting against while four others were absent. Now the government has until July 1 to look for another vote.

Imminent food crisis threatening stability of of countries – FAO

A widespread food crisis is “imminent” as hunger “threatens stability in dozens of countries”, according to a new repeort by FAO and the World Food Programme. It says, “conditions are now much worse than theArab spring of 2011 and the food price crisis of 2007-2008, when 48 countries had been shaken by political unrest, riots and protests”. The new report highlights that Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain in a state of “maximum alert”, with “catastrophic conditions”. Afghanistan and Somalia are new entrants, with 750,000 people risking starvation and death. “Conflicts, extreme weather conditions, economic shocks, persistent impacts of Covid and the knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine,” the report said, “push millions of people in countries around the world to poverty and hunger, while the spikes in food and fuel prices bring nations closer to instability.”

Russia using food as ‘a stealth missile’ – Michel

Meanwhile, European Council president Charles Michel accused Russia of using food supplies as “a stealth missile against developing countries” and blamed the Kremlin for the looming global food crisis. “This is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty, and destabilising entire regions. Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis,” Michel told a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, prompting Moscow’s UN ambassador to walk out.

Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk are ‘dead cities’Zelensky

President Zelensky has admitted that Russian forces have the numerical advantage in the battle for the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, but insisted that Ukraine’s forces had “every chance” of fighting back. “In the city, fierce street fighting continues,” he said in his latest national address, adding “the Ukrainian Donbas stands strong”. Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk “are dead cities today”, Zelensky said, adding he believed Russian troops intend to capture the city of Zaporizhzhia, a large industrial hub in the south-east of the country, which would allow its military to advance closer to central areas.

Russia hands over bodies from Azovstal steel mill

Russia has begun handing over bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed at the Azovstal steelworks, in Mariupol. Dozens of bodies have been transferred to Kyiv, where DNA testing is under way to identify the remains, according to both a military leader and a spokesperson for the Azov battalion. Meanwhile, Russian officials in occupied Mariupol have shut down the southern port city for quarantine over a possible cholera outbreak, according to Ukrainian authorities. The Russian-occupied city is bracing itself for an epidemic as dead bodies and litter are piling up in the city.

Hong Kong set for largest national security trial

Hong Kong’s largest national security case was sent to trial on Tuesday, after lingering 15 months in pre-trial procedures during which most of the 47 defendants were denied bail. Under the security law, which Beijing imposed in 2020 following huge, sometimes violent, democracy protests, the pro-democracy figures are charged with “conspiracy to subversion” for organising an unofficial primary election. Subversion is one of the four major crimes under the security law and can carry a punishment of up to life in prison. The defendants, aged between 24 and 66, include democratically-elected lawmakers and district councillors, as well as unionists, academics and others, whose political stances range from modest reformists to radical localists.

Dominican Republic minister shot dead in office

The Dominican Republic’s environment minister, Orlando Jorge Mera, was shot dead during a meeting on Monday by Miguel Cruza, a businessman and longtime friend, who has been taken into custody. A lawyer and politician, the 55-year-old Jorge Mera had headed the environment ministry since mid-2020. According to sources close to the investigation, Cruz and Jorge Mera had found themselves at loggerheads over environmental policy.

4.3 tons of cocaine seized in Trieste

The Economic and Financial Police Unit of the Financial Police of Trieste, coordinated by the District Anti-Mafia Directorate, has seized 4.3 tons of cocaine and is carrying out precautionary measures against 38 people between Europe and Colombia. Almost € 2 million in cash was also seized.

Girl nearly dies fron nut allergy on BA flight

A fourteen-year-old girl with severe nut allergy nearly died aboard a BA flight after a passenger “refused to stop eating peanuts despite twice being told by cabin crew he was putting the teenager’s life at risk”. In an exclusive, MailOnline says Joanna Jones, 39, was flying to London from Antigua when her 14-year-old daughter Poppy suffered a severe reaction to someone else eating nuts during the eight-hour flight. As Poppy’s condition worsened, a quick-thinking nurse on board dashed to help – while the captain considered making an emergency landing. Eventually the pilot landed the plane safely at Gatwick and Poppy was rushed to hospital. Joanna told MailOnline: “It was a nightmare for all of us and I really thought she might die.”

KFC Australia swaps lettuce for cabbage

Fast food giant KFC has been forced to put cabbage in its burgers and wraps in Australia as the country is struggling with a shortage of lettuce. The firm told customers it is using a mixture of lettuce and cabbage after floods destroyed lettuce crops. It comes as shoppers in Australia have been hit with soaring prices for some fresh fruits and vegetables.

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