Putin’s ‘chief’ admits interference in US elections
A political confidant known as Vladimir Putin’s “chief” appears to have made the first chilling admission of Russian “pinpoint operations” to interfere in US elections, ahead of today’s midterm vote. Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, considered very close to Putin, made the comments on Telegram in response to a journalist’s question about Moscow meddling in the elections. “I will answer you very subtly, and delicately and I apologise, I will allow a certain ambiguity. Gentlemen, we interfered, we interfere and we will interfere,” Prigozhin said. “Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how. During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once.”
His comments came as US President Joe Biden acknowledged that retaining the House will be hard during this year’s midterms, but remains optimistic that Democrats would keep the Senate. The downbeat speech on the vote also included a dig at Donald Trump, who he called the “worst president since Herbert Hoover”. All 435 seats in House of Representatives, as well as 35 seats in Senate are being contested.
Trump whipped thousands of fans into a frenzy at a rally on the eve of midterm elections – teasing when he will finally reveal if he plans to run again in 2024. But Trump, who spoke to a crowd of about 2,000 at Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, stopped short of confirming what his supporters most want to hear. “I’m going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, November 15, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida,” he said towards the end of his speech. He did not say what his announcement would be, but he has hinted for months about another run for president in 2024.
Trump’s Republicans are looking likely to get back into power and to throw a spanner into any Democrat legislation for the rest of Biden’s term. The Justice Department has announced it will monitor vote counts in 64 jurisdictions in 24 states to ensure compliance with federal laws. It will be conducted by the Civil Rights Division and the Attorney General’s Office.
UN unveils global ‘early warning’ system for disasters
The United Nations on Monday unveiled a five-year plan to build a global early warning system for deadly and costly extreme weather events amplified by climate change. The price tag – a relatively modest $3.1 billion, or less than 50 US cents per person – is a small price to pay for proven methods that can save thousands, if not millions, of lives, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. Earlier, Guterres urged to the world to come together in solidarity – not a “Collective Suicide Pact”. Setting an urgent tone for the climate talks, Guterres warned that humanity was on “a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator”. He told delegates:“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish” and called for a pact between the world’s richest and poorest countries to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and speed up delivery of the funding needed to ensure poorer countries can reduce emissions. Guterres asked countries to agree to phase out the use of coal, one of the most carbon-intense fuels, by 2040 globally. “Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he said.
15,000 people dread from extreme heat in Europe
In 2022, at least 15,000 people died in Europe due to the record heat. The data was released by the World Health Organization which specified that the most affected countries are Spain and Germany. According to the WHO, the three summer months from June to August were the hottest in Europe since climate data is monitored. Exceptional temperatures led to the worst drought the continent has experienced since the Middle Ages. WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge said, “Nearly 4,000 deaths in Spain, more than a thousand in Portugal, more than 3,200 in the UK and around 4,500 deaths in Germany were reported by health authorities during the three months of the summer”, warning that these estimates are destined. to increase as national data on “excess deaths due to heat” arrive.
Gas and electricity bills ‘nearly double in all EU capitals
Energy costs for households across Europe nearly doubled compared to a year ago, new data has revealed. Gas bills have soared 111% and electricity ones 69%, according to the latest figures from the Household Energy Price Index. Averaged, these two figures mean an energy bill increase of 90% – or nearly double – compared to October 2021. The research, published on Monday by Energie-Control Austria, the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH) and VaasaETT, highlights the bruising impact of the Ukraine war on Europe, which has triggered a cost of living crisis and plunged many economies into recession.
SOS Humanity to take Italy to court over migrant boats standoff
German charity SOS Humanity says it will go to court to try to overturn efforts by Italy’s new right-wing government to prevent some of the people the nonprofit group had saved from the sea from stepping onto land. “It is unlawful to allow only some of the survivors ashore,” the charity said on Monday on Twitter. The non-profit announced its intention to sue as two rescue vessels – the German-flagged Humanity 1 and the Norwegian-flagged Geo Barents – were given permission to dock in Catania, Sicily, at the weekend. They were allowed to let off about 500 migrants, mainly women and children, leaving about 250 still on board. The government has ordered the ships to return to sea, but their captains have so far refused. Two other boats from non-governmental organisations, the Ocean Viking and the Rise Above, are still at sea off Sicily carrying about 300 refugees. The cabinet of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, known for her anti-migrants stance, has accused the charity ships of acting as a de-facto taxi service for migrants seeking a better life in Europe. It is threatening €50,000-fines if the boats refuse to leave port. Rome has insisted that the countries whose flags these NGO boats are flying should bear responsibility for the migrants and refugees on board.
11 French bishops accused of sexual violence
Eleven former or serving French bishops have been accused of sexual violence, including the former bishop of Bordeaux who has confessed to assaulting a minor 35 years ago, a senior church body announced Monday. Jean-Pierre Ricard, a long-standing bishop of Bordeaux who was made a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2016, has admitted to a “reprehensible” act on a 14-year-old, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, told reporters. All of the accused will face either prosecution or church disciplinary procedures.
Christchurch mosque killer appeals life sentences
The Australian man convicted of killing 51 people in the horrifying shootings at two Christchurch mosque is appealing his convictions. Brenton Tarrant is serving life sentences in a New Zealand for murdering 51 people and attempting to murder 40 others during Friday prayers at the mosques on March 15, 2019. The sentences – a record in New Zealand – offered no possibility of parole. He was also convicted in March 2020 for committing a terrorism offence.
Soccer: Liverpool draw Real in Champions League last 16
Holders Real Madrid will face English Premier League side Liverpool once again in the Champions League last 16 – a repeat of last season’s final. Paris St Germain will take on German champions Bayern Munich. The pair were pulled out of the hat in Monday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland, having also met in the 2018 final, which the Spanish side won. The draw in full: RB Leipzig vs Manchester City; Club Brugge vs Benfica; Liverpool vs Real Madrid; AC Milan vs Tottenham; Eintracht Frankfurt vs Napoli; Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea; Inter Milan vs Porto and Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich.