Global Review – 9th August

FBI search Trump’s Florida home

Former US president Donald Trump said Monday that his Mar-A-Lago residence in Florida was being “raided” by FBI agents in what he called an act of “prosecutorial misconduct.” “These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” he said in a statement posted on his Truth Social network. “It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponisation of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024,” Trump added.“What is the difference between this and Watergate?” Trump asked. He said he was working with US government agencies and the raid was “not necessary or appropriate”. Trump was not at his Mar-a-Lago Florida residence during the search, but at Trump Tower in New York. Monday’s raid comes after the US National Archives and Records Administration in February notified Congress that it had reclaimed around 15 boxes of White House documents from Mar-a-Lago, some of which contained classified materials.

Olivia Newton-John dies at 73

Singer Olivia Newton-John, who gained worldwide fame as high school sweetheart Sandy in the hit musical movie “Grease,” died peacefully on Monday at her ranch in Southern California after a 30-year battle with cancer. She was 73. Her performance saw her nominated for multiple awards including two Golden Globes, and various other film accolades. She was honoured with the star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame almost 41 years ago to the day of her death, on 5 August 1981. The multiple Grammy-winning entertainer, whose career spanned more than five decades, including chart-topping songs such as “Physical,” devoted much of her time in later years to charities after first being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. Travolta and popstar Kylie Minogue led celebrity tributes to Dame Olivia. Travolta said her “impact was incredible” and signing off his message in the actress’ memory as “your Danny.” Minogue wrote on Twitter: “Since I was ten years old, I have loved and looked up to Olivia Newton John. And, I always will. She was, and always will be, an inspiration to me in so many, many ways.”

UN warns Israel-Gaza ceasefire ‘is fragile’

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza, with several members raising concerns despite the tenuous truce between the Islamic Jihad group and Israel after three days of deadly conflict. Speaking via video at the start of the meeting, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland, told the meeting that “the ceasefire is fragile” and any resumption of hostilities will have “devastating consequences” for Palestinians and Israelis, and make any political progress difficult. Both sides have reserved the right to respond if the ceasefire is breached. Wennesland condemned the Palestinian rocket fire while recognising Israel’s security concerns. He said any use of force “must be proportionate”, with “all feasible steps” taken to avoid civilian casualties. Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour asked the UN on Monday when the world body would say “enough is enough” and lift the blockade on Gaza. Before the meeting, Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called on Monday for the council to place “full accountability” on Islamic Jihad.

New Chinese military exercises near Taiwan

China has announced more military drills in the seas and airspace around Taiwan, a day after the scheduled end of exercises launched in protest against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island. China said on Monday that it would conduct joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations – confirming the fears of some security analysts and diplomats that Beijing would continue to maintain pressure on Taiwan’s defences. The duration and precise location of the latest drills were not yet known, but Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions near the six zones where China had carried out its previous exercises. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week infuriated China, which regards the self-governing democracy as its own and responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as cutting some communication lines with Washington.

‘Tens of thousands of Russians killed, wounded in Ukraine’

A senior Pentagon official estimated Monday that as many as 80,000 Russians have been killed or wounded in Ukraine since the war began in late February “The Russians have probably taken 70,000 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months,” Under Secretary of Defence Colin Kahl said, adding that Russian forces have also lost “three or four thousand” armoured vehicles, and could be running low on available precision-guided missiles, including air- and sea-launched cruise missiles. Kahl admitted that Ukraine had also had significant losses of soldiers on the battlefield, but gave no figures. “Both sides are taking casualties. The war is the most intense conventional conflict in Europe since the Second World War,” he said.

US to provide additional $4.5 billion to Ukraine

The United States will provide an additional $4.5 billion to Ukraine’s government, bringing its total budgetary support since Russia’s February 24 invasion to $8.5 billion, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said on Monday.  The funding, coordinated with the US Treasury Department through the World Bank, will go to Ukraine’s government in tranches, beginning with a $3 billion disbursement in August, USAID said.

US announces $1 billion in fresh military aid for Ukraine

The Pentagon announced Monday $1 billion in fresh military aid for Ukraine, including additional precision missiles for the HIMARS system that have helped Kiev’s forces attack Russian troops far behind the front lines. The package also includes more surface-to-air missiles for defence against Russian aircraft and rockets, more Javelin anti-armour rockets and other ammunition, according to a Defence Department statement. It took to $9.1 billion the amount of security assistance the US has provided Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24.

58% of infectious diseases due to climate crisis

Climate hazards such as flooding, heat waves and drought have worsened more than half of the hundreds of known infectious diseases in people, including malaria, hantavirus, cholera and anthrax, a study says. Researchers looked through the medical literature of established cases of illnesses and found that 218 out of the known 375 human infectious diseases, or 58%, seemed to be made worse by one of 10 types of extreme weather connected to climate change, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Climate Change. The study mapped out 1,006 pathways from the climate hazards to sick people. In some cases downpours and flooding sicken people through disease-carrying mosquitos, rats and deer. There are warming oceans and heat waves that taint seafood and other things we eat and droughts that bring bats carrying viral infections to people. Doctors, going back to Hippocrates, have long connected disease to weather, but this study shows how widespread the influence of climate is on human health.

Commonwealth Games chief looks to bright, ‘edgy’ future

The Commonwealth Games must be “modern and edgy” to stay relevant to a young audience, according to federation chief Katie Sadleir, who praised 2022 host city Birmingham for an “outstanding job”. The 57-year-old former synchronised swimmer said the Games must show how “they are different and individual” from other events in a cluttered sporting calendar. The 2022 Games, featuring competitors from 72 nations and territories, many of which are former British colonies, came to an end on Monday, with Australia top of the medals table. Birmingham had stepped in to organise the Games at relatively short notice after Durban, in South Africa, was forced to pull out due to a number of issues including financial problems.

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