Biden lays out Latin America economic plan
President Joe Biden announced a proposed new US economic partnership with Latin America aimed at countering China’s growing clout as he kicked off a regional summit marred by discord and snubs over the guest list. Hosting the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, Biden sought to assure the assembled leaders about his administration’s commitment to the region despite nagging concerns that Washington, at times, is still trying to dictate to its poorer southern neighbours. The line-up of visiting heads of state and government in attendance was thinned down to 21 after Biden excluded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, prompting the Mexican President and several other leaders to stay away in protest. Biden is seeking to present Latin American countries with an alternative to China that calls for increased US economic engagement, including more investment and building on existing trade deals.
British Minister resigns in fury at Boris
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been hit with his first ministerial resignation following his survival in Monday’s confidence vote. Helena Louise Morrissey quit as a minister in the Foreign Office saying the Prime Minister should resign. She accused Mr Johnson of not showing “any contrition” for his behaviour and that he should “go with dignity”.
Brexit revenge blamed as food prices skyrocket
Food prices in the UK have risen by almost 20 percent due to the EU’s hardline approach to Brexit customs checks, it has been claimed. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, said Britons living in Northern Ireland were facing the eye-watering added costs because of extra bureaucracy imposed by Brussels. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, agreed in the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, customs checks can be put goods crossing from Britain to Northern Ireland in order to protect the EU’s single market. However, unionists accuse Brussels of being heavy handed in their implementation of the requirements in revenge for the UK quitting the bloc. Giving evidence to a House of Lords committee, Sir Jeffrey warned companies were passing extra costs onto ordinary people.
Petrol prices in UK see biggest daily jump in 17 years
The price of petrol in the UK saw its biggest daily jump in 17 years on Tuesday with a rise of more than 2p a litre. The RAC motoring group said the average cost of filling a typical family car with petrol was now £99.40 and could exceed £100 as soon as today, Thursday. Soaring fuel prices have been driven by the war in Ukraine and moves to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian oil. With food and energy bills also surging, many households are under pressure. The average price of petrol rose to 180.73p per litre on Tuesday, the RAC said. Meanwhile, the average price of diesel rose by almost 1.5p to another record high of 186.57p per litre, making the cost of filling a 55-litre family car £102.61.
‘Impact of Ukraine war is worsening’ – UN chief
UN chief Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that the consequences for the world of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are worsening, with 1.6 billion people likely to be affect. “The war’s impact on food security, energy and finance is systemic, severe, and speeding up,” the Secretary-General said, presenting the UN’s second report into the repercussions of the conflict. He added that “for people around the world, the war is threatening to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.” Guterres said that while this year’s food crisis is “about lack of access,” next year’s “could be about lack of food”. “There is only one way to stop this gathering storm: the Russian invasion of Ukraine must end,” he pleaded.
‘Moscow condemns millions to death’ – Di Maio
Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, said they expected “clear and concrete signals from Russia, because blocking grain exports means holding and condemning millions of children, women and men hostage to death away from the conflict front. Russia, using food as a weapon of war is staining itself with other crimes, which are added to the atrocities already committed on Ukrainian soil and which are there for all to see,” he said during the Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Crisis,
Russians push Ukrainians back to Sievierodonetsk’s outskirts’
Ukrainian forces have been pushed back by a Russian bombardment in the frontline eastern city of Sievierodonetsk and now only control its outskirts, according to the governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai. He said it made no sense for Ukrainian special forces to stay inside the city after Russia started levelling the area with shelling and air strikes. Haidai later said Russian forces were heavily shelling the twin city of Lysychansk, causing major damage. Russian forces temporarily control 90% of the region, he added.
Usa: House approves measures on firearms
The US House of Representatives has approved a broad package of measures on firearms that includes significant restrictions. The approval came with 223 votes in favour and 204 against. The measure, which includes, among other things, increasing the age for the purchase of semi-automatic weapons, has no chance of being approved by the Senate, where the Democrats do not have sufficient votes.
No sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035
The plenary European Parliament has endorsed the Commission’s proposal to end the sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2035. An amendment supported by the EPP, which provided for a reduction in CO2 emissions 90% instead of 100%, was not approved. Parliaent’s approval on CO2 emissions standards came with 339 votes in favour, 249 against and 24 abstentions.
Death and injuries as car plunges on the crowd in Berlin
A teacher was killed and 14 schoolchildren were injured after a car hit a crowd on a busy street in the German capital, Berlin. The group was on a school trip to Berlin from the state of Hesse. A second teacher was seriously hurt. Police say the driver, a 29-year-old man, was arrested at the scene. Berlin Interior Affairs Minister Iris Spranger said evidence suggested the driver was a “mentally ill person running amok”.
Trump, adult children to testify in New York fraud probe
Former US President Donald Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, have agreed to testify, starting July 15, in a New York state civil investigation into his business practices. The Trumps’ testimony could last through the following week, according to an agreement with state Attorney General Letitia James made public on Wednesday. James is investigating whether the Trump Organisation misled lenders and tax authorities. The deal for the Trumps to testify came more than six months after James first issued subpoenas for their testimony.
Weinstein to be charged with indecent assault in UK
British prosecutors on Wednesday said they had authorised London’s Metropolitan Police to charge Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein with sexual assault. Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault and jailed for 23 years in the United States in February 2020, in a landmark verdict for the #MeToo movement. Last week, he lost a bid to get the conviction overturned in a New York appeals court. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the 70-year-old film producer was facing two counts of indecent assault against one woman in the British capital, now in her 50s.
Top US gymnasts file $1 bn claim against FBI
Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and more than 90 other star US gymnasts filed a $1 billion claim against the FBI on Wednesday for mishandling of the investigation into sexual abuse by predatory former team doctor Larry Nassar. The women claim they were abused after 2015 due to the FBI’s failure to take required steps to protect them. Nassar, 58, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty in late 2017 and early 2018 to sexually assaulting athletes while working as a sports medicine doctor at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.