Trump holds off Haley to win New Hampshire primary

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Wednesday, 24th January 2024

Donald Trump defeated Nikki Haley on Tuesday in the New Hampshire primary – his second consecutive victory in his bid to secure his party’s presidential nomination. With 17% of the votes counted, the Associated Press called the race for Trump. Ahead of the primary, the former president led Haley in most polls by a substantial margin. Further cementing his hold on the party, Trump is the first non-incumbent Republican candidate in the modern era to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Haley congratulated Trump on his victory, but added the “race is far from over”, as she prepares for a primary in her home state of South Carolina next month.

A large turnout by independent voters helped boost the former South Carolina governor, who said on Tuesday that she would remain in the race at least through the Super Tuesday primaries on 5th March. “New Hampshire is first in the nation. It is not the last in the nation,” Haley said in a speech to her supporters Tuesday night. “This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go, and the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina.”

In an interview with Fox News, Trump said Nikki Haley should suspend her presidential race. “If she doesn’t leave, we have to waste money instead of spending it against Joe Biden, who is our focus,” he explained. Previously Trump had said that he would never ask anyone to leave the race. “Haley lost and she made a speech as if she had won,” Trump said at a rally in Nashua after his victory in the Republican primary in New Hampshire. “We have won in this state three times: for me it is a very special place. Haley had a very bad night,” Trump said.

Commenting on the results of New Hampshire, Joe Biden’s campaign said Trump almost won the Republican nomination. “Trump threatens to put democracy at risk and ban abortion nationwide. We cannot allow it,” adds the US president’s staff. The Associated Press also declared President Biden the winner of the Democratic primary in the state. Biden, who is all but guaranteed to be his party’s nominee, didn’t appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot following an internal party dispute over the primary’s date. Still, there was a state campaign to write in his name.

24 Israeli soldiers killed on deadliest day during Gaza combat

Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were killed during fighting in southern Gaza on Monday, the military said, in the deadliest day for its troops inside the battered enclave since the war with Hamas began. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing increasing political pressure on multiple fronts, said the deaths of the soldiers represented “one of the most difficult days since the outbreak of the war”, adding, “I mourn for our fallen heroic soldiers. I hug the families in their time of need and we all pray for the peace of our wounded.”

Twenty-one soldiers were killed in one incident, “removing structures and terrorist infrastructure”, the IDF said in a statement, when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired towards a tank protecting the unit. Two two-storey buildings then collapsed following an explosion, which likely was caused by explosives that had been laid by the Israeli troops, the IDF said. Israeli media reported that two soldiers in the tank were killed. Most of the Israeli forces killed were in or near the buildings. Netanyahu said the IDF had launched an investigation into the incident. More than 200 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the invasion of Gaza.

Photo: Tamir Kalifa for NPR

Guterres: “Destruction in Gaza without equal in recent history”

“The entire population of Gaza is suffering destruction on a scale and speed unmatched in recent history,” UN Secretary General António Guterres has said, underlining that “nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people” as well as “the deliberate killing, wounding, kidnapping of civilians, the use of sexual violence against them” by Hamas in Israel. Furthermore, he said he was “deeply disturbed by reports of Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinians detained during military operations”.

On Monday, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza said the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since 7th October has risen to 25,295, with at least 63,000 injuries recorded. Guterres then underlined that the Israeli government’s rejection of the two-state solution and denial of the Palestinian people’s right to statehood risks exacerbating polarisation and emboldening extremists everywhere. “The role of the international community is clear,” he added, “We must come together to support Israelis and Palestinians to take determined action to advance a meaningful peace process.”

Photo: AA

Saving Palestinian lives is not a US priority – Lavrov

“Steps are needed to avoid further destabilisation elsewhere in the Middle East,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the UN Security Council, when attacking the US for having prevented the Council from taking steps towards an end to the violence. “Saving the lives of Palestinians is not among their priorities,” he continued, speaking of a “true humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, and with no end in sight.”

Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Hamas rejects 2-month ceasefire” – reports

Hamas has reportedly rejected an Israeli offer for a two-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages held in Gaza, even as top US and Qatari officials said talks aimed at an extended pause in the war were “serious”. On Monday, Axios reported that Israel proposed the pause of up to two months, during which it would release Palestinian prisoners held on security offences and draw down its troop levels in Gaza while Hamas released all 136 hostages it was holding. CNN reported that an offer by Israel would include the removal of Hamas’ leadership, and that of other terror groups, from Gaza. But subsequent reports quoted officials in Egypt, which is also a party to negotiations, saying Hamas rejected anything less than a permanent ceasefire and the full withdrawal of Israeli troops, and would not countenance the exile of its leadership.

Photo: AP/Bernat Armangue

Houthis urges UK, US aid workers to leave Yemen

British and American aid workers have been told to pack their bags and leave Yemen by the Houthi government, a letter seen by ITV News says. The Houthi-run foreign affairs ministry requested that all NGO workers with US or UK citizenship leave the country within 30 days. It comes as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the UK “will not hesitate” to launch further airstrikes on the Houthis in Yemen after multiple sites used by the Iranian-backed military group were bombed on Monday night. Sunak said a joint bombing campaign with the US was intended to warn Houthis that attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea, as it has done 12 times in 10 day, was “unacceptable”.

Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Red Sea traffic drops by 22%

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said there had been a 22% drop in traffic since the  Houthi attacks. Between 25% and 30% of the world’s containers passed through the Red Sea this month. He said freedom of navigation was essential for the EU given that “we are a trading power, which exports goods and services for €3.1 trillion and imports for €2.8 trillion”. At the moment, he added, there were no visible impacts on energy prices or on the prices of goods, but “we are already seeing effects on the price of transport and greater impacts depend on the duration of the crisis”.


Turkey approves Sweden’s bid to join NATO

Turkey’s parliament has approved Sweden’s application to join NATO – lifting a key barrier to its entry into the military alliance. The decision means Hungary is the only NATO member yet to ratify Sweden’s application after 20 months of delays. Sweden’s membership would enhance the military alliance’s defences in the Baltic Sea region facing Russia. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote on the social media site X after the decision: “Today we are one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO. Positive that the Grand General Assembly of Türkiye has voted in favour of Sweden’s NATO accession.” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has also welcomed the Turkish parliament’s decision to ratify Sweden’s membership bid and called on Hungary to follow suit. “I also count on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible,” he said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Photo: Yves Herman/AFP

Deadly Russian missile strikes hit Kharkiv and Kyiv

Dozens of Russian missiles rained down on civilian areas of Kharkiv and Kyiv in Ukraine early on Tuesday, killing at least seven and injuring more than 50 people while destroying buildings. Ukrainian air-defence officials said many of the missiles fired were shot down. Military strategists say the attacks add to Russia’s continuing focus on hitting Ukrainian cities from a distance.

Meanwhile, NATO has announced it had signed a €1.1 billion-contract for 155mm artillery ammunition, with part of the shells to be supplied to Ukraine after complaints a shortage of munitions was hampering its war efforts. “The war in Ukraine has become a battle of ammunition,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said after a signing ceremony at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels. NATO struck the deal on behalf of several allies who will either pass on the shells to Ukraine or use them to stock up their own depleted inventories.

Russia has rejected allegations that it had deported Ukrainian children since its invasion but said that more than 700,000 have moved into its territory. Russian representatives made the claim on Tuesday before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which questioned Russia as part of a regular review. Independent experts on the committee pressed Moscow on how many children have been affected, where they have been sent to, and for what reasons. Ukraine has said that 20,000 children have been forced to move to Russia since the start of the war.

Photo: AP/Andrii Marienko

Pyongyang launches missiles towards Yellow Sea

North Korea has launched “multiple cruise missiles” towards the Yellow Sea, the Seoul military reports, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap. Pyongyang launched the missiles at around 7am local time (11pm Tuesday in Malta), the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff reported, explaining in a note that “while we strengthen our monitoring and vigilance, our armed forces are coordinating closely with the United States to monitor further signs of North Korea’s provocations”.

Tuesday’s was the first launch of cruise missiles by Pyongyang since last September, when two long-range, strategic types with fake nuclear warheads were tested towards the Yellow Sea. The launch of the solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile, a hypersonic warhead in the Sea of Japan, took place just 10 days ago. Hypersonic missiles are considered harder to detect and shoot down as they fly at speeds of at least five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), are highly maneouverable and capable of changing course during flight. Last week, North Korea said it tested an undersea nuclear weapons system under development in response to the latest joint maritime exercise involving South Korea, the United States and Japan,

Photo: Jung Yeon-je / AFP

Oppenheimer leads Oscar contenders with 13 nominations

Oscar voters lined up behind a classic studio blockbuster on Tuesday, giving 13 nominations to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer – the most of any movie – and setting up the long-awaited coronation of Nolan as Hollywood’s leading filmmaker. No film by Nolan has ever been named best picture and this was his second nomination for directing.

In the best picture category, Oppenheimer will contend against American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, Barbie, The Holdovers, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Past Lives, Poor Things, and Zone of Interest. The entries in this field had been widely expected; no surprises. The recognition for Oppenheimer had been expected.

But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences threw surprises into all of the other major categories. Most prominently, Greta Gerwig did not receive a nomination as best director for Barbie. Instead, the increasingly-international academy gave a first nomination to the French filmmaker Justine Triet, who directed Anatomy of a Fall, a did-she-or-didn’t-she thriller. Barbie also failed to figure into the best actress category, with Margot Robbie overlooked for bringing the doll to zany life. Instead, Annette Bening was honoured as a best actress candidate for her obsessive, aging swimmer in the Netflix film Nyad.

Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Colman Domingo (Rustin), Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) and Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction) were nominated for best actor.

Joining in the best actress category were Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall), Carey Mulligan (Maestro) and Emma Stone (Poor Things).

Willem Dafoe was widely predicted to receive his fifth nomination for best supporting actor for his performance in Poor Things. Instead, nominations went to Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction), Robert De Niro (Killers of the Flower Moon), Robert Downey Jr (Oppenheimer), Ryan Gosling (Barbie) and Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things).

There was also a surprise in the best supporting actress race: America Ferrera (Barbie) landed her first nomination, while Julianne Moore, an Oscar stalwart who had been expected to figure into the category for May December, did not. Rounding out the category were Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer), Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Jodie Foster (Nyad), and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers).

After a year that found the movie industry hobbled for months by dual strikes by writers and actors, the focus shifts now to an especially strong slate of movies vying for a chance at Academy Awards on 10th March.

Doomsday Clock remains at 90 seconds to midnight

Scientists say “humanity continues to face an unprecedented level of danger” as the Doomsday Clock remained at 90 seconds to midnight for a second year in a row. The timepiece warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making. It is a metaphor and a reminder of the perils people must address if we are to survive on the earth. Once the clock strikes 12 it’s game over.

Maintaining last year’s setting, the closest to 12 it has ever been, means the clock’s keepers believe the threat of global apocalypse has not cooled off in the past 12 months, emphasising it is not an indication of stability in the world. The scientists cited the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, multi-dimensional nuclear threats, failures to address the climate crisis, bio-threats, and artificial intelligence (AI) as reasons for the setting.

Main photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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