Trump warns jail time could be ‘breaking point’ for supporters

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Monday, 3rd June 2024.

Former US President Donald Trump said while he would accept a prison sentence for his criminal conviction, it could prove a “breaking point” for his supporters ahead of United States presidential elections in November. In an interview aired on Sunday on Fox News, the current Republican White House hopeful acknowledged the possibility of jail time or house arrest following his historic criminal conviction in a hush-money trial but warned said he ccouild not guarantee the American public ‘would stand for’ his jail time. “I think it would be tough for the public to take. You know at a certain point there’s a breaking point,” he said.

Trump did not elaborate on what he thought might happen if that point is reached. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, four days before Republicans gather to formally choose their presidential nominee to face Democratic President Joe Biden in this year’s election.

The warning will resonate in a country already concerned about the prospect of civil unrest and political harassment in the run-up to the November 5 ballot. Trump has used his conviction to step up his fundraising efforts but has not otherwise sought to mobilise his supporters, in contrast to his comments protesting his 2020 loss to Biden that were followed by an attack by his supporters on January 6, 2021, on the US Capitol.

Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol after he delivered a fiery speech urging the crowd to “fight like hell”.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Trump ally, said any response must be lawful. “We are the rule of law party – chaos is not a conservative value. We have to fight back and we will with everything in our arsenal. But we do that within the confines of the rule of law,” Johnson told the programme Fox News Sunday.

Trump will now be running as a convicted felon, and he has repeatedly refused to commit to accepting the result should he lose to Biden.

A New York jury on Thursday convicted Trump on all 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in the final stages of the 2016 presidential campaign to cover up a sex scandal involving adult film star Stormy Daniels. Although each charge carries a possible four-year jail term, experts say it is extremely unlikely the judge will hand down a custodial sentence. Trump has vowed to appeal his conviction by the New York jury, while the matter is unlikely to be resolved before the presidential election. Opinion polls show a close race and suggest his conviction could hurt him with some Republican voters and independents. Trump faces three other criminal trials, including one related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost to Biden.

Stormy Daniels’ new advice for Melania Trump: ‘Leave him!’

Adult film star Stormy Daniels gave new advice to Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, on Sunday after the former president was found guilty in his criminal hush money trial. In an interview with the Mirror, Daniels whose real name is Stephanie Clifford called on the former first lady to leave her husband due to his guilty verdict. “I don’t know what their agreement may or may not be, but Melania needs to leave him. Not because of what he did with me or other women but because he is a convicted felon,” Daniels said. She added: “It’s been proven he is abusive; he was found liable for sexual assault and tax fraud and is now a criminal. He’s neither Teflon Don nor Teflon Con anymore.”

Trump was ordered in January to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle columnist, for damaging her reputation after she accused him of sexually assaulting her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. A separate jury last year awarded Carroll $5 million from Trump for sexual abuse and defamation. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and appealed the verdicts. In addition, Trump and others associated with The Trump Organisation were found liable in February over allegations that the former president inflated the value of his properties and his own net worth by billions of dollars on financial statements provided to banks and insurers to make deals and secure loans in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Trump has maintained his innocence and is fighting the ruling through appeal.

Israel pounds Hamas as mediators urge both to accept Gaza truce plan

Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip on Sunday and battled Hamas as mediators called on both sides to agree to a truce and hostage release deal outlined by US President Joe Biden.

Since Biden spoke at the White House on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Israel will pursue the war, which nears its ninth month, until it has destroyed Hamas and freed the captives. Israel’s defence minister said on Sunday Israel would not accept Hamas continuing to rule Gaza at any stage during the process to wind down the conflict and that it was examining alternatives to the Palestinian militant group.

Hamas said it “views positively” what Biden described as an Israeli proposal.

Netanyahu, a hawkish political veteran leading a fragile right-wing coalition government, is under intense domestic pressure from two sides. Protesters backing immediate hostage release, who rallied again Saturday in their tens of thousands in Tel Aviv, are urging him to strike a truce deal, while the prime minister’s far-right allies are threatening to bring down the government if he does.

Deadly fighting rocked Gaza overnight and Sunday, with Israeli military reporting more air strikes and ground combat. Across Gaza, the military said Sunday it had struck “30 terror targets” over the past day including “weapons storage facilities” and militants. Israel’s retaliatory bombardments and ground offensive have killed at least 36,439 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Heavy fighting has flared in far-southern Rafah, where Israel sent tanks and troops in early May, ignoring concerns for displaced civilians sheltering in the city. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on Sunday that all 36 of its shelters in Rafah “are now empty”, after at least a million civilians have fled the city that until last month was sheltering 1.4 million people.

The Israeli seizure of the Rafah crossing has further slowed sporadic aid deliveries for Gaza’s 2.4 million people and effectively shuttered the territory’s main exit point.

Officials from the US, Israel and Egypt ended a meeting in Cairo on Sunday with Egypt sticking to its position that Israel must withdraw from the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing for it to operate again, according to two Egyptian security sources. Israel seized the crossing on the Gaza side in May during its offensive in Rafah along the enclave’s southern edge, angering Egypt which said it would stop cooperating with Israel on the crucial artery for aid into the strip and evacuations out of it. Israel’s defense ministry body overseeing civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, COGAT, said 764 Egyptian trucks had crossed into Gaza over the past week through Kerem Shalom.

Tens of thousands show support for Orbán

Tens of thousands took part in a so called ‘Peace March’ in Budapest to show their support for Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government. Many of the marchers felt that the stakes in next week’s European Parliament elections (and local elections in Hungary) will be higher than ever. One demonstrator told Euronews: “The whole world is dancing on a razor’s edge, war could break out at any moment. Everyone must speak up and stand for peace.”

Orbán is the longest serving leader in the European Union, having been in power for the last 14 years. He has focused his campaign for the European elections on the war in Ukraine. Critics say his appeals for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine would result in Russia being able to retain territories it has occupied. In return, Orbán portrays his opponents as warmongers who seek to involve Hungary directly in the conflict.

Ramaphosa calls for unity after his ANC loses majority

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the country’s political parties to work together for the good of the country as final results from last week’s election confirmed his African National Congress (ANC) lost its majority for the first time. The result, announced on Sunday, is the worst election showing for the ANC – Africa’s oldest liberation movement, once led by Nelson Mandela – since it came to power 30 years ago, ending white minority rule.

Voters, angry at joblessness, inequality and rolling blackouts, slashed support for the ANC to 40.2 per cent, down from 57.5 per cent in the 2019 parliamentary vote. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), had 21.6 per cent and uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), a new party led by former president and ANC leader Jacob Zuma, managed to grab 14.7 per cent – pulling away votes from the ANC. Official results showed the ANC winning 159 seats in the 400-seat National Assembly, down from 230 previously.

After the electoral commission announced the final results, Ramaphosa said, “South Africans expect the parties for which they have voted to find common ground, overcome their differences, and act together for the good of everyone. That’s what South Africans have said.” He called the election a “victory for our democracy”. “This is the time for all of us to put South Africa first,” Ramaphosa added.

Sheinbaum to be Mexico’s new president

Televisa’s N+ exit polls show Claudia Sheinbaum as the winner of the race for the presidency of Mexico. According to statistics, the candidate of Morena, Pvem and Pt will become the first female president of the country: she obtained a higher score than Xóchitl Gálvez, representative of PAN, PRI and Prd. The Mexican newspaper El Financiero also presented the results of an exit poll that put the progressive candidate as the winner of the presidential elections. According to the polling director of El Financiero, Sheinbaum should win with a gap that should exclude doubts about the difference between the two competitors.

Meanwhile,two people were killed Monday during two attacks on polling stations in the central state of Pueblam according to a local government security source. One of the victims died near the Cyomeapan polling station, after unknown assailants entered to steal the ballot boxes. The other victim died in the midst of an attack on a polling station in the city of Tlapanala, the source said.

The deaths follow that of a candidate murdered in western Mexico, hours before voting began on Sunday. Israel Delgado, 35, was killed on Saturday evening near his home. He had aspired to become in charge of finances and internal control of the Cutzeo municipal council.

Heatstroke kills 33 Indian polling staff on last voting day

At least 33 Indian polling staff died on the last day of voting from heatstroke in just one state, a top election official said Sunday, after scorching temperatures gripped swathes of the country. While there have been reports of multiple deaths from the intense heatwave – with temperatures above 45OC in many places – the dozens of staff dying in one day marks an especially grim toll.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said temperatures at Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh reached 46.9 OC. Navdeep Rinwa, chief electoral officer for the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where voting in the seventh and final stage of elections ended Saturday, said 33 polling personnel died due to the heat.

Ruling populists declare victory in Serbia local vote

Serbia’s ruling populists declared victory at tense municipal elections in dozens of cities and towns throughout the Balkan country Sunday, including a rerun vote in the capital, Belgrade, as opposition claimed major irregularities. The victory claim, which was likely to be confirmed by the state electoral commission, would cement the right-wing Serbian Progressive Party’s hold on power in the country that is a candidate nation for European Union membership. Prime Minister Milos Vucevic told reporters that the party swept the election and that the victory is “pure and convincing”.

Official results are expected Monday. Opposition officials said the vote was marred by major irregularities, which the governing party denied. Incidents and skirmishes were reported in Belgrade, where the election was a re-run vote following reports of widespread irregularities in December that triggered political tensions and accusations that President Aleksandar Vucic’s governing party rigged the vote.

25 people shot, 1 fatally, as chaos breaks out at Ohio street party

At least 25 people were shot, one fatally, when gunfire broke out early Sunday morning at a large street party in Akron, Ohio, authorities said. Two victims remained in critical condition, authorities said in an update evening. The victims’ ages range from 19 to 43 years old, with most individuals being in their 30s, police said. Authorities recovered two handguns from the scene, and evidence suggests there was a drive-by shooting involved in the incident with evidence of returned fire, officials said. As of Sunday night, no arrests had been made and there were no suspects in the ongoing investigation, police said. Anyone with information has been asked to contact Akron Police.

Rupert Murdoch, 93, marries for fifth time

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has married for the fifth time at the age of 93, in a ceremony at his vineyard in California. He married retired Russian molecular biologist Elena Zhukova, 67, on Saturday, after reports of the couple’s engagement first emerged in March.

The Australian-born media magnate, who stood down as chairman of Fox and News Corp last year, had been married four times before. His engagement to former police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith was called off just two weeks after being announced in April 2023.

Murdoch married his first wife, former flight attendant Patricia Booker, in 1956, and they had one daughter, Prudence. After their divorce 11 years later, his second marriage to Anna Torv, a trainee journalist he met while she was working on one of his Australian titles, lasted more than 30 years.

At various times, each of their three adult children, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James, appeared to be in line to inherit his media empire. Murdoch had two more children, daughters Grace and Chloe, by his third wife, Wendi Deng, whom he married in 1999 three weeks after he divorced Anna Torv.

In 2016, Mr Murdoch surprised the world by marrying former model Jerry Hall, an ex-partner of Rolling Stones’ singer Sir Mick Jagger. The marriage lasted six years before they divorced.

Mr Murdoch’s media empire, which started in Australia in the 1950s, included buying the News Of The World and The Sun in 1969, the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and TV channel Fox News, which was launched in 1996.

Photo: Reuters

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