Nikki Haley writes ‘finish them’ on Israeli shell: lawmaker

Nikki Haley writes ‘finish them’ on Israeli shell: lawmaker
Former Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley and Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon tour Kibbutz Nir Oz, southern Israel. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 May 2024
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Nikki Haley writes ‘finish them’ on Israeli shell: lawmaker

Nikki Haley writes ‘finish them’ on Israeli shell: lawmaker
  • The photograph was posted on X by Danny Danon who was accompanying Haley on her visit
  • The post showed a kneeling Haley writing on a shell with a purple marker pen

WASHINGTON: Former US presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has been photographed writing “Finish Them” on an Israeli shell as she toured sites near the northern border with Lebanon.
The photograph was posted on X on Tuesday by Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli parliament and former ambassador to the United Nations, who was accompanying Haley on her visit.
“’Finish Them’. This is what my friend the former ambassador Nikki Haley wrote,” Danon said in his post that showed a kneeling Haley writing on a shell with a purple marker pen.


Haley was a hawkish UN envoy under Donald Trump, and her term overlapped with Danon.
The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on the latest Israeli official figures.
Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,096 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry.
Haley, 52, abandoned her White House bid in March after heavy defeats in Republican primary contests to Trump, and last week said that she would vote for him in the election.
Trump has ruled her out of contention to be his vice president, but she is a potential presidential runner in 2028.
The White House said Tuesday that President Joe Biden has no plans to change his Israel policy following a deadly weekend strike on Rafah but that he is not turning a “blind eye” to the plight of Palestinian civilians.

 


French PM, far-right chief cross swords in raucous election debate

French PM, far-right chief cross swords in raucous election debate
Updated 33 sec ago
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French PM, far-right chief cross swords in raucous election debate

French PM, far-right chief cross swords in raucous election debate
  • A warning issued by Macron Monday that the programs of the two “extremes” on left and right could spark a “civil war” also sparked disquiet even within his own ranks

PARIS: French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and the chief of the main far-right party Jordan Bardella clashed in an ill-tempered debate Tuesday that exposed fierce tensions less than a week ahead of the most polarizing election in decades.
Attal, Bardella and hard-left MP Manuel Bompard, representing the left-wing coalition, exchanged accusations in a sometimes bruising live TV encounter where discussion of issues was often drowned by a cacophony of voices.
Bardella’s National Rally (RN) still has a clear lead in opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s first round of voting in the parliamentary elections, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) coalition with President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance lagging in third.
At just 28, Bardella could become the first far-right prime minister in France’s modern history after the second round on July 7, although he has said he will only take the job if the RN wins an absolute majority in parliament.
Bardella vowed that “if the French give me their confidence I will be the prime minister of purchasing power,” pledging cuts to VAT and tax breaks for the under 30s.
“I am prime minister. The difference with me is that I do not want to lie to the French,” retorted Attal.
“Jordan Bardella says every time that he will reduce VAT as if by magic but without saying how he will finance it,” he added.
Bompard meanwhile told the premier “you are badly placed to give lessons on the economy, given your record.”
Attal, 35, portrayed himself as safe pair of hands with experience of the realities of power, repeatedly asking Bardella “how will you finance it?” and saying “I will remain serious.”
“Excuse me Mr.Teacher!” Bardella bristled at one point, while adding that “if you were credible we would not be here at all” — a reference to Macron’s dissolution of parliament following his party’s third place in European elections.
“Mr Attal be humble tonight, please,” Bardella said. “Stop your cinema please. You are not at the level of your office.”
Attal also rounded on Bardella for his controversial proposal to ban French dual nationals from sensitive strategic posts.
“The message that you send is dual nationals are half nationals,” he said.
The RN leader said for his part he would “drastically reduce migratory flows” if he becomes prime minister.
“There are millions of French who do not recognize the France that they grew up in,” he said.
Referring to the origins of Bardella, who is himself of Italian and also Algerian ancestry, Bompard said: “When your personal ancestors arrived in France, your political ancestors said exactly the same thing. I find that dramatic.”
Regardless of the result, Macron has vowed to stay on as president until the end of his second term in 2027.
He has been criticized from all sides for his decision to call the snap election after his party received a drubbing in the European election earlier this month.
A warning issued by Macron Monday that the programs of the two “extremes” on left and right could spark a “civil war” also sparked disquiet even within his own ranks.
Parliament speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, a senior member of the ruling Renaissance party, acknowledged that the French “have found it hard to understand” the dissolution. Former premier Edouard Philippe, who leads an allied centrist party, said simply that Macron had “killed the presidential majority.”
An Ifop poll has the RN on 36 percent support, the left-wing NFP on 29.5 percent and Macron’s camp on 20.5 percent, leading the unpopular president’s allies to beg him to step back from the campaign.
Bardella said France would have a new government after the elections and now faced the “historic choice” of whether it would be from the left or far-right.
Powerful Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told BFMTV he wanted to leave the government after the election, sit as an MP and “build a new project.”
“We are at the end of the cycle, we need to build another,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bardella and Attal had both requested that the left-wing slot in Tuesday’s debate be taken by France Unbowed founder Jean-Luc Melenchon rather than Bompard.
A former presidential candidate, Melenchon is the most recognizable but also the most divisive figure on the left due to his radical positions.
Melenchon himself has refused to rule himself out of the running, saying his name “opens doors in working-class neighborhoods” but many on the left hope an alternative figure will emerge.


More UK police officers accused in election betting scandal

More UK police officers accused in election betting scandal
Updated 9 min 7 sec ago
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More UK police officers accused in election betting scandal

More UK police officers accused in election betting scandal
  • The row has overshadowed the closing stretch of the election campaign as Sunak struggles to close his party’s 21-point average poll deficit to Keir Starmer’s Labour opposition before the July 4 vote

LONDON: Five more police officers allegedly placed bets on the timing of the UK general election, a force spokesperson said Tuesday, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak withdrew support from two Conservative candidates over the escalating scandal.
The row has overshadowed the closing stretch of the election campaign as Sunak struggles to close his party’s 21-point average poll deficit to Keir Starmer’s Labour opposition before the July 4 vote.
London’s Metropolitan Police said the Gambling Commission had informed it that five additional officers and a member of Sunak’s protection team were believed to have gambled on the election date.
The protection officer was arrested this month on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and has been placed on restricted duties, the Met said.
The five newly accused have not been arrested and do not “work in a close protection role,” the force added.
“It is still the case that only one officer is under criminal investigation,” it said.
The development came as the Conservatives announced that “as a result of ongoing internal inquiries” it could no longer support Craig Williams or Laura Saunders as candidates at the election.
The two are being investigated by the regulator over claims they bet on when the election would be held, and if they did so based on inside information.
Nominations have closed so they will still appear on ballot papers.
Sunak, who has said he is “incredibly angry” over the claims, has come under mounting pressure in recent days from inside and outside his party to act on them.
He took the country by surprise on May 22 when he announced the date of the election six months before he had to.
Williams, a sitting MP, had served as Sunak’s ministerial aide.
He is alleged to have placed a £100 ($127) bet on a July date for the election three days before Sunak called the vote.
Saunders, a Conservative candidate for the southwestern city of Bristol, is married to the Tories’ director of campaigns, Tony Lee. He has taken a leave of absence from the campaign following the allegations.
The party’s chief data officer, Nick Mason, has also stepped back from duties over allegations he placed dozens of bets on the election date.
Political bets are allowed in the UK but using insider knowledge to do so is against the law.
In a separate move, Labour announced Tuesday that it had suspended Kevin Craig, its candidate for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich in eastern England, after it emerged he was facing a Gambling Commission inquiry.
The party did not say why Craig was being investigated, but Sky News and the BBC reported that he placed a bet on the outcome in his seat in the election, and not its date.
“With Keir Starmer as leader, the Labour party upholds the highest standards for our parliamentary candidates, as the public rightly expects from any party hoping to serve, which is why we have acted immediately in this case,” a spokesperson said.


EU launches ‘historic’ membership talks with Ukraine, Moldova

EU launches ‘historic’ membership talks with Ukraine, Moldova
Updated 17 min 54 sec ago
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EU launches ‘historic’ membership talks with Ukraine, Moldova

EU launches ‘historic’ membership talks with Ukraine, Moldova
  • Ukraine’s lead negotiator, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna, vowed that Kyiv “will be able to complete everything before 2030” to join the bloc

LUXEMBOURG: The European Union on Tuesday kicked off accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, setting the fragile ex-Soviet states on a long path toward membership that Russia has tried to block.
The landmark move signals in particular a vote of confidence in Kyiv’s future at a time when Moscow has momentum on the battlefield almost two and a half years into the Kremlin’s invasion.
“Dear friends, today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between Ukraine and the European Union,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said via videolink at the start of the talks.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called it a “historic day” as officials from Kyiv and the EU’s 27 member states met in Luxembourg.
“We will never be derailed from our path to a united Europe and to our common home of all European nations,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on social media.
Ukraine and later Moldova lodged their bids to join the EU in the aftermath of Russia’s assault in February 2022.
The opening of the talks marks just the beginning of a protracted process of reforms in Ukraine that is strewn with political obstacles and will likely take many years — and may never lead to membership.
Standing in the way along that journey will be not just Russia’s efforts at destabilization but reticence from doubters inside the EU, most notably Hungary.
But European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called the opening of talks “very good news for the people of Ukraine, Moldova, and the entire European Union.”
“The path ahead will be challenging but full of opportunities,” she wrote on X on Tuesday.
So far, Ukraine has won plaudits for kickstarting a raft of reforms on curbing graft and political interference, even as war rages.
Ukraine’s lead negotiator, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna, vowed that Kyiv “will be able to complete everything before 2030” to join the bloc.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has reinvigorated a push in the EU to take on new members, after years in which countries particularly in the Western Balkans made little progress on their hopes to join.
The EU in December 2023 also granted candidate status to Georgia, another of Russia’s former Soviet neighbors.
It likewise approved accession negotiations with Bosnia and has talks ongoing with Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia.
The meetings with Ukraine and Moldova on Tuesday will set off a process of screening of how far laws in the countries already comply with EU standards and how much more work lies ahead.
Once that is done the EU then has to begin laying out conditions for negotiations on 35 subjects, ranging from taxation to environmental policy.
Stefanishyna said the next step should come in early 2025.
EU countries pushed to start the talks now before Hungary — the friendliest country to Russia in the bloc — takes over the EU’s rotating presidency next month.
Budapest has been opposed to pressing ahead with Kyiv’s membership bid, arguing that Ukraine was unfairly moving ahead for political reasons.
“From what I see here as we speak, they are very far from meeting the accession criteria,” Hungary’s Europe minister Janos Boka said on Tuesday.
Accepting Ukraine — a war-ravaged country of some 40 million people — would be a major step for the EU, and there are calls for the bloc to carry out reforms to streamline how it works before accepting new members.
The start of the talks resonates powerfully in Ukraine, as it was a desire for closer ties with the EU that sparked protests back in 2014 that eventually spiralled into the full-blown crisis with Russia.
The negotiations also come at a tense time in Moldova after the United States, Britain and Canada warned of a Russian “plot” to influence the country’s presidential elections in October.
Wedged between Ukraine and EU member Romania, Moldova’s pro-Western authorities frequently accuse the Kremlin of interfering in its internal affairs.
President Maia Sandu has accused Moscow, which has troops stationed in a breakaway region of the country, of aiming to destabilize Moldova ahead of the vote.
“Our future is within the European family,” Sandu wrote on X. “We are stronger together.”


Doctors treat thousands of heatstroke victims in southern Pakistan as temperatures soar

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (AP)
Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (AP)
Updated 24 min 32 sec ago
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Doctors treat thousands of heatstroke victims in southern Pakistan as temperatures soar

Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (AP)
  • On Monday, more than 1,500 victims of heatstroke were treated at other hospitals in the city, according to local media

KARACHI, Pakistan: A days-long intense heat wave has disrupted normal life in Pakistan, especially in its largest city, Karachi, where doctors treated thousands of victims of heatstroke at various hospitals, health officials said Tuesday.
Several people fell unconscious in the city and some of them later died, local media said.
Temperatures soared as high as 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) in Sindh province on Tuesday. Authorities in Karachi, the provincial capital, are urging people to stay indoors, hydrate, and avoid unnecessary travel.
Weather forecasters say the heat wave, which began in May, will subside next week.
According to local media, the days-long heat wave also killed more than two dozen people in Karachi, but no government spokesman was available to confirm the number of heatstroke-related deaths.
On Tuesday, Faisal Edhi, the head of the Edhi Foundation, which runs the country’s largest ambulance service, said they received dozens of bodies of heatstroke victims in Karachi the previous day.
Imran Sarwar Sheikh, the head of the emergency ward at the state-run Civil Hospital in Karachi, told The Associated Press that they treated 120 victims of heatstroke the previous day. Eight of those patients later died, he said.
On Monday, more than 1,500 victims of heatstroke were treated at other hospitals in the city, according to local media.
Sardar Sarfaraz, the chief meteorologist in Karachi, said temperatures will continue to rise this week across Pakistan. “Today, the weather is dry. In such conditions, the temperature starts rising,” he said.
Pakistan’s climate is warming much faster than the global average, with a potential rise of 1.3 to 4.9 degrees Celsius (2.3 to 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2090s over the 1986–2005 baseline, according to a World Bank expert panel on climate change.
The country, which is one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change, also faces the risk of heavier monsoon rains, in part because of its immense northern glaciers, which are now melting as temperatures rise. Warmer air can hold more moisture, intensifying the monsoon.
This year’s monsoon will start in July, causing flash floods, according to a statement released by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. The warning from the agency comes less than two weeks after a top UN official said an estimated 200,000 people in Pakistan could be affected by the upcoming monsoon season.
However, officials say this year’s rains would not be as heavy as those in 2022 when devastating floods killed 1,739 people, destroyed 2 million homes, and covered as much as one-third of the country at one point.
The 2022 floods caused more than $30 billion in damage to Pakistan’s already cash-strapped economy.
Pakistan says despite contributing less than 1 percent to carbon emissions worldwide, it is bearing the brunt of global climate disasters.
The ongoing heat in recent months also had a large impact on agriculture, damaging crops and reducing yields, as well as on education, with school vacations having to be extended and schools closed in several countries, affecting thousands of students.
Climate experts say extreme heat in South Asia during the pre-monsoon season is becoming more frequent. The study found that extreme temperatures are now about 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.5 Fahrenheit) hotter in the region because of climate change, and this year Pakistan witnessed above-normal rains and heat.

 


21 Nigerien soldiers killed in ambush by ‘terrorist group,’ ruling junta says

21 Nigerien soldiers killed in ambush by ‘terrorist group,’ ruling junta says
Updated 36 min 7 sec ago
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21 Nigerien soldiers killed in ambush by ‘terrorist group,’ ruling junta says

21 Nigerien soldiers killed in ambush by ‘terrorist group,’ ruling junta says

NIAMEY, Niger: An ambush by a “terrorist group” killed 21 Nigerien soldiers near the country’s border with Burkina Faso on Tuesday, Niger’s ruling military junta said in a statement read on national television.

The statement Tuesday evening did not specify which group was behind the attack. Niger is struggling with a deadly security crisis involving several armed groups.

Last week, the rebel Patriotic Liberation Front attacked a China-backed pipeline and threatened more attacks if the $400 million deal with China isn’t canceled. The group, led by Salah Mahmoud, a former rebel leader, took up arms after the junta staged a coup last year ousting a democratically elected government.

Niger and neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso are also battling movements linked to Al-Qaeda and Daesh extremist group in a decade-long conflict in the Sahel region that is worsening.

The violence killed thousands of people last year, and more than 2 million people have been displaced, according to the United Nations

Mali and Burkina Faso are also led by juntas and have experienced two coups each since 2020. Both juntas have expelled French forces and turned to Russian mercenaries as they struggle to quell the Islamist groups.