Guardian Headlines

 

African leaders call for equity over minerals used for clean energy

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 18:09:29 GMT

‘Crucial’ UN resolution attempts to avoid repeat of injustices produced by Africa’s fossil fuel sector

In an attempt to avoid the “injustices and extractivism” of fossil fuel operations, African leaders are calling for better controls on the dash for the minerals and metals needed for a clean energy transition.

A resolution for structural change that will promote equitable benefit-sharing from extraction, supported by a group of mainly African countries including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Chad, was presented at the UN environmental assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday and called for the sustainable use of transitional minerals.

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Shell must clean up pollution before it leaves Niger delta, report says

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 06:00:29 GMT

Firm told it must take responsibility for toxic legacy of pollution and safe decommissioning of abandoned oil infrastructure

The oil firm Shell cannot be allowed to withdraw from the Niger delta before it takes responsibility for its toxic legacy of pollution and the safe decommissioning of abandoned oil infrastructure, a report says.

Shell plc is preparing to divest from the delta but a report warns that it must remain until it has cleaned up its legacy of pollution.

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Ethiopian government tries to stop UK auction of looted Maqdala shield

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 17:06:06 GMT

Proposed sale of Abyssinian artefact taken during 1868 battle triggers appeal for restitution of ‘wrongfully acquired’ item

The Ethiopian government has called the auction of a looted colonial-era shield “inappropriate and immoral” as it attempts to stop its sale this week and prevent it from disappearing into a private collection.

The Anderson & Garland auction house, in Newcastle upon Tyne, was contacted by the Ethiopian National Heritage national restitution committee about the 19th-century Abyssinian shield, which it said should be removed from the auction set to take place on Thursday.

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Australian tourist had been missing in Zimbabwe for nearly a week before search began

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 01:04:20 GMT

The 67-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was travelling alone when he left a luxury lodge to travel to Victoria Falls national park

An Australian tourist reported missing late last week in Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls already had been missing for nearly a week before that, according to new information released Monday by national park officials.

The 67-year-old tourist, whose name has not been released, was reported missing Friday in the area near the Zimbabwe Victoria Falls national park, and officials said at the time that a search with sniffer dogs was under way.

Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said on Monday that the missing tourist was male, and that he had last been heard from on 17 February.

The tourist, who was traveling alone, was staying at a luxury lodge about 3km from the rainforest park. He told the lodge management on 17 February that he was heading into the park, Farawo said.

However, the man was not seen entering the park on CCTV footage reviewed later, nor was he among those recorded as entering the park, as normally is done for accountability and security purposes, Farawo said.

“We have replayed the CCTV footage, physical records at the entrance of the falls have no record of him entering and our search team has been checking the rainforest. There is no sign of him,” Farawo said.

“We are looking at other leads because it seems he never entered the rainforest,” he said.

Farawo did not disclose any other details, saying investigations were still under way.

Such incidences are rare in Victoria Falls, a destination that attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe for its majestic water curtain that tumbles down more than 108 metres from the Zambezi River to a gorge below, sending up a mist visible from miles away.

The parks agency deployed a team that included the police and rangers with sniffer dogs, professional ground trackers and drones to track the Australian tourist on Friday, said Farawo.

A few cases have been recorded in other parks. A German tourist reported missing last October in Matusadona national park, which teems with wild animals in northern Zimbabwe, was found alive and in good health three days later.

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French journalist arrested in Ethiopia accused of ‘conspiracy to create chaos’

Mon, 26 Feb 2024 13:03:14 GMT

Antoine Galindo is accused of conspiring with rebels, but press freedom groups say no evidence has been found and call for his immediate release

Ethiopian authorities have detained a visiting French journalist for being part of a “conspiracy to create chaos” in the east African country.

Antoine Galindo, a reporter for the Paris-based Africa Intelligence (AI) news website, was arrested by plainclothes security officers at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel on Thursday, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

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Africa’s largest mosque inaugurated in Algeria after years of delays

Mon, 26 Feb 2024 08:14:42 GMT

Prayer room of Great Mosque of Algiers, beset by political wrangling and cost overruns, accommodates 120,000 people

Algeria has inaugurated a gigantic mosque on its Mediterranean coastline after years of political upheaval transformed the project from a symbol of state-sponsored strength and religiosity to one of delays and cost overruns.

Built by a Chinese construction firm throughout the 2010s, the Great Mosque of Algiers features the world’s tallest minaret, measuring 265 metres (869ft).

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Alberta to ban renewables on ‘prime’ land and preserve ‘pristine viewscapes’

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 21:09:57 GMT

Decision by premier Danielle Smith further pits Canadian province against environmental groups pushing green energy

Alberta will block renewable energy projects on “prime” agricultural land and limit the placement of wind turbines to preserve “pristine viewscapes”, a decision that increasingly pits the western Canadian province against environmental groups pushing green energy – and the companies investing in it.

The decision, announced by the premier, Danielle Smith, and utilities minister, Nathan Neudorf, on Wednesday, follows a controversial six-month ban on new renewable energy projects that is due to expire on 29 February.

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Priest accused of abusing Inuit children in Canada will not be dismissed by church

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 18:33:14 GMT

Senior church officials in Rome decline to act, citing worsening health of French clergyman known as ‘devil priest’

A French clergyman dubbed the “devil priest” who stands accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in Canada’s north will not be dismissed from his congregation after senior church officials in Rome declined to act, citing the nonagenarian’s declining health.

Johannes Rivoire, a priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, worked in several Canadian Arctic communities in the 1960s and 70s before returning to France in 1993.

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Warlord behind 1,500 murders returns to Colombia after 12-year sentence in US

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 22:05:23 GMT

Salvatore Mancuso was taken into police custody and is expected to cooperate with investigation into war crimes in 1990s and 2000s

A Colombian warlord found responsible for more than 1,500 murders and cases of forced disappearance has been returned to his native country after serving a drug-trafficking sentence in the United States and being denied several requests to be sent to Italy, where he also has citizenship.

Salvatore Mancuso arrived in Bogotá’s El Dorado airport on a charter flight that also carried dozens of Colombians who had been deported from the US after illegally crossing the southern border. Mancuso was quickly taken into police custody, wearing a green helmet and a bulletproof vest.

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Venezuelan migrants boost economies of South American countries, studies find

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 17:41:29 GMT

Benefits for Latin American host nations could be greater still if access to jobs for migrants were increased, research shows

An exodus of nearly 8 million Venezuelan migrants who have fled poverty and political turmoil is boosting the economies of other countries across South America, two studies published by leading international financial institutions have found.

The foreign workforce will lift the economies of their main host nations in Latin America and the Caribbean by 0.10-0.25% on average each year from 2017 until 2030, according to the research.

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Ultra-rare Wayne Gretzky rookie cards expected to be part of $3.72m Canadian auction

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 16:54:54 GMT

The pristine unopened case of Oh-Pee-Chee brand NHL cards could contain as many as 27 much-coveted rookie cards of ‘the Great One’

Among avid collectors of sports trading cards, rumours of a “holy grail” – a trove of cards so rare that they shouldn’t exist – have long swirled, but never materialized.

“It thought if we were ever going to find it … it would be buried deep up in Canada and the owners wouldn’t even know they had it,” said the expert Steve Hart.

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Grand Cayman shooting leaves seven seriously injured at football match

Mon, 26 Feb 2024 22:02:35 GMT

Cayman Islands police believe incident in British Caribbean territory was ‘targeted attack’ that could be gang-related

At least seven people have been seriously injured in a shooting at a crowded football match in the Cayman Islands.

The shooting, which police believe could be gang-related, occurred late on Sunday in West Bay, located in the north-west point of Grand Cayman island, authorities said.

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Indonesia activists condemn four-star general rank for presumed president

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 10:06:06 GMT

Outgoing president confers honour on presumed successor, Prabowo Subianto, who is accused of human rights violations

Human rights experts have condemned a decision by Indonesia’s outgoing president to award the rank of honorary four-star general to his presumed successor, Prabowo Subianto, a controversial figure accused of human rights violations.

Prabowo, 72, a former son-in-law of the dictator Suharto and a special commander under his regime was dismissed from the military over allegations he was involved in kidnapping and torturing pro-democracy activists in 1998.

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Tuvalu to revisit deal that gives Australia control of island nation’s security agreements

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 07:58:32 GMT

Incoming prime minister Feleti Teo has indicated he will review details of the landmark pact that effectively gives Australia veto power over future agreements with other nations

Tuvalu’s new government has questioned the “absence of transparency” in a security and migration pact the country signed with Australia last November, throwing the landmark deal into doubt.

While the government expressed support for the “broad principles and objectives” of the Tuvalu-Australia Falepili Union in a “statement of priorities” posted to X by member of parliament Simon Kofe, it also acknowledged “the absence of transparency and consultations in socializing and informing the public in Tuvalu of such an important and groundbreaking initiative”.

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South Korea’s fertility rate sinks to record low despite $270bn in incentives

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 05:57:06 GMT

Average number of births per woman falls to 0.72 in country that already has the world’s lowest rate, and has spent billions since 2006 to reverse the trend

South Korea’s demographic crisis has deepened with the release of data showing its birthrate – already the world’s lowest – fell to a new record low in 2023, despite billions of dollars in government schemes designed to persuade families to have more children.

Reports that South Korea’s population had shrunk for the fourth straight year came soon after neighbouring Japan reported a record decline in its population last year, along with a record fall in the number of births and the lowest number of marriages since the end of the second world war.

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Congress ‘gradually destroying’ US relations with Pacific ally, Marshall Islands president warns

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 01:28:33 GMT

Hilda Heine says US funding delays damage relationship with the Pacific nation as lawmakers say hold-up delivers a ‘gift’ to China

Hilda Heine, the president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has warned relations with the US are “gradually being destroyed by party politics” as Congress delays approval of crucial funding for the Pacific nation.

US lawmakers have not yet passed funding packages agreed in 2023 with the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), in a move some argue is opening the door to China to build its influence in the Pacific region.

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Births in Japan hit record low as government warns crisis at ‘critical state’

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 01:23:56 GMT

Birthrate continues to fall as young people increasingly reluctant to have children due to bleak job prospects, cost of living and work culture

The number of babies born in Japan last year fell for an eighth straight year to a new low, government data has shown, and a top official says it is critical for the country to reverse the trend in the coming half-dozen years.

The 758,631 babies born in Japan in 2023 were a 5.1% decline from the previous year, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry on Tuesday. It was the lowest number of births since Japan started compiling the statistics in 1899.

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Rare copy of Mao’s Little Red Book expected to fetch more than £30,000

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 13:44:03 GMT

Early editions of the book of quotations will be sold at an auction of Cultural Revolution artefacts

The Little Red Book, a talisman of 20th-century Maoism, may have fallen out of favour in China after the Cultural Revolution, but its popularity with collectors shows no sign of abating.

The book, officially entitled Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, was given its popular name due to the bright red cover of mass-produced editions. A rare prototype version is about to resurface in a sale by a west London auction house of hundreds of artefacts from the Cultural Revolution, where it is expected to fetch more than £30,000.

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Joe Hockey says it is ‘absurd’ for Asio not to name former politician accused of treason

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:24:16 GMT

Former treasurer and ex-US ambassador says keeping the identity secret risks smearing all current and former politicians and spreads distrust among allies

The former federal treasurer Joe Hockey says it is “absurd” that an unnamed former politician who “sold out” to a foreign regime after being recruited by spies is able to “walk off into the sunset” without their name being revealed.

He called on the Asio director general, Mike Burgess, to name the ex-politician immediately and said if he didn’t, he was allowing all former and current politicians to be smeared and would risk creating distrust among Australia’s allies.

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Australia politics live: Greens senator stages protest during Marcos Jr address to parliament; new Covid vaccination advice

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:21:33 GMT

Albanese confirms countries signing new ‘memorandum of understanding for enhanced maritime cooperation and agreeing to new initiatives in key areas of digital technology and cybersecurity’. Follow the day’s news live

Hockey says Asio boss should name accused politician in interests of transparency

Joe Hockey said it was “not standard practice”, as Hockey is now apparently an expert in how Asio and like-minded security agencies operate.

You know, they’ve launched investigations over here. I mean, you know, you had you had the Mueller inquiry into President Trump. You had an FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton. You don’t just make this allegations, leave them unnamed and say, ‘Oh, yeah. They’re back in the community. They’re fine’, that just does not happen.

I mean, allegations have been made against Senator Menendez here as a sitting senator. They named the sitting senator.

Talking about a traitor amongst the ranks. He shouldn’t do that. If he’s not going to name that person. It’s absurd. It’s absolutely absurd.

It’s inconceivable here in the United States or the United Kingdom, or most other countries, that the head of the intelligence agency would go out and make that statement without telling everyone who it was.

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Marion Barter inquest findings: coroner criticises NSW police, calls for case to go to ‘unsolved homicide team’

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:04:24 GMT

Coroner finds missing woman’s former lover, Ric Blum, lied and deceived inquest, but does not recommend charges against him

The NSW police investigation into missing woman Marion Barter has been deemed inadequate by the state coroner, who said police failures had resulted in the case remaining unsolved for nearly 27 years.

Gold Coast woman, Marion Barter, was last seen on 22 June, 1997 by a friend at a bus depot in Southport.

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Raise income support payments, parliamentary inquiry urges Albanese

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 23:53:56 GMT

Current rates fail to cover rising living costs, the Greens-chaired panel says, and wants base rate of income support payments lifted to $88 per day

A parliamentary inquiry has urged the Albanese government to address poverty rates across Australia after hearing evidence income support payments – which range between $43 and $54 a day – fail to cover basic living costs.

The government-majority but Greens-chaired inquiry, tasked with investigating poverty over the past 18 months, offered 14 recommendations to reform the welfare system in its final report released on Wednesday evening.

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Victoria fires: homes saved during intense firefights overnight in state’s west

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 23:48:26 GMT

Hundreds of firefighters battled fire at Dereel, while another bushfire west of Ballarat stopped from spreading

Two bushfires that threatened to destroy homes in western Victoria have been contained after intense firefights overnight, with authorities now focusing on assessing the damage.

A blaze at Dereel near Geelong was whipped up by strong hot winds during Wednesday’s extreme fire conditions, prompting a warning for residents to shelter indoors.

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Frustrated Donald Trump Jr fans say they’re still waiting for refund to delayed Australian shows

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 23:30:01 GMT

Ticket holders for postponed 2023 Brisbane and Melbourne events accuse organiser of not responding to emails

Some Australian fans who paid for tickets to Donald Trump Jr’s Australian tour in 2023 are still waiting for refunds, with one fan saying the organiser has failed to respond to emails for close to a month.

The eldest son of the former US president and Republican frontrunner for the 2024 US presidential election was due to speak at events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in July last year but the event was postponed to September amid claims of difficulty securing a visa.

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One person dead and two missing in Channel boat incident

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 22:14:57 GMT

Officials say 179 people trying to cross Channel were rescued after four French-led operations

One person has died and two others are missing in the Channel after an incident involving a small boat, French rescue services have said.

According to the Préfecture maritime Manche et mer du Nord, four French-led rescue operations took place in the Channel on Wednesday, coordinated by the regional operational surveillance and rescue of Gris-Nez.

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Berlin police order evacuation of Red Army Faction fugitive’s apartment block

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 21:26:43 GMT

Suspected explosives found after arrest of Daniela Klette, the last living female member of the terror group

Police in Berlin have ordered the evacuation of the apartment block in which a fugitive from the Red Army Faction (RAF) was arrested on Monday, telling the residents they had found suspected explosives in the building.

Already reeling from the arrest of Daniela Klette, the last living female member of the RAF, neighbours at the property in Berlin were told to leave their homes on Wednesday as police and fire brigade reinforcements were drafted in to help clear nearby buildings.

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France to make abortion a constitutional right after senate vote

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 20:46:32 GMT

Prime minister says France ‘stands up’ to defend women as rights are attacked around the world

France is preparing to enshrine abortion as a constitutional right at a joint session of parliament next week, after the senate voted in favour on Wednesday night.

France would write into its constitution the “guaranteed freedom” of women to choose an abortion.

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Watchdog urges EU rescue rules change after migrant boat disaster off Greece

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 19:41:13 GMT

Ombudsman says papers show EU agency made four offers to help Greece with surveillance of boat that sank, but got no response

The rules governing the EU’s border and coastguard agency Frontex must be urgently revised if Europe is to avoid a repeat of last year’s tragedy off the coast of Greece in which about 600 people are thought to have died, an official investigation has found.

In one of the worst disasters in the Mediterranean sea in recent years, the Adriana, a dangerously overcrowded fishing trawler en route to Italy from Libya, capsized and sank in the middle of the night near Pylos on 14 June. Only 104 survivors were rescued and 82 bodies recovered after the ship, estimated to have been carrying more than 750 people, sank off the Peloponnese.

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Strikes and protests bring Greece to halt on anniversary of deadly train crash

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 19:27:42 GMT

Protesters gather in cities to demand justice for victims of collision, which killed 57

Tens of thousands of people have joined protests in Greece, with strike action bringing the country to a standstill, on the first anniversary of a deadly train crash blamed on decades of poor railway management.

As church bells tolled in memory of the 57 men and women who lost their lives in an accident deemed entirely preventable, protesters gathered in major cities to demand justice for the victims.

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Google sued for $2.3bn by European media groups over digital ad losses

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 19:24:36 GMT

Lawsuit filed by publishers including Axel Springer allege Google ‘abused its dominant position’ in digital ad-tech

Alphabet’s Google was hit with a €2.1bn ($2.3bn) lawsuit by 32 media groups including Axel Springer and Schibsted on Wednesday, alleging that they had suffered losses due to the company’s practices in digital advertising.

The move by the groups – which include publishers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden – comes as antitrust regulators also crack down on Google’s ad-tech business.

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One in five pregnant women in Gaza clinic are malnourished, doctors warn

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 20:01:29 GMT

Women and children suffering acute malnutrition as territory faces ‘catastrophic conditions’, according to UN

One in five pregnant women treated at a central Gaza clinic are malnourished, doctors have warned, as fuel and medical supply shortages closed the last hospital operating in the north of the strip.

“Every day, we see women and children coming into our clinic suffering from acute malnutrition,” said Dr Maram, the lead physician for Project Hope.

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Middle East crisis: Hamas ‘showing flexibility’ in negotiations with Israel but ‘prepared to continue fighting’ – as it happened

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 15:09:09 GMT

The two sides have been negotiating a deal that would reportedly see a six week pause in fighting and the release of hostages

Al Jazeera reports Gaza’s al-Awda hospital has had to suspend all surgical operations after its operating theatres were destroyed. Acting director Mohamed Salha told the news agency:

This means that all medical services related to obstetrics and gynaecology have stopped completely. We were the only hospital in northern Gaza for orthopaedic surgeries. There is no other alternative place in northern Gaza or Gaza City because the health ministry’s hospitals are out of service completely.

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Houthis deny targeting underwater cables amid marine disaster warning

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 11:41:42 GMT

Yemeni government warns of Red Sea environmental disaster after cargo ship struck by rebels last week

Houthi leaders have denied they have targeted critical underwater sea telecommunication cables, as Yemen’s UN-recognised government warned of an imminent marine environmental disaster if a cargo ship struck by the rebels last week was not quickly rescued.

The Rubymar, a Belize-flagged but British-owned bulk carrier, has been drifting in the Red Sea after it was struck by two missiles. The ship, which is feared to be in danger of sinking, is leaking an 18-mile oil spill and carrying 41,000 tonnes of volatile fertiliser.

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Qatar and Egypt ‘will help form new Palestinian technocratic government’

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 15:32:39 GMT

Palestinian ambassador to UK says Hamas will be consulted but would have no members in government

The formation of a new Palestinian technocratic government would be aided by both Qatar and Egypt and involves consultations with all Palestinian political factions – including Hamas, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, has said.

The move appears to be part of an attempt to show that a reformed interim Palestinian government that has roots in the entire Palestinian movement is ready to take over the governance of both Gaza and the West Bank soon after any ceasefire.

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Middle East crisis: Biden comments on ceasefire are ‘premature’, says Hamas – as it happened

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 15:01:00 GMT

Official tells media still ‘big gaps that need to be bridged’ after US president said ‘my hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire’

Israel says it has struck multiple targets inside Lebanon. In a message posted to its official Telegram channel, the IDF reported:

This morning approximately 35 launches were identified crossing from Lebanon into the area of Mount Meron in northern Israel. There were no injuries or damage to the IDF Aerial Control Unit in the area.

In response, IDF fighter jets struck a military site and Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in the areas of Hanniyeh, Jibchit, Baisariyeh, and Mansouri. IDF artillery also struck in the area of Yaroun in order to remove a threat.

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Hamas and Israel pour cold water on Biden’s hopes of imminent ceasefire

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 14:54:36 GMT

US president’s remarks that there could be truce by Monday are ‘premature’, says political head of Hamas in Gaza

Israeli and Hamas officials have downplayed hopes expressed by Joe Biden that a ceasefire in the war in Gaza is imminent, raising questions about whether a temporary truce can be implemented before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in two weeks’ time.

Basem Naim, the head of Hamas’s political division in Gaza, said over WhatsApp on Tuesday that the Palestinian Islamist movement had not yet formally received a new proposal for a ceasefire since last week’s indirect talks in Paris mediated by the US, Egypt and Qatar.

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‘Why are you asleep?’ Rahul Gandhi pleads with India’s low castes to vote out Modi

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 04:00:10 GMT

On his 4,000-mile march across the country, congressman tells voters to wake up to the vast gulf between them and the rich

His voice hoarse from all the speeches he had made during his 4,000-mile march across the breadth of India, Rahul Gandhi urged people at a rally in Uttar Pradesh state to think hard.

Specifically, to think hard about caste. “Are there any of you Dalits or other low castes in the judiciary?” the leading face of India’s opposition Congress party, asked the crowd. “Are any of you in the media? Do any of you own even one of India’s 200 top companies? Of the civil servant class which rules this country, are any of you among them?

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India confronts Google over Gemini AI tool’s ‘fascist Modi’ responses

Mon, 26 Feb 2024 09:42:29 GMT

Junior minister accuses tech firm of violating country’s IT laws with ‘downright malicious’ answers

A response from Google’s AI platform suggesting that some experts believe the policies of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, polices to be “fascist” has provoked a confrontation between the company and the government.

The journalist Arnab Ray last week put the question as to whether Modi was a fascist to Google’s generative AI platform, Gemini. He received the answer that Modi was “accused of implementing policies some experts have characterized as fascist”.

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Indian runaway train travels 43 miles without a driver

Mon, 26 Feb 2024 08:54:58 GMT

Inquiry ordered after 50-carriage freight train set off on its own when driver disembarked at station in Jammu

Indian Railways has ordered an investigation after a runaway freight train loaded with gravel travelled 43 miles (70km) without a driver.

About 50 carriages set off solo on Sunday, from the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab, before being brought to a halt by wooden blocks placed on the tracks.

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Pakistan election: coalition against Imran Khan says deal reached to form government

Wed, 21 Feb 2024 00:51:23 GMT

Shehbaz Sharif expected to become prime minister again after plans for coalition government announced between PML-N and PPP parties

Imran Khan’s political rivals have announced details of a coalition agreement, naming Shehbaz Sharif as their joint candidate for prime minister amid continuing concerns about the legitimacy of the recent elections.

Khan’s rivals said at a news conference of party leaders late on Tuesday that they had secured the required majority of votes to form a coalition government. The parliament will elect Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as the new prime minister when the inaugural session of the National Assembly is convened later this month, the party leaders said.

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UK minister says he ‘cannot disprove’ claims Afghans were unlawfully killed

Tue, 20 Feb 2024 18:59:46 GMT

Johnny Mercer tells UK inquiry of reports SAS had killed civilians between 2010 and 2013

The UK’s minister for veterans, Johnny Mercer, has effectively admitted in front of a public inquiry that he believed members of the SAS had engaged in dozens of unlawful killings of Afghan civilians between 2010 and 2013.

Mercer told the inquiry on Tuesday that at one point, shortly after first becoming a minister in 2019, Mercer said he told the then defence secretary, Ben Wallace, that “something stinks”. His boss replied: “There is no new evidence, Johnny,” and the cabinet minster chose not to take any further action.

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UK special forces blocked resettlement applications from elite Afghan troops

Mon, 19 Feb 2024 15:41:48 GMT

MoD conducts review but stands accused of conflict of interest while public inquiry investigates conduct of SAS in Afghanistan

Elite Afghan commandos who fought alongside the British military have had their applications to relocate blocked by UK special forces despite evidence that they had served alongside them in dangerous missions against the Taliban.

Documents leaked and shared with BBC Panorama show that Britain’s secretive special forces were given a veto power over resettlement, prompting claims that hundreds of Afghan veterans have been left in limbo or danger in their native country.

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Assisted dying law may soon diverge across British Isles, MPs warn

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:01:03 GMT

Parliamentary inquiry highlights likelihood of Scotland, Jersey or Isle of Man passing new laws

Laws to allow assisted dying may pass in Scotland, Jersey and the Isle of Man in the next few years, leading to a divergence between different parts of the UK and British Isles, MPs have warned.

The government must consider the repercussions of this, a parliamentary inquiry into assisted dying has said.

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NHS waiting lists falling but will stay above pre-Covid levels until 2030, IFS says

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:01:02 GMT

Length of time patients must wait for A&E care, diagnostic tests, cancer care and surgery will remain high, report predicts

The NHS hospital waiting list will be falling “consistently” by the time of the general election but will remain even larger than it was before Covid until 2030, a new report predicts.

In potentially good news for Rishi Sunak, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the waiting list for operations in England is expected to “start to fall consistently but slowly from the middle of 2024”, during the months leading up to the election, which is widely expected in November.

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Fines for unauthorised absence from school in England to rise by 33%

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:01:02 GMT

Daily registers will also be shared online with DfE as part of government drive to improve attendance

Taking an unauthorised family holiday is about to get more expensive, with the government announcing that fines for children in England missing school are to rise by 33%.

The education secretary, Gillian Keegan, is to overhaul the way local authorities fine parents for unauthorised school absences by bringing penalties “under a national framework to help tackle inconsistencies”.

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Sunak demands ban on protests at MPs’ homes and crackdown on ‘mob rule’

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 23:06:24 GMT

Ministers and senior police sign ‘democratic policing protocol’ to control protests outside parliament, town halls and parties’ offices

Rishi Sunak is seeking to halt demonstrations outside MPs’ homes after telling senior police officers that the UK is descending into “mob rule”.

In comments that have concerned civil liberties groups, the prime minister also demanded a crackdown on protests outside parliament, political parties’ offices and town halls that may prevent use of a venue or “cause alarm harassment or distress”.

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Cate Blanchett accused of ‘destroying family holidays’ with Cornwall home

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 19:55:34 GMT

Neighbours complaining of building noise from property in Mawgan Porth, reports say

It is the latest sequel in the long-running saga over the luxury ecohome Cate Blanchett is building in a picturesque seaside town in Cornwall once dubbed “Hollywood-on-Sea”.

Neighbours have accused the actor of destroying family holidays with the building noise from the property in Mawgan Porth, it has been reported.

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Vulnerable man ‘humiliated’ into confessing to 1990 London murder, court told

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 19:12:36 GMT

Court of appeal hears Oliver Campbell was convicted on basis of inconsistent confession made under police pressure

There is a “crescendo of concern” from psychological experts that a vulnerable man was convicted of murder on the basis of a false confession, the court of appeal heard on Wednesday.

Oliver Campbell was convicted of murdering east London shopkeeper Baldev Hoondle 33 years ago after telling police he had shot him. But Campbell, 53, suffered profound brain injuries as a baby, leaving him with significantly impaired cognitive ability.

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Euphoria star Hunter Schafer arrested at pro-Palestine protest during Joe Biden TV appearance

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:20:37 GMT

The 25-year-old actor was among 30 demonstrators taken into custody during Joe Biden’s appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, organisers confirmed

Euphoria actor Hunter Schafer was among dozens of protesters arrested at NBC’s headquarters in Manhattan during the president Joe Biden’s appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers earlier this week, organisers confirmed Wednesday.

The 25-year-old star was part of a group of more than 100 demonstrators who packed the lobby at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on Monday afternoon to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war, the group Jewish Voice for Peace said.

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The three Johns: Thune, Cornyn and Barrasso jostle to succeed McConnell

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:02:15 GMT

Senators from South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming lead race to become top Senate Republican – but other hopefuls could emerge

There are as many men named John or Jon in the US Senate as there are African Americans and Latinos combined. Three of them are now vying to become Republican leader in the chamber.

Mitch McConnell’s announcement on Wednesday that he will step down in November opens the way for a likely contest between senators John Thune of South Dakota, John Cornyn of Texas and John Barrasso of Wyoming. It is unclear which other senators might jump into the race.

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Pigs don’t fly: Louisiana piglet rescued after being thrown in Mardi Gras

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 23:59:28 GMT

Lieutenant governor ‘pardons’ animal and Republican local politician adopts it after its rescue in New Orleans

A piglet that was rescued after being tossed like a football near a Mardi Gras event in New Orleans was “pardoned” on Wednesday and has found a permanent home with a Louisiana lawmaker.

The weeks-old pig – dubbed Earl “Piglet” Long, a play on the name of the 45th governor of Louisiana – was ceremoniously pardoned by the lieutenant governor, Billy Nungesser, on the Louisiana capitol steps.

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Biden says ‘everything is great’ after annual physical finds him ‘fit for duty’

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 23:03:49 GMT

President’s health is under scrutiny due to the upcoming elections even as physician declares the 81-year-old ‘active, healthy, robust’

Joe Biden continues to be “fit for duty” and able to fully execute all his responsibilities, according to a summary of his annual physical performed by his doctor.

Kevin O’Connor, physician to the president, wrote after Biden was examined by him and a team of doctors that: “President Biden is a healthy, active, robust, 81-year-old male, who remains fit to execute the duties of the presidency, to include those as chief executive, head of state and commander in chief.”

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The Intercept, Raw Story and AlterNet sue OpenAI for copyright infringement

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 22:59:10 GMT

Progressive US outlets file lawsuits claiming the company in effect plagiarized journalists’ work to develop ChatGPT

OpenAI and Microsoft are facing a fresh round of lawsuits from news publishers over allegations that their generative artificial intelligence products violated copyright laws and illegally trained on journalists’ work. Three progressive US outlets – the Intercept, Raw Story and AlterNet – filed suits in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, demanding compensation from the tech companies.

The news outlets claim that the companies in effect plagiarized copyright-protected articles to develop and operate ChatGPT, which has become OpenAI’s most prominent generative AI tool. They allege that ChatGPT was trained not to respect copyright, ignores proper attribution and fails to notify users when the service’s answers are generated using journalists’ protected work.

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House and Senate negotiators reach agreement to prevent shutdown

Wed, 28 Feb 2024 22:27:37 GMT

Bill, if passed, will see government agencies’s funding extended into March in the fourth such stopgap measure since September

With government funding set to partially expire on Friday, House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement to prevent a shutdown.

In a joint statement, congressional leaders of both parties confirmed that the House and the Senate would vote this week on a short-term funding bill to allow lawmakers more time to finalize full-year appropriations bills. The leaders said that negotiators have already reached a deal on six full-year spending bills for agriculture, and the remaining six bills are expected to be finalized before 22 March.

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