Guardian Headlines

 

Thursday briefing: How one controversial bill has Kenya on the brink of disorder

Thu, 18 Jul 2024 05:33:10 GMT

In today’s newsletter: President William Ruto’s unpopular finance bill has sparked a wave of protests – that have been met with brutality and yet more discord in the country

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Good morning.

Anti-government protests are expected to escalate in Kenya after a month of demonstrations that erupted again across the country on Tuesday calling for the president, William Ruto, to resign. In response to police hostility, protesters set fires, threw stones and chanted “Ruto must go” and “Stop killing us”. The demonstrations were met with police firing teargas and water cannon at those involved and the press. One man was shot dead and his body carried through the streets to a nearby police station.

King’s speech | Keir Starmer has set out a government agenda that he claims can counter the “snake oil charm of populism” in a king’s speech pledging change to people’s lives including rights at work, cheaper energy and secure housing.

Israel-Gaza war | The US military-built pier for carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza will be dismantled and brought home, ending a mission that has been fraught with repeated weather and security problems that limited how much food and other supplies could get to starving Palestinians.

Europe | Labour’s proposed foreign policy and security pact with the EU sounds “quite promising”, the head of the European parliament’s foreign affairs committee has said, adding that the British government should use the next weeks and months to come up with proposals that are “as concrete as possible”.

US election 2024 | JD Vance formally accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday with a deliberate, and at times divisive, pitch to re-elect Donald Trump in November.

Environment | The Labour government must oversee a massive ramping up of renewable energy generation in this parliament or the UK will breach its international obligations under the Paris agreement, the government’s climate watchdog has said.

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‘People think they’ll smell but they don’t’: building homes from mushroom waste and weeds

Thu, 18 Jul 2024 05:00:26 GMT

A sustainable project aims to repurpose encroacher bush to create building blocks to solve Namibia’s housing crisis

“People think the house would smell because the blocks are made of all-natural products, but it doesn’t smell,” says Kristine Haukongo. “Sometimes, there is a small touch of wood, but otherwise it’s completely odourless.”

Haukongo is the senior cultivator at the research group MycoHab and her job is pretty unusual. She grows oyster mushrooms on chopped-down invasive weeds before the waste is turned into large, solid brown slabs – mycoblocks – that will be used, it’s hoped, to build Namibian homes.

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Support for democracy in Africa falls amid military coups and corruption

Wed, 17 Jul 2024 17:07:58 GMT

Africans still have stronger preference for democratic governance than many other parts of the world

Support for democracy is falling in Africa amid a string of military coups and dissatisfaction with corruption and mismanagement, according to a report by Afrobarometer. However, Africans still have a stronger preference for democratic governance than many parts of the world.

Two-thirds of people in 30 African countries prefer democracy, surveys conducted in 2021 or 2023 found, down seven percentage points from a decade earlier.

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Rwanda's Paul Kagame cruises to crushing election victory

Tue, 16 Jul 2024 16:08:40 GMT

President wins 99.15% of the vote, allowing him to extend authoritarian rule by further five years

Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has swept to another overwhelming election victory, winning more than 99% of votes in a provisional count in the east African country’s elections that will extend his near quarter of a century in power.

The poll on Monday was seen as a formality, with just two other candidates allowed to compete in a country that is kept under tight control by its longtime leader.

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Kidnappings soar in central Africa’s ‘triangle of death’

Tue, 16 Jul 2024 04:00:08 GMT

Where Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic meet, people are turning vigilante to fight back

Tired of waiting for the authorities to come to their aid, young men in the Mayo-Kebbi Ouest region of south-west Chad are banding into vigilante groups, using bows, arrows and spears to fight gunmen who have turned kidnapping into a professional pastime.

“We guide the gendarmes in the bush, but we are also the first to go after the criminals after a kidnapping,” said Amos Nangyo, head of one of the units in Pala, capital of the region, which borders Cameroon, told Agence France-Presse earlier this month.

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MPs in the Gambia vote to uphold ban on female genital mutilation

Mon, 15 Jul 2024 15:39:11 GMT

Campaigners applaud decision not to repeal law in west African country with one of the highest rates of FGM

MPs in the Gambia voted on Monday to retain a law outlawing female genital mutilation (FGM), sparking joy and relief among campaigners.

Thirty-four out of 53 lawmakers voted to maintain the ban, which was introduced in 2015, aid workers told the Guardian. The remainder voted to repeal it.

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Haiti: 40 people killed after migrant boat catches fire at sea

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 20:20:30 GMT

Boat carrying more than 80 people was headed to Turks and Caicos as gang violence pushes Haitians to leave country

At least 40 people have been killed at sea after a boat carrying Haitian migrants caught fire, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Port-au-Prince said on Friday.

The boat, which was carrying more than 80 people, departed from Fort Saint-Michel in Haiti’s north and was headed for the Turks and Caicos Islands, the IOM said in a statement, citing the Caribbean nation’s migration authority.

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Caribbean leaders call for ‘Marshall plan’ to help rebuild after Hurricane Beryl

Thu, 18 Jul 2024 17:05:59 GMT

Three prime ministers write to UK government saying islands cannot sustain debt from repeated rebuilding

Caribbean leaders struggling to raise hundreds of millions after Hurricane Beryl wiped out entire islands have asked the UK government to back a “Marshall plan” to rebuild their devastated countries.

The hurricane, which made landfall in the Caribbean on 1 July, killed at least 11 people, demolished more than 90% of buildings in parts of Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and left thousands homeless and without running water, electricity and food.

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Colombia gives assurances over UN biodiversity summit after rebels’ threat

Thu, 18 Jul 2024 14:55:58 GMT

Organisers working to ensure safe environment for attenders in October after guerrillas’ warning of disruption

Colombian authorities have insisted it will be safe to attend a UN biodiversity summit in Cali later this year, after a dissident rebel group threatened to disrupt the event.

This week Central General Staff (EMC), a guerrilla faction that rejected the country’s 2016 peace agreement, said the UN nature summit Cop16 would “fail”, in a post on X addressed to the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro.

Find more age of extinction coverage here, and follow the biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on X for all the latest news and features.

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Violence against women in Brazil reaches highest levels on record

Thu, 18 Jul 2024 13:07:04 GMT

Brazilian Forum on Public Safety finds every indicator of gender-based violence increased in 2023, including murder, harassment and stalking

Brazil has recorded unprecedented levels of rape and other forms of gender-based violence for the second year running, amid growing concerns over rightwing efforts to criminalize rape victims who have an abortion.

The data, released on Thursday in the annual report by the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, showed that reported cases of rape rose by 6.5% from the previous year to a new historic high of 83,988 – or one every six minutes.

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Venezuela: fears of unfair election grow as opposition security chief arrested

Wed, 17 Jul 2024 17:46:16 GMT

Head of security for María Corina Machado detained weeks before election in string of arrests of opposition staffers

Less than two weeks before Venezuela’s presidential election, the head of security for a key opposition figure has been arrested, further raising concerns that the country will not see a fair contest on 28 July, when Nicolás Maduro will seek a third term.

María Corina Machado, the opposition’s outspoken figurehead, wrote on X that her security chief, Milciades Ávila, had been detained early on Wednesday, the latest in string of arrests of opposition activists and staffers.

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Crisis at Tres Fronteras: how criminal syndicates threaten Amazon’s future

Wed, 17 Jul 2024 13:00:05 GMT

At the lawless triple border between Brazil, Colombia and Peru, drug trafficking, illegal logging and gangs jeopardise the ecological and social fabric of the rainforest

The area of the Amazon where Brazil, Colombia, and Peru meet – referred to as Tres Fronteras (triple frontier) – brims with wildlife and natural resources. It is also a hotbed of illicit activity. Criminal groups are clearing the forest to plant coca and erect laboratories to turn the crop into cocaine. In the process of making coca paste, these labs discharge chemical waste – including acetone, gasoline and sulphuric acid – into rivers and soil.

Increasingly, these outfits are branching into illegal logging, gold dredging and fishing, in part because these activities allow them to launder money made from drug trafficking. These activities compound the environmental harm the groups are inflicting.

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Two Australians and three Indonesians survive helicopter crash in Bali, officials say

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 00:09:52 GMT

Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter came down in Pecatu village on the southern side of Bali after it was entangled in a kite string

Two Australians and three Indonesians have survived a tourist helicopter crash in Bali after it became entangled in a kite string, officials say.

The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter, owned by PT Whitesky Aviation, came down in Pecatu village in the coastal area on the southern side of Bali, a statement from Indonesia’s transportation ministry said.

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Vietnam’s Communist leader dies aged 80 creating power vacuum

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 14:05:44 GMT

Nguyen Phu Trong was one of the country’s longest-serving politicians and known for anti-corruption drive

Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist party and the country’s most powerful politician, has died aged 80, creating a power vacuum.

Trong died early on Friday afternoon “after a period of illness”, according to his medical team, state media reported.

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Japan asks young people why they are not marrying amid population crisis

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 13:01:43 GMT

Consultation launched as surveys show people have little chance to meet partners and worry about high cost of living

The Japanese government has begun to consult young people about their interest in marriage – or lack thereof – as Japan continues to struggle with a demographic crisis that is expected to result in a sharp population decline over the next decades.

The Children and Families Agency, launched in April 2023, held its first working group meeting on Friday to support young people in their efforts to find partners through dating, matchmaking and other means. Attenders included those considering marriage in the future and experts versed in the challenges facing younger people.

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Weather tracker: Heavy seasonal rain causes widespread flooding in China

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 08:32:22 GMT

Six people dead, thousands evacuated and transport disrupted after at least 20 floods in major rivers

China has been experiencing heavy and widespread rainfall since the start of the rainy season, which runs from May to September. It has resulted in at least 20 floods in major rivers across the country, with 31 rivers surpassing their flood warning levels.

Dianjiang county, in Chongqing, received 269.2mm in one day last week, a single-day record there. It led to six deaths, more than 10,000 evacuations, and 40,000 people being affected, as well as severe disruptions to rail services and transport caused by flooding.

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Chip stocks fall further after Trump’s remarks on Taiwan defence

Thu, 18 Jul 2024 09:50:45 GMT

Semiconductor and related tech shares hit hard by former US president’s calls for Taipei to pay for US protection

The stocks of some of the world’s largest chipmakers have fallen further after comments by Donald Trump that Taiwan, which is central to the global industry, should pay for its own defences against China.

Shares in semiconductor and related tech companies had already plunged on Wednesday after the former president’s comments, as well as a report that suggested Joe Biden’s administration was considering the strictest controls on the trade of chips to China.

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Wall Street Journal fires new chair of Hong Kong Journalists Association

Wed, 17 Jul 2024 15:23:29 GMT

Selina Cheng says she believes her termination is linked to her taking up the position at the embattled union

The chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association has been fired by her employer, the Wall Street Journal, weeks after being appointed as the head of the embattled union.

Selina Cheng said she was “appalled” that her first press conference as HKJA chair was to announce that she had been “fired for taking up this position in a press union”.

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Bad actors seizing on Microsoft IT outage to scam public, Clare O’Neil warns

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 04:08:25 GMT

Home affairs minister says small businesses should be cautious of emails from people posing as CrowdStrike or Microsoft

Scammers are attempting to use the global CrowdStrike outage on Microsoft Windows systems to steal from small businesses by offering fake fixes, the Australian government has warned.

The world has begun to recover from a global outage of Windows systems running the cybersecurity company Crowdstrike’s software, after the company issued a faulty update. But bad actors have seized upon the crisis to attempt to scam the public, the home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, said on Saturday.

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Chemical fire in Melbourne’s west forces evacuations and closes roads

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 02:23:07 GMT

More than 80 firefighters attended an early morning blaze at the Orica factory, a short distance from the scene of last week’s fire at a chemical factory

Dozens of firefighters and emergency services have rushed to contain a major chemical factory fire in Melbourne’s west on Saturday morning, with five people evacuated and smoke causing local road closures.

It comes just a week after a major Derrimut factory fire, which forced thousands of people to stay indoors due to potentially toxic smoke.

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Slow recovery from IT outage begins as experts warn of future risks

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 01:25:47 GMT

Fault in CrowdStrike caused airports, businesses and healthcare services to languish in ‘largest outage in history’

Services began to come back online on Friday evening after an IT failure that wreaked havoc worldwide. But full recovery could take weeks, experts have said, after airports, healthcare services and businesses were hit by the “largest outage in history”.

Flights and hospital appointments were cancelled, payroll systems seized up and TV channels went off air after a botched software upgrade hit Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

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Custom-mixed hormone therapies misleading menopausal women to think personalised products are necessary, experts say

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 00:00:21 GMT

Companies are selling compounded MHT as more ‘natural’ – but there are links with endometrial cancer, the Australian Menopause Society warns

Prof Susan Davis was shocked to see her name on the website of an Australian telehealth menopause clinic offering a product she believes “is frankly reprehensible” and “misleading women”.

Davis, the director of Monash University’s Women’s Health Research Program, was concerned that the unauthorised use of her name and accompanying quotes suggested she backed the custom-made menopause hormone therapy (MHT) being sold.

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Microsoft IT outage: Australian airlines, banks and supermarkets begin return to normal operations

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 23:55:02 GMT

IT support staff need to implement the fix in person, one computer at a time, experts have said

Supermarkets, banks, airlines and industries across Australia are slowly recovering on Saturday morning from the massive global Windows outage caused by a CrowdStrike software update gone wrong, with experts warning it could take weeks to resolve.

On Friday morning, the CEO of the Texas-based cybersecurity company, George Kurtz, apologised for the outage, and said it was not a cyber-attack, but a software update issue on its cloud-based cybersecurity platform Falcon for Microsoft Windows. It had since been fixed.

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Mother of NSW police shooting victim demands mental health reforms a year after son’s death

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 15:00:13 GMT

Judy Deacon will lead a Sydney rally to press her case that police no longer be sent as first responders in mental health emergencies

A year ago to the day, Judy Deacon got a call to head to the police station.

The 80-year-old expected the issue to be that her son, Jesse, had been hospitalised again. But on her way there, she got a phone call from Jesse’s father. He was crying, and as soon as she heard the tears, she knew her son had died, she said.

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German national sentenced to death in Belarus, Berlin confirms

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 00:40:41 GMT

Secretive trial of Rico Krieger, 30, may be linked to Belarusian volunteer unit fighting alongside Ukraine against Russia

A German national has been sentenced to death in Belarus, the German foreign ministry has said, hours after a Belarusian human rights group said a German combat medic had been sentenced to death by firing squad.

The German ministry did not name its national but the Viasna Human Rights Centre said earlier on Friday that Rico Krieger, 30, had been convicted under six articles of Belarus’s criminal code in a trial held at the end of June. It said he had been in custody since November.

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Former factory in Dublin intended to house asylum seekers is set on fire

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 22:29:03 GMT

Ex-Crown Paints building in Coolock had been the scene of a large protest

A disused factory in Dublin earmarked to house asylum seekers has been set on fire following a protest at the site.

More than 1,000 people were protesting at the former Crown Paints building in Coolock on Friday night, in the north of the Irish capital, and gardaí were on the scene.

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Nationalist campaigner for the Ukrainian language is shot dead in Lviv

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 21:50:45 GMT

Iryna Farion, 60, a former MP known for her opposition to officials speaking in Russian, was attacked on the street

A nationalist former member of Ukraine’s parliament known for her vociferous campaigns to defend the Ukrainian language has died after being shot in Lviv.

Police launched a wide search for the gunman alleged to have shot Iryna Farion, 60, on a street in the western city.

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Former Rolls-Royce designer’s alleged killer arrested in France

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 17:35:36 GMT

Police say Serbian man detained near Paris after 74-year-old Ian Cameron was stabbed to death at home in Germany

The alleged killer of a British former Rolls-Royce designer who was stabbed to death at his home in Bavaria last week has been arrested outside Paris after a Europe-wide search, German police said. A motive was not immediately established.

Ian Cameron, 74, was attacked with a knife on 12 July and fatally wounded. A Serbian citizen, 22, was identified as the prime suspect based on tips from the public, the Fürstenfeldbruck police department said.

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Does Evan Gershkovich’s quick trial suggest a Russia-US prisoner swap is close?

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 15:45:45 GMT

Russian court cases often drag on for months but speed of US journalist’s trial may be sign that long-discussed exchange is in the offing

The courtroom footage of a Russian judge announcing a 16-year prison sentence for Evan Gershkovich – mumbling his way through the verdict as the US journalist looked on impassively from inside a transparent defendant’s box – will be a chilling watch for the family, friends and colleagues of the 32-year-old Wall Street Journal correspondent.

But counterintuitively, the manner of the conviction and sentencing may be encouraging for Gershkovich’s supporters. In Russia’s fixed and politicised legal system, the result of the trial was never in doubt. But Russian court cases often drag on interminably, with scattered hearings every couple of months. This one moved at lightning pace: after an initial hearing in June, the next court date was unexpectedly moved forward to this week. Evidence was heard in a few hours on Thursday afternoon, and the verdict and sentencing came on Friday.

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No more ‘basket-case Britain’: Europe welcomes Starmer reset in UK-EU ties

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 13:03:29 GMT

PM’s promise to draw line under years of fractious relations greeted with plaudits and relief by European media

Keir Starmer’s promised “reset” of the UK’s ties with the rest of Europe has drawn a positive response in European media, with one longtime journalist rejoicing that she will never again have to cover “Britain as a basket case”.

The prime minister told leaders at a meeting of the European Political Community at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on Thursday that he wanted to draw a line under years of fractious relations with the rest of Europe. The relaunch was greeted with a sense of relief that after years of chaotic leadership in London a new age of cooperation was beginning.

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Israel shaken as fatal Houthi drone hits Tel Aviv after interception failure

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 15:57:41 GMT

One dead and at least 10 injured, with human error blamed for allowing drone to escape multilayered air defences

An Iranian-made drone sent by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck Tel Aviv in the early hours of Friday, killing one person and wounding at least 10.

The hit in Israel’s biggest city was startling, because the drone appeared to have crossed much of the country through the multilayered air defences that have intercepted almost all Houthi drones and rockets since the Gaza war began.

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Why ICJ ruling against Israel’s settlement policies will be hard to ignore

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 15:41:22 GMT

Judgment challenges allies such as UK and US, which for years soft-pedalled on occupation of Palestinian territories

Israel’s settlement policies break international law, court finds

Thorough, detailed and all encompassing, the international court of justice’s advisory ruling on the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and settlement building represents a stark refutation of Israel’s claims, and will have a profound impact for years to come.

The ICJ declared Israel’s long-term occupation of Palestinian territory “unlawful” and said it amounted to de facto annexation. The court called for Israel to rapidly quit the occupied territories and ruled Palestinians were due reparations for the harm of 57 years of an occupation that systematically discriminates against them.

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Israel-Gaza war: Israel systematically discriminates against Palestinians, says ICJ in ruling on occupation – as it happened

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 14:53:37 GMT

This blog is now closed, you can read more on this story here

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has again called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.

In a statement, Baerbock said: “This war in Gaza must come to an end at long last. There are no safe places in Gaza for civilians.”

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UN court orders Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 14:12:52 GMT

International court of justice says it should leave ‘as rapidly as possible’ and make full reparations for ‘wrongful acts’

The UN’s international court of justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories “as rapidly as possible” and make full reparations for its “internationally wrongful acts” in a sweeping and damning advisory opinion that says the occupation violates international law.

In a historic, albeit non-binding, opinion, the court found multiple breaches of international law by Israel including activities that amounted to apartheid.

Forcible evictions, extensive house demolitions and restrictions on residence and movement.

The transfer by Israel of settlers to the West Bank and East Jerusalem and maintenance of their presence.

Its failure to prevent or to punish attacks by settlers.

Restricting the access of the Palestinian population to water.

Israel’s use of the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The extension of Israel’s law to the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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Gaza conflict could fuel IS and al-Qaida revival, security experts warn

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 04:00:31 GMT

Officials and analysts warn of evidence of increased Islamic State and al-Qaida militant activity across Middle East

Security services across the Middle East fear the conflict in Gaza will allow Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaida to rebuild across the region, leading to a wave of terrorist plots in coming months and years.

Officials and analysts say there is already evidence of increased Islamic militant extremism in many places, although multiple factors are combining to cause the surge.

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Highly infectious poliovirus found in Gaza sewage samples

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 00:18:45 GMT

Gaza ministry warns thousands of people displaced by the Israel-Gaza war are at risk of contracting the disease which can cause deformities and paralysis

The poliovirus has been found in sewage samples from Gaza putting thousands of people living in crowded displaced persons’ camps at risk of contracting the highly infectious disease that can cause deformities and paralysis.

The Gaza ministry said tests carried out with the UN children’s agency, Unicef, “showed the presence of poliovirus” in the territory that has endured a devastating Israeli military offensive since the 7 October Hamas attacks.

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Myanmar junta ‘bombing schools’, with 170 sites hit in past three years – report

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 04:01:26 GMT

Analysis of imagery from conflict zones shows evidence of burned-out and flattened buildings, with long-term impacts on education

Airstrikes, arson, shelling and ground fighting between the military and armed rebel groups have damaged at least 174 schools and universities in Myanmar since a military coup in 2021, according to a new report.

Open source investigator, the Centre for Information Resilience (CIR), said analysis of imagery from conflict zones showed burned and collapsed buildings.

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National curfew imposed in Bangladesh after student protesters storm prison

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 19:11:59 GMT

Army to be deployed to keep order after demonstrators free hundreds of prisoners and country is hit by serious unrest

The Bangladeshi government has declared a national curfew and announced plans to deploy the army to tackle the country’s worst unrest in a decade, after student protesters stormed a prison and freed hundreds of inmates.

“The government has decided to impose a curfew and deploy the military in aid of the civilian authorities,” a government spokesperson said late on Friday.

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Protesters attack Bangladeshi state broadcaster after PM’s call for calm

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 09:39:57 GMT

Incensed crowd facing riot police set BTV building on fire as students demand end to discriminatory job quotas

Bangladeshi students have set fire to the state broadcaster’s building a day after the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, appeared on the network seeking to calm escalating clashes that had killed at least 39 people.

Hundreds of protesters demanding reform of civil service hiring rules clashed with riot police who had shot at them with rubber bullets on Thursday, chasing the retreating officers to BTV’s headquarters in the capital, Dhaka.

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Pakistan’s government seeks to ban party of former PM Imran Khan

Mon, 15 Jul 2024 14:17:52 GMT

Move comes after supreme court ruling makes PTI largest party in parliament

Pakistan’s government is seeking to ban the party of the imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan.

The move comes days after a supreme court ruling made the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) the largest party in the country’s parliament.

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Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi’s unlawful marriage convictions overturned by Pakistan court

Sat, 13 Jul 2024 14:32:24 GMT

Supporters of former Pakistan PM, who is serving seven years in prison, hope acquittal paves way for release

A court in Pakistan has acquitted the former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife on charges of unlawful marriage, just a day after his party won the majority of reserved seats in the supreme court.

Syed Zulfi Bukhari, an adviser to Imran Khan on international affairs and media, said: “The court has not only thrown out the case but the judge has ordered for the immediate release of Imran Khan and his wife.”

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UK should restore diplomatic presence to help Afghan women, says aid chief

Wed, 10 Jul 2024 23:01:07 GMT

Hugh Bayley says NGOs would also benefit as he releases report on impact of UK programme in Afghanistan

The UK should consider restoring its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan to support Afghan women and to help monitor the impact of British aid, a commissioner for the official UK aid watchdog has suggested.

Hugh Bayley, who visited Kabul in May, said he believed Afghan women and NGOs would welcome more western diplomats to represent the opinions of women to the Taliban as he released a report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) on the effectiveness of the UK programme, which is the second largest operated by Britain.

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UK weather: hottest day of the year so far as temperature of 31.9C recorded

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 21:16:12 GMT

St James’s Park in central London records highest reading, with health alerts in place across the Midlands, eastern and southern England

UK temperatures have reached their highest point of the year so far, the Met Office has confirmed, with 31.9C recorded at St James’s Park in central London.

The high temperatures, which were recorded largely along the eastern half of the country, came as the majority of schools in England and Wales closed for the summer.

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Up to 100,000 may have undiagnosed forms of dementia in England

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 20:24:16 GMT

NHS figures show underdiagnosis of Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementias

Up to 100,000 people in England may be living with undiagnosed forms of dementia that present with symptoms such as depression and hallucinations, according to government figures.

Dementia is an umbrella term for many different conditions, affecting more than 55 million people worldwide. In England, about 7,000 people are diagnosed every month. While the health service has made progress in headline diagnosis rates, latest figures show that underdiagnosis of specific dementias remain a problem.

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Review dismisses claims youth suicides rose after NHS curbed puberty blockers

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 18:15:22 GMT

UK government adviser’s report says claims not supported by data and could prompt under-18s to take own life

A government-ordered review has dismissed claims that suicide rates in young people with gender dysphoria have risen sharply since the NHS restricted access to puberty-blocking drugs.

A report by the government’s adviser on suicide prevention also found that the claims – made by the campaign group the Good Law Project – were not supported by data and could prompt children under the age of 18 to take their own life.

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‘Not acceptable in a democracy’: UN expert condemns lengthy Just Stop Oil sentences

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 17:15:51 GMT

Michel Forst, UN special rapporteur, joins growing chorus of voices criticising jail terms handed to five defendants

The lengthy multi-year sentences handed to Just Stop Oil activists are “not acceptable in a democracy”, a UN special rapporteur has said, as the government faced growing pressure to reverse the previous administration’s “hardline anti-protest” approach.

Michel Forst, the UN special rapporteur for environmental defenders, joined a growing chorus of voices condemning the sentences handed down to the five defendants for planning non-violent protests on the M25.

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New Sunak appointments mean four in 10 Tory MPs are on frontbench

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 17:08:19 GMT

Conservative members are doubling up on shadow roles after election wipeout severely reduced their numbers

Four in 10 Conservative MPs are now on the party’s frontbench after the latest appointments by Rishi Sunak from the much-reduced Tory presence at Westminster.

New faces include Danny Kruger, the co-chair of the rightwing New Conservatives group, who is now a shadow defence minister, and Alicia Kearns, the former Commons foreign affairs committee chair, who has become a shadow Foreign Office minister.

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Andrew Malkinson calls for CCRC chief executive to resign

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 16:50:08 GMT

Exclusive: Demand by victim of wrongful conviction comes after role Karen Kneller played in handling his case revealed

Andrew Malkinson has called for the chief executive of the Criminal Cases Review Commission to resign as the key role she held during the organisation’s most problematic handling of his case was revealed.

Karen Kneller was director of casework when the miscarriages of justice body did “very poor” work on Malkinson’s first application to overturn his conviction for a 2003 stranger rape he did not commit.

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Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee dies aged 74, family says

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 04:16:15 GMT

Jackson Lee, who was first elected to Congress almost 30 years ago, had said she was being treated for pancreatic cancer last month

US representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a strong progressive voice in the Democratic party who was outspoken on African American and women’s rights, has died, her family posted on X late on Friday.

Jackson Lee, of Texas, announced last month she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment. She was 74, according to US media.

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Man accused of Nazi salute during US Capitol attack jailed for nearly five years

Sat, 20 Jul 2024 01:41:19 GMT

Tyler Dykes, 26, who said at sentencing he is supporting Trump to be president, pleaded guilty to assault charges

A Marine who stormed the US Capitol and apparently flashed a Nazi salute in front of the building was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison.

Tyler Bradley Dykes, of South Carolina, was an active-duty US marine when he grabbed a police riot shield from the hands of two police officers and used it to push his way through police lines during the attack by a mob of Donald Trump’s supporters on 6 January 2021.

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Pressure mounts on Biden as tally of Democrats urging withdrawal passes 30

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 22:44:58 GMT

US president reportedly feeling ‘angry and betrayed’ as speculation swirls that announcement could be imminent

A beleaguered Joe Biden entered potentially the most decisive weekend of his 50-year political career on Friday as the growing list of Democratic members of Congress calling on him to step aside surpassed 30, with the latest being the Ohio senator Sherrod Brown.

Biden is recovering from Covid-19 in self-isolation at his home in Delaware and reportedly feeling “angry and betrayed” by allies and speculation mounted that he might be preparing to announce his withdrawal from the race.

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More Democrats call for Biden to exit 2024 race as president vows to return to campaign trail – as it happened

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 22:20:46 GMT

This live blog is now closed. For the latest on Biden’s campaign, you can read:

The report is consequential because Biden relies heavily on his family to make major political decisions. They are his inner circle and his brain trust and include his wife, Jill Biden, his only living son, Hunter Biden, and his sister, Valerie Biden.

Behind the scenes, those close to Biden, his family and top allies, are reportedly seething over the way he is being treated. They believe the effort to dislodge him from the campaign has been “backhanded and disrespectful” according to the NBC report, which says the family is “distraught and moving through the stages of anger and grief over how people they perceived to be friends have treated the president”.

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Deli meat-linked listeria outbreak kills two and sends two dozen to hospital

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 21:28:18 GMT

Largest number of people affected were in New York, and the two who died were from Illinois and New Jersey

At least two people have died and more than two dozen were hospitalized in an outbreak of listeria food poisoning linked to meat sliced at grocery store deli counters, US federal health officials said on Friday.

At least 28 people in a dozen states have gotten sick, though the largest number, seven, were in New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The people who died were from Illinois and New Jersey. Samples were collected from 29 May to 5 July and so far, all of the people known to be part of the outbreak have been hospitalized.

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Florida police tell people to stop taking selfies with ‘depressed’ black bear

Fri, 19 Jul 2024 20:54:16 GMT

County sheriff says bear by side of highway in Santa Rosa Beach is ‘clearly not in the mood for pictures’

Police in Florida are urging people to stop taking selfies with a “depressed” black bear spotted loitering morosely on a roadside.

The unhappy animal took up residence on the north side of Highway 98 in Santa Rosa Beach earlier this week and, according to a Facebook post by the Walton county sheriff’s office, quickly attracted unwanted attention from passing motorists.

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