The Guardian 2024-07-07 20:13:05


Good morning. On his second full day as prime minister, Keir Starmer is setting off on a tour around the UK intended to reset relations with the devolved governments. He will be in Scotland this evening, and then visiting Northern Ireland and Wales before returning to London and leaving for Washington on Tuesday to take part in the Nato summit. Talking about the four-nations tour at his press conference yesterday, Starmer said he wanted not just to meet the first ministers to discuss the challenges they face, but “to establish a way of working across the United Kingdom that will be different and better to the way of working that we’ve had in recent years”.

And in a statement issued overnight he said:

People across the United Kingdom are bound by shared beliefs. Fundamental values of respect, service and community which define us as a great nation.

And that begins today with an immediate reset of my government’s approach to working with the first and deputy first ministers because meaningful co-operation centred on respect will be key to delivering change across our United Kingdom.

Together we can begin the work to rebuild our country with a resolute focus on serving working people once again.

Last night Starmer announced a further set of ministerial appoinments, including giving minister of state jobs to two former cabinet ministers from the Blair/Brown era. Douglas Alexander, who has returned to the Commons as an MP, will be a business minister, and Jacqui Smith, who is getting a peerage, will be an education minister. Michael Savage has the details here.

Because of England’s victory in the Euros last night, there is less politics on the Sunday newspaper front pages than there might have been. But two of the papers that are splashing on Labour are also focusing on Blair-era figures.

The main story in the Sunday Times is based on an article written by Tony Blair urging Starmer to come up with a plan to control immigration.

And the Sunday Telegraph is splashing on a story saying Alan Milburn, the former health secretary, will have a role helping Wes Streeting, the new health secretary, reform the NHS.

The Observer is splashing on Starmer’s message to his cabinet yesterday.

The Mail on Sunday is splashing on a story about Starmer wanting to improve the Brexit deal with the EU – something he said repeatedly before the election he wanted to do.

And the Sunday Express has splashed on Starmer ending the Rwanda policy – something Starmer also promised.

Here is the agenda for the day.

8.30am: Jonathan Reynolds, the business secretary, is interviewed on Sky’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips. Nadhim Zahawi, the Tory former cabinet minister, and Simon Harris, the taoiseach (Irish PM) are also being interviewed.

9am: Reynolds is also interviewed on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. The other guests include Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, two potential candidates for next Tory leader (the former immigration minister Robert Jenrick and the former health secretary Victoria Atkins) and Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester.

4.30pm: Keir Starmer meets Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, in Scotland.

6pm: Starmer meets John Swinney, the Scottish first minister, at Bute House, his official residence, in Edinburgh.

We don’t have comments open at the moment, but hope to be able to turn them on later.

Starmer tells his cabinet: now it’s time to deliver on our promises

PM pledges swift action on NHS and prisons, setting out agenda to reform public services and rebuild international relations

Keir Starmer on Saturday rallied his new cabinet behind an ambitious agenda to reform the country’s creaking public services and reset damaged relations abroad during his first full day as prime minister.

After an extraordinary 48 hours that saw Labour storm to a landslide general election victory with a massive Commons majority of 174 while the Tories were routed, Starmer said he was “restless for change” and determined to deliver on his campaign pledges.

The prime minister cracked the whip as he held the first cabinet meeting, stressing the importance of each minister delivering on the party’s pledges and maintaining the highest standards of probity.

“I had the opportunity to set out to my cabinet precisely what I expect of them in terms of standards, delivery and the trust that the country has put in them,” he said.

Starmer made clear that, under his leadership, politics would be returned to a duty of service, in contrast to the last 14 years of Tory rule. “Self-interest is yesterday’s politics,” he said.

Shortly after the cabinet meeting, he moved straight to the first press conference of his prime ministership, at which he was adamant that, while Labour could not change the country by “flicking a switch”, no time would be wasted in beginning the task of national renewal.

He said “raw honesty” was needed about the state of the health service, agreeing with his health secretary, Wes Streeting, who said on Friday that the NHS was fundamentally “broken”.

Work to realise Labour’s pledge of 40,000 extra NHS appointments a week “starts straight away”, Starmer said, adding that ministers were looking at how St Thomas’ Hospital in central London and other hospitals across the country, including Leeds, had already increased appointments “of their own volition” by setting up schemes under which staff were given incentives to work later in the evenings and at weekends.

“We’ve talked through with them how they did it … they will go across the country to be deployed to help set up the model in other hospitals as quickly as we can,” he said. “So I can’t say by day X it will happen, but we’ve already had quite some discussions about how that will be rolled out from day one.”

On the overcrowded state of the country’s prisons, Starmer said action was needed urgently.

“We’ve got too many prisoners, not enough prisons. That’s a monumental failure of the last government, on any basic view of government, to get to a situation where you haven’t got enough prison places for prisoners – doesn’t matter what your political stripe, that is a failure of government.”

His government would look at how to ease planning rules so more prisons could be built quicker, he said, and also at early interventions to make sure young boys in particular did not get involved in offences such as knife crime.

A Ministry of Justice source said on Saturday night: “As the prime minister said yesterday, our prisons are broken. After 14 years of neglect, they are unsafe and catastrophically close to bursting at the seams.

“This is not an unforeseen crisis but one caused by irresponsible stewardship. We have been left with no choice but to consider difficult short- and long-term decisions to defuse this ticking timebomb.”

Late on Friday, Starmer appointed the businessman and prison reform campaigner James Timpson as his new prisons minister.

When asked about Timpson’s recent claim that a third of prisoners should not be there, he cited his experience as director of public prosecutions, where he saw young offenders who could have been prevented from veering into lives of crime.

“I’ve sat in the back of I don’t know how many criminal courts, watching people processed through the system on an escalator to go into prison,” the prime minister said.

Marking a complete departure from the previous government’s immigration policy, Starmer said its Rwanda scheme was now “dead and buried” and that he was not prepared to carry on with such “gimmicks”.

“It’s never been a deterrent,” he said. “Look at the numbers that have come over in the first six and a bit months of this year; they are record numbers – that is the problem that we are inheriting.”

MPs will return to the House of Commons on Tuesday, including the 334 new MPs. Their first task will be to elect a speaker, and then they will be sworn in over several days.

Starmer suggested that his new government would be making a string of announcements over the coming days to maintain the momentum of change. The prime minister will embark on a tour of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Sunday before heading to a Nato summit that starts in Washington DC on Tuesday.

The new foreign secretary, David Lammy, has already embarked on his first trip abroad, which will take him to Germany, Poland and Sweden to meet his counterparts in each country, signalling his commitment to a working closely with key European partners.. He will then join the prime minister at the Nato meeting in Washington. Lammy has already said he intends to “reset” relations between the UK and the EU that have been damaged by Brexit.

In a further signal of a desire to improve relations with European countries, Starmer held a call on Saturday with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in which he made the case for “building greater economic cooperation”.In a call with French president Emmanuel Macron, the leaders discussed “furthering the close cooperation between the UK and France”.

Explore more on these topics

  • Keir Starmer
  • The Observer
  • General election 2024
  • Labour
  • NHS
  • Health
  • General elections
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House

Parkinson’s expert at Walter Reed medical center has visited White House eight times since August 2023 – report

Joe Biden’s doctor met with a leading Washington neurologist at the White House this year, it was reported on Saturday.

The report came after Biden on Friday ruled out taking an independent cognitive test and releasing its findings publicly, in an interview with ABC News arranged following his disastrous performance in last week’s presidential TV debate with Donald Trump.

According to White House visitor logs reviewed by the New York Post, Dr Kevin Cannard, a Parkinson’s disease expert at Walter Reed medical center, met with Dr Kevin O’Connor, a doctor of osteopathic medicine who has treated the president for years.

The visit took place at the White House residence clinic on 17 January. Cannard has visited the White House house eight times since August 2023. On seven of those visits, most recently in late March, he met with Megan Nasworthy, a liaison between Walter Reed and the White House.

Biden has consistently rejected taking any cognitive test, including in August 2020 when he dismissed a reporter’s question with: “Why the hell would I take a test?” He has continued to dismiss the need for one and, according to aides, has not received one during his three annual physical exams during his term in the White House.

The Washington Post on Saturday reported a White House aide saying that O’Connor, who has been Biden’s doctor since 2009, has never recommended that Biden take a cognitive test.

O’Connor has said that his most important job is to offer Biden an affirmative “Good morning, Mr President” – to get Biden off the on the right track each day.

During Biden’s ABC News interview on Friday, the anchor George Stephanopoulos, who was communications director in the Clinton White House, asked Biden if had taken specific tests for cognitive capability. “No one said I had to … they said I’m good,” Biden replied.

Later in the broadcast, Biden was asked if he would do an independent neurological and cognitive exam and release the results. “I get a cognitive test every day,” Biden said. “Everything I do – you know, not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world.”

Pressed on the issue, he said: “I’ve already done it.”

Questions about Biden’s mental state continued on Saturday when the two radio hosts who interviewed him briefly on Thursday said that the Biden campaign had given them a list of approved questions. Wisconsin radio host Earl Ingram said that Biden aides had sent him a list of four questions in advance, about which there was no negotiation.

“They gave me the exact questions to ask,” Ingram told the Associated Press. “There was no back and forth.”

Philadelphia civic radio host Andrea Lawful-Sanders told CNN she had received a list of eight questions, from which she approved four. Both interviews had been scheduled to restore Biden’s credibility following his meandering debate performance with Donald Trump a week earlier.

Biden campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt said it is “not at all an uncommon practice for interviewees” and that acceptance of the questions was not a prerequisite for an interview to go ahead. However, both interviews had been structured for Biden to tout his achievements for Black voters.

On Saturday, Trump sarcastically called on Biden to “ignore his many critics and move forward, with alacrity and strength, with his powerful and far reaching campaign”. Last week, Trump’s campaign pre-emptively launched attack ads against vice-president Kamala Harris, who is polling better in a Trump match-up than the president.

Earlier this year, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, defended O’Connor’s decision not to administer a cognitive test when the issue came up following a report by the special counsel Robert Hur into classified documents found at Biden’s Delaware home that concluded Biden was a “well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory”.

At that time, as now, the White House pushed back, accusing Hur of being part of a partisan smear campaign. “I’m well-meaning, and I’m elderly, and I know what I’m doing,” Biden said at a news conference. “My memory is fine.”

But the eight visits Kevin Cannard has made to the White House over the past 11 months are certain to raise further questions about the 81-year-old president’s mental abilities in the wake of his debate with Donald Trump and subsequent verbal mistakes, including during a radio interview on Thursday when he said he was “proud” to be the “first Black woman to serve with a Black president”.

Cannard has served as the “neurology specialist supporting the White House medical unit” since 2012 and published academic papers including one last year in the Parkinsonism & Related Disorders journal that focused on the “early stage” of the brain degenerative disorder.

Ronny Jackson, a Republican congressman in Texas who was White House doctor for Barack Obama and Trump, has previously called for Biden to undergo a cognitive exam and accused O’Connor and Biden’s family of trying to “cover up” problems with Biden’s mental abilities.

Jackson told the New York Post he believed that O’Connor and Biden “have led the cover up”.

“Kevin O’Connor is like a son to Jill Biden – she loves him,” Jackson continued, adding that ‘they knew they could trust Kevin to say and do anything that needed to be said or done”.

Last week, the White House initially denied but later confirmed that Biden had seen a doctor since the debate. It has said that the president’s performance was affected, variously, by a cold, over-preparation and jet-lag. Biden has said simply: “I screwed up.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Joe Biden
  • US politics
  • US elections 2024
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Top Democrats plan crisis meeting despite Biden’s vow to fight on

House Democratic leader schedules virtual conference for Sunday as several members call for president’s withdrawal

  • US politics – follow live

Congressional Democrats are to hold an emergency weekend meeting to discuss Joe Biden’s tottering presidential candidacy, after a primetime television interview failed to dispel doubts triggered by last week’s debate fiasco.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democrats’ leader in the House of Representatives, scheduled the virtual meeting for Sunday with ranking committee members, according to multiple reports, even as Biden struck a defiant posture in Friday’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

In a 22-minute interview from a school library in Wisconsin, aired in full, the president brushed off his miserable debate display as “a bad night” and insisted he would only withdraw his candidacy if the “Lord almighty” ordered it.

But his posture appeared only to reinforce the views of those Democrats who had already publicly urged him to quit the race, while others were said to be privately infuriated by his seemingly insouciant attitude to the prospect of defeat at the hands of Donald Trump in November’s election.

On Saturday, Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota became the fifth House member to publicly urge Biden to stand aside. Four others had done so before Friday’s interview.

“Given what I saw and heard from the president during last week’s debate in Atlanta, coupled with the lack of a forceful response from [him] following [it], I do not believe [Biden] can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump,” she said.

Asked by Stephanopoulos how he would feel if he had to turn the presidency back to an opponent he and his party loathe, the president said: “I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do – that’s what this is about.”

The response seemed to minimise the consequences of handing over power to a rival who tried to overturn the results of the 2020, incited a mob to attack the US Capitol and vowed to seek “retribution” on his opponents if he won again, a threat that has unnerved many Democrats.

The convening of Democratic House members by Jeffries would follow a similar move even before Friday’s interview by Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who called on fellow senators from his party to meet to discuss Biden’s candidacy. Warner has been reported to be leading an effort by Senate Democrats urging the president to stand aside.

Democrats who had already called publicly for an end to his candidacy reiterated the sentiment after Friday evening’s broadcast of the interview, in which Biden projected greater assuredness than in the 27 June debate with Trump, yet affected obliviousness to concerns over his mental acuity or loss of support in the polls.

Lloyd Doggett, a veteran Texas Democrat who had been the first congressman to call for Biden to withdraw last Tuesday, said the interview only confirmed his view.

“The need for him to step aside is more urgent tonight than when I first called for it on Tuesday,” he told CNN.

He added: “[Biden] does not want his legacy to be that he’s the one who turned over our country to a tyrant.”

Mike Quigley, an Illinois congressman who was the fourth to urge the president to stand aside – after Doggett, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts – called aspects of the interview “disturbing”, adding that it showed “the president of the United States doesn’t have the vigour necessary to overcome the deficit here”.

Addressing Biden’s response to a putative Trump re-election, he told CNN: “He felt as long as he gave it his best effort, that’s all that really matters. With the greatest respect: no.”

Julián Castro, a former Democratic presidential hopeful and a member of Barack Obama’s cabinet, acknowledged to MSNBC that Biden had been “steadier” than in his debate performance but was in “denial about the decline that people can clearly see”.

Addressing Biden’s comments on a possible second Trump presidency, Castro said: “I think the most chilling was when Stephanopoulos asked him, ‘Well, what if you lose to [former President Trump,] then how are you gonna feel?’ and President Biden said, ‘Well, as long as I gave it my all,’ that, basically, that he would feel OK.”

“That’s not good enough for the American people. That’s not good enough with the stakes of Donald Trump winning.”

Other Democrats criticised Biden’s resistance to the idea of taking a cognitive test. He dismissed the suggestion out of hand by telling Stephanopoulos: “I take a cognitive test every day”, referring to the daily work of the presidency and running for re-election.

“I found the answer about taking a cognitive test every day to be unsettling and not particularly convincing, so I will be watching closely every day to see how he is doing, especially in spontaneous situations,” Representative Judy Chu of California told Politico.

Tim Ryan, a former representative from Ohio – who has also urged a Biden withdrawal – echoed that sentiment, telling the same network: “I think there was a level of him being out of touch with reality on the ground.”

He also said: “I don’t think he moved the needle at all. I don’t think he energised anybody. I’m worried, like I think a lot of people are, that he is just not the person to be able to get this done for us.”

Several Biden loyalists, including Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a chairman of his campaign, and John Fetterman, a senator from Pennsylvania, voiced their continued support. But even among supporters there were doubts.

Ro Khanna, a California congressman and Biden surrogate, issued a statement saying he expected the president to do more to show he has vigour to fight and win the election and “that requires more than one interview.”

“I expect complete transparency from the White House about this issue and a willingness to answer many legitimate questions from the media and voters about his capabilities,” Khanna said.

Gavin Newsom, the California governor who has been widely discussed as a potential successor to Biden, was campaigning on Saturday for the president in Pennsylvania’s Bucks county.

Kamala Harris, the vice-president, was due to make a public appearance at the Essence culture festival in New Orleans the same day.

Explore more on these topics

  • Joe Biden
  • US politics
  • Democrats
  • US Congress
  • House of Representatives
  • US elections 2024
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Hopes of Gaza ceasefire rise further as Hamas reportedly backs new proposal

Militant group gives initial backing to plan for phased deal after ‘verbal commitments’ from mediators

Hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza have risen further after reports that Hamas has given its initial approval of a new US-backed proposal for a phased deal.

Egyptian officials and representatives of the militant Islamist organisation confirmed Hamas had dropped a key demand that Israel commits to a definitive end to the war before any pause in hostilities, Reuters and the Associated Press reported.

Efforts to secure a ceasefire and hostage release in Gaza have intensified over recent days, with active shuttle diplomacy among Washington, Israel and Qatar, which is leading mediation efforts from Doha, where the exiled Hamas leadership is based.

Observers said any progress was welcome, but pointed out that multiple rounds of negotiations over more than seven months had so far failed to bring success.

With all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah looming, and casualties in Gaza still mounting, pressure to end the war is high.

A Hezbollah official said last week the group would cease fire as soon as any Gaza deal took effect, echoing previous statements. On Thursday the Iran-backed organisation fired 200 rockets into Israel in retaliation for a strike that killed one of its top commanders.

“If there is a Gaza agreement, then from zero hour there will be a ceasefire in Lebanon,” the Hezbollah official said.

The White House has described the latest Hamas ceasefire proposal as a “breakthrough”. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, confirmed on Friday that the director of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, had been sent to make an urgent visit to Qatar, but his office said “gaps between the parties” remained.

The proposed deal would involve a first phase including the release by Hamas of elderly, sick and female hostages during a six-week truce, an Israeli withdrawal from cities in Gaza, and the release of Palestinian detainees held by Israel.

Further phases could include the release of the remaining male hostages, both civilians and soldiers, in return for additional Palestinian prisoners and detainees. Eventually, any remaining hostages would be returned, including bodies of dead captives, and a start made on the immensely expensive and complex task of reconstructing Gaza.

A key obstacle to a deal until this week had been widely differing views on how the agreement would move from its first phase to its second.

Hamas wants strong guarantees over the path to a permanent ceasefire, but Netanyahu had publicly cast doubt on whether that would happen, vowing to complete the destruction of the group, which had run Gaza for nearly two decades before it launched its surprise attack on southern Israel on 7 October.

A Hamas representative told the Associated Press the group’s approval came after it received “verbal commitments and guarantees” from the mediators that the war would not be resumed and that negotiations would continue until a permanent ceasefire was reached. “Now we want these guarantees on paper,” he said.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after the attack by Hamas in October, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted about 250.

Since then, the Israeli air and ground offensive has killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report

Explore more on these topics

  • Israel-Gaza war
  • Hamas
  • Gaza
  • Palestinian territories
  • Middle East and north Africa
  • US foreign policy
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Fears of long war in Gaza as new chapter opens and ‘intense fighting’ eases off

Israel’s ground offensive is nearing its conclusion amid the threat of indefinite occupation and a continuing insurgency

Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the phase of “intense fighting” against Hamas in Gaza is coming to an end, but with no publicly unveiled plans for the next stage of Israel’s campaign, Palestinians and Israelis alike fear that the coming chapter in the conflict could amount to a long period of insurgency-style warfare and indefinite occupation.

Israel’s generals are expected to announce soon that the last main ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, in the southernmost city of Rafah, is over, although the prime minister has made clear that the war will not end until Israel achieves “total victory”. Despite growing skepticism, he still defines that as the complete eradication of Hamas as a civilian and military entity.

However, nine months into a campaign meant to have ended by January, several of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) declared objectives remain unfulfilled and new fighting continues to erupt in areas supposedly under Israeli military control.

At least 16 people were reported killed in an Israeli strike on a school in central Gaza yesterday, the Palestinian health ministry said. It claimed the attack on the school in Al-Nuseirat, sheltering displaced families, also left more than 50 people wounded. Israel’s military said it targeted ­gunmen operating in the vicinity, after taking precautions to minimise risk to civilians.

Although both sides indicated tentative progress last week, ceasefire and hostage release talks have repeatedly stalled. Despite huge domestic and international pressure, the Israeli government is still to release details of its postwar proposals for Gaza. One Israeli observer briefed on the plans described them as “fantasies”.

“None of the scenarios Netanyahu and his people have put forward so far are serious. The only conclusion we can draw is that he is trying to buy time,” said Nour Odeh, a Ramallah-based political analyst. “Netanyahu does not want to end the war for his own political reasons.”

Public statements from Israeli officials and leaked details suggest that two army divisions will remain in Gaza in the third part of Israel’s war plan.

One will be posted on the newly created Netzarim corridor that bisects the northern and southern halves of the strip, preventing residents of Gaza City returning to their homes. The other will be based on the Philadelphi corridor, along the border between Gaza and Egypt, in order to shut down Hamas’s main lifeline – the extensive tunnel network and smuggling routes in the area.

These troops will have the task of launching frequent raids on suspected Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets across Gaza, a strategy known as “mowing the grass” already employed in the West Bank. Israel has approached Arab states such as Egypt and the UAE to discuss forming a security force that could operate in Gaza after the war, although support remains tepid, according to regional diplomats.

The buffer zone between the separation fence and Israel proper is expected to expand to at least two-thirds of a mile (1km) in depth across the entire territory.

According to satellite imagery ­analysis by Gisha, a nonprofit organisation focused on Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement, the buffer zone and two corridors of land expropriated for military use could total 32% of the territory. Areas illegally seized make up a lot of Gaza’s agricultural land, which is already insufficient to meet the needs of its 2.3 million residents.

Initial US-backed plans to bring the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority back to govern Gaza after it was kicked out of the Strip by Hamas in 2007 appear to have been abandoned. After 18 years without elections, the authority lacks political legitimacy and its prime minister previously told the Guardian it will not return to the strip “aboard an Israeli tank”.

According to the Financial Times, Israel is instead close to reimplementing a failed plan from early in the conflict – “bubbles” run by local people, such as respected elders, with no ties to Hamas. These vetted figures will administer aid distribution and, if successful, their responsibilities will expand into areas of civilian governance.

“Half a year ago this same idea, negotiating with heads of clans, ended with the execution of several of them by Hamas,” said Michael Milshtein, head of the Palestinian studies forum at Tel Aviv University. “You can’t pretend you are going to dramatically change something when you don’t control it.”

For Milshtein, Israeli decision-makers need to commit to controlling all of Gaza for the foreseeable future, with the myriad financial, military and legal implications that entails, or be prepared to make a painful deal to end the war in which it is most likely Hamas will remain in power.

“I do not see any alternative to Hamas continuing to run Gaza’s civil sphere. I don’t know if we have the willingness or the capacity to occupy all of Gaza with boots on the ground,” he said. “There are no good options.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Israel-Gaza war
  • The Observer
  • Israel
  • Middle East and north Africa
  • Palestinian territories
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Hamas
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Brazil apologises after three diplomats’ Black teenagers searched at gunpoint

Ministry of foreign affairs forced to say sorry to Canada, Gabon and Burkina Faso embassies after incident

Brazil’s ministry of foreign affairs has been forced to apologise to the embassies of Canada, Gabon and Burkina Faso after three diplomats’ teenage children – all of whom are Black – were searched at gunpoint by police officers.

The incident emerged when the mother of a Brazilian boy in the group posted a security camera video online, prompting outrage – but also a weary recognition that such experiences are all too typical for Black youths in Rio de Janeiro.

The three diplomats’ children were in Rio for a five-day holiday with a white Brazilian friend, celebrating the end of the school year. All attend the same school in Brasília, where they live. It was their first trip without their parents.

Late Wednesday, they were returning from a day at the beach and were about to enter a building in the wealthy neighbourhood of Ipanema when a military police patrol car drew up. Two officers jumped out, ordered the boys to face the wall and searched them at gunpoint.

Rhaiana Rondon, the mother of one of the Brazilian boys, said the Black teens were singled out by the police officers during the search.

Rondon, who posted the video, said the footage made it clear that her son and his cousin were treated very differently from the Black foreigners.

“The officer guided my son much more gently because he is white, while the three Black youths had guns pointed at their heads,” she said.

In a statement to a state parliament committee, the teenagers said the officers “even demanded that they showed their private parts to check if there was any drugs underneath”.

One of the boys wrote his parents saying that “when the agents left, they told us not to walk around, or we would be searched again”.

Rondon said: “The footage, testimonies, and the children’s accounts are clear: the search was racist.”

The three foreign boys are the sons of the Gabon and Burkina Faso ambassadors, and the other is the son of a Canadian diplomat.

Julie-Pascale Moudoute-Bell, the wife of the Gabonese ambassador, expressed her indignation to TV Globo, saying: “The police are there to protect. How could they point guns at the heads of 13-year-old boys? … We trust in the Brazilian justice system and we want justice, that’s all.”

On Friday, the ambassadors of Gabon, Burkina Faso and Canada were invited the foreign ministry in Brasília, where they received a “formal apology” from the Brazilian government.

The ministry stated that it called on the Rio state government to conduct a “thorough investigation and ensure appropriate accountability of the police officers involved in the incident”.

Amnesty International Brazil’s executive director, Jurema Werneck, said: “There’s nothing besides racism to explain the attack these Black teenagers suffered.”

But she added that such incidents happen daily in Brazil “in the favelas, outskirts, poor and Black communities”.

“Unfortunately, the brutality suffered by these teenagers is not the first and, sadly, won’t be the last. … In Brazil, no young Black person is safe”.

A recent report found that, in 2022, of the more than 1,300 people killed by the police in Rio, 87% were Black, a figure far above the proportion of Afro-Brazilians in the state’s population, which is 58%.

Rio’s military police, which is responsible for patrol duties, said that body camera footage from the two officers involved will be analysed to determine “if there was any excess”. The separate civil police, which handles investigations, said that two of its units – tourist assistance station and racial crimes – are probing the case.

Rhaiana Rondon said that the teenagers had been left badly shaken by the incident.

“On Thursday, they saw the same patrol car passing by, got really scared, and hid in an ice cream parlour,” said the Brazilian mother. “When they hear a siren now, even if it’s from an ambulance or the fire brigade, they get scared.

Rondon said she had given her son all kinds of guidance before the trip because she was worried about violence in Rio.

“I warned him to be careful with his phone on the street, not to leave his backpack on the beach chair,” she wrote. “But I never imagined that the police would be the biggest threat.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Gabon
  • Burkina Faso
  • Race
  • Americas
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Viktor Orbán’s rightwing group hits quota for recognition by EU parliament

Patriots for Europe gets Danish and Flemish nationalists as latest members, amid EU anger over Hungary PM’s latest unauthorised foreign policy foray

Viktor Orbán’s rightwing political movement attracted enough parties on Saturday to achieve recognition from the European Union parliament in a boost for the Hungarian prime minister’s self-styled effort to “change European politics”.

The nationalist and pro-Russia leader announced on 30 June his intention to form an EU parliamentary grouping called “Patriots for Europe”.

The Danish People’s party and the Flemish nationalist pro-independence Vlaams Belang announced on Saturday that they would join, giving Patriots for Europe 23 MEPs – enough to meet the EU parliament’s threshold for formal recognition.

Other parties involved are the Austrian far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), the centrist ANO of former Czech prime minister Andrej Babis, the Party for Freedom (PVV) of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, Portugal’s far-right Chega party and Spain’s Vox.

Orbán said the parties would meet on Monday in Brussels. France’s National Rally could become another ally after the second round of the French legislative elections on Sunday. Italy’s League, led by Matteo Salvini, has also expressed an interest in the new movement but has not confirmed its participation.

With the formation of Patriots for Europe, Orbán is bidding to become the dominant hard-right force in the EU parliament. As well as campaigning for conservative family values and against immigration, the group would push to end European support for Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s invasion.

Orbán, meanwhile, drew a fresh rebuke from the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, on Saturday after attending a meeting of the Organisation of Turkic States in Azerbaijan.

Hungary took over the EU’s rotating presidency this month and Orbán on Friday appeared to try to carry its imprimatur into a surprise meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow about the Ukraine war.

EU leaders quickly blasted the visit as not authorised by them and stressed that Orbán was not representing Brussels.

Orbán’s participation at an informal OTS summit in Azerbaijan on Saturday was the latest event where he represented Hungary alone and not the EU, Borrell said.

“Hungary has not received any mandate from the EU council to advance the relations with the Organisation of Turkic States.”

Orbán has sparred with Brussels over his travels. “Are we allowed to have dinner, or do we need a EUCO mandate for that too?” his political director wrote on X/Twitter after the Moscow trip.

The EU also rejected OTS attempts to legitimise the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by admitting it as an observer, said Borrell. The island of Cyprus has been divided for decades between the internationally recognised, Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and the Turkish-speaking TRNC, recognised only by Ankara.

The OTS is an international organisation bringing together countries with Turkic languages, founded in 2009 by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Hungary became an observer of the group in 2018.

With Agence France-Presse in Belgium

Explore more on these topics

  • Viktor Orbán
  • Hungary
  • European Union
  • Europe
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Viktor Orbán’s rightwing group hits quota for recognition by EU parliament

Patriots for Europe gets Danish and Flemish nationalists as latest members, amid EU anger over Hungary PM’s latest unauthorised foreign policy foray

Viktor Orbán’s rightwing political movement attracted enough parties on Saturday to achieve recognition from the European Union parliament in a boost for the Hungarian prime minister’s self-styled effort to “change European politics”.

The nationalist and pro-Russia leader announced on 30 June his intention to form an EU parliamentary grouping called “Patriots for Europe”.

The Danish People’s party and the Flemish nationalist pro-independence Vlaams Belang announced on Saturday that they would join, giving Patriots for Europe 23 MEPs – enough to meet the EU parliament’s threshold for formal recognition.

Other parties involved are the Austrian far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), the centrist ANO of former Czech prime minister Andrej Babis, the Party for Freedom (PVV) of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, Portugal’s far-right Chega party and Spain’s Vox.

Orbán said the parties would meet on Monday in Brussels. France’s National Rally could become another ally after the second round of the French legislative elections on Sunday. Italy’s League, led by Matteo Salvini, has also expressed an interest in the new movement but has not confirmed its participation.

With the formation of Patriots for Europe, Orbán is bidding to become the dominant hard-right force in the EU parliament. As well as campaigning for conservative family values and against immigration, the group would push to end European support for Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s invasion.

Orbán, meanwhile, drew a fresh rebuke from the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, on Saturday after attending a meeting of the Organisation of Turkic States in Azerbaijan.

Hungary took over the EU’s rotating presidency this month and Orbán on Friday appeared to try to carry its imprimatur into a surprise meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow about the Ukraine war.

EU leaders quickly blasted the visit as not authorised by them and stressed that Orbán was not representing Brussels.

Orbán’s participation at an informal OTS summit in Azerbaijan on Saturday was the latest event where he represented Hungary alone and not the EU, Borrell said.

“Hungary has not received any mandate from the EU council to advance the relations with the Organisation of Turkic States.”

Orbán has sparred with Brussels over his travels. “Are we allowed to have dinner, or do we need a EUCO mandate for that too?” his political director wrote on X/Twitter after the Moscow trip.

The EU also rejected OTS attempts to legitimise the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by admitting it as an observer, said Borrell. The island of Cyprus has been divided for decades between the internationally recognised, Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and the Turkish-speaking TRNC, recognised only by Ankara.

The OTS is an international organisation bringing together countries with Turkic languages, founded in 2009 by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Hungary became an observer of the group in 2018.

With Agence France-Presse in Belgium

Explore more on these topics

  • Viktor Orbán
  • Hungary
  • European Union
  • Europe
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Man who spent 45 years on death row in Japan hopes for chance to clear name

Iwao Hakamada, 88, who spent longer than anyone in the world awaiting execution, awaits murder retrial verdict

In the early hours of 30 June 1966 a fire swept through the home of the managing director of a miso maker in Shizuoka, central Japan. After the fire was put out, police found the bodies of the executive, his wife, and their two teenage children. They had all been stabbed to death.

Iwao Hakamada, who had worked for the firm as a live-in employee, was arrested on suspicion of murdering the family, setting fire to their home and stealing 200,000 yen (£973) in cash. Two years later he was found guilty of murder and arson and sentenced to hang. He maintained innocence throughout his 45 years awaiting execution – the longest any prisoner worldwide has spent on death row.

In a country where condemned prisoners can spend long periods awaiting execution, Hakamada’s case took a critical turn in 2014. The court that had originally convicted him ruled some of the evidence unsafe and ordered his release. A higher court later ordered a retrial.

The lower court said evidence presented at his trial by the police “may have been fabricated”, while his lawyers said DNA tests on bloodstained clothes retrieved from a vat of miso proved the blood was not his.

Hakamada has always contended that he was forced to confess during interrogations that typically lasted 12 hours a day. Almost six decades after he was condemned to die, prosecutors continue to call for his execution in a case that has become a cause célèbre for opponents of Japan’s use of the death penalty, even as other countries abolish capital punishment.

The former professional boxer, now aged 88 and battling physical and mental illness, will learn his fate in late September when the Shizuoka district court rules in his retrial, which started in March 2023. He has not appeared in court, having been declared mentally unfit to give credible evidence. His long incarceration has exposed what campaigners call inhumane treatment of death row inmates in Japan.

In most cases, people sentenced to death have been found guilty of multiple murders, often committed with other crimes such as robbery, rape or theft. Condemned prisoners typically spend years – even decades – in solitary confinement on death row while appeals slowly make their way through the courts. When their conviction is finalised, they are given just hours’ notice of their execution, and no opportunity to speak with lawyers or families. Their final conversation is usually with a Buddhist priest.

Japan, the only G7 country along with the US to retain capital punishment, has drawn international criticism of its “secret” executions, with campaigners using Hakamada’s case to accuse it of driving prisoners insane and subjecting them to “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment.

Hideko Hakamada, the condemned man’s sister, is optimistic, although lawyers believe the prosecutors could appeal a not-guilty verdict. “Now the goal is in sight,” she told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. “This has felt like a neverending process. I’m doing this not just for the sake of my brother but for other people who have been falsely accused and imprisoned.”

Hideko, who has spent decades protesting her brother’s innocence, added: “I never used to give much thought to the death penalty as it has always been there, but because of what happened to my brother I am now opposed to it.”

Hakamada’s defence lawyer, Hideyo Ogawa, said his client’s ordeal had only hardened his opposition to capital punishment. “Seeing Iwao-san over the past 10 years has shown me what the death penalty does to a person … it is like he is not here with us, but in a world of his own. That is the impact it has on someone when there has been a false conviction, and that should not be allowed to happen in today’s society.”

Japan is one of only 55 countries including, China, North Korea and the US, that retain capital punishment, while more than 140 others, including all members of the European Union, have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, according to Amnesty International. Japan has observed de facto moratoriums on hangings, but there is little political appetite for abolition that would spare the 106 people currently on death row. Opinion polls have consistently shown strong support for the death penalty – a sentiment that strengthened after a doomsday cult carried out a fatal sarin gas attack.

Hakamada has always faced near-impossible odds. Around 99% of criminal cases that go to trial in Japan end in convictions, and retrials are rare. He is one of only a handful of death row inmates to secure a retrial, although precedent suggests he has cause for optimism, as the other cases ended in acquittals.

In November 1973, in one of thousands of letters he wrote from prison, first to his mother and then his sister, Hakamada protested his innocence. “I am a prisoner on death row who has been wrongfully convicted,” he wrote. “I am forced to live with enduring grief that permeates my body. My heart grows cold beyond description out of unending fear of the unknown … execution. My whole body trembles as if being hit by a cold winter blast.”

Speaking at the final hearing in his retrial last month, Hideko told of her brother’s last chance to clear his name. “I am now 91 and my brother is 88,” she said.

“We are close to the end of our lives. I would like to ask the court to let Iwao live out his remaining days like a human being.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Japan
  • The Observer
  • Capital punishment
  • Asia Pacific
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

UK urged to protect Ukraine from legal action over private debt default

Kyiv shouldn’t have to fight ‘shameless bondholders’ as repayment deadline nears, say campaigners

Campaigners are urging Britain’s new Labour government to prevent Ukraine being sued in the UK courts if the country defaults on its debts to private creditors.

Debt Justice said a two-year suspension of Ukraine’s debt payments was scheduled to expire on 1 August, and that action was needed to protect Kyiv from the possibility of legal action from its creditors.

Ukraine is in negotiations with bondholders and is seeking a debt writedown of 60% on the $24bn (£18.7bn) it owes to private creditors. Bondholders – which include big investment groups such as BlackRock, Pimco, Fidelity and AllianceBernstein – have said they are willing to take a 20% loss.

Ukraine’s official bilateral creditors, including the UK, have agreed to continue suspending Kyiv’s debt payments until 2027, but there has been no agreement to extend the arrangement with private creditors. The relief offered by private creditors is worth around 12% of Ukraine’s annual national output (GDP).

Unless a deal is struck or an extension to the two-year moratorium is agreed by the end of this month, Ukraine will formally default on its debts in September.

Kyiv fears that once the 1 August deadline expires, asset managers will sell their bonds to hedge funds, which will then sue. Ukraine’s bonds are all governed by English law, so any legal case would be brought in the UK.

Debt Justice said Ukraine’s bonds were trading at 28-31 cents on the dollar, closer to Kyiv’s suggested 60% haircut than the 20% bondholders have proposed.

Heidi Chow, Debt Justice’s executive director, said: “Ukraine is resisting an invasion. It should not have to fight off shameless bondholders at the same time, who are trying to squeeze every ounce of profit out of Ukraine.

“These loans were given at high interest because of the supposed risk. That risk materialised the day Russia invaded.”

Ukraine’s bonds “are governed by UK law, so an incoming UK government could pass a law to support Ukraine by making it clear that no lenders can sue the country while the war carries on”, she said.

The Commons international development select committee called last year for legislation that would force private creditors to take part in debt relief, and in opposition Labour expressed support for the idea.

Debt Justice is urging the government to change the law so that a debtor country negotiating in good faith with its creditors could not be sued. It says this would give Ukraine the political and legal protection to maintain the current debt suspension until bondholders were willing to accept the scale of debt restructuring required.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine will just about manage to balance the books if there is a 60% debt writedown.

The IMF says Kyiv and its private creditors are working hard to reach an agreement, and that a deal is possible by the end of the month despite the rapidly looming deadline.

Chow said: “Lower-income countries are facing the worst debt crisis in 30 years. An incoming UK government can show leadership by introducing new legislation to ensure private lenders take part in debt restructuring in a swift and comprehensive way.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Ukraine
  • Debt relief
  • Europe
  • Private equity
  • Bonds
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Alec Baldwin heads to trial for manslaughter over Rust shooting

Actor to face court more than two years after death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

Alec Baldwin is heading to trial on Tuesday on involuntary manslaughter charges in a case that will be closely watched by the entertainment industry, the news media, tabloids and legal experts.

It has been a long road to trial since the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot during production of the movie Rust on 21 October 2021, a rare deadly tragedy on set. Prosecutors in Santa Fe will have to overcome numerous hurdles to convince a jury of Baldwin’s criminal negligence in the complex and unusual case, but criminal law scholars say the 66-year-old actor’s previous comments could come back to haunt him.

Baldwin, a lead actor and co-producer on the western film, was rehearsing on the Rust set at a ranch in Bonanza City, New Mexico, when he pointed a firearm at Hutchins. The revolver fired a single bullet that injured the director, Joel Souza, and killed Hutchins, an accomplished cinematographer who was born in Ukraine and considered a rising star in the industry.

Baldwin has argued that he pulled back the hammer of the gun, not the trigger, and that the gun malfunctioned and inadvertently fired. Baldwin had also been told the gun contained no live ammunition, investigators reported.

This is the second time Baldwin has faced criminal charges in the case. Prosecutors dismissed a first involuntary manslaughter charge in April of last year, saying they needed more time to investigate. The case was refiled after prosecutors said a forensic analysis of the gun concluded Baldwin must have pulled the trigger for it to fire, contradicting his key defense claim.

Lawyers for Baldwin pushed for the case to be dismissed last month, arguing that FBI testing of the firearm had damaged the weapon before lawyers were able to examine it for possible modifications. The defense team alleged the gun was damaged at the time of the incident and accused prosecutors of withholding potentially “exculpatory evidence”.

Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected the dismissal request, saying Baldwin’s lawyers had not proven prosecutors acted in bad faith. But the judge also said prosecutors would have to disclose to the jury the “destructive nature of the firearm testing, the resulting loss and its relevance and import”.

In March, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, Rust’s chief weapons handler, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, sentenced in April to 18 months in prison. In her trial, prosecutors argued the armorer had failed to follow basic safety protocols and had put dummy rounds and at least one live round into the prop weapon.

“You alone turned a safe weapon into a lethal weapon,” Sommer said at sentencing. “But for you Ms Hutchins would be alive, a husband would have his partner and a little boy would have his mother.”

The conviction was a major victory for prosecutors, but it could also make it harder to win a second guilty verdict against another defendant, said Anna Cominsky, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at New York Law School.

“She was the one designated as being responsible for the firearms on set, and a jury found her guilty,” the law professor said. “I foresee Baldwin is going to point the finger at her – this was the professional who was supposed to be checking the gun. I think it’s going to be difficult for the prosecutor to overcome that.”

There’s no question the fatal shooting was unintentional, so prosecutors will have to make a compelling case that Baldwin’s negligent actions led to the death, said Joshua Kastenberg, criminal law professor at the University of New Mexico and a former prosecutor: “If you’re going to find someone guilty of criminal negligence, you have to prove the [defendant] owns the negligence almost in its entirety, and that’s difficult in a case where there was more than one participant. And a jury already found someone else guilty.”

Baldwin’s past comments and his reputation, however, could cause him trouble. In an April filing, the prosecutor Kari Morrissey accused the actor of being reckless during filming, writing: “To watch Mr Baldwin’s conduct on the set of Rust is to witness a man who has absolutely no control of his own emotions and absolutely no concern for how his conduct affects those around him. Witnesses have testified that it was this exact conduct that contributed to safety compromises on set.”

Baldwin’s producer role could also help the prosecution build its negligence case. Records released by the local sheriff’s department revealed Baldwin made dismissive comments to a detective, saying that all film productions seek to cut costs and that it’s not the job of actors to check guns.

Baldwin also tried to clear his name in a national television interview with George Stephanopoulos, but the prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies told the New York Times that he appeared unrepentant and dishonest, implying the media appearance motivated her office to move forward with its case.

The attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Hutchins’ parents and sister, said they could not leave Ukraine due to the war and would not be attending the trial: “They want to know the truth of what happened to their beloved daughter and sister. And they do believe they will learn more in the upcoming trial. They also believe that everyone who had a role in causing Halyna’s death should be held responsible.”

At Gutierrez-Reed’s sentencing, Allred shared a statement from Hutchins’ father, Anatolii Androsovych, who said: “I do not wish for revenge but believe that each person responsible for the death of my Halyna needs to carry the punishment that is equal to their guilt. Maybe, just maybe, this might prevent the same types of tragedies in the future to others and spare other parents from such a heart-wrenching catastrophe.”

The prosecutors and Baldwin’s lawyers declined to comment.

Last month, Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, announced a new reality show following their family for TLC.

Baldwin faces up to 18 months in prison. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Explore more on these topics

  • Rust film set shooting
  • Alec Baldwin
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Tropical Storm Beryl smashes through Caribbean and heads for Texas coast

Earliest category 5 hurricane on record is 495 miles south-east of Corpus Christi, with winds near 60mph

Tropical Storm Beryl, which has already smashed its way across the Caribbean as a hurricane before slamming into the Yucatán peninsula, is intensifying once again and expected to make landfall as a hurricane for the third time along the Texas coast.

The powerful hurricane – Beryl is the earliest category 5 hurricane on record – was by early Saturday approximately 495 miles (797km) south-east of Corpus Christi, Texas. The storm is forecast to turn toward the north-west later Saturday and then north/north-westward by Sunday night.

Beryl currently contains maximum sustained winds near 60mph with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 105 miles from the center.

By the time it reaches Texas early Monday, it is anticipated to have re-intensified to a category 1 hurricane, though the National Weather Service has advised residents to prepare for the stronger category 2.

“Still some uncertainty with the exact strength and track Beryl will take, but an eastward trend in the guidance continues,” the advisory states, warning of “an increasing risk of damaging hurricane-force winds and life-threatening storm surge”.

Beryl made landfall in Grenada’s Carriacou island as a category 4 hurricane on Monday, before hitting St Vincent and the Grenadines, flattening buildings and killing at least six people.

Managers on the private island of Mustique, also in Beryl’s path, said: “The Grenadines have been badly hit. Union Island has been rendered completely uninhabitable and thousands of men, woman and children are currently being relocated in order to give them access to shelter, food and water.”

The statement said there had been “significant superficial damage” to Mustique bit that “the island’s core infrastructure is intact” and its planes were being used to ferry supplies to worse-hit islands and assist with the evacuation of people from Union.

The Associated Press reported that on the tiny island of Mayreau, home to 360 people and one of the smallest inhabited islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Beryl had ripped roofs off schools, crumbled homes and stripped trees of almost every leaf on the 0.46 sq miles (1.2 sq km).

“Everything was flying all over the place,” Mayreau resident James Alexander said in recalling the storm. “I saw a tank full of water lifted up and swirl in the air.”

Beryl later intensified to a category 5 storm, its rapid strengthening astonishing experts. The storm passed south of Jamaica before travelling, as a category 5 storm, to hit Tulum on the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico on Friday as a category 2 hurricane.

The storm toppled trees but caused no injuries or deaths before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved across the peninsula. “It is recommendable that people get to higher ground, shelters or the homes of friends or family elsewhere,” Mexico president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said before Beryl hit.

“Don’t hesitate, material possessions can be replaced,” he added.

With Beryl again re-intensifying, the former hurricane is expected to conclude its 3,000-mile journey somewhere along the lower or middle Texas coast, where it will drop 5–10ins of rain and could produce a few tropical tornadoes around Houston.

Explore more on these topics

  • Hurricanes
  • Caribbean
  • Mexico
  • Jamaica
  • Texas
  • Grenada
  • Extreme weather
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

John Cena announces retirement from WWE wrestling

World Wrestling Entertainment great who has also carved out an acting career says he will stop in 2025 after farewell tour

The American actor and wrestler John Cena has officially announced his retirement from competing in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) events.

Cena made the announcement in front of a packed, enthusiastic crowd at the Money in the Bank event in Toronto, Canada, and said his final competition would be sometime in 2025.

He told the crowd he had seen “incredible waves of prosperity” and “tremendous hardship” in the WWE since he joined more than two decades ago.

The 47-year-old joined the WWE in 2001 and is regarded as one of its best wrestlers of all time, having achieved world champion status 16 times.

Cena suggested that an appearance at Wrestlemania in 2025 is where his WWE career will wrap up.

The Toronto crowd chanted “Thank you Cena” as he made the announcement wearing a T-shirt that said “The last time is now” and “John Cena farewell tour”. Cena said this was an “incredible gesture of kindness” as he thanked the Toronto audience for “letting me play in the house that you built”.

Cena ventured out of the WWE and made his acting debut in 2006 when he starred in The Marine. He has gone on to appear in a number of films including Trainwreck (2015), The Suicide Squad (2021) and Fast and Furious 9 (2021), as well as the DC superhero TV series Peacemaker.

This year, Cena starred in the comedy film Ricky Stanicky alongside Zac Efron and the Australian journalist and author Stan Grant.

Cena has performed part-time with the WWE since 2018 as his career widened.

He is also a Guinness World Records holder, having granted the most Make-a-Wish wishes for seriously ill children. He granted his 650th wish on 19 July 2022 and typically wears his championship belts on such occasions. Guinness World Records says he is the most requested celebrity, having granted his first wish in 2002.

Explore more on these topics

  • Wrestling
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Most viewed

  • LiveStarmer promises ‘immediate reset’ of relations with devolved governments as he starts four-nations tour – UK politics live
  • Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Copa América 2024 quarter-final – as it happened
  • Biden’s doctor reportedly met with top neurologist at White House
  • Coffee, eggs and white rice linked to higher levels of PFAS in human body
  • Assured Kamala Harris cuts a transformed figure in New Orleans – and carefully avoids any mention of Biden’s fitness for office

Leave a Reply