BBC 2024-07-09 04:07:15


Children’s hospital hit as Russian strikes kill dozens in Ukraine

By Rob Corp & Kyla HerrmannsenBBC News, in London & Kyiv
Video posted by President Zelensky shows extensive damage to Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital

A children’s hospital in Kyiv has been hit after Russia launched a wave of missile strikes against cities across Ukraine.

Two people died when the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital – Ukraine’s biggest paediatrics facility – sustained major damage during the blast.

Thirty-six people were killed and 140 people were injured in the strikes, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on Monday.

Lesia Lysytsia, a doctor at the hospital, told the BBC the moment the missile struck was “like in a film” with a “big light, then an awful sound”.

“One part of the hospital was destroyed and there was a fire in another. It’s really very damaged – maybe 60-70% of the hospital,” she said.

Pictures from the scene showed young children – some with IV drips – sitting outside the hospital as it was evacuated.

Vitaliy Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, said the two who died at the hospital were adults – one of whom was a doctor. He added that rescuers feared more people were trapped under the rubble.

Russia has denied targeting the hospital, saying it was hit by fragments of a Ukrainian air defence missile. But Ukraine says it has found remnants of a Russian cruise missile.

Ohmatdyt is a major hospital which carries out cancer treatment and organ transplants.

“Now we are in the process of evacuating patients to the nearest hospital.. [but] many patients are intubated and on ventilators and cannot have contact with other patients or go outside,” Dr Lysytsia said.

Hospital officials told Ukrainian TV that about 20 children were being treated in the ward which was hit.

Following the strike, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon as a mark of respect when she played in the round of 16 at Wimbledon on Monday afternoon.

Mayor Klitschko accused Russia of attempting the “genocide of [the] population in Ukraine”.

“Right now the whole world can see how Russian missiles and Kamikaze drones killed Ukrainian citizens in our peaceful city.

The mayor added that a separate maternity hospital in Kyiv’s Dniprovsky district had also been partially destroyed by falling debris, killing seven people.

Mr Zelensky wrote on social media that “more than 40 missiles of different types” had hit buildings and infrastructure in cities including Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

He called for a stronger Western response “to the blow that Russia has once again delivered on our population, on our land, on our children”.

Dnipro regional head Sergiy Lysak said one person was killed in Dnipro city and six more injured. He added that a high-rise building and a business had been hit.

Three people were killed in Pokrovsk, in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces have taken control of a number of villages in recent weeks.

The Russian bombardment comes as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Moscow for a two-day state visit where he is due to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko condemns Russian ‘genocide’

Russia, which has denied targeting civilian infrastructure, said the damage to the children’s hospital was caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile.

However, the Security Service of Ukraine has published pictures of what it says are fragments of a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile recovered from the site.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov responded to the attacks by urging the country’s allies to help quickly strengthen its air defences.

“Our defence capabilities are still insufficient… We need more air defence systems,” he said.

Ukraine’s allies have condemned the attack on the Ohmatdyt hospital, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell accusing Russia of “ruthlessly targeting Ukrainian civilians”.

New UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy said “we must hold those responsible for Putin’s illegal war to account”.

UN chief António Guterres strongly condemned the strikes, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, adding he found the attack on the children’s hospital and another medical facility “particularly shocking”.

“Directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects is prohibited by international humanitarian law, and any such attacks are unacceptable and must end immediately,” he said.

The UN’s human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine has said civilian casualties have been mounting in recent months, as Russia renewed its air campaign. A recent report said May was the deadliest month for civilian deaths in almost a year.

Macron asks French PM to stay on as political deadlock continues

By Paul KirbyBBC News in Paris

Jubilation and stunned silence: France reacts to exit polls

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked his prime minister, Gabriel Attal, to remain in post “for the time being to ensure the country’s stability”, after election results left no party with an outright majority.

Mr Attal, who led the president’s Ensemble alliance’s election campaign, handed his resignation to Mr Macron on Monday, only for the president to refuse.

Although Ensemble lost many of its seats in Sunday’s parliament election, it came second, behind a left-wing alliance but ahead of the far right which had been expected to win.

The unexpected result leaves French politics in deadlock, with no party able to form a government by itself.

The New Popular Front, a left-wing alliance cobbled together after Mr Macron called the elections, argues that as the leading group in the next National Assembly it has earned the right to choose a prime minister.

They were due to meet on Monday to consider who to propose for the job, but there is no obvious candidate who would satisfy the radical France Unbowed (LFI) party as well as the more moderate Socialists, Greens and Communists.

Mr Attal had announced he would resign on Sunday night, but left open the possibility of remaining in the job as long as duty required him to do so.

It had been widely expected that his resignation would be rejected when he visited the Élysée Palace on Monday morning.

President Macron is due to fly to the US on Tuesday for a Nato summit and Paris is hosting the Olympic Games from 26 July.

While it is not yet clear how long he needs Mr Attal to stay in office, the president made it clear that France now needed a period of calm.

Outgoing Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned on Monday that the country was facing an immediate risk of financial crisis an economic decline.

Since the results came out, Mr Macron has sought to steer clear of the political fray. A statement on Sunday night said that while he would respect the “choice of the French people”, he was waiting for the full picture to emerge in parliament before taking the next, necessary decisions.

The National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella had been widely expected to win the election, after taking a strong lead in Sunday’s first round.

But even though their vote held up, with more than 10 million people backing RN and a group of conservative allies, they failed to come anywhere near the number of seats suggested by opinion polls,

They ended up with 143 seats, when they had set themselves the ambition of reaching an absolute majority of 289 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

The party’s two leaders had bitterly accused the left and centrist blocs of stitching up the vote, with more than 200 candidates dropping out to give a rival candidate a chance of defeating RN.

But by Monday, Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella were trying to look ahead.

“In just two years, progress has been incredible and makes victory for us inevitable in the short term,” said Ms Le Pen, thanking the 10 million voters who backed RN and its allies. “The number one party for numbers of votes and MPs.”

Mr Bardella was determined to focus on his future role in the European Parliament.

He is now going to lead a new grouping the European Parliament called Patriots for Europe, formed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Hungary has taken over the presidency of the EU this month, and already Mr Orban has angered several of his European counterparts by becoming the first EU leader to visit Russia’s Vladimir Putin in more than two years.

President Macron had called France’s snap parliamentary vote in response to RN’s victory in EU elections only a month ago.

India event organiser arrested after fatal crush

By Meryl SebastianBBC News, Kochi

The chief organiser of a religious gathering in northern India where 121 people were killed in a crush has surrendered to police, his lawyer says.

The incident in Uttar Pradesh state last week is one of the deadliest such disasters in the country in more than a decade.

Nearly all those killed were women and children who were attending the satsang – a Hindu religious gathering.

Chaos broke out at the end of the event as many in the crowd rushed towards the preacher leading the overcrowded congregation as he was about to leave in his car.

The tragedy has sparked outrage in India, leading to questions about lapses in safety measures and crowd management.

On Thursday, police said they had arrested six people who were part of a group that organised the event in Hathras district.

On Friday night, police said they had arrested Devprakash Madhukar, the main organiser of the event, in the Najafgarh area of the capital, Delhi, and handed him over to police in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state.

However, AP Singh, a lawyer for the preacher Bhole Baba who led the congregation, later said Mr Madhukar had surrendered to the police.

“We told you that we would surrender Devprakash Madhukar, take him in front of the police, interrogate him, participate in the investigation, and take part in the inquiry,” he told ANI news agency.

“We have handed him over to the special investigation team and the Uttar Pradesh police. Now a thorough investigation can be done.”

Mr Madhukar was produced before a local court and sent to 14 days in judicial custody.

He is a key suspect in the police complaint and is facing charges of attempted culpable homicide.

The complaint said officials had given permission for 80,000 people to gather, but some 250,000 people turned up to the event.

  • What we know about the India crush that killed 121
  • India preacher denies blame for crush deaths

The police report says thousands of devotees ran towards the preacher’s vehicle as he was leaving and began collecting dust from the path in an act of devotion.

Mr Singh, however, denied blame and told the BBC the crush occurred “due to some anti-social elements”. He blamed a “criminal conspiracy hatched against” his client.

He also denied reports that security guards at the festival had triggered panic by pushing away people who tried to get Bhole Baba’s blessing.

A three-member judicial inquiry commission has been established to investigate the incident.

Israeli forces bombard Gaza City as tanks re-enter central areas

By Sebastian Usher & Rushdi AboualoufBBC News, Jerusalem & Istanbul

Palestinians in Gaza City say they have experienced one of the most intense Israeli bombardments since Israel launched its war on Hamas after the group’s unprecedented 7 October attack.

Columns of Israeli tanks are reported to be closing in on the centre of the city from several different directions.

The Gaza Civil Emergency Service says it believes a number of people have been killed but has so far been unable to reach them because of fighting in several districts in the east and west of Gaza City.

The Al-Ahli Baptist hospital is reported to have been evacuated, with its patients being taken to one of the only medical facilities still functioning in the area – the already overcrowded Indonesian hospital.

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official has told the BBC that indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel on a ceasefire and hostage release deal are expected to resume in Qatar within 48 hours.

A preliminary meeting would take place in Egypt on Monday between US, Israeli and Egyptian intelligence chiefs, the official said.

Ahead of the assault in Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued evacuation orders for several neighbourhoods in the centre, including Tuffah, Daraj and the Old City.

But one of the areas that has come under the most intense assault, Tel al-Hawa, was not included in the evacuation order that was posted online with a map by the IDF Arabic spokesperson on Sunday.

On Monday afternoon, the IDF issued a new order that covered Tel al-Hawa as well as the Sabra and al-Rimal areas, to the north and west.

One resident of Gaza City, Abdel Ghani asked: “The enemy is behind us and the sea is in front of us, where shall we go?”

Others have also told the BBC that they do not know where to go. They say that only one route remains – to go north towards the port area of Gaza City.

Some fled districts after receiving an evacuation order, only to find that the area they moved to was coming under Israeli bombardment.

In al-Rimal, a freelance cameraman working for the BBC says that he did not receive any evacuation orders, but later learnt that his neighbour did.

He left the area with his family and headed north. They are now in the port area but lack basic necessities. He says he is struggling to find water for his children.

In a statement, the IDF confirmed that it launched what it called a new operation in Tel al-Halwa overnight, following what it said was intelligence of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad infrastructure and fighters in the area.

The military also said that it was operating at the headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, in the area.

The IDF said that at the start of the operation, it gave warnings to civilians – and it said that it would open up a humanitarian corridor for people to leave the area.

The latest Israeli offensive in Gaza comes as hopes have been rising that a ceasefire deal might finally be agreed.

A senior Palestinian official familiar with the talks has told the BBC that indirect negotiations between the Hamas and Israeli negotiating teams, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, will start in Doha within the next 48 hours.

The official also said a preparatory meeting was due to take place in Cairo on Monday between CIA director William Burns, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, David Barnea, and the head of Egyptian Intelligence, Abbas Kamel.

The three intelligence chiefs are then all due to travel to Doha on Tuesday.

The official outlined to the BBC several key sticking points from the Hamas perspective:

  • Hamas wants Israeli forces to withdraw from both the Rafah crossing with Egypt and the Philadelphi corridor, a strip of land running along the Egyptian border
  • Israel has vetoed Hamas’s demand for release from Israeli prisons of 100 senior figures from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah political factions

Hamas’s negotiating team has already dropped its requirement for Israel to accept a permanent ceasefire as a precondition for any potential deal.

The official said the negotiating process would be very long and complex, but that there was some degree of hope that it might work this time.

On Sunday, a statement by the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may have somewhat dampened expectations by insisting that any deal must not stop Israel from resuming fighting in Gaza until its war objectives are met.

Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly defined those aims as being the eradication of Hamas, both militarily and politically.

‘You’re not welcome here’: Australia’s treatment of disabled migrants

By Katy WatsonAustralia correspondent

When Luca was born in a Perth hospital two years ago, it flipped his parents’ world in ways they never expected.

With the joy came a shocking diagnosis: Luca had cystic fibrosis. Then Australia – Laura Currie and her husband Dante’s home for eight years – said they couldn’t stay permanently. Luca, his parents were told, could be a financial burden on the country.

“I think I cried for like a week – I just feel really, really sorry for Luca,” Ms Currie says. “He’s just a defenceless two-and-a-half-year-old and doesn’t deserve to be discriminated against in that way.”

With a third of its population born abroad, Australia has long seen itself as a “migration nation” – a multicultural home for immigrants that promises them a fair go and a fresh start. The idea is baked into its identity. But the reality is often different, especially for those who have a disability or a serious medical condition.

It is one of few countries that routinely rejects immigrants’ visas on the basis of their medical needs – specifically if the cost of care exceeds A$86,000 ($57,000; £45,000) over a maximum of 10 years. New Zealand has a similar policy but Australia’s is much stricter.

The government defends the law as necessary to curb government spending and protect citizens’ access to healthcare. It says these visas aren’t technically rejected. But neither are they granted. Some can apply for a waiver, although not all visas allow it. They could also appeal the decision but the process is lengthy and expensive.

Campaigners see this as discriminatory and out of step with modern attitudes towards disability. And after years of fighting for it, they are hoping for change in the coming weeks, with an official review of the health requirements under way.

Laura Currie and Dante Vendittelli had moved from Scotland for jobs that Australia desperately needs. She is a nursery teacher and he is a painter-decorator. They had started their application for permanent residency before Luca was born. But now they feel like the life they built here and the taxes they paid meant little.

“It’s like, we’re here for you [Australia] when you need us, but when the roles are reversed and we need you, it’s like, nope, sorry, you cost too much money, you go back to your own country.”

BBC
We still treat people with disability in the same way as we did in 1901.”

Australia has form when it comes to its strict immigration policies. It had its own version of “stop the boats”, which sent people arriving by boat to offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Island of Nauru and made controversial headlines in recent years. It was only in the 1970s that it entirely rid itself of the “White Australia” policy that started in 1901 with the Immigration Restriction Act, which limited the number of non-white immigrants.

The disability and health discriminations, which also date back to 1901, are still in place, says Jan Gothard, an immigration lawyer: “We still treat people with disability in the same way as we did in 1901 and we think they’re not people who are welcome in Australia.”

She is part of Welcoming Disability, an umbrella group that’s been pressuring the government to overhaul the law. Surprisingly, Australia’s Migration Act is exempt from its own Disability Discrimination Act.

Put simply, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Australia, if you were born in Australia, if you have private health insurance or even if you can pay for the support yourself – if you are deemed too much of a financial burden, you will fail the health requirement.

The government says that 99% of visa applicants meet the health requirement – 1,779 of them did not meet the bar between 2021 and 2022, according to official figures.

Immigration minister Andrew Giles, who declined to be interviewed, recently said that “any child born in Australia and adversely affected by the migration health rules can apply for ministerial intervention”, and that he himself had “positively intervened” in cases.

But families say that the process is gruelling at an already difficult time.

The price to stay

“There’s so much in your life going on when a child is sick, so much struggle and you’re struggling and begging and asking for petitions, asking people to help you,” says Mehwish Butt, who knows the challenge first-hand. She and her husband Qasim fought to stay in Australia in a case that drew global attention.

Their son Shaffan was born in 2014 with a rare genetic condition and a damaged spinal cord. He needs around-the-clock care. The Butts, originally from Pakistan, intended to return eventually, but Shaffan’s birth changed everything. Now, getting on a plane would risk his life.

Finally, in 2022 they were told they could stay. For those eight years, Qasim, a trained accountant, was unable to work in his chosen profession. Instead, he found jobs in cafes, in supermarkets and taxi apps to make ends meet.

“They should realise that’s a very difficult situation – you shouldn’t put people in the limelight,” Ms Butt says.

Ms Currie and her husband aren’t giving up either – Australia is home now for Luca and they are filling jobs that the country needs. They’re hoping that is enough to win them their appeal. If they lose, they will have 28 days to leave the country.

For Luca, the sticking point is a pricey drug, Trikafta. He is not on it and may not even be compatible with it. But it’s the basis of Australian estimates of his treatment – around A$1.8m That puts his medical costs over the permissible limit – A$86,000 over 10 years, also known as the Significant Cost Threshold.

While campaigners have welcomed the recent rise of the threshold – from A$51,000 to A$86,000 – they still don’t think it reflects average costs.

The government’s own data shows that Australia spent $9,365 per head on health goods and services in 2021-2022 and a further A$8,245 per person on welfare costs. Over a 10-year period – the maximum period assessed for a visa – that would amount to more than A$170,000. So campaigners have questioned how the government comes up with the threshold, which is half of that amount.

They also want the cost of educational support to be removed from the calculations. This impacts families whose children have been diagnosed with conditions such as Down Syndrome, ADHD and autism.

It’s a snag that has hit Claire Day’s plans for her and her family to follow her brother, who moved to Australia a few years ago.

Her younger daughter Darcy, who is nearly 10, has Down Syndrome. She’s been told by migration experts that because of that, she has little chance of being granted a visa.

On an overcast afternoon in Kent, she talks wistfully of the life she is looking forward to Down Under. Sunshine is no small attraction, but also “the lifestyle – [I want] a better environment for the children to grow up in,” she says.

An officer with London’s Metropolitan Police force for 21 years, she wants to take advantage of a major recruitment drive by Australian police forces. Their social media feeds are full of promotional videos fronted by former British police officers, showing them living the Australian dream, patrolling the beach in sand buggies and relaxing in the surf. They make up just some of the 30,000 British people who moved to Australia last year, according to government statistics.

Ms Day has not one, but two job offers – from Queensland’s police force and from South Australia. As part of the job, she’s also entitled to a permanent visa. Now, she is not so sure.

“I had hoped that it wouldn’t be an issue because Darcy doesn’t have any medical problems. She’s fit and she’s healthy, she goes to school and she participates in clubs and all of that sort of stuff.”

Stories like this have convinced campaigners that, at its heart, the policy is ableist.

“If we say to people with disability, ‘you’re not welcome here, we’re saying directly to people living with disability in this country, ‘you’re not welcome here either,” Dr Gothard says.

“[We’re saying] you know, given the opportunity, we would rather not have you.”

Social worker Shizleen Aishath says she was “gobsmacked” to find out about the health requirement – and she discovered it the hard way.

A former UN employee, she came to Australia for a further degree with every intention of returning to the Maldives. But she had an emergency C-section when her son Kayban was born in 2016. Forceps were used during the delivery. Kayban had undiagnosed haemophilia and suffered a serious brain bleed. He now needs round-the-clock care and the family chose to stay in Australia.

But Kayban was refused a temporary visa because he was deemed too much of a burden – although the family have private health insurance and don’t use state resources. The rest of the family were granted their visas.

“Disability is the only thing that stops you from migrating, there is nothing else,” Ms Aishath says.

After a lengthy appeal, Kayban was allowed to remain. His family is now preparing for their next fight – to stay in Australia indefinitely.

Payout for widow of Pakistani journalist killed by Kenyan police

By Natasha Booty and Ruth NesobaBBC News, London & Nairobi

A court in Kenya has awarded 10m shillings ($78,000; £61,000) in compensation to the widow of a prominent Pakistani journalist who was shot dead by police at a roadblock nearly two years ago.

Arshad Sharif was a TV anchor known for his robust criticism of Pakistan’s powerful military leaders and corruption in politics.

The father-of-five received death threats that he flagged to Pakistan’s top judge, before fleeing his home country to seek safety abroad.

Sharif’s killing two months later at the hands of police in the Kenyan town of Kajiado caused outrage, and the slow response by officials prompted UN experts to criticise both Kenya and Pakistan.

Kenya’s police had argued it was a case of mistaken identity but Sharif’s widow, Javeria Siddique, said it was a contract killing carried out on behalf of an unnamed individual in Pakistan.

‘A relief to me and my family’

On Monday, the Kajiado High Court rejected ruled that the Kenyan authorities had acted unlawfully and violated Sharif’s right to life. It duly awarded Ms Siddique compensation plus interest until payment in full.

“Loss of life cannot be compensated in monetary terms nor is the pain and suffering the family must have gone through. But there’s consensus that compensation is appropriate remedy for redress in violation of fundamental rights,” said Justice Stella Mutuku as she delivered the verdict.

The judge also ruled that Kenya’s director of public prosecutions and the independent policing oversight authority had violated Sharif’s rights by failing to prosecute the two police officers involved. The court has ordered both bodies to conclude investigations and charge the officers.

Reacting to the ruling, the lawyer representing Sharif’s widow, Ochiel Dudley, said “this is a win for the family and a win for Kenyans in their quest for police accountability”.

Sharif’s widow, Ms Siddique, expressed her gratitude to the Kenyan judiciary but added that her work was far from done.

“This ruling has come as a relief to me and my family, but I will not relent in getting maximum justice for my husband,” she said.

The BBC has asked the Kenyan authorities for their response to the ruling.

The police had given conflicting police accounts of Sharif’s death.

One account claimed the 49-year-old was travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser which officers mistook for a similar vehicle that had been reported stolen.

In another version of events, police claimed that one of the car passengers had opened fire and then officers responded by shooting back.

Like her late husband, Ms Siddique is a journalist, and filed the lawsuit alongside the Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association last October.

She and her co-petitioners were seeking transparency, an apology, and accountability from the Kenyan authorities for what they called Sharif’s “targeted assassination”.

She told the BBC she was still unable to get justice for her husband in Pakistan, but would continue to campaign for the protection of journalists and would seek the help of the UN and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

You may also be interested in:

  • Why two Indians disappeared on a July night in Kenya
  • Inside the world of Kenya’s ‘killer cop’
  • ‘I was shot by rebels’ – the dangers of reporting

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Floods kill six rhinos in India national park

By Meryl SebastianBBC News, Kochi

More than 130 wild animals, including at least six rare rhinos, have died in flooding at a national park in north-eastern India, officials say.

The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is experiencing its worst deluge in recent years.

The dead animals – many of whom died by drowning – include 117 hog deer, two sambar deer, a rhesus macaque and an otter.

In 2017, more than 350 animals died due to floods in the park and vehicle collisions during migration through animal corridors to the highlands.

Officials say they have rescued 97 animals from flood waters – 25 of them are receiving medical care while 52 others have been released after treatment.

Kaziranga is home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinos, which were nearly extinct at the turn of the century. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site, with over 2,400 one-horned rhinos.

The park is also a tiger reserve and home to elephants, wild water buffalo and numerous bird species. The endangered South Asian dolphins are also found in the rivers that criss-cross the park.

Last week, an 18-month-old rhino calf took shelter at a house in a village near the park and was rescued by the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation, the Press Trust of India reported.

Assam has been devastated by floods due to torrential rains, with major rivers in the state flowing above the danger level.

This year’s rains have inundated large parts of the park and submerged thousands of villages. More than 60 people have been killed and over two million people displaced in the deluge.

There has been extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure, as well as loss of crops and livestock.

Officials have warned of even more rain with water levels in the Brahmaputra river, which runs through the state, expected to increase in the coming days.

Across Assam, hundreds of relief camps have been set up to shelter the displaced.

Flooding and landslides are a common occurrence during the monsoon in north-eastern India and neighbouring countries.

Nobel laureate Alice Munro’s daughter reveals family secret of abuse

By Holly HonderichBBC News

The youngest daughter of acclaimed Canadian Nobel laureate Alice Munro has said that her step-father sexually assaulted her as a child, and that her mother stayed with him even after learning of the abuse.

In an essay published in the Toronto Star on Sunday, Andrea Robin Skinner described how her step-father began assaulting her in the summer of 1976 when she was nine years old and he was in his 50s.

One evening, when Munro was away, he “climbed into the bed where I was sleeping and sexually assaulted me”, Ms Skinner said.

Munro, who learned of the abuse years later, remained with him until his death in 2013.

The author, who died in May at the age of 92, is one of the most celebrated short-story writers in Canadian history.

Her collections often focused on life in small-town Ontario where she was raised, earning praise for their nuanced portrayals of women and girls.

In the weekend essay, Ms Skinner and her siblings said they believed this dark family story must also be part of Munro’s legacy.

“I never wanted to see another interview, biography or event that didn’t wrestle with the reality of what had happened to me, and with the fact that my mother, confronted with the truth of what had happened, chose to stay with, and protect, my abuser,” she said.

In her weekend piece, Ms Skinner said she was first assaulted during a summer visit to her mother and step-father, Gerald Fremlin, in their home in Clinton, Ontario.

She later told her step-mother, who then told her father, Jim Munro, who decided not to confront Alice Munro at the time.

Ms Skinner returned to her mother’s home the next year.

The step-mother, Carole, is quoted by The Star in a separate news story as saying: “I told her she didn’t have to go. But she wanted to spend time with her mother.”

The BBC has reached out for comment

Ms Skinner was initially relieved her father kept the family secret, she said, because of fears over how her mother would react.

“She had told me that Fremlin liked me better than her, and I thought she would blame me if she ever found out,” she wrote.

Over the next several years, during visits, the abuse continued.

Fremlin exposed himself to her during car rides, propositioned her for sex, and “told me about the little girls in the neighbourhood he liked”.

He lost interest when she became a teenager, Ms Skinner told The Star.

She said kept quiet about the abuse but in early adulthood found herself struggling at university and with her physical and mental health.

A few years later, in 1992, she revealed the abuse in a letter to her mother. She says Munro reacted as she had feared – “as if she had learned of an infidelity”.

Fremlin, meanwhile, wrote his own letters at the time to the family – excerpts of which were published by The Star – in which he admitted the abuse but blamed Ms Skinner.

“Andrea invaded my bedroom for sexual adventure,” Fremlin wrote.

“If the worst comes to worst I intend to go public. I will make available for publication a number of photographs, notably some taken at my cabin near Ottawa which are extremely eloquent … one of Andrea in my underwear shorts,” he said.

Amid the fallout, Alice Munro left Fremlin, staying at a flat she owned in British Columbia. But she returned to her husband after a few months and stayed with him for the rest of his life.

She said “that our misogynistic culture was to blame if I expected her to deny her own needs, sacrifice for her children, and make up for the failings of men”, Ms Skinner wrote.

In 2005, Ms Skinner reported the abuse to Ontario police, presenting the letters written by Fremlin.

Police charged him with indecent assault. He pleaded guilty, but “the silence continued”, Ms Skinner wrote, because of Munro’s fame.

In a statement, Munro Books, founded by Alice and Jim Munro and now independently owned, said that it “unequivocally supports” Ms Skinner’s decision to tell her story publicly.

In a separate statement released by the Canadian bookstore, the Munro siblings said that the store’s decision to acknowledge “Andrea’s truth, and being very clear about their wish to end the legacy of silence, the current store owners have become part of our family’s healing”.

After Covid and Olympics, Tokyo’s first female governor wins third term

By Toby LuckhurstBBC News, London

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has won a third consecutive term in Sunday’s gubernatorial election, securing her position for the next four years.

Ms Koike received more than 2.9 million votes – or 42.8% of the votes – in Sunday’s election, beating her opponents by a wide margin.

Her victory will be a relief for struggling Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who backed the 71-year-old in her contest as an independent candidate.

Ms Koike became Tokyo’s first female governor in 2016, and won her second term in 2020.

The conservative governor successfully guided Japan’s most populus city through the Covid-19 pandemic and its delayed summer Olympics in 2021, but also weathered controversies regarding her university credentials and infrastructure projects under her governorship.

Declaring victory, Ms Koike said her main challenge was “how to proceed with digital transformation as industries have changed significantly.”

She said she would consolidate efforts to keep improving Tokyo, including “the environment for women’s empowerment”, which she said was “insufficient [in Japan] compared to other parts of the world.”

Ms Koike’s appointment makes her one of the most powerful women in Japan’s male-dominated politics. She told the BBC that she won her first term “because I [am] a woman”.

“People prefer to have something new, or somebody new, in order to change society,” she said then.

With Tokyo accounting for about 11% of the country’s population and contributing to nearly 20% of its total GDP, it also puts her in charge of the city’s budget, which climbed to a staggering 16.55 trillion yen ($100bn; £80bn) this fiscal year.

She will now also have to work hard to improve Tokyo’s shockingly low birth rate, which came up as a major issue during this campaign. At 0.99 – less than one child per woman aged between 15 and 49 – it is the lowest of any region nationwide.

In all, 56 contenders were vying to lead the sprawling capital and a number of other cities in the prefecture. Voter turnout on Sunday was more than 60%, up from 55% in the 2020 race.

Observers had initially expected the election to be a neck-to-neck race between Ms Koike and prominent opposition politician Renho Saito.

Unexpectedly, Shinji Ishimaru, an independent candidate and the former mayor of Akitakata, a town in Hiroshima prefecture, placed second, a position that was long thought to be guaranteed for Ms Renho.

Ms Renho, 56, supported by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), came in third instead.

Mr Ishimaru, 41, was relatively unknown in Tokyo before the official campaign began.

His success is thought to be down to his appeal among young voters. During the election campaign, he focused on boosting his profile by reaching out to his large social media following.

As a former banker, he also focused on advancing the economy and industry of Tokyo.

After the polls closed, he told his supporters, “I did all I could”, alluding to the fact that he had no particular party affiliation, unlike the two main contenders.

Who is Yuriko Koike?

Yuriko Koike started her career as a journalist, working as a television news anchor before moving into politics in the early 1990s.

But it was not until 2016 that she came to true national prominence after winning the governorship of Tokyo for the first time. She was not the official candidate of LDP, but still managed to win comfortably, taking more than 2.9 million votes to become the first woman in the role.

“I will lead Tokyo politics in an unprecedented manner, a Tokyo you have never seen,” Ms Koike promised supporters on election night.

She officially left the LDP in 2017 to set up her own political party, though she retains the support of many in the party – who gave her their backing in the 2024 race.

Ms Koike vowed to focus on local issues during her term, including tackling overcrowding on public transport, as well as the culture of overworking in the city. But it was global issues that came to dominate her time in office.

The emergence of Covid-19 forced Tokyo to delay its summer Olympics, planned for 2020. Ms Koike won a second term that year after her successful handling of the pandemic, and garnered further praise for managing the delayed Olympics, held in the city in 2021 in the shadow of the coronavirus.

Ms Koike, however has not escaped scandal. An allegation that she never graduated from Cairo University – first reported during her first term – has never quite died away. Despite repeated denials from her and a statement confirming her graduation from the university itself, reports that she falsified her graduation documents still persisted during her try at a third gubernatorial term.

Opponents also criticised her for failing to follow through on her pledges in Tokyo. The trains remain overcrowded and overwork culture remains a problem, they say.

Of her 55 rival candidates, it had been expected Ms Renho would be Ms Koike’s main opponent.

The former upper house member was backed by the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, as well as the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party.

Ms Renho left the CDP before official campaigning started on June 20. She lost her Upper House seat when she filed her candidacy.

She rose to lead the centre-left group in 2016 as its first ever female head, but resigned a year later over poor results in Tokyo’s prefectural election.

Japanese media projected the race as a proxy war between national parties, as the conservative incumbent was challenged by the left-leaning opposition politician.

The gubernatorial election also took place amid a climate of general mistrust towards politics. Critics say this is linked in part to the economic difficulties of the Japanese followed by an end of the long historical period of deflation, and the weakening of the yen.

Justin Bieber performs at India’s mega wedding

By Flora DruryBBC News

Justin Bieber has become the latest in a string of international stars to perform for the son of India’s richest man and his wife-to-be as they celebrate their upcoming wedding.

The Canadian singer flew in to perform for Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant – along with their guests – in Mumbai at the weekend.

He had a lot to live up to. The couple’s first pre-wedding party featured Rihanna, while the second – a cruise around the Mediterranean – had performances from 90s teen heartthrobs The Backstreet Boys, singer Katy Perry and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

So it is with bated breath that Ambani wedding-watchers – of whom there are now legions around the globe – await news of who will perform at the actual wedding itself this weekend.

Rumours swirling on the internet suggest it could be Adele, but the family are remaining tight-lipped.

No expense is being spared on the wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s youngest son, putting it in a different league from even the most extravagant of Indian weddings. It outshines even his daughter’s nuptials, which featured a headline-grabbing performance by Beyoncé.

Last weekend Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant celebrated their sangeet ceremony – a night of music and dance ahead of the wedding ceremony. In typical style, the Ambanis went above and beyond what would usually be expected by guests.

It saw Mukesh Ambani, the head of Reliance Industries, with an estimated net worth of $115bn, according to Forbes, and the rest of the family take to the stage in their own choreographed dance to Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s hit song, Deewangi Deewangi.

It was also another chance for wedding-watchers to pore over the outfits worn by the guests – which included some of India’s most glamorous stars wearing dresses by the country’s top fashion designers.

It seems as much as the pre-wedding events have been concerts, they have also become catwalks, with stars sharing professional shots on their social media accounts ahead of the parties.

The cost of the three parties to date is not known. It was rumoured Rihanna had been paid $7m (£5.5m) for her performance, while the figure suggested for Justin Bieber is said to be $10m.

Exactly what the weekend’s three-day event holds remains to be seen. For some in India, it will come as a relief that the wedding and its extravagance is over, while those in Mumbai will be hoping it does not make the city’s famously bad traffic any worse.

Radhika was keeping her cards close to her chest when she told Vogue US last month that planning was “going great”, adding: “I’m very excited to be married.”

Rewards for tourists who litter pick in Copenhagen

By Anna LamcheBBC News

Tourists will be rewarded with free food and activities if they participate in environmentally friendly tasks while visiting Copenhagen, the city’s tourist board has announced.

The trial scheme, which begins on 15 July, will see tourist attractions in the Danish capital offer rewards for activities such as litter-picking or travelling by public transport or bike around the city.

Under the initiative, visitors can claim free lunches, glasses of wine and kayak rental in return for their work.

The “CopenPay” scheme is designed to offset the “environmental burden” of tourism, according to the Copenhagen tourist board.

“When you travel abroad – if you fly to other places or you travel by car – you pollute,” says the tourist board’s communications chief Rikke Holm Petersen.

“One of the things we can change is getting people to act more sustainably at the destination.”

The plan is only a “little step towards the green transition”, Ms Petersen admits.

The project is “trust-based”, meaning attractions are unlikely to ask for proof that the green activity has been completed. “In some attractions you might have to show a picture of you riding a bike, or of your public transportation ticket,” she says.

The government is not reimbursing the companies behind the attractions – including museums, rooftop bars and kayaking charities – for participating in the scheme. So far 24 organisations have signed up to the pilot.

Last year, Denmark recorded over 12 million overnight stays across the country, according to government statistics.

Ms Petersen anticipates a “small percentage” of visitors to the city will participate in the trial, which runs until 11 August.

Othy Jasper, a 25-year-old Londoner who will be travelling to Copenhagen for work in August, said he is “conscious” of his airmiles when he travels. “It can really rack up – you have to think is it essential, is it worthwhile? Of everything one can do, catching flights is possibly the worst for pollution.”

Speaking on the scheme, he says “it’s cool they’re doing something for the climate” but it would be unlikely he would spend time collecting litter in return for a reward.

“In terms of an incentive, it feels like a bit of an effort to do.”

If the scheme is judged to be a success it will be rolled out across the rest of the year.

“Imagine if we could have people taking a greener mindset back with them – if that was the souvenir they got – that would be amazing,” Ms Petersen says.

Tate brothers accused of being serial tax evaders

By Callum May & George WrightBBC News

Controversial social media personality Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have been accused of failing to pay any tax on £21m of revenue from their online businesses.

Devon and Cornwall Police is bringing a civil claim against the brothers and a third person, referred to only as J.

They are accused of paying no tax in any country on their online business revenue between 2014 and 2022.

The force is seeking to recover around £2.8 million in seven frozen bank accounts, an application the three defendants are contesting.

“Andrew Tate and Tristan Tate are serial tax and VAT evaders,” Sarah Clarke KC for Devon and Cornwall Police told Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

“They, in particular Andrew Tate, are brazen about it.”

Ms Clarke quoted from a video posted online by Andrew Tate, in which he said: “When I lived in England I refused to pay tax.”

The court heard he said his approach was “ignore, ignore, ignore because in the end they go away”.

The court also heard that the brothers had “a huge number of bank accounts” in the UK, seven of which have been frozen.

Ms Clarke said the money – from various products sold on websites including OnlyFans – had been “washed around” a huge number of UK bank accounts.

As well as owning extensive land, property and vehicles in Romania, the Tates had spent their earnings on “fast cars and property”, Ms Clarke said.

“That’s what tax evasion looks like, that’s what money laundering looks like,” she told the court.

The brothers are accused of paying just under $12m into an account in J’s name, and opening a second account in her name, even though she had no role in their businesses, the court heard.

Devon and Cornwall Police alleges that this was fraud by false misrepresentation.

Ms Clarke said all three would not provide any evidence in the case.

Money from the brothers’ businesses including Cobra Tate, Hustlers’ University and War Room was paid into the first account, held with payment service provider Stripe.

It was opened in February 2019 in J’s name with an incorrect date of birth, the court heard. Driving licences belonging to both Andrew Tate and J were later submitted to Stripe as proof of identity and address.

The majority of payments out of this account went to one of Andrew Tate’s accounts, the court heard.

J also moved money through her own Revolut bank account, including one payment of £805,000, the court heard.

Of this, £495,000 was paid to Andrew Tate, and £75,000 to an account in J’s name that was later converted to cryptocurrency, it is alleged.

The proceedings are civil, which uses a lower standard of proof than criminal cases.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring will decide on the balance of probabilities whether what the police claim is true.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday.

Andrew Tate is a self-described misogynist and was previously banned from social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views.

In a separate case in Romania, the Tate brothers, former kickboxers who are dual UK-US nationals, are accused of exploiting women via an adult content business, which prosecutors allege operated as a criminal group.

Two female Romanian associates were also named alongside the brothers in an indictment published in June last year, and seven alleged victims were identified.

Andrew Tate has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence against him and there is a conspiracy to silence him.

The internet personalities are also wanted in the UK over alleged sexual offences, which they deny.

After France’s election shock comes the real power struggle

By Andrew HardingParis correspondent

The drama and vitriol of France’s sudden summer election is over. Now comes the drama and vitriol of stage two – and what could be a much longer and equally agitated struggle to build a functional coalition out of the inconclusive results of Saturday’s vote.

“A lot of things are unclear. We know who lost but we don’t know who won. Can we learn the art of compromise which is so unusual for us? Nobody knows – the signs are not necessarily good,” Sylvie Kauffmann, a newspaper columnist for Le Monde, told me.

The risks of deadlock – for France itself, for its constitutional order, for European stability, and even for Ukraine’s war against Russian aggression – are serious.

Guillotines at dawn?

But it’s worth remembering that this country is no stranger to coping with political upheavals. Revolutions aside, there was the chaos and revolts that followed World War Two and eventually upended France’s constitutional order, leading to the current system of government, known as the Fifth Republic.

And more recently there were the challenges of “cohabitation”, when presidents and prime ministers from rival parties were obliged to share power.

As politicians now sidle away for their summer holidays, or refocus their attention on the imminent Paris Olympics, it seems more than likely that the political temperature in France will subside by a degree or two, at least briefly.

But the cohabitation battles of the 1980s and 1990s look like gentlemanly squabbles over a wine menu compared with the furious, guillotines-at-dawn brawls that many observers expect to preoccupy France’s National Assembly for weeks, or even months, to come.

Some wonder if the French electorate – by saddling parliament with three minority blocks of almost equal size – has rendered the country “ungovernable,” or whether it is simply faced with the sort of deal-making challenge that so many other European nations wrestle with almost as a matter of course.

Who will be the next prime minister?

Having emerged, to almost universal surprise, with the most seats at this parliamentary election, France’s left-wing coalition, the New Popular Front (NPF) has now earned the right to pick – or try to pick – the next prime minister and to implement its agenda.

But with no working majority, any viable candidate will need to win support from other, more centrist parties. Who could possibly fit that bill?

The NPF was quick to unite around a common platform ahead of the elections. But it contains deep political rifts – stretching as it does from anti-capitalists and communists to mainstream social democrats. The coalition is also home to some divisive figures, like the far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, who could quickly trigger the coalition’s collapse over the factionalism that has often marked the left of French politics.

Some wonder if the Green Party leader, Marine Tondelier, might be a good fit. Her relatively low profile could be an asset in a political landscape scarred by years of deeply personal, and sometimes vitriolic, feuding.

‘Macronism is dead’

In the midst of this, President Emmanuel Macron remains on his throne, scarred by self-inflicted political wounds, but arguably a little stronger than he was a few days ago.

His centrist grouping lost almost a third of its seats in the National Assembly as a result of his entirely unnecessary electoral gamble to dissolve parliament and call elections. But a disciplined frenzy of deal-making with the NPF helped it cling onto many more seats in the second round than the pollsters predicted.

Could deadlock in parliament enable Mr Macron to float above the chaos and strengthen his position? Even his allies seem sceptical, convinced he is now trapped in a “stranglehold” between the extremes he once promised to banish from French political life.

“Today, the President of the Republic will maintain a small margin of manoeuvre to act. But he will no longer be the political programmatic driving force in the country. From this point of view, after seven years, Macronism is dead,” Gilles Legendre, a disillusioned former MP who used to lead Macron’s party in the Assembly, told the BBC.

What next for National Rally?

As for the far-right National Rally (RN), it will no doubt recover quickly from the shock of Sunday night’s results, which prompted sombre silence at the party’s headquarters – a jarring contrast with the euphoric street celebrations by left-wing voters which swept through parts of Paris that same evening.

The RN has already sought to reframe its third-place disappointment as the result of cynical deal-making by a “dishonest alliance” of its rivals, rather than evidence of its own shallow pool of credible candidates and its failure to convince enough French voters of the sincerity of its move away from the extreme right.

The RN will surely try to promote its own agenda – including a clampdown on immigration and reforms of schools and policing. Its commitment to supporting Ukraine remains unclear, given the party’s recent support for the Kremlin and its occupation of Crimea. The RN must now be hoping that the Assembly is either deadlocked or dominated by an economically profligate far-left agenda that could further threaten France’s already strained budget.

Months, or even years, of turmoil could then give the party a chance to portray itself as a stable and modernising force, thwarted by left-wing extremists and old elites.

That in turn could, potentially, give the RN a good chance of increasing its vote share in any subsequent snap parliamentary election, or – and this is the real prize – sweeping its leader Marine Le Pen into the Presidency in 2027.

Bardella to lead new far-right European Parliament group

By Laura GozziBBC News

The leader of France’s far-right National Rally (RN), Jordan Bardella, will head a new right-wing grouping in the European Parliament, Patriots for Europe.

The announcement came the day after Mr Bardella’s party lost the second round of France’s snap legislative election.

In a post-election speech on Sunday night, Mr Bardella announced that the RN’s members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would join a “large group” that would influence the “balance of power in Europe, rejecting the flood of migrants, punitive ecology, and the seizing of our sovereignty”.

On Monday Mr Bardella said Patriots for Europe represented “hope for the tens of millions of citizens in the European nations who value their identity, their sovereignty and their freedom”.

He also vowed to “work together in order to retake our institutions and reorient policies to serve our nations and peoples”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Herbert Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and Andrej Babis, the leader of the populist Czech ANO, announced the launch of the Patriots for Europe alliance last month.

Mr Orban said they had signed a “patriotic manifesto”, promising “peace, security and development” instead of the “war, migration and stagnation” brought by the “Brussels elite”.

Within a week, parties from the right wing and far-right in 12 European countries said they would join the grouping, including the Portuguese Chega, Spain’s Vox, the Dutch VVD of Geert Wilders, the Danish Peoples Party, and Vlaams Belang from Belgium.

On Monday morning, the RN and Italy’s right-wing populist League party joined too, bringing the group’s total members to 84.

Most of these parties used to belong to the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, which will now likely cease to exist.

With 30 MEPs, Mr Bardella’s RN contingent will be the largest in the Patriots grouping.

The alliance is now the third-largest in the European Parliament, after the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the centre-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D).

Notably absent from the Patriots for Europe grouping are Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which belongs to the European Conservatives and Reformists alliance, and the German Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), which has been politically homeless following a string of scandals earlier this year.

Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party chairman Tom Van Grieken said the “right-wing, patriotic and nationalist parties” that make up the Patriots alliance have “more in common than what divides us”.

However, the parties do differ in some key areas – notably on their stance on Nato and on the EU’s support for Ukraine.

European elections were held on 9 June and resulted in gains for far-right and nationalist parties, although the centre-right also performed well, holding its position as the largest grouping and managing to gain seats.

The RN was one of success stories of the night. It won more than 30% of the vote, double that of French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party.

This spurred Mr Macron to call snap parliamentary elections. While the RN came out on top in the first round on 30 June, it lost to a left-wing coalition and to Mr Macron’s own Ensemble alliance in the second round, which took place on 7 July.

French far right voters say ‘dirty tricks’ won election

By Ido VockBBC News

“Victory was stolen from them using dirty tricks,” Corrine said as her children played in a playground in Eysines, a suburb of Bordeaux in France.

She couldn’t hide her disappointment that the party she backs, the far right Rassemblement National, came just third in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

“We were hoping for change and an RN government,” her friend Sylvie added. “Now we will have to put up with whatever comes next.”

Until Sunday, this constituency was held by the RN’s Grégoire de Fournas. He became one of the previous parliament’s most infamous members after shouting “they should go back to Africa” as a black colleague talked about a migrant rescue boat in 2022.

But Mr de Fournas was narrowly defeated by Pascale Got, a candidate of the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP), as part of a shock wave of successes for the alliance.

An emotional Mrs Got responded to the results by saying that the new parliament needed to “listen to what the French people want” and offer “progress and social justice”.

Though the RN made gains nationally, it came in third behind the NFP and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance, largely because of tactical withdrawals to concentrate the anti-far right vote.

RN president Jordan Bardella, who had hoped to be prime minister if his party won the election, claimed that the far right only lost because almost every other party in French politics, ranging from Marxists to right-wing economic liberals, united against it.

Shortly after polls closed, he condemned what he called an “alliance of dishonour” between the NFP and Ensemble, which both withdrew candidates in some contests to defeat the far right.

“An unnatural alliance prevented the French people from freely choosing a different type of politics,” he added.

Luna Aimé, an RN activist, said: “Nine parties had to join together to beat one, which still increased its number of MPs.”

The sense that the RN was prevented from winning by trickery resonated among its voters.

“I had a feeling that the RN would be blocked from winning. But I didn’t expect this many losses,” Sylvie said.

Corrine said the party had suffered a “huge defeat,” even though it increased its number of MPs from 89 to 143, its best result in history. It is now only slightly smaller than the other two blocs.

Her statement reflected the high expectations – played up by the RN before the vote – that it would be in a position to appoint a prime minister and govern France for the first time in the party’s history.

With the results nonetheless showing a big advance for the RN across France, party leader Marine Le Pen said victory for her party had been “merely deferred”.

Mr de Fournas thanked the 49% of voters in his constituency who had backed him and said: “Fixing the country will take a little longer than expected but it is certain that we will come to power one day.”

But many in the constituency were relieved that Mr de Fournas and the RN more broadly had been held off, at least for the time being.

Outside a cafe, Soufiane said France had always been and should remain a country where cultures mixed together.

He said: “De Fournas is a racist. When you tell a person of colour to go back to Africa, that says everything.

“I’m very happy that he lost.”

Who is the left-wing alliance that won France’s election

By Laura GozziBBC News

A left-wing coalition that was formed less than a month ago has won a shock victory at the second round of France’s snap parliamentary election.

The New Popular Front (NPF) is a broad church of centre-left and left-wing parties ranging from the Socialists to the Greens, the Communists and the radical left France Unbowed (LFI).

Although these parties have criticised one another in the past and have some key differences in their ideology and approach, they decided to form a bloc to keep the far right out of government when President Emmanuel Macron called an election on 9 June.

The tactic worked. Against every expectation, on Sunday the New Popular Front (NFP) won a total of 182 seats, ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance.

The far-right National Rally, which had come out top in round one a week ago, fell to third place.

The NFP managed such a remarkable comeback thanks to a concerted effort by left wing and centrist parties, which saw candidates withdraw from three-way races in order to concentrate the anti-RN vote. This occurred in around 200 constituencies and changed the outcome of the election.

What happens to the NFP now?

The NFP only arose out of genuine fear by leftist parties that the RN was about to seize power.

Now that scenario has been avoided, the members of the NFP need to find ways to work together in the National Assembly – and rallying together to stop the far right from winning a majority may turn out to have been the easy part.

Cracks began to show shortly after the exit polls were published on Sunday night.

Although NFP party leaders acknowledged the outcome was the result of a joint effort, they each celebrated the result on their own, and some crucial differences in how to approach the post-election phase are already starting to emerge.

Because the NFP did not win an outright majority, some on the left are saying their bloc will have to find support from other parties, like President Macron’s Ensemble alliance.

Raphaël Glucksmann, a centre-left politician who is a rising star within the Socialist Party, has already said opponents will have to come together and make deals, as they do elsewhere in Europe.

Francois Hollande, the former Socialist president of France who has now been elected as an MP, has said the NFP would have to “try, if possible” to form alliances with other groups – although he acknowledged this would be very difficult.

But Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the radical left firebrand leader of France Unbowed (LFI), has ruled out working with President Macron’s camp and has instead called for the NFP to be given the chance to name its own prime minister and to govern on its own.

What does the NFP want?

Shortly after they formed a coalition, the NFP put out a programme that included a promise to scrap the pension and immigration reforms passed by the current government, to set up a rescue agency for undocumented migrants and to facilitate visa applications.

The NFP also promised caps on basic goods to combat the cost of living crisis, boost housing subsidies and raise the monthly minimum wage to €1,600 (£1,350).

The alliance said it would finance its increase in social spending through a reform of the tax system, the restoration of the wealth tax and a windfall tax on corporations.

The total cost of the NFP’s economic programme has been estimated at €150bn (£126bn) a year.

Some economists have warned the programme is much too expensive given the current state of France’s finances. It could also set it on a collision course with Brussels. Only last month, the European Commission opened an excessive deficit procedure against France.

What just happened in France’s shock election?

By Paul KirbyBBC News in Paris
Jubilation and stunned silence: France reacts to exit polls

Nobody expected this. High drama, for sure, but this was a shock.

When the graphics flashed up on all the big French channels, it was not the far right of Marine Le Pen and her young prime minister-in-waiting Jordan Bardella who were on course for victory.

It was the left who had clinched it, and Emmanuel Macron’s centrists – the Ensemble alliance – had staged an unexpected comeback, pushing the far-right National Rally (RN) into third.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the veteran left-wing firebrand seen by his critics as an extremist, wasted no time in proclaiming victory.

“The president must call on the New Popular Front to govern,” he told supporters in Stalingrad square, insisting Mr Macron had to recognise that he and his coalition had lost.

His alliance, drawn up in a hurry for President Macron’s surprise election, includes his own radical France Unbowed, along with Greens, Socialists and Communists and even Trotskyists. But their victory is nowhere big enough to govern.

France is going to have a hung parliament. None of the three blocs can form an outright majority by themselves of 289 seats in the 577-seat parliament.

  • Live: France faces hung parliament deadlock after left alliance wins most seats

As soon as he had spoken, Mr Mélenchon went off to a much bigger square, Place de la République, to celebrate his success with a crowd of 8,000 people, according to police numbers.

For National Rally’s supporters the champagne was fast turning flat at their celebration-gone-wrong in the Bois de Vincennes forest to the south-east of Paris.

Only a week ago all the talk had been of a possible absolute majority, and Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella were still talking up their chances a couple of days before the vote.

Marine Le Pen put a brave face on it. “Two years ago we had just seven MPs. Tonight RN is the first party in France in terms of MP numbers.”

In the last parliament they had 88 MPs and now more than 140, so she was right. And no other party has more than 100 MPs, because the Macronists and the Popular Front are both coalitions.

Jordan Bardella complained that his party had been foiled by unnatural “alliances of dishonour”, forged by a “single party” made up of the Macron camp and the left. He wasn’t wrong about the unnatural alliance, but it is only a temporary one of convenience.

More than 200 candidates who saw themselves as part of a “republican front”, pulled out of the second round so that a better-placed rival could stop RN winning.

Not even Marine Le Pen’s younger sister, Marie-Caroline, was able to offer a glimmer of good news from her own election battle around Le Mans.

Her bid to get into parliament failed by just 225 votes, defeated by Mr Mélenchon’s candidate, Elise Leboucher, after the Macron candidate dropped out.

Turnout, at 66.63%, was the highest in a parliamentary second round since 1997. Even if RN’s vote held up, this time it was having to contend with non-RN votes often being used tactically to create a “barrage” or block against them.

All over France, RN was losing run-offs it needed to win.

Some of their candidates were less than appealing.

There was the woman who promised to stop making racist jokes if she was elected in Puy-de-Dôme; and then there was the ill-equipped young man in Haute-Savoie in the south-east who took part in a TV debate with his centrist rival and made barely any sense on anything.

They both lost, but they reflected RN’s big advance in rural areas.

RN scored 32% of the vote – 37% with their right-wing allies – and for more than 10 million voters a taboo has been broken.

In Meaux, east of Paris, RN won but not by much.

After casting her vote, Claudine said people she knew tended not to admit to voting RN, unless they were with close friends.

Before the projected result at 8pm, there was fevered speculation about whether President Macron would come out and speak. Word spread that he had gone into a meeting 90 minutes earlier.

Gabriel Attal, his beleaguered prime minister, eventually appeared to give the government’s response.

Four weeks ago, he had sat stony-faced and arms folded opposite the president as Mr Macron revealed his election plan.

Now he announced he would be handing his boss his resignation in the morning, but he would stay on as long as duty called.

Mr Attal is supposed to fly off on Tuesday evening to a Nato meeting in Washington. It’s hard to imagine him being replaced just yet.

France has entered a period of political instability with no obvious way out. There had been talk of unrest on the streets, but only a handful of incidents were reported in Paris and cities including Nantes and Lyon,

All eyes are now on the president, who will have to navigate a way out of this deadlock.

The new National Assembly is due to convene in 10 days’ time, but the Paris Olympics starts on 26 July and France could do with a period of calm.

Left-leaning newspaper Libération summed up the whole night with the headline .

A relief for them that voters brought RN’s bid for power to a halt. But it also means in colloquial French: “It’s crazy.”

Accused of witchcraft then murdered for land

By Njeri Mwangi in Kilifi county & Tamasin Ford in LondonBBC Africa Eye

BBC Africa Eye investigates a shocking spate of elderly people accused of witchcraft then murdered along Kenya’s Kilifi coast, and discovers the true motives behind the killings.

Seventy-four-year-old Tambala Jefwa stares vacantly out of his one remaining eye as his wife, Sidi, gently removes his shirt.

“They stabbed him with a knife like this and pulled,” she says pointing to the long scar stretching down from his collar bone.

She takes his head in her hands showing what happened in another attack. “They had to pull the scalp back and sew it together.”

Mr Jefwa was accused of being a witch and has been attacked twice in his home, 80km (50 miles) inland from the coastal town of Malindi. The first left him without an eye. The second nearly killed him.

The couple own more than 30 acres of land where they grow maize and raise a few chickens. There has been a dispute with family members over boundaries. They believe this was the real reason Mr Jefwa was almost killed, not that people genuinely believed he was a witch.

“I was left for dead. I lost so much blood. I don’t know why they attacked me, but it can only be the land,” says Mr Jefwa.

Belief in witchcraft and superstition is common in many countries.

But in parts of Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa, it can be used to justify killing elderly people to take their land.

A report called, The Aged, on Edge, by Kenyan human rights organisation Haki Yetu says one elderly person is murdered along the Kilifi coast every week in the name of witchcraft. Its programme officer, Julius Wanyama, says many families believe it is one of their own who orders the killing.

“They use the word witchcraft as a justification because they will get public sympathy. And people will say: ‘If he was a witch, it is good you have killed him.’”

Few people in this region have title deeds for their land. Without a will, they rely on passing it down customarily through the family. Mr Wanyama says seven out of 10 of the killings are elderly men because land ownership and inheritance lie with them.

“Historically people here in Kilifi do not have [land] documentation. The only document they have is the narrative from these elderly people. That is why mostly men are being killed, because once you kill them, then you have removed the obstacle,” says Mr Wanyama.

About an hour’s drive from the Jefwa family land is a rescue centre for the elderly run by the charity, Malindi District Association.

It is home to around 30 elderly people who have been attacked and are unable to go back to their own land.

Sixty-three-year-old Katana Chara, who looks much older than his years, has been here for around 12 months.

He had to move to the centre after he was attacked with a machete in his bedroom in April 2023. One hand was cut off at the wrist, the other just above the elbow. He can no longer work and needs help for the most basic tasks, from feeding and washing to dressing himself.

“I know the person who cut my hands, but we have never met face to face since,” he says.

Mr Chara was accused of being a witch over the death of another man’s child, but believes the real reason he was attacked was because of his six acres of land.

“I don’t have anything to do with witchcraft. I have one piece of land and it is at the seafront. It is a big piece of land.”

Many of Mr Chara’s family members were questioned over the attack but no-one was ever prosecuted. Activist Mr Wanyama has been trying to get justice for him.

“Very few people have been charged on the allegations of killings of elderly. And that’s why I think even the key people who are involved in killing, they feel they are free.”

After months of investigating, BBC Africa Eye managed to track down an ex-hitman who claims to have killed around 20 people. He says the minimum he got paid for each murder was 50,000 Kenyan shillings – around $400 (£310).

“If someone kills an old person, know that their family paid for it. It must be their family,” he tells BBC Africa Eye.

Pushed on how and why he thought it was his right to take someone’s life, he responds: “I may have done something bad because I was given the job and it is me that killed, but according to laws, according to God, the person who sent me is the guilty one.”

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights presented a document to the United Nations in February 2023 stating: “Witch burning, killings, and physical attacks are rife in regions such as Kisii in western Kenya and Kilifi county in coastal Kenya.”

It went on to say that younger family members seeking to acquire family land is a key motivating factor behind the killings. It said the attacks and killings increased during periods of drought and famine when sources of income become scarce.

Mr Wanyama says killings which use accusations of witchcraft to justify land grabs have become a “national disaster”

“It started as a regional issue, but now it has escalated… If we don’t address it, then we are losing our archives of the elderly. Those are the only live archives we can believe.”

In traditional African culture, the elderly are revered for their wisdom and knowledge.

In Kilifi, it is the reverse. Old people are so fearful of becoming a target, many dye their hair in an attempt to look younger.

It is rare for someone in this region to survive after being accused of witchcraft.

While Mr Chara is safe now he lives at the rescue centre for the elderly, for men like Mr Jefwa there is real fear that whoever tried to murder him will come back.

Watch the documentary Cry Witch: Take My Land, Take My Life on the BBC Africa YouTube channel or listen to the podcast on Assignment on the BBC World Service

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What’s the right punishment for ‘too big to fail’ Boeing?

By Natalie Sherman and Theo LeggettBBC News

Boeing is one of the largest and most important companies in the United States. Arguably, it is too big to fail. But is it also too big to be held to account?

The company is one of the world’s two main manufacturers of large commercial jets. It ranks among the top five US defence contractors.

It employs more than 170,000 people globally, including 150,000 in the US, and generated revenues of nearly $78bn (£60bn) last year. It makes a vital contribution to the US economy.

But its commitment to safety has repeatedly been called into question, most recently following an incident earlier this year in which a disused door fell off a Boeing 737 Max minutes after takeoff.

Whistleblowers have since made a series of claims about alleged unsafe practices in Boeing’s factories, as well as in those of its main supplier, Spirit Aerosystems.

Critics say the company has not taken its problems seriously – and that regulators, cowed by the firm’s importance, are not taking the steps necessary to force Boeing to fix its problems.

A new deal for the firm has amplified those claims.

This week, the firm agreed to plead guilty to an existing criminal fraud charge, which was brought after two near-identical crashes involving Boeing’s brand new 737 Max, that occurred more than five years ago, killing 346 people.

Family members of many of those killed have said the agreement, which will be submitted to a judge for approval, is far too lenient.

“The plea deal with Boeing unfairly makes concessions to Boeing that other criminal defendants would never receive and fails to hold Boeing accountable for the deaths of 346 persons,” their lawyer Paul Cassell wrote in a written objection to the deal.

The deal stems from an investigation that started in 2019, after the second crash.

Investigators later concluded that Boeing had cut corners during the design of its 737 Max, and deceived regulators.

Boeing was accused of putting profits ahead of passenger safety.

In 2021, Boeing agreed to pay a $2.5bn settlement, but avoided prosecution on a criminal fraud conspiracy charge.

But in May the Department of Justice (DoJ) found Boeing broke the terms of that settlement by not implementing and enforcing a suitable compliance and ethics programme.

As part of its guilty plea, Boeing agreed to pay a $243.6m penalty and submit to independent monitoring for three years.

It also agreed that its board of directors would meet with victims’ families and pledged to invest some $455m in safety improvements.

Erin Applebaum, a lawyer who represents 34 families who lost loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, said the deal was “nothing more than a slap on the wrist and will do nothing to effectuate meaningful change within the company”.

The DoJ said the agreement did not preclude action against any individual executives or against the company for conduct that occurred after the 2018 and 2019 crashes.

But officials left some key questions – such as how the guilty plea would affect Boeing’s ability to bid for government work – unanswered.

In Washington, the agreement was greeted by some calls from lawmakers for further action.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who has led hearings focused on Boeing’s retaliation against whistleblowers said, individuals, not just the company, should face consequences “for past illegalities as well as continuing retaliation against whistleblowers & other wrongdoing”.

“This plea deal cannot be the end of Boeing’s accountability,” he wrote on social media. “The need for ongoing aggressive investigative efforts and other action is obvious.”

“Regardless of the DOJ’s efforts, Congress must not let up on its own oversight of both Boeing and the FAA, and that is something I plan to continue to pursue,” Senator Tammy Duckworth added.

Before the deal was announced, others had expressed concerns that Boeing was too important to be held fully accountable.

“I’ll go back to the reality of the fact that we all want Boeing to succeed,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson said at a hearing in April.

“We don’t want to think that there are conditions in these planes that should really force regulators to ground these planes – what that would do to our economy, what that would do to people’s lives.”

Analysts said there was little doubt Boeing’s status as a major contractor to the US military would have been a key factor in deciding what action to take against the company.

In 2022 alone, it racked up more than $14bn worth of contracts with the Department of Defense.

“That may matter the most regarding not the direct terms of the plea, but rather the negotiations over possible debarment or suspension from contracting,” said Prof Brandon Garrett of Duke University School of Law, who tracks corporate prosecutions.

There is also Boeing’s position in the commercial aviation market to consider.

The crises have already taken a heavy toll on the company, which has lost money every year since 2019, a sum totalling more than $30bn.

But the market currently needs Boeing if airlines are to obtain the planes they need.

The aerospace giant currently has orders for more than 6,000 jets, representing years of production. Its great rival Airbus has an even larger backlog, and has been struggling to produce enough planes to meet demand.

In the future the company will also have to be in good shape if it is to see off the threat from an emerging rival.

“Boeing’s too big to fail, but it’s not too big to be mediocre,” says Ronald Epstein, a managing director at Bank of America, who follows the firm.

Chinese state-backed manufacturer Comac is now producing the C919 passenger jet, a potential rival to the 737 Max and Airbus A320 neo. It began commercial flights in May.

Its order book is tiny compared to those of Airbus and Boeing but in the longer term it could profit from any weakness at the American giant.

There is also potential for Brazil’s Embraer, a successful manufacturer for smaller regional airlines, to move into the space occupied by Boeing and Airbus.

All of this may explain why the DoJ has not imposed steeper penalties on Boeing. Nevertheless, the company has admitted to a serious crime.

That in itself is a major development. The question now is whether the DoJ has done enough to deter future wrongdoing.

She accused Assange of sexual assault, but is glad he’s now free

By Phelan ChatterjeeBBC News

Swedish human rights activist Anna Ardin is glad Julian Assange is free.

But the claims she has made about him suggest she would have every reason not to wish him well.

She is one of two women who accused the WikiLeaks founder of sexual assault 14 years ago.

The allegations – which Assange has always denied – were explosive, and made headlines across the world. They set off a chain of events which saw him trying to avoid extradition to Sweden by seeking asylum in a London embassy for seven years.

In 2019 the Swedish authorities ended their investigation. However, he spent the next five years in a British prison fighting extradition to the US, where he faced prosecution over massive leaks of confidential information.

These include US army footage showing Iraqi civilians being killed, and documents suggesting the US military killed hundreds of Afghan civilians in unreported incidents.

Assange was eventually freed last month, after a plea deal with the US.

Ardin is fiercely proud of Assange’s work for WikiLeaks, and insists that it should never have landed him behind bars.

“We have the right to know about the wars that are fought in our name,” she says.

“I’m sincerely happy for him and his family, that they can be together. The punishment he’s got has been very unproportionate.”

Speaking to Ardin over Zoom in Stockholm, it quickly becomes clear that she has no problem keeping what she sees as the two Assanges apart in her head – the visionary activist and the man who she says does not treat women well.

She is at pains to describe him neither as a hero nor a monster, but a complicated man.

The 45-year-old activist is also a Christian deacon, with a belief in forgiveness, and she uses the words “truth” and “transparency” again and again throughout the interview. It might explain why she is in awe of what WikiLeaks accomplished but, at the same time, bitterly disappointed that the assault allegations she made against Assange were never formally tested.

Ardin describes her encounter with Assange in her book, No Heroes, No Monsters: What I Learned Being The Most Hated Woman On The Internet.

In 2010, just three weeks after WikiLeaks’ release of the Afghan war logs, she invited him to Stockholm to take part in a seminar organised by the religious wing of Sweden’s Social Democrats.

Assange did not want to stay at a hotel for security reasons and Ardin was due to be away, so she offered him her flat. But she returned early.

After an evening of discussing politics and human rights, they ended up having what she describes as uncomfortable sex during which she says he humiliated her.

Ardin says she was pressured into having sex with Assange and stressed he must use a condom, but the condom broke and he continued.

She says he deliberately broke the condom. If this was the case, he probably would have committed an offence under Swedish law.

Later, Ardin writes that she heard from another woman – named in legal papers as SW – who had attended the seminar. SW apparently said that Assange had penetrated her without her consent when she was asleep.

In a 2016 statement to Swedish prosecutors, Assange maintained that his sexual relationship with SW was entirely consensual, and that in texts seen by his lawyers, she told a friend that she had been “half asleep”.

Both women filed police reports – Ardin’s case was categorised as alleged sexual misconduct, and SW’s as alleged rape.

The press got hold of the reports, setting off an extraordinary series of events.

Assange denied the allegations, and suggested that they were a US set-up. WikiLeaks had just leaked 76,000 US military documents – sparking massive global attention and scrutiny of US foreign policy.

On 21 August, 2010, WikiLeaks tweeted: “We were warned to expect ‘dirty tricks’. Now we have the first one.”

Another post followed the next day: “Reminder: US intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks as far back as 2008.”

Assange’s UK lawyer Mark Stephens claimed that a “honeytrap” had been sprung and that “dark forces” were at work.

A social media furore erupted which Ardin describes as “hell” – she tells me the amount of harassment and death threats forced her to leave Sweden at one point.

“I couldn’t work. My life passed me by for two years.”

To this day, many believe Ardin is part of a US conspiracy, and that her allegations are false. Greece’s former Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, a long-time supporter of Assange, last week described her claims as “mud” and “innuendo”.

No evidence has ever been found to link Ardin with US intelligence. She concedes that the narratives spread by Assange had an air of plausibility, because he had been “messing with the Pentagon”, but says the claims were nothing but “lies” and a “smear campaign”.

Months after the incidents, an international arrest warrant was issued for Assange, who was in London at that point.

In December 2010, he admitted to the BBC that it was “not probable” he was part of a classic honey-trap operation – but he still denied any wrongdoing.

Assange was convinced that if he went to Sweden he would then be extradited to the US – where he feared the death penalty awaited. In 2012, he took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Sweden refused to guarantee he would not be extradited to the US, but said any move to do so would need to be approved by the UK too. Both countries also said they would not extradite him if they thought he might face the death penalty.

In 2015, Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation into Ardin’s allegations as time had run out.

In 2019, prosecutors abandoned their investigation into SW’s claims, saying the evidence had “weakened considerably due to the long period of time since the events in question”.

By this time, Assange was being held in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, facing extradition to the US on espionage charges. If convicted there, he could have faced 170 years behind bars.

Assange finally won his freedom in 2024, after agreeing to plead guilty to a single charge under the US Espionage Act.

Ardin still wishes he had faced trial for the alleged assault against her. “But he won’t. So I have to let it go.”

She says some of her doubters don’t take her seriously because they don’t think the details of her experience, or reaction, were dramatic enough.

She suggests there’s an expectation of sexual assault to always be brutal, involve a lot of violence, and leave the victim heavily traumatised – and if that doesn’t happen you can’t be a real victim, or a real offender.

But that doesn’t align with what Ardin describes as the reality of her experience. She stresses that doesn’t make it any less serious or unacceptable.

She slams many of Assange’s supporters – and journalists – for seeking a “one-sided narrative” which turns him into a hero, and her into an evil CIA agent.

“I think that we have a problem that we have to have these heroes that are flawless… I don’t think heroes exist outside fairytales.”

Ardin says her intention was never to write off Assange as a one-dimensional villain, to be “kicked out of society”.

Offenders are seen as “monsters, completely different from all other men”, she says. And this means the “system goes on”, she argues, as “normal” men don’t realise that they, too, can be prone to violence – so they don’t interrogate themselves.

“I want him to be seen as a normal guy. That’s what normal guys do sometimes. They cross other people’s boundaries.”

She thinks that progressive movements often have problems calling out leaders, fearing any criticism delegitimises the entire cause. “You can’t be a leader and abuse the people who are active in your movement, because the movement will not survive.”

People should not be able to get away with sexual crimes, or any crimes just because they’re influential, she adds.

The BBC contacted Assange’s lawyers for comment on the claims repeated by Ardin in our interview with her, but they said he was “not in a position to respond”.

I ask what justice would have looked like for her at the end of this saga.

Ardin tells me she is only interested in getting to what she describes as the truth. She is less interested in punishment.

“Justice for me would have been to have transparency. I was not happy that he was locked up because he was [locked up] for the wrong reason.”

Ardin is a left-wing Christian who attaches great importance to reconciliation and transformation.

But for that to be possible, she says that perpetrators need to own up and genuinely commit to change.

After all this contemplation, I wonder what she would say to Assange, if face to face with him now.

Ardin tells me she would urge him to work on himself.

She would ask him to admit that he “did not have the right to do what he did to me, and he doesn’t have that right towards other women either”.

“He has to admit that for himself… He has to reflect on what he did.”

BBC Action Line

Who could replace Rishi Sunak as party leader?

By Andre Rhoden-PaulBBC News

Rishi Sunak has pledged to remain Conservative Party leader until arrangements are in place for selecting his successor, following the party’s worst election defeat in its parliamentary history.

So far none of the party’s 121 surviving MPs have confirmed whether they plan to run in the eventual contest to replace the former PM.

Two-time former leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt has reportedly ruled himself out of a run for the job, telling GB News “the time has passed”.

Here we look at some of those who might decide to throw their hat into the ring when the party’s leadership election gets going.

Kemi Badenoch

The ex-business secretary is seen as a frontrunner among the right of her party and has consistently attracted high approval ratings among party members in surveys conducted by Conservative Home, a popular website among activists.

Speaking at her count on election night, the North West Essex MP said the Conservatives had lost the public’s trust and the party had to ask “some uncomfortable questions” to address.

The 44-year-old Brexiteer previously ran for Conservative leader following the resignation of Boris Johnson and came fourth despite starting the race with a relatively low-profile.

It is arguably through her other former role – as minister for women and equalities – that she has emerged as a darling of the modern Conservative right for her stance on trans rights.

Suella Braverman

The 44-year-old MP has not ruled out a leadership run, but told GB News reflecting on what caused the Tory election defeat was a more urgent task than electing a new leader.

Ms Braverman had a spectacular exit from government in late 2023, when she was sacked as home secretary after accusing the police of political bias over pro-Palestinian marches.

She continued to hit the headlines over the demonstrations, describing them as “hate marches” and claiming that Islamists and extremists were “in charge now”.

It was the second time she had left that role, following her resignation in October 2022 after sending an official document from her personal email.

After leaving office she fired semi-regular broadsides at Mr Sunak’s record on migration, and rebelled over his blueprint to implement the now-failed Rwanda deportation scheme, a programme she once described as her “dream” to deliver.

She stood in the 2022 leadership contest to replace Mr Johnson, but was eliminated in the second round of voting among Tory MPs.

At her count on election night, she said “sorry” on behalf of her party for “not listening” to the public, saying the Tories “did not keep our promises”.

James Cleverly

The MP for Braintree has yet to declare his intentions. “What might happen in the future I’ll leave that for the near future,” he told Sky News.

James Cleverly has been an MP since 2015 and served in the cabinets of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Sunak, becoming the first black foreign secretary.

The 54-year-old succeeded Suella Braverman as home secretary during Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle in November 2023.

He has attracted criticism for some gaffes, including telling LGBT footballs fans to be respectful at the Qatar World Cup, denied making derogatory comments about Stockton-on-Tees in the Commons and apologised for joking about spiking his wife’s drink at a Downing Street reception.

Priti Patel

Former Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel, 52, has said the Tories need to take a “pause and stocktake” following their election loss.

She became MP in 2010 and served as international development secretary under Theresa May, but quit amid controversy over unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials.

As home secretary under Boris Johnson, she launched the points-based immigration system, sealed a returns deal with Albania and Serbia and signed the controversial deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers to the country.

Her time in office was also met with criticism, including getting involved in a row with England footballers over taking the knee, and an inquiry finding her to have broken rules on minsters’ behaviour – she strongly denied bullying allegations.

She resigned as as home secretary after Liz Truss became Tory leader.

Tom Tugendhat

The outgoing security minister Tom Tugendhat has repeatedly refused to rule himself out of bidding to become party leader during the election campaign.

The Tonbridge MP, 51, previously lost the leadership race against Liz Truss, during which he pitched himself as offering a “fresh start” and “bridge the Brexit divide”.

The former Army officer is seen as being on the centrist wing of the party, which could prove a problem with more right-leaning party members.

Mr Tugendhat voted remain during the Brexit referendum. He was highly critical of the Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

Victoria Atkins

Victoria Atkins has not ruled out standing in the leadership race but said it was not yet time for contenders to launch their campaigns.

She told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “This weekend is not about leadership.”

Having spent little more than six months in cabinet as health secretary, she is being discussed as a potential contender from the moderate wing of the party.

The 48-year-old became MP for Louth and Horncastle in Lincolnshire in 2015 and retained her seat in the general election, despite her majority significantly dropping.

Robert Jenrick

Robert Jenrick, 42, has said the Tories suffered a “devastating” general election defeat because the party failed to deliver on its promises to the public.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, he refused to talk about his leadership ambitions. “The first step for the party is to have a proper honest diagnosis about what’s gone wrong,” he said.

Last year he resigned his role as immigration minister, saying the government’s emergency Rwanda legislation did not go far enough.

He claimed “stronger protections” were needed to stop legal challenges that were “paralysing” the scheme.

That year he also made headlines for instructing painting over murals of cartoon characters at a reception centre to welcome child asylum seekers in Dover.

He became an MP in 2014 and also served as housing minister under Boris Johnson.

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Are deep shifts in Muslim and Jewish voting here to stay?

By Aleem MaqboolReligion editor

However big the headline change in the vote between the past two elections, drill down into two demographic pockets of Britain and you find staggering shifts.

It all centres around the relationships between the Labour Party and not just Muslim voters, but Jewish voters too.

It leaves a party in government that has made progress in winning back trust among people from one faith group while suddenly finding itself with a lot of work to do to win back many members of the other.

The drop in the Labour vote share among British Muslims between 2019 and 2024 very obviously played out in several constituencies. This happened most dramatically in Leicester South, with a Muslim population close to 30%, where Shadow Paymaster General Jon Ashworth lost his seat to independent Shockat Adam.

In the seat of Dewsbury and Batley, in Birmingham Perry Barr and in Blackburn, there were wins for independents in what had been safe Labour seats with large numbers of Muslim voters.

In places like Bradford West and the seat of Bethnal Green and Stepney in east London, sitting Labour MPs clung on with startling reductions in their majorities.

Mish Rahman, from Walsall, is not just any Muslim voter. He currently sits on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party, a body of fewer than 40 members.

He is furious with the party’s response to the killing of tens of thousands of people in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there.

“In my community it has got to the point where I am now embarrassed about my affiliation with Labour,” he says.

“It was hard even to tell members of my own extended family to go and knock on doors to tell people to vote for a party that originally gave Israel carte blanche in its response to the horrific 7 October attacks,” says Mr Rahman.

He lays the blame for the decline in Muslim voting for Labour squarely at the door of the Labour leader.

Sir Keir Starmer was criticised by many in his party, including councillors, for an interview with LBC in October in which he suggested that Israel “had the right” to withhold power and water in Gaza. His spokesman subsequently suggested the Labour leader had only meant to say Israel had a general right to self-defence.

Then when Labour MPs were told by the party leadership in November to abstain from voting on an SNP-led motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, some Labour councillors resigned and, for many Muslims, trust in their Labour MP was lost.

Faith communities are far from homogenous, of course. There are myriad factors that govern how a person will cast their vote, but faith does throw up a unique set of considerations that plays out in broad voting patterns.

Muslims are estimated to form around 6.5% of the population of England and Wales, with around 2% in Scotland and 1% in Northern Ireland.

Well over 80% of Muslims are believed to have voted for Labour in 2019. Research just ahead of the 2024 election suggested that had dropped nationally by up to 20 percentage points, and in some constituencies the Muslim vote for Labour clearly fell further.

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The contrast with Jewish voting data could not be more stark. In 2019, the proportion of British Jews (about 0.5% of the population) who voted for a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn is thought to have collapsed to just single figures. Research suggests that figure could have climbed back to above 40%.

“What we have seen is a huge bounce-back for Labour among Jewish voters,” says Adam Langleben, who was until recently the national secretary of the Jewish Labour Movement.

Mr Langleben, a former Labour councillor and now director of Progressive Britain (formerly Progress), points to Labour wins in London in the Finchley and Golders Green seat and also Hendon as well as Bury South in Greater Manchester, all constituencies with large Jewish populations.

“Jewish voters returning to the party has undoubtedly delivered seats to the Labour Party,” says Mr Langleben.

“You don’t need a majority of Jewish voters to win in these constituencies, but you also can’t only have 7% of them voting for you and expect to win,” he says.

Mr Langleben had been a senior member of the Jewish Labour Movement but was one of many Jewish members of the party to give up their membership during the Corbyn era. When he left in 2019, he said it was on account of the party being “led by antisemites”, an accusation always strongly denied by those leading the party at the time.

“It was a situation that was all-consuming. I would be canvassing for the Labour Party in a Jewish area and had people in tears on the doorstep saying there was no way they could vote for Jeremy Corbyn, and I was trying to juggle this huge personal tension,” he says.

Mr Langleben puts Mr Corbyn’s problems down to both a lack of personal reflection about who he was associating with, and what he says was the party’s inability to deal with extreme elements in its base and tolerance of the use of antisemitic tropes.

“From day one, Keir Starmer pledged to work with the Jewish community to try to deal with the issues inside the Labour Party. For him, fixing what went wrong was a personal mission,” he says.

But given that Keir Starmer supported Jeremy Corbyn throughout his leadership, Jewish voters at hustings in synagogues and community centres around the country had been grilling Labour candidates as to why they should trust the current leader now.

“The Jewish vote is now split and that’s how it should be. The results show there wasn’t a dominant party of choice, and that’s healthy, and still represents a huge transformation for Labour,” says Mr Langleben.

So while mistrust clearly still remains, what is responsible for the transformation in the perception of the Labour Party among some British Jews?

The fact that the current leadership’s criticism of Israel’s response to the 7 October attacks has been more tempered than it may have been under the previous leadership may have contributed.

But long before that, Mr Langleben cites a change in the way complaints around “protected characteristics” like faith are dealt with by the party, but also refers to one thing that convinced him he was right to re-join the party.

“The fundamental moment was Jeremy Corbyn being suspended from the Labour Party and then subsequently having the whip removed, because it showed Keir Starmer’s determination and his willingness to take on parts of the party that previously he had not been willing to take on,” he says.

Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension is precisely identified by Mr Rahman too as the first major showdown between different wings of the party under Keir Starmer.

Except, as someone who had been inspired by Mr Corbyn from the days of Stop the War protests in the lead-up to the UK-backed invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mr Rahman was on the other side, saying that was the moment when the alarm bells started ringing for him that the party leaders were not safeguarding the values he believed in.

Mr Rahman does not see the party’s anti-Muslim slant as being limited to its response to events in Gaza. He does not question there have been serious cases of antisemitism but does not believe all accusations of racism are treated equally.

“There is a clear hierarchy of racism in the Labour Party. Some instances of racism, including Islamophobia, aren’t taken as seriously as they should,” he says.

Mr Rahman cites the case of Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the EHRC, who was suspended for alleged Islamophobia.

Mr Phillips had said British Muslims were “a nation within a nation” and previously that their opinion was “some distance away from the centre of gravity of everybody else’s”, though later he suggested this had not necessarily been meant as a criticism.

Mr Phillips was readmitted to the party in 2021 without it going to a panel inquiry.

Mr Rahman, like many other Muslims, also points to Keir Starmer’s own comments, like those made in a Sun livestream during the election campaign, when he talked of migrants being sent back to the countries they came from.

“At the moment, people coming from countries like Bangladesh are not being removed because they’re not being processed,” the Labour leader said.

“Can you imagine the Labour Party saying that about people of any other ethnicity? Saying they’re going to deport people to Israel or Ukraine or Hong Kong? It wouldn’t happen and neither should it,” says Mr Rahman.

Such is his disenchantment with Labour’s response that, coupled with wider concerns regarding the treatment of Muslims, he lays a serious charge against the party.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that Labour is currently institutionally Islamophobic,” says Mr Rahman.

Mr Rahman wants to use his voice to call out hypocrisy in the party while in government, in the hope that it will learn what he says is a lesson of this election – that no voter can be taken for granted.

Mr Rahman did give up his membership of the Labour Party once before, in protest at Tony Blair’s role in the Iraq War.

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He, and other Muslims, felt persuaded to come back to the party in 2014 when the then-leader Ed Miliband condemned the scale of an Israeli operation in Gaza and the hundreds of civilian deaths.

Once again, at the same moment, Mr Langleben was seeing things very differently on the doorsteps of Jewish voters.

Even though Mr Miliband was himself Jewish, it was a time when polls were showing a rapid decline in Jewish support for Labour, particularly when the party’s 2015 manifesto talked about a parliamentary vote to recognise a Palestinian state.

“There were sometimes quite horrible conversations with Jewish voters who really cared about the issue of Israel,” says Mr Langleben.

“People in 2015 were accusing the Labour Party of antisemitism, but I think it fundamentally misread what antisemitism is. Then, it was a primarily about a foreign policy issue, Israel. That changed by 2019 when conversations were around a particular strain of far-left anti-Jewish racism,” says Mr Langleben.

For some of those supportive of the Corbyn-era leadership, that sense that criticism of Israel was being conflated with antisemitism was also something they felt occurred while he was leader.

The Hamas attacks of the 7 October 2023 happened during the week of the Labour Party conference and Mr Langleben says it was strange to see normal political business go on while he and other Jewish delegates were going through a difficult and upsetting period.

Ultimately, Mr Langleben says he has been pleased with the way Keir Starmer has handled the crisis, seeing it as Labour realigning itself with UK and US government policy on Israel.

This is precisely why during this election campaign, Mr Rahman had the hardest conversations on the doorsteps of Muslim voters he had ever had, with anger and frustration boiling over about Israel’s actions in Gaza.

“If you look back at the history of the relationship between our communities and the Labour Party, it’s always been a one-sided affair of loyalty from our communities,” Mr Rahman says. The Labour Party’s roots in his own family go back to his grandfather, who was a factory worker in the 1950s and 60s. Mr Rahman talks of feeling “betrayed”.

Gaza of course is not just a Muslim issue, and not all Muslims ranked it is one of the key considerations on which they voted, but it had an impact.

Similarly, Israel policy is not necessarily a major consideration for all Jewish voters, and even for those for whom it is, there are those who are highly critical of the Israeli government and are at odds with the response of Labour under Starmer.

But while over the decades the Jewish vote has swung between the two main parties broadly in line with the general population, it would appear that if one puts to one side all of the rows over antisemitism, the party’s outlook on Israel does impact voting intention.

Separately, both Mish Rahman and Adam Langleben are very clear that their accusations of discrimination levelled at the party in different eras do not just relate to party policy on the Middle East.

Even if everyone can be satisfied that accusations of discrimination are dealt with equally, such are the modern tensions around Middle East policy that political parties may struggle to find a position that does not alienate some members of one of these faith communities.

Labour has achieved much in winning back the levels of Jewish voters it has, but it has also left huge swathes of loyal Muslim voters in Britain feeling politically adrift, and large swings in culture and policy over recent years leave many in each community needing convincing of the true nature of the party.

WTO chief warns against global trade breakdown

By Jonathan JosephsBusiness reporter, BBC News

Global trade “is not having the best of times at the moment”.

That is the admission of the director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “We are seeing increasing protectionism, some undermining of the WTO rules, and some of this is leading to fragmentation,” she tells the BBC.

“Global trade is really part of the lifeblood for making countries resilient – and also for underpinning growth, so we are concerned about that.”

In recent weeks and months these fragmentations have come to the fore with the EU imposing provisional tariffs of up to 37.4% on imports of Chinese electric vehicles (EVs). It followed after the US in May introduced 100% tariffs on Chinese EVs.

Both Brussels and Washington accuse the Chinese government of unfairly subsidising its EV sector, allowing producers to export cars at unfairly low prices, and threatening jobs in the West.

President Biden has also increased import taxes on a range of other Chinese products that he said formed “the industries of the future”. These include EV batteries and the minerals they contain, the cells needed to make solar panels, and computer chips.

Meanwhile, the US has been pouring billions of dollars of government money into green technology, through its Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to reduce a reliance on Chinese imports.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis tells the BBC that Europe does not want to close the market for EVs. “We welcome imports, we welcome competition, but this competition must be fair,” he says.

Last year, the volume of global trade fell for just the third time in 30 years, according to the WTO. It says the 1.2% decline was linked to higher inflation and interest rates, and is forecasting a recovery this year.

However those factors have their roots in events that are continuing to fundamentally reshape the global economy, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) first deputy managing director Gita Gopinath explained in a recent speech.

“What we’ve seen in the last few years, I would say, especially when it comes to global trade relations, is nothing like we’ve seen since the end of the Cold War.”

“The last few years, you’ve had numerous shocks, including the pandemic. We had Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and following these events, increasingly, countries around the world are guided by economic security, and national security concerns, in determining who they trade with and who they invest in,” she said.

That’s affecting countries as far apart as Peru, Ghana and Vietnam as they increasingly find themselves having to choose between strengthening economic ties with the western powers, or a China-Russia axis.

“We’re also concerned about the emerging fragmentation that we see in the trade data,” says the WTO’s Dr Okonjo-Iweala. “We’re seeing that trade between like-minded blocks is growing faster than trade across such blocks.”

She warns that “it will be costly for the world” to continue down this path. WTO research has estimated that price at 5% of the global economy, whilst the IMF has suggested it could be nearer to 7% or $7.4tn (£5.8tn) of lost output in the long run.

The EU’s introduction of tariffs on Chinese-made EVs follows a surge in their exports to Europe over the last few years. Exports jumped from $1.6bn in value in 2020 to $11.5bn last year, according to one study, which said they now made up 37% of all EV imports into the EU.

BYD, Geely and SAIC are some of the Chinese EV makers said to have benefitted from billions of dollars worth of government help.

After many years of support Chinese EV companies no longer need that help, says Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. “They are today simply very competitive on their own terms. I think the introduction of tariffs is a symptom that something is out of balance.”

When it comes to broader relationship, Mr Eskelund says it’s “mind boggling” that since 2017 the volume of goods that the EU has sold to China has fallen about a third, even though China’s economy has been growing steadily.

Citing Chinese restrictions around market access for overseas firms, and tough security regulations, he adds: “I think it’s fair to say that that Europe still remains a significantly more open market to Chinese companies, then the other way around. And that is obviously something that needs to change.”

The chamber’s recent survey showed that members have the lowest confidence on record for investing in China.

It comes as the EU is trying to lower its economic dependence on China. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last year described the need to “de-risk not de-couple” its relations with China.

Brussels’ concerns include Beijing using sensitive technology for military purposes, and its support for Russia as it continues its offensive in Ukraine.

Companies including Ikea, Nike and Apple are also trying to become less reliant on China.

Whilst the EU and China are set to hold talks about the potential EV tariffs, Chinese state media has reported that retaliatory measures are being considered on EU goods including pork, cognac and luxury cars.

However, there are other barriers for global trade to overcome, including in two of the most important arteries for moving goods around the world.

This year Panama Canal officials had to reduce the number of ships allowed to traverse the waterway. This is due to a lack of rainfall to fill the lake that feeds the canal.

Meanwhile, the Suez Canal is effectively cut off because of ongoing attacks on commercial ships by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. Traffic through the canal is down 90%, according to logistics firm Kuehne+Nagel.

Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of the German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd, says this disruption means that the rates his firm charges are up between 30% and 40%.

Whilst shipping costs are a small part of retail prices, Mr Habben Jansen says “these extra costs in the end get passed on” to consumers. That could end up pushing inflation up just as central banks are showing signs of getting it under control.

That would be “detrimental to consumers,” says the WTO’s Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

Despite all the tensions, she says trade has shown signs of resilience, and she adds that her organization can help countries solve their differences.

Meanwhile, Dr Okonjo-Iweala admits that some WTO rules will need to change to help meet the challenge of climate change. “I strongly believe that some of our [global trade] rules, we do need to look at them,” she says.

“When they were put in place, decades ago, we were not confronting the kind of climate change threats we confront today.”

Regarding the increased use of tariffs, she adds: “We hope we don’t have a repeat of what we saw in the 1930s. We had retaliatory tariffs, and it was downhill from there and everyone lost.

“So I do hope we will not enter into that kind of era again”.

More on global business

Payout for widow of Pakistani journalist killed by Kenyan police

By Natasha Booty and Ruth NesobaBBC News, London & Nairobi

A court in Kenya has awarded 10m shillings ($78,000; £61,000) in compensation to the widow of a prominent Pakistani journalist who was shot dead by police at a roadblock nearly two years ago.

Arshad Sharif was a TV anchor known for his robust criticism of Pakistan’s powerful military leaders and corruption in politics.

The father-of-five received death threats that he flagged to Pakistan’s top judge, before fleeing his home country to seek safety abroad.

Sharif’s killing two months later at the hands of police in the Kenyan town of Kajiado caused outrage, and the slow response by officials prompted UN experts to criticise both Kenya and Pakistan.

Kenya’s police had argued it was a case of mistaken identity but Sharif’s widow, Javeria Siddique, said it was a contract killing carried out on behalf of an unnamed individual in Pakistan.

‘A relief to me and my family’

On Monday, the Kajiado High Court rejected ruled that the Kenyan authorities had acted unlawfully and violated Sharif’s right to life. It duly awarded Ms Siddique compensation plus interest until payment in full.

“Loss of life cannot be compensated in monetary terms nor is the pain and suffering the family must have gone through. But there’s consensus that compensation is appropriate remedy for redress in violation of fundamental rights,” said Justice Stella Mutuku as she delivered the verdict.

The judge also ruled that Kenya’s director of public prosecutions and the independent policing oversight authority had violated Sharif’s rights by failing to prosecute the two police officers involved. The court has ordered both bodies to conclude investigations and charge the officers.

Reacting to the ruling, the lawyer representing Sharif’s widow, Ochiel Dudley, said “this is a win for the family and a win for Kenyans in their quest for police accountability”.

Sharif’s widow, Ms Siddique, expressed her gratitude to the Kenyan judiciary but added that her work was far from done.

“This ruling has come as a relief to me and my family, but I will not relent in getting maximum justice for my husband,” she said.

The BBC has asked the Kenyan authorities for their response to the ruling.

The police had given conflicting police accounts of Sharif’s death.

One account claimed the 49-year-old was travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser which officers mistook for a similar vehicle that had been reported stolen.

In another version of events, police claimed that one of the car passengers had opened fire and then officers responded by shooting back.

Like her late husband, Ms Siddique is a journalist, and filed the lawsuit alongside the Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association last October.

She and her co-petitioners were seeking transparency, an apology, and accountability from the Kenyan authorities for what they called Sharif’s “targeted assassination”.

She told the BBC she was still unable to get justice for her husband in Pakistan, but would continue to campaign for the protection of journalists and would seek the help of the UN and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

You may also be interested in:

  • Why two Indians disappeared on a July night in Kenya
  • Inside the world of Kenya’s ‘killer cop’
  • ‘I was shot by rebels’ – the dangers of reporting

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Kimchi blamed for mass sickness in South Korea

By Aleks PhillipsBBC News

About 1,000 people in South Korea are suffering from food poisoning linked to kimchi contaminated with norovirus.

Officials in Namwon City, in the south-west of the country, announced on Friday morning that there had been 996 confirmed cases – although local media reports say that number had climbed to 1,024 by early Saturday afternoon.

Authorities said the popular fermented cabbage dish had been distributed to those now sick through school meals in the city.

They added that students and staff from 24 schools were among the patients with vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains.

Norovirus is very contagious and can be caught through touching contaminated surfaces – such as toilet flush handles – and from people who are already infected.

Most people recover in a few days without needing hospital treatment, but some become very ill.

  • What gives kimchi its unusual flavour?

Namwon City officials said it began an epidemiological investigation to uncover the source of the illness on Wednesday, after the first case was reported the previous day.

Since then, the number of cases grew rapidly – rising from 153 on Wednesday to 745 on Thursday.

In a social media post on Thursday, the city’s Mayor, Choi Kyung-sik, said that health officials had adopted a “pre-emptive and excessive response” in an attempt to prevent further spread of the illness.

“We will ensure the safety of our citizens,” he added.

City officials said norovirus had been detected among patients, through environmental samples and in some of the kimchi regularly delivered to schools.

As a result, its disaster and safety department had temporarily suspended the production and sale of any products from the company that made the kimchi – which is also in the process of voluntarily recalling products that have already been distributed.

The firm that produced the kimchi has not yet been officially named.

PNG minister charged with assault in Australia

By Kathryn ArmstrongBBC News

Papua New Guinea’s influential Petroleum Minister Jimmy Maladina has been charged with assault following an alleged “domestic dispute” in Australia, according to court documents.

Police said a 31-year-old woman was allegedly attacked in Sydney by a 58-year-old man who was known to her on Saturday morning local time.

Mr Maladina was granted conditional bail ahead of a court appearance on 11 July.

In a statement, he said he was “aware of the recent media reports” and was “cooperating with the authorities to address this matter”.

“I understand the gravity of this situation and the concerns it raises,” said Mr Maladina.

“As a public servant, I hold myself to high standards of conduct, both personally and professionally.

“I want to make it clear that violence in any form is unacceptable, and I am committed to handling this situation with integrity and transparency.”

Police said the woman who was allegedly attacked had suffered facial injuries.

Mr Maladina became Papua New Guinea’s petroleum minister earlier this year and is a key adviser to Prime Minister James Marape.

He is heavily involved in the country’s lucrative project to commercialise its natural gas resources.

Titanic and Avatar producer Jon Landau dies aged 63

By Kathryn ArmstrongBBC News

Jon Landau – the Oscar-winning producer of some of the world’s highest-grossing movies of all time, including Titanic and Avatar – has died aged 63.

Landau, who was the long-time producing partner of filmmaker James Cameron, reportedly died on Friday after living with cancer for more than a year.

His sister Tina confirmed his death on social media, calling him “the best brother a girl could ever dream of”.

“My heart is broken but also bursting with pride & gratitude for his most extraordinary life, and the love and gifts he gave me – and all who knew him or his films,” she wrote.

Landau was the son of Hollywood producers Ely and Edie Landau and for a time was an executive at the film production company 20th Century Fox, overseeing films including The Last Of The Mohicans and Die Hard 2.

Alongside Cameron, he helped to create the 1997 hit Titanic, which was the first film to make it past the $1bn mark at the global box office.

Later films Avatar and its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, which were released in 2009 and 2022 respectively, went on to break Titanic’s record.

Landau also co-produced other hit films including Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Dick Tracy, and held a management position in Cameron’s production company Lightstorm Entertainment.

Following news of Landau’s death, Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter that “a great producer and a great human being has left us”.

“Jon Landau believed in the dream of cinema. He believed that film is the ultimate human art form, and to make films you have to first be human yourself,” he said.

“He will be remembered as much for his vast generosity of spirit as for the movies themselves.”

Director Sir Peter Jackson and his screenwriter wife Fran Walsh, whose visual effects company was used for the Avatar films, said in a statement that they were “devastated by the loss of Jon Landau”.

“Jon brought unparalleled passion to the projects he worked on and his influence will continue to inspire for years to come.”

The actor Zoe Saldaña, who starred in the Avatar films, wrote a message to Landau on Instagram, saying that his death was “hitting really hard”.

“Your wisdom and support shaped so many of us in ways we will always be grateful for.”

Napoleon’s pistols sell for €1.69m at auction

By Kathryn ArmstrongBBC News

Two pistols owned by the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, with which he once intended to kill himself, have been sold at auction for €1.69m (£1.4m).

The weapons, which were created by the Paris gunmaker Louis-Marin Gosset, had been expected to fetch between €1.2m and €1.5m.

They were sold at the Osenat auction house on Sunday – next to the Fontainebleau palace where Napoleon tried to take his own life following his abdication in 1814.

The pistols’ sale comes after France’s culture ministry recently classified them as national treasures and banned their export.

This means the French government now has 30 months to make a purchase offer to the new owner, who has not been named. It also means the pistols can only leave France temporarily.

The guns are inlaid with gold and silver, and feature an engraved image of Napoleon himself in profile.

He was said to have wanted to use them to kill himself on the night of 12 April, 1814 after the defeat of his army by foreign forces meant he had to give up power.

However, his grand squire Armand de Caulaincourt removed the powder from the guns and Napoleon instead took poison but survived.

He later gave the pistols to Caulaincourt, who in turn passed them to his descendants.

Also included in the sale were the pistols’ original box and various accessories including a powder horn and various powder tamping rods.

Auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat said that the “image of Napoleon at his lowest point” was being sold alongside the objects.

Napoleon memorabilia is highly sought after. One of the tricorne hats that became a part of his brand sold for €1.9m in November.

The historic leader returned to power in 1815 following his exile to the Mediterranean island of Elba but went on to be defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

He died in 1821 after his second banishment – this time to the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic.

Western US bakes in heatwave

By Aleks PhillipsBBC News

A record-breaking heatwave that has already caused large wildfires in western US states is set to continue next week.

Around 130m people were under some form of heat warning or advisory on Saturday. Nearly 57m people remain under heat alerts, as at least one child has already died in heat-related circumstances in Arizona.

Meteorologists are warning that warm nights will lead to people suffering heat stress. Temperatures could reach 128F (53C) in Death Valley on Monday.

While it is hard to link individual heatwaves to climate change, scientists say they are becoming more common and intense because of it.

‘You’re not welcome here’: Australia’s treatment of disabled migrants

By Katy WatsonAustralia correspondent

When Luca was born in a Perth hospital two years ago, it flipped his parents’ world in ways they never expected.

With the joy came a shocking diagnosis: Luca had cystic fibrosis. Then Australia – Laura Currie and her husband Dante’s home for eight years – said they couldn’t stay permanently. Luca, his parents were told, could be a financial burden on the country.

“I think I cried for like a week – I just feel really, really sorry for Luca,” Ms Currie says. “He’s just a defenceless two-and-a-half-year-old and doesn’t deserve to be discriminated against in that way.”

With a third of its population born abroad, Australia has long seen itself as a “migration nation” – a multicultural home for immigrants that promises them a fair go and a fresh start. The idea is baked into its identity. But the reality is often different, especially for those who have a disability or a serious medical condition.

It is one of few countries that routinely rejects immigrants’ visas on the basis of their medical needs – specifically if the cost of care exceeds A$86,000 ($57,000; £45,000) over a maximum of 10 years. New Zealand has a similar policy but Australia’s is much stricter.

The government defends the law as necessary to curb government spending and protect citizens’ access to healthcare. It says these visas aren’t technically rejected. But neither are they granted. Some can apply for a waiver, although not all visas allow it. They could also appeal the decision but the process is lengthy and expensive.

Campaigners see this as discriminatory and out of step with modern attitudes towards disability. And after years of fighting for it, they are hoping for change in the coming weeks, with an official review of the health requirements under way.

Laura Currie and Dante Vendittelli had moved from Scotland for jobs that Australia desperately needs. She is a nursery teacher and he is a painter-decorator. They had started their application for permanent residency before Luca was born. But now they feel like the life they built here and the taxes they paid meant little.

“It’s like, we’re here for you [Australia] when you need us, but when the roles are reversed and we need you, it’s like, nope, sorry, you cost too much money, you go back to your own country.”

BBC
We still treat people with disability in the same way as we did in 1901.”

Australia has form when it comes to its strict immigration policies. It had its own version of “stop the boats”, which sent people arriving by boat to offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Island of Nauru and made controversial headlines in recent years. It was only in the 1970s that it entirely rid itself of the “White Australia” policy that started in 1901 with the Immigration Restriction Act, which limited the number of non-white immigrants.

The disability and health discriminations, which also date back to 1901, are still in place, says Jan Gothard, an immigration lawyer: “We still treat people with disability in the same way as we did in 1901 and we think they’re not people who are welcome in Australia.”

She is part of Welcoming Disability, an umbrella group that’s been pressuring the government to overhaul the law. Surprisingly, Australia’s Migration Act is exempt from its own Disability Discrimination Act.

Put simply, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Australia, if you were born in Australia, if you have private health insurance or even if you can pay for the support yourself – if you are deemed too much of a financial burden, you will fail the health requirement.

The government says that 99% of visa applicants meet the health requirement – 1,779 of them did not meet the bar between 2021 and 2022, according to official figures.

Immigration minister Andrew Giles, who declined to be interviewed, recently said that “any child born in Australia and adversely affected by the migration health rules can apply for ministerial intervention”, and that he himself had “positively intervened” in cases.

But families say that the process is gruelling at an already difficult time.

The price to stay

“There’s so much in your life going on when a child is sick, so much struggle and you’re struggling and begging and asking for petitions, asking people to help you,” says Mehwish Butt, who knows the challenge first-hand. She and her husband Qasim fought to stay in Australia in a case that drew global attention.

Their son Shaffan was born in 2014 with a rare genetic condition and a damaged spinal cord. He needs around-the-clock care. The Butts, originally from Pakistan, intended to return eventually, but Shaffan’s birth changed everything. Now, getting on a plane would risk his life.

Finally, in 2022 they were told they could stay. For those eight years, Qasim, a trained accountant, was unable to work in his chosen profession. Instead, he found jobs in cafes, in supermarkets and taxi apps to make ends meet.

“They should realise that’s a very difficult situation – you shouldn’t put people in the limelight,” Ms Butt says.

Ms Currie and her husband aren’t giving up either – Australia is home now for Luca and they are filling jobs that the country needs. They’re hoping that is enough to win them their appeal. If they lose, they will have 28 days to leave the country.

For Luca, the sticking point is a pricey drug, Trikafta. He is not on it and may not even be compatible with it. But it’s the basis of Australian estimates of his treatment – around A$1.8m That puts his medical costs over the permissible limit – A$86,000 over 10 years, also known as the Significant Cost Threshold.

While campaigners have welcomed the recent rise of the threshold – from A$51,000 to A$86,000 – they still don’t think it reflects average costs.

The government’s own data shows that Australia spent $9,365 per head on health goods and services in 2021-2022 and a further A$8,245 per person on welfare costs. Over a 10-year period – the maximum period assessed for a visa – that would amount to more than A$170,000. So campaigners have questioned how the government comes up with the threshold, which is half of that amount.

They also want the cost of educational support to be removed from the calculations. This impacts families whose children have been diagnosed with conditions such as Down Syndrome, ADHD and autism.

It’s a snag that has hit Claire Day’s plans for her and her family to follow her brother, who moved to Australia a few years ago.

Her younger daughter Darcy, who is nearly 10, has Down Syndrome. She’s been told by migration experts that because of that, she has little chance of being granted a visa.

On an overcast afternoon in Kent, she talks wistfully of the life she is looking forward to Down Under. Sunshine is no small attraction, but also “the lifestyle – [I want] a better environment for the children to grow up in,” she says.

An officer with London’s Metropolitan Police force for 21 years, she wants to take advantage of a major recruitment drive by Australian police forces. Their social media feeds are full of promotional videos fronted by former British police officers, showing them living the Australian dream, patrolling the beach in sand buggies and relaxing in the surf. They make up just some of the 30,000 British people who moved to Australia last year, according to government statistics.

Ms Day has not one, but two job offers – from Queensland’s police force and from South Australia. As part of the job, she’s also entitled to a permanent visa. Now, she is not so sure.

“I had hoped that it wouldn’t be an issue because Darcy doesn’t have any medical problems. She’s fit and she’s healthy, she goes to school and she participates in clubs and all of that sort of stuff.”

Stories like this have convinced campaigners that, at its heart, the policy is ableist.

“If we say to people with disability, ‘you’re not welcome here, we’re saying directly to people living with disability in this country, ‘you’re not welcome here either,” Dr Gothard says.

“[We’re saying] you know, given the opportunity, we would rather not have you.”

Social worker Shizleen Aishath says she was “gobsmacked” to find out about the health requirement – and she discovered it the hard way.

A former UN employee, she came to Australia for a further degree with every intention of returning to the Maldives. But she had an emergency C-section when her son Kayban was born in 2016. Forceps were used during the delivery. Kayban had undiagnosed haemophilia and suffered a serious brain bleed. He now needs round-the-clock care and the family chose to stay in Australia.

But Kayban was refused a temporary visa because he was deemed too much of a burden – although the family have private health insurance and don’t use state resources. The rest of the family were granted their visas.

“Disability is the only thing that stops you from migrating, there is nothing else,” Ms Aishath says.

After a lengthy appeal, Kayban was allowed to remain. His family is now preparing for their next fight – to stay in Australia indefinitely.

Macron asks French PM to stay on as political deadlock continues

By Paul KirbyBBC News in Paris

Jubilation and stunned silence: France reacts to exit polls

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked his prime minister, Gabriel Attal, to remain in post “for the time being to ensure the country’s stability”, after election results left no party with an outright majority.

Mr Attal, who led the president’s Ensemble alliance’s election campaign, handed his resignation to Mr Macron on Monday, only for the president to refuse.

Although Ensemble lost many of its seats in Sunday’s parliament election, it came second, behind a left-wing alliance but ahead of the far right which had been expected to win.

The unexpected result leaves French politics in deadlock, with no party able to form a government by itself.

The New Popular Front, a left-wing alliance cobbled together after Mr Macron called the elections, argues that as the leading group in the next National Assembly it has earned the right to choose a prime minister.

They were due to meet on Monday to consider who to propose for the job, but there is no obvious candidate who would satisfy the radical France Unbowed (LFI) party as well as the more moderate Socialists, Greens and Communists.

Mr Attal had announced he would resign on Sunday night, but left open the possibility of remaining in the job as long as duty required him to do so.

It had been widely expected that his resignation would be rejected when he visited the Élysée Palace on Monday morning.

President Macron is due to fly to the US on Tuesday for a Nato summit and Paris is hosting the Olympic Games from 26 July.

While it is not yet clear how long he needs Mr Attal to stay in office, the president made it clear that France now needed a period of calm.

Outgoing Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned on Monday that the country was facing an immediate risk of financial crisis an economic decline.

Since the results came out, Mr Macron has sought to steer clear of the political fray. A statement on Sunday night said that while he would respect the “choice of the French people”, he was waiting for the full picture to emerge in parliament before taking the next, necessary decisions.

The National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella had been widely expected to win the election, after taking a strong lead in Sunday’s first round.

But even though their vote held up, with more than 10 million people backing RN and a group of conservative allies, they failed to come anywhere near the number of seats suggested by opinion polls,

They ended up with 143 seats, when they had set themselves the ambition of reaching an absolute majority of 289 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

The party’s two leaders had bitterly accused the left and centrist blocs of stitching up the vote, with more than 200 candidates dropping out to give a rival candidate a chance of defeating RN.

But by Monday, Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella were trying to look ahead.

“In just two years, progress has been incredible and makes victory for us inevitable in the short term,” said Ms Le Pen, thanking the 10 million voters who backed RN and its allies. “The number one party for numbers of votes and MPs.”

Mr Bardella was determined to focus on his future role in the European Parliament.

He is now going to lead a new grouping the European Parliament called Patriots for Europe, formed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Hungary has taken over the presidency of the EU this month, and already Mr Orban has angered several of his European counterparts by becoming the first EU leader to visit Russia’s Vladimir Putin in more than two years.

President Macron had called France’s snap parliamentary vote in response to RN’s victory in EU elections only a month ago.

Children’s hospital hit as Russian strikes kill dozens in Ukraine

By Rob Corp & Kyla HerrmannsenBBC News, in London & Kyiv
Video posted by President Zelensky shows extensive damage to Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital

A children’s hospital in Kyiv has been hit after Russia launched a wave of missile strikes against cities across Ukraine.

Two people died when the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital – Ukraine’s biggest paediatrics facility – sustained major damage during the blast.

Thirty-six people were killed and 140 people were injured in the strikes, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on Monday.

Lesia Lysytsia, a doctor at the hospital, told the BBC the moment the missile struck was “like in a film” with a “big light, then an awful sound”.

“One part of the hospital was destroyed and there was a fire in another. It’s really very damaged – maybe 60-70% of the hospital,” she said.

Pictures from the scene showed young children – some with IV drips – sitting outside the hospital as it was evacuated.

Vitaliy Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, said the two who died at the hospital were adults – one of whom was a doctor. He added that rescuers feared more people were trapped under the rubble.

Russia has denied targeting the hospital, saying it was hit by fragments of a Ukrainian air defence missile. But Ukraine says it has found remnants of a Russian cruise missile.

Ohmatdyt is a major hospital which carries out cancer treatment and organ transplants.

“Now we are in the process of evacuating patients to the nearest hospital.. [but] many patients are intubated and on ventilators and cannot have contact with other patients or go outside,” Dr Lysytsia said.

Hospital officials told Ukrainian TV that about 20 children were being treated in the ward which was hit.

Following the strike, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon as a mark of respect when she played in the round of 16 at Wimbledon on Monday afternoon.

Mayor Klitschko accused Russia of attempting the “genocide of [the] population in Ukraine”.

“Right now the whole world can see how Russian missiles and Kamikaze drones killed Ukrainian citizens in our peaceful city.

The mayor added that a separate maternity hospital in Kyiv’s Dniprovsky district had also been partially destroyed by falling debris, killing seven people.

Mr Zelensky wrote on social media that “more than 40 missiles of different types” had hit buildings and infrastructure in cities including Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

He called for a stronger Western response “to the blow that Russia has once again delivered on our population, on our land, on our children”.

Dnipro regional head Sergiy Lysak said one person was killed in Dnipro city and six more injured. He added that a high-rise building and a business had been hit.

Three people were killed in Pokrovsk, in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces have taken control of a number of villages in recent weeks.

The Russian bombardment comes as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Moscow for a two-day state visit where he is due to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko condemns Russian ‘genocide’

Russia, which has denied targeting civilian infrastructure, said the damage to the children’s hospital was caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile.

However, the Security Service of Ukraine has published pictures of what it says are fragments of a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile recovered from the site.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov responded to the attacks by urging the country’s allies to help quickly strengthen its air defences.

“Our defence capabilities are still insufficient… We need more air defence systems,” he said.

Ukraine’s allies have condemned the attack on the Ohmatdyt hospital, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell accusing Russia of “ruthlessly targeting Ukrainian civilians”.

New UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy said “we must hold those responsible for Putin’s illegal war to account”.

UN chief António Guterres strongly condemned the strikes, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, adding he found the attack on the children’s hospital and another medical facility “particularly shocking”.

“Directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects is prohibited by international humanitarian law, and any such attacks are unacceptable and must end immediately,” he said.

The UN’s human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine has said civilian casualties have been mounting in recent months, as Russia renewed its air campaign. A recent report said May was the deadliest month for civilian deaths in almost a year.

Tate brothers accused of being serial tax evaders

By Callum May & George WrightBBC News

Controversial social media personality Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan have been accused of failing to pay any tax on £21m of revenue from their online businesses.

Devon and Cornwall Police is bringing a civil claim against the brothers and a third person, referred to only as J.

They are accused of paying no tax in any country on their online business revenue between 2014 and 2022.

The force is seeking to recover around £2.8 million in seven frozen bank accounts, an application the three defendants are contesting.

“Andrew Tate and Tristan Tate are serial tax and VAT evaders,” Sarah Clarke KC for Devon and Cornwall Police told Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

“They, in particular Andrew Tate, are brazen about it.”

Ms Clarke quoted from a video posted online by Andrew Tate, in which he said: “When I lived in England I refused to pay tax.”

The court heard he said his approach was “ignore, ignore, ignore because in the end they go away”.

The court also heard that the brothers had “a huge number of bank accounts” in the UK, seven of which have been frozen.

Ms Clarke said the money – from various products sold on websites including OnlyFans – had been “washed around” a huge number of UK bank accounts.

As well as owning extensive land, property and vehicles in Romania, the Tates had spent their earnings on “fast cars and property”, Ms Clarke said.

“That’s what tax evasion looks like, that’s what money laundering looks like,” she told the court.

The brothers are accused of paying just under $12m into an account in J’s name, and opening a second account in her name, even though she had no role in their businesses, the court heard.

Devon and Cornwall Police alleges that this was fraud by false misrepresentation.

Ms Clarke said all three would not provide any evidence in the case.

Money from the brothers’ businesses including Cobra Tate, Hustlers’ University and War Room was paid into the first account, held with payment service provider Stripe.

It was opened in February 2019 in J’s name with an incorrect date of birth, the court heard. Driving licences belonging to both Andrew Tate and J were later submitted to Stripe as proof of identity and address.

The majority of payments out of this account went to one of Andrew Tate’s accounts, the court heard.

J also moved money through her own Revolut bank account, including one payment of £805,000, the court heard.

Of this, £495,000 was paid to Andrew Tate, and £75,000 to an account in J’s name that was later converted to cryptocurrency, it is alleged.

The proceedings are civil, which uses a lower standard of proof than criminal cases.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring will decide on the balance of probabilities whether what the police claim is true.

The case was adjourned until Tuesday.

Andrew Tate is a self-described misogynist and was previously banned from social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views.

In a separate case in Romania, the Tate brothers, former kickboxers who are dual UK-US nationals, are accused of exploiting women via an adult content business, which prosecutors allege operated as a criminal group.

Two female Romanian associates were also named alongside the brothers in an indictment published in June last year, and seven alleged victims were identified.

Andrew Tate has repeatedly claimed Romanian prosecutors have no evidence against him and there is a conspiracy to silence him.

The internet personalities are also wanted in the UK over alleged sexual offences, which they deny.

Nobel laureate Alice Munro’s daughter reveals family secret of abuse

By Holly HonderichBBC News

The youngest daughter of acclaimed Canadian Nobel laureate Alice Munro has said that her step-father sexually assaulted her as a child, and that her mother stayed with him even after learning of the abuse.

In an essay published in the Toronto Star on Sunday, Andrea Robin Skinner described how her step-father began assaulting her in the summer of 1976 when she was nine years old and he was in his 50s.

One evening, when Munro was away, he “climbed into the bed where I was sleeping and sexually assaulted me”, Ms Skinner said.

Munro, who learned of the abuse years later, remained with him until his death in 2013.

The author, who died in May at the age of 92, is one of the most celebrated short-story writers in Canadian history.

Her collections often focused on life in small-town Ontario where she was raised, earning praise for their nuanced portrayals of women and girls.

In the weekend essay, Ms Skinner and her siblings said they believed this dark family story must also be part of Munro’s legacy.

“I never wanted to see another interview, biography or event that didn’t wrestle with the reality of what had happened to me, and with the fact that my mother, confronted with the truth of what had happened, chose to stay with, and protect, my abuser,” she said.

In her weekend piece, Ms Skinner said she was first assaulted during a summer visit to her mother and step-father, Gerald Fremlin, in their home in Clinton, Ontario.

She later told her step-mother, who then told her father, Jim Munro, who decided not to confront Alice Munro at the time.

Ms Skinner returned to her mother’s home the next year.

The step-mother, Carole, is quoted by The Star in a separate news story as saying: “I told her she didn’t have to go. But she wanted to spend time with her mother.”

The BBC has reached out for comment

Ms Skinner was initially relieved her father kept the family secret, she said, because of fears over how her mother would react.

“She had told me that Fremlin liked me better than her, and I thought she would blame me if she ever found out,” she wrote.

Over the next several years, during visits, the abuse continued.

Fremlin exposed himself to her during car rides, propositioned her for sex, and “told me about the little girls in the neighbourhood he liked”.

He lost interest when she became a teenager, Ms Skinner told The Star.

She said kept quiet about the abuse but in early adulthood found herself struggling at university and with her physical and mental health.

A few years later, in 1992, she revealed the abuse in a letter to her mother. She says Munro reacted as she had feared – “as if she had learned of an infidelity”.

Fremlin, meanwhile, wrote his own letters at the time to the family – excerpts of which were published by The Star – in which he admitted the abuse but blamed Ms Skinner.

“Andrea invaded my bedroom for sexual adventure,” Fremlin wrote.

“If the worst comes to worst I intend to go public. I will make available for publication a number of photographs, notably some taken at my cabin near Ottawa which are extremely eloquent … one of Andrea in my underwear shorts,” he said.

Amid the fallout, Alice Munro left Fremlin, staying at a flat she owned in British Columbia. But she returned to her husband after a few months and stayed with him for the rest of his life.

She said “that our misogynistic culture was to blame if I expected her to deny her own needs, sacrifice for her children, and make up for the failings of men”, Ms Skinner wrote.

In 2005, Ms Skinner reported the abuse to Ontario police, presenting the letters written by Fremlin.

Police charged him with indecent assault. He pleaded guilty, but “the silence continued”, Ms Skinner wrote, because of Munro’s fame.

In a statement, Munro Books, founded by Alice and Jim Munro and now independently owned, said that it “unequivocally supports” Ms Skinner’s decision to tell her story publicly.

In a separate statement released by the Canadian bookstore, the Munro siblings said that the store’s decision to acknowledge “Andrea’s truth, and being very clear about their wish to end the legacy of silence, the current store owners have become part of our family’s healing”.

Justin Bieber performs at India’s mega wedding

By Flora DruryBBC News

Justin Bieber has become the latest in a string of international stars to perform for the son of India’s richest man and his wife-to-be as they celebrate their upcoming wedding.

The Canadian singer flew in to perform for Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant – along with their guests – in Mumbai at the weekend.

He had a lot to live up to. The couple’s first pre-wedding party featured Rihanna, while the second – a cruise around the Mediterranean – had performances from 90s teen heartthrobs The Backstreet Boys, singer Katy Perry and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

So it is with bated breath that Ambani wedding-watchers – of whom there are now legions around the globe – await news of who will perform at the actual wedding itself this weekend.

Rumours swirling on the internet suggest it could be Adele, but the family are remaining tight-lipped.

No expense is being spared on the wedding of Mukesh Ambani’s youngest son, putting it in a different league from even the most extravagant of Indian weddings. It outshines even his daughter’s nuptials, which featured a headline-grabbing performance by Beyoncé.

Last weekend Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant celebrated their sangeet ceremony – a night of music and dance ahead of the wedding ceremony. In typical style, the Ambanis went above and beyond what would usually be expected by guests.

It saw Mukesh Ambani, the head of Reliance Industries, with an estimated net worth of $115bn, according to Forbes, and the rest of the family take to the stage in their own choreographed dance to Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s hit song, Deewangi Deewangi.

It was also another chance for wedding-watchers to pore over the outfits worn by the guests – which included some of India’s most glamorous stars wearing dresses by the country’s top fashion designers.

It seems as much as the pre-wedding events have been concerts, they have also become catwalks, with stars sharing professional shots on their social media accounts ahead of the parties.

The cost of the three parties to date is not known. It was rumoured Rihanna had been paid $7m (£5.5m) for her performance, while the figure suggested for Justin Bieber is said to be $10m.

Exactly what the weekend’s three-day event holds remains to be seen. For some in India, it will come as a relief that the wedding and its extravagance is over, while those in Mumbai will be hoping it does not make the city’s famously bad traffic any worse.

Radhika was keeping her cards close to her chest when she told Vogue US last month that planning was “going great”, adding: “I’m very excited to be married.”

‘I had to downgrade my life’ – US workers in debt to buy groceries

By Natalie Sherman and Nathalie JimenezBBC News, New York

Stacey Ellis, a lifelong Democrat from Pennsylvania, should be the kind of voter that US President Joe Biden can count on.

But after four years of rising prices, her support has worn thin – and every time she shops at the supermarket, she is reminded how things have changed for the worse.

Ms Ellis works full-time as a nurse’s assistant and has a second part-time job.

But she needs to economise. She has switched stores, cut out brand-name items like Dove soap and Stroehmann bread, and all but said goodbye to her favourite Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Still, Ms Ellis has sometimes turned to risky payday loans (short-term borrowing with high interest rates) as she grapples with grocery prices that have surged 25% since Mr Biden entered office in January 2021.

“Prior to inflation,” she says, “I didn’t have any debt, I didn’t have any credit cards, never applied for like a payday loan or any of those things. But since inflation, I needed to do all those things….I’ve had to downgrade my life completely.”

The leap in grocery prices has outpaced the historic 20% rise in living costs that followed the pandemic, squeezing households around the country and fuelling widespread economic and political discontent.

“I’m a Democrat,” says Ms Ellis, who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown. “I love voting for them. But Republicans are speaking volumes right now and Democrats are whispering.”

“I want somebody to help me, help the American people,” she adds. “Joe Biden, where are you?”

For the president, already contending with serious doubts about his age and fitness for another term, the cost-of-living issue presents a major challenge, threatening to dampen turnout among supporters in an election that could be decided, like the last two, by several tens of thousands of votes in a handful key states.

Across the country, Americans on average spent more than 11% of their incomes on food, including restaurant meals last year – a higher proportion than any time since 1991.

The jump in food prices has hit younger, lower-income and minority households – key parts of the coalition that helped Mr Biden win the White House in 2020 – especially hard.

But worries about the issue are widespread: a Pew survey earlier this year found that 94% of Americans were at least somewhat concerned about rising food and consumer goods prices.

That was nearly identical to two years earlier, even though the staggering jumps in food prices that hit the US and other countries after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine have subsided.

Dylan Garcia, a 26-year-old security guard from Brooklyn, says he’s never struggled to buy groceries as much as he has now.

Instead of the fresh food and brand-name items he used to enjoy, he now stocks up on ramen noodles and frozen vegetables – and only eats twice a day because he can’t afford more.

At checkout, he routinely uses “buy now, pay later” schemes, which allow him to pay the bill in installments, but have led to mounting debt.

“I’m stuck in a loop,” he says. “It’s become an insecurity to pull up my phone at the register and have to use these programmes. When they see me, it’s embarrassing.”

Mr Garcia, who has long voted for Democrats, says his precarious financial situation has made him lose hope in politics and he does not plan to vote in November’s election.

“I don’t think the government has our best interest and I don’t think they care,” he says.

The White House maintains Mr Biden has been engaged on issues of food affordability, fighting to increase food stamp benefits and other government aid, initiatives opposed by Republicans.

At last month’s presidential debate, the first question was on inflation, and Mr Biden sought to shift blame to big companies, accusing them of price gouging – a claim that is hotly disputed among economists.

But despite strong job creation and low unemployment, opinion polls show voters continue to trust Mr Biden’s opponent, former President Donald Trump, more on economic issues.

On the CNN debate stage, the Republican White House candidate blamed Mr Biden for stoking inflation, which the White House denies, and said: “It’s killing people. They can’t buy groceries anymore. They can’t.”

The Trump campaign in turn denies that policies he proposes – including a 10% tariff on all goods coming into the US – would worsen price rises, as many analysts predict.

“We believe that a second Trump term would have a negative impact on the US’s economic standing in the world, and a destabilizing effect on the US’s domestic economy,” wrote 16 Nobel prize-winning economists in an open letter last month.

Republicans have accused Mr Biden of trying to mislead the public about the extent of the inflation problem, noting that Mr Biden has claimed, incorrectly, that inflation was already at 9% when he entered office. It was 1.4%.

Katie Walsh, a makeup artist in Pennsylvania, voted for Trump in 2020 and says she plans to do so again, based on his economic record.

The 39-year-old says her family has struggled to keep up with inflation, especially since her business has slowed, as people squeezed by higher prices cut back.

“I know he’s a big fat mouth,” she says of Mr Trump. “But he at least knows how to run the economy.”

Analysts say it is clear that the economy is important to voters, but less clear it will prove decisive in the November election.

In 2022, when inflation was at its worst, Democrats did better than expected in mid-term elections, as concerns about abortion access drove supporters to the polls.

This time around, issues such as immigration and fitness for office are also top of many voters’ minds, while economic trends appear to be moving in the right direction.

Grocery prices were up just 1% over the past 12 months, well within historic norms; and the cost of a few items, including rice, fish, apples, potatoes, and milk, has even come down a bit.

As major chains such as Target, Amazon and Walmart announce price cuts in recent weeks, there are signs the situation could continue to improve.

Some analysts also expect wages, which have increased but trailed the leap in overall prices, to finally catch up this year, providing further relief.

“We’re on the right track,” says Sarah Foster, who follows the economy for Bankrate.com. “Wage growth has slowed, price growth has slowed but, you know, prices are slowing at a much faster rate than wages.”

Stephen Lemelin, a 49-year-old father of two from Michigan, another electoral battleground, says he was pleasantly surprised by lower prices on a recent supermarket trip.

Whatever his concerns about the economy, the military veteran says his support for Mr Biden, who got his vote in 2020, has never been in doubt, given that he sees Trump as a threat to democracy.

“Nobody likes high interest rates or high inflation but that’s not under presidential control,” he says. “If you know politics, there’s really only one choice.”

More on the election

Payout for widow of Pakistani journalist killed by Kenyan police

By Natasha Booty and Ruth NesobaBBC News, London & Nairobi

A court in Kenya has awarded 10m shillings ($78,000; £61,000) in compensation to the widow of a prominent Pakistani journalist who was shot dead by police at a roadblock nearly two years ago.

Arshad Sharif was a TV anchor known for his robust criticism of Pakistan’s powerful military leaders and corruption in politics.

The father-of-five received death threats that he flagged to Pakistan’s top judge, before fleeing his home country to seek safety abroad.

Sharif’s killing two months later at the hands of police in the Kenyan town of Kajiado caused outrage, and the slow response by officials prompted UN experts to criticise both Kenya and Pakistan.

Kenya’s police had argued it was a case of mistaken identity but Sharif’s widow, Javeria Siddique, said it was a contract killing carried out on behalf of an unnamed individual in Pakistan.

‘A relief to me and my family’

On Monday, the Kajiado High Court rejected ruled that the Kenyan authorities had acted unlawfully and violated Sharif’s right to life. It duly awarded Ms Siddique compensation plus interest until payment in full.

“Loss of life cannot be compensated in monetary terms nor is the pain and suffering the family must have gone through. But there’s consensus that compensation is appropriate remedy for redress in violation of fundamental rights,” said Justice Stella Mutuku as she delivered the verdict.

The judge also ruled that Kenya’s director of public prosecutions and the independent policing oversight authority had violated Sharif’s rights by failing to prosecute the two police officers involved. The court has ordered both bodies to conclude investigations and charge the officers.

Reacting to the ruling, the lawyer representing Sharif’s widow, Ochiel Dudley, said “this is a win for the family and a win for Kenyans in their quest for police accountability”.

Sharif’s widow, Ms Siddique, expressed her gratitude to the Kenyan judiciary but added that her work was far from done.

“This ruling has come as a relief to me and my family, but I will not relent in getting maximum justice for my husband,” she said.

The BBC has asked the Kenyan authorities for their response to the ruling.

The police had given conflicting police accounts of Sharif’s death.

One account claimed the 49-year-old was travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser which officers mistook for a similar vehicle that had been reported stolen.

In another version of events, police claimed that one of the car passengers had opened fire and then officers responded by shooting back.

Like her late husband, Ms Siddique is a journalist, and filed the lawsuit alongside the Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association last October.

She and her co-petitioners were seeking transparency, an apology, and accountability from the Kenyan authorities for what they called Sharif’s “targeted assassination”.

She told the BBC she was still unable to get justice for her husband in Pakistan, but would continue to campaign for the protection of journalists and would seek the help of the UN and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

You may also be interested in:

  • Why two Indians disappeared on a July night in Kenya
  • Inside the world of Kenya’s ‘killer cop’
  • ‘I was shot by rebels’ – the dangers of reporting

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Bardella to lead new far-right European Parliament group

By Laura GozziBBC News

The leader of France’s far-right National Rally (RN), Jordan Bardella, will head a new right-wing grouping in the European Parliament, Patriots for Europe.

The announcement came the day after Mr Bardella’s party lost the second round of France’s snap legislative election.

In a post-election speech on Sunday night, Mr Bardella announced that the RN’s members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would join a “large group” that would influence the “balance of power in Europe, rejecting the flood of migrants, punitive ecology, and the seizing of our sovereignty”.

On Monday Mr Bardella said Patriots for Europe represented “hope for the tens of millions of citizens in the European nations who value their identity, their sovereignty and their freedom”.

He also vowed to “work together in order to retake our institutions and reorient policies to serve our nations and peoples”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Herbert Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and Andrej Babis, the leader of the populist Czech ANO, announced the launch of the Patriots for Europe alliance last month.

Mr Orban said they had signed a “patriotic manifesto”, promising “peace, security and development” instead of the “war, migration and stagnation” brought by the “Brussels elite”.

Within a week, parties from the right wing and far-right in 12 European countries said they would join the grouping, including the Portuguese Chega, Spain’s Vox, the Dutch VVD of Geert Wilders, the Danish Peoples Party, and Vlaams Belang from Belgium.

On Monday morning, the RN and Italy’s right-wing populist League party joined too, bringing the group’s total members to 84.

Most of these parties used to belong to the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, which will now likely cease to exist.

With 30 MEPs, Mr Bardella’s RN contingent will be the largest in the Patriots grouping.

The alliance is now the third-largest in the European Parliament, after the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the centre-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D).

Notably absent from the Patriots for Europe grouping are Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, which belongs to the European Conservatives and Reformists alliance, and the German Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), which has been politically homeless following a string of scandals earlier this year.

Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party chairman Tom Van Grieken said the “right-wing, patriotic and nationalist parties” that make up the Patriots alliance have “more in common than what divides us”.

However, the parties do differ in some key areas – notably on their stance on Nato and on the EU’s support for Ukraine.

European elections were held on 9 June and resulted in gains for far-right and nationalist parties, although the centre-right also performed well, holding its position as the largest grouping and managing to gain seats.

The RN was one of success stories of the night. It won more than 30% of the vote, double that of French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party.

This spurred Mr Macron to call snap parliamentary elections. While the RN came out on top in the first round on 30 June, it lost to a left-wing coalition and to Mr Macron’s own Ensemble alliance in the second round, which took place on 7 July.

Two dead as Beryl slams Texas leaving millions without power

By Kathryn ArmstrongBrandon DrenonBBC News
Coastal surge and flooding rains expected from Hurricane Beryl

At least two people have died as Hurricane Beryl slammed into southeast Texas, knocking out power for more than two million people while bringing heavy rain and fierce wind gusts.

When Beryl first hit Texas on Monday morning, it landed as a category one hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Officials have warned of destructive winds, up to 15in (38cm) of rain and “life-threatening” storm surges.

More than 1,000 flights in Houston’s largest airport have been cancelled.

The state governor’s office has repeatedly urged residents not to underestimate the storm, which caused at least 10 deaths in the Caribbean days before.

In Texas, a 53-year-old man died after ripping winds downed powerlines and knocked a tree onto his home in Harris County, causing his roof to collapse.

In the same county, which includes parts of Houston, a 74-year-old woman was also reported dead after a tree crashed through the roof of her home. The police were notified by the woman’s granddaughter.

On Monday, police in one Houston suburb had already begun conducting water rescues as the hurricane continued to pound the state.

According to US forecaster AccuWeather, landfalling hurricanes of this kind are somewhat rare for Texas in July.

Sustained wind speeds in the Houston area had reached 75mph (120km/h) with wind gusts reaching 87mph (140km/h).

Torrential rainfall and flash flooding have also occurred in areas where inches of rain fell in just a few hours.

The storm is expected to lose strength as it gradually tracks north-northeast but flash flooding and heavy rain remains a risk.

More than 2.7 million customers in Texas are without power as of Monday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.

At Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston’s largest airport, 1,097 flights were cancelled, according to flightaware.com.

As the storm barrelled its way past Houston, tornado warnings were issued for dozens of other Texas counties in its path, including a few counties in Louisiana.

“Take cover now!” the National Weather Service warned in all caps in its weather update around 13:00 CDT (19:00 BST) for residents in Louisiana’s Northeastern Beauregard Parish.

“Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows.”

Earlier, the city of Galveston, south-east of Houston, issued a voluntary evacuation order for some areas.

Storm surges in the Galveston area were predicted to reach 4-6ft above ground.

In Surfside Beach, police posted a photo of flood waters rising above the lower part of a truck’s door, feet above the ground.

The director of the US National Hurricane Center, Michael Brennan, has warned those living in Beryl’s path to find a safe place to be through Monday “as hazardous conditions will persist even after the centre of Beryl moves through”.

“There’s a very considerable risk of flash flooding across the Texas Gulf Coast, eastern Texas, ArkaTex [Arkansas-Texas] region.

“Do not ignore this very serious storm,” urged Acting Governor Dan Patrick.

The ports of Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City have all closed, meaning there could be a temporary halt to exports.

All vessel movement and cargo operations have been restricted.

Refugio County, north of Galveston, on Saturday issued a mandatory evacuation – stating the limited capacity of emergency services staff, 4 July holiday traffic and the area’s weakened infrastructure from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 as reasons.

Nueces County, meanwhile, ordered the mandatory evacuation of visitors and strongly encouraged locals to leave as well.

More than 2,000 emergency responders have been made ready to deal with Beryl’s aftermath, Mr Patrick announced, including members of the Texas National Guard.

Beryl is expected to move east across America’s central states, including Mississippi, later in the week.

In the process, it will likely skip over central and west Texas, areas that are currently experiencing moderate to severe levels of drought.

Hurricane Beryl has been an unprecedented storm. At one stage, it became the earliest Category Five hurricane ever recorded.

It has already left a trail of devastation across the Caribbean – hitting islands including St Vincent and the Grenadines, Mayreau and Union, and Grenada especially hard.

The storm was also one of the most powerful to ever hit Jamaica and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.

Beryl brought heavy rain to the tourist hotspots of Cancún and Tulum in southern Mexico. No major damage was reported but the high winds felled trees and caused power outages.

While it is difficult to attribute specific storms to climate change as the causes are complex, exceptionally high sea surface temperatures are seen as a key reason why Hurricane Beryl has been so powerful.

It is the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season but the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that the North Atlantic could get as many as seven major hurricanes this year – up from an average of three in a season.

Are hurricanes in the US getting worse?
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England defender Luke Shaw says he is fit and ready to play 90 minutes at Euro 2024.

Shaw, the only specialist left-back in Gareth Southgate’s squad, did not play in England’s first four matches of the Euros because of a hamstring injury.

But the Manchester United player came on as a second-half substitute during the quarter-final victory over Switzerland – and says he is now ready to play a bigger part in England’s campaign.

“Of course, I think I am [fit and ready to play 90 minutes],” Shaw said. “That is down to Gareth’s decision. I feel fit and ready to go.”

Shaw’s appearance from the bench after 78 minutes against Switzerland marked his first competitive football since suffering his injury in February.

Southgate had hoped to have Shaw back during the group stage in Germany, but his recovery took longer than expected and has meant Kieran Trippier deputising on the left side of defence.

“The last four months have been really tough,” Shaw said of his injury problems. “At the start I was expected to come back a lot sooner, but I went through a lot of setbacks.

“It was really nice to get on the other night and get some minutes – I’ve been itching.

“I think before the squad got announced, we had a plan to come back around the second or third game but, unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned and I was pushed back a game or so.

“Of course, it’s tough. They were really there for me, not just Gareth and Steve [Holland, England assistant manager] but the medical staff as well. I have a lot to thank them for.”

Shaw has had ‘strange’ Euros

Shaw has had to sit and watch from the sidelines as England reached the semi-finals of a second successive European Championship.

The 28-year-old has been focusing on his recovery, to the extent that he pulled out of a scheduled media conference before the Switzerland game as he did not want to speak to the press before he had got back on the field of play.

“It’s been strange,” he said of his Euro 2024 experience. “It’s also been difficult as well, going to games, feeling the atmosphere. Not putting the shirt on or being involved in games was hard, but that motivated me more to work back.

“The atmosphere in those games spurred me on.

“I was of course excited to come back, but the priority was to help us get back into the game and get us through.”

Without Shaw, England have not always impressed at Euro 2024 – drawing their final two group matches before going behind in both knockout games so far.

But brilliant equalisers by Jude Bellingham against Slovakia and Bukayo Saka versus Switzerland have helped them through.

‘I don’t understand the criticism of Southgate’

Shaw knows what it is like to score a big goal in a European Championship – he opened the scoring for England in the Euro 2020 final against Italy inside three minutes with a powerful volley.

But watching from the bench, he says he has been put through the wringer just as much as the England fans.

“I felt more nervous watching than playing – it is quite tough,” he said.

“I never once thought that we were going to go out. We have to believe right to the end.

“Good moments like Jude’s [equaliser] can happen, but it’s down to us to deliver that on the pitch.

“Game by game we are getting better – there’s things we can still improve on but we’re looking good.”

Shaw has become a key player under Southgate, starting every match at the 2022 World Cup, and defended his manager over the criticism he has received for his selections and style of play.

“I don’t understand the criticism,” Shaw said of Southgate, who has become the first man to lead England to three major tournament semi-finals.

“What he’s done for the country and us players, he’s taken us to the next level. No manager has been as successful as he has recently.

“Us players love him – he’s exactly what we need. He allows us to go out on the pitch and be our best. He’s shown a lot of faith and trust in picking me.”

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Elina Svitolina found it “extremely tough” to play her Wimbledon fourth-round match after Russian strikes killed dozens of people and seriously damaged a children’s hospital in her native Ukraine.

Svitolina, 29, broke down in tears during an on-court interview after she beat China’s Wang Xinyu to reach the quarter-finals.

She played the match wearing a black ribbon on her white outfit, knowing there had been mass casualties from the assault on her homeland.

“Today was one of the most difficult matches in my life,” said Svitolina.

“Mentally it was beyond anything I have ever faced but fails in comparison to what my people at home are going through.”

The 2023 Wimbledon semi-finalist is one of Ukraine’s most prominent athletes and has spoken regularly about the impact of the war on her country.

After her 6-2 6-1 win, Svitolina said: “It was a good performance from my side and it’s a very difficult day today for Ukrainian people.”

Svitolina trailed off as she began to cry, with the court two crowd offering sympathetic support.

“It was not easy to focus on the match,” Svitolina added.

“It was very difficult to read the news and just to go on the court it’s extremely tough.

“I’m happy I could play today and get a win.”

Svitolina will face 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals.

Svitolina, a mother of one, said she did want to leave her room after seeing the news when she woke up.

At least 36 people were confirmed dead and 140 were injured as a result of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine on Monday.

The rare daytime attack killed at least 19 people in Kyiv, including two at the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital – Ukraine’s biggest paediatrics facility – which sustained major damage.

Svitolina, along with former Ukraine footballer Andriy Shevchenko and heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk, is an ambassador for United24, a fundraising organisation sent up by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Earlier this year, Svitolina said many Ukrainians felt people have lost interest in their ongoing battle to repel the Russian invasion.

She wants to use her on-court success to maintain awareness but admitted she feels “guilt” at being happy for reaching a Grand Slam quarter-final.

“Many people cannot leave the country. Many people are at war. Many people are fighting, defending our front lines,” she said.

“We’ve been living with this feeling for over two years. It’s nothing new. But yes [guilt] is not a pleasant feeling to have.”

Collins bids farewell to Wimbledon

American Danielle Collins’ Wimbledon career ended in defeat as the 11th seed was beaten by Czech Barbora Krejcikova under the roof on Court One.

Collins, 30, announced in January that this season would be her last on the tour.

The former Australian Open finalist was on her best run at Wimbledon, playing in her first fourth-round match, but was beaten 7-5 6-3 by 31st seed Krejcikova.

Both players had chances in the opening set before Collins lost serve at 5-5.

She was then broken early in the second and needed a medical timeout after injuring her leg while trailing 3-1.

Former world number two Krejcikova, 28, broke twice more on her way to a convincing win.

The 2022 French Open winner is into her first Wimbledon quarter-final and will face a fellow former Roland Garros champion, Jelena Ostapenko.

Earlier on Court One, Latvian 13th seed Ostapenko beat unseeded Kazakh Yulia Putintseva 6-2 6-3 with a dominant performance.

Ostapenko’s powerful hitting from the baseline proved too much for Putintseva – the player who knocked out top seed Iga Swiatek in the previous round.

Rybakina into last eight as Kalinskaya retires hurt

Fourth seed Rybakina underlined why she is the new title favourite with a dominant performance against Anna Kalinskaya before her opponent retired injured.

Rybakina was 6-3 3-0 ahead on Centre Court when Russian 17th seed Kalinskaya left the last-16 match in tears having been unable to recover from a wrist problem.

Russian-born Kazakh player Rybakina is the highest seed left in the women’s draw and will face Svitolina next.

Rybakina, 25, is the only former Wimbledon champion left in the women’s draw, and her bid has been strengthened by Swiatek and Coco Gauff featuring in a flurry of big names knocked out over the weekend.

Rybakina dropped serve in the first game of the match and trailed 3-1 in the opener, but she then won five consecutive games, with two breaks to love, to take the first set, and the procession continued until Kalinskaya forfeited the match.

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There are “many out there waiting for a negative moment” such as a penalty miss to target England’s black players, says Troy Townsend.

England beat Switzerland 5-3 on penalties in their Euro 2024 quarter-final on Saturday, with all of their spot-kick takers either black or having black heritage.

They included Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka, who had earlier scored England’s equaliser in normal time.

Saka had his decisive spot-kick saved when England lost 3-2 on penalties to Italy in the European Championship final three years ago.

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho – who are not in the England squad at Euro 2024 – were also unsuccessful from the spot, and the three players were racially abused on social media.

“I don’t think things have changed,” said Townsend, who left Kick It Out, external at the end of June after nearly 13 years at the anti-discrimination organisation.

“Because it is a positive tournament at the moment – for results – the fans are behind the team. At crucial moments, they will show their support.

“But I do feel there are many out there waiting for a negative moment, waiting for an English player to miss a penalty, so they can go back to their social platforms with that whole negativity around the players who were taking the penalty.

“We have seen white English players miss penalties before but they are never targeted or described by the colour of their skin. That is what makes it so unique against those black players who took the penalties on Saturday.”

Cole Palmer, whose grandfather was born in St Kitts and Nevis before moving to the United Kingdom,, external scored England’s first penalty against Switzerland before Jude Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold also converted.

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand posted a message on social media with a picture of the five after the game.

He wrote: “Where are the racists now???? Probably still celebrating!!!!”

Townsend told BBC Sport: “They are waiting. Why do I say that? Because we have the information behind it.

“People will celebrate up until the last moment but, unfortunately, when something has gone wrong, as perceived in their eyes, they will target these individuals.

“The last Euros was the biggest scenario we have seen and some of the messages I have seen that were directed at players were absolutely disgraceful.”

Sancho sent Saka a message on an Instagram story following the Switzerland game in which he praised the 22-year-old for scoring his penalty.

“I’m so proud of this guy,” wrote Sancho. “You did it for me and Marcus brother.”

Delroy Corinaldi – executive director of Black Footballers’ Partnership – said he did fear for the penalty takers if they had missed.

“You do have in the back of your mind this sad, terrible fear that if anything goes wrong that you will get that minority of people who are unfortunately very loud – especially on social media – denigrating those great young men,” he told BBC Sport.

“Thankfully that didn’t happen.”

Former England striker Emile Heskey remains wary of the potential for players being targeted with racial abuse if England lose or they miss a penalty.

“A leopard doesn’t change its spots,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“The true colours come out when they feel anger. But we try and keep fighting this and educate.

“We talk about education as the key but we need help with that as well. We slowly feel that we are getting to where it’s getting better but we still have a mountain to climb.”

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Four teams are preparing for the semi-finals of Euro 2024, with Spain set to face France on Tuesday while England take on the Netherlands the following day.

Spain are seeking to win the tournament for the fourth time, having most recently triumphed in 2012.

France last won it 24 years ago while the Dutch triumphed in 1988 – and England are of course hoping to end their wait for a first men’s European Championship.

So who is looking in the best shape for their semi-final, and who could win it all?

BBC Sport asked experts from each country for their views, and you can vote for who you think will lift the trophy at the end.

‘Spain have shown they have layers’

Spain displayed three different ways against Germany.

We played with wingers, then without wingers and no striker and then finally 4-2-4 in extra time, which means we have layers. The main thing is we adapted to anything Germany threw at us. Yes we could have lost, but we were never far away from winning it either.

While we were superior to the previous four opponents but we were not against Germany. However we did not give up and got the victory, so it was a different test, one of resilience, faith in the idea, collaboration and insistence, and we came out of it well.

It was also a very physical encounter; it was the most amount of fouls in a game in a European Championship since 2016, but we showed we are not now scared of that either.

We showed a conservative streak when, while ahead, Fullkrug appeared on the scene, balls were crossed into the box and we dropped too deep. We had a team designed to keep the score; perhaps we can learn from that because being too intimidated and hiding in your own box is not, for us, a guarantee of success.

Against France we know we will have to take the initiative, like we had to do against Italy, Albania and Georgia. We will have to be careful against counter-attacks, in the same way as we did against all our opponents. We are good at stopping them though, having committed the largest number of tactical faults.

I know for France to win they do not have to play well, so it will important to be focused the whole game as they keep looking for a moment of brilliance from their front men. We will have to be careful against France’s pace, with the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe.

Perhaps we are not as efficient as we should be up front, but because we press so often, and keep shooting and attacking and creating opportunities, eventually we tend to crack the nut and I feel that will happen against France again.

We have suspensions, and Pedri was injured in the last game, but there is not a huge difference between our best player and our ‘worst’. It is a team that behave at all times as that, as a collective, and with great flexibility, reading well what happens on the pitch.

I think we will beat France and will meet England in the final.

WINNER: Spain

‘Despite modest performances England are contenders’

England must harness the resilience they have shown in the face of adversity and the individual brilliance from Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka that has put them in the semi-final into a more cohesive team performance to beat the Netherlands.

Gareth Southgate’s side have struggled in Euro 2024 against sides who have defended deep, so the more attacking approach of the Netherlands might just suit them and give England’s creative players more room for manoeuvre.

England will need to be at their best defensively because the Dutch pose a serious threat in attack, with Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo having a fine tournament and the unpredictable Memphis Depay always dangerous.

If England get it right they can trouble a Netherlands defence that has looked vulnerable under pressure, with the potential battle between the respective captains Harry Kane and Virgil van Dijk a key component.

Kane struggled desperately in England’s quarter-final against Switzerland, looking physically short and off the pace, but you would still not bet against him taking the big chance if one comes along.

England are now, despite indifferent performances so far, in a position where they are serious contenders to win Euro 2024. They have reached the semi-finals almost in spite of themselves, but confidence must surely be growing and teams often get a sense of destiny being with them at this stage of major competitions – think Greece in 2004 and Portugal in 2016.

If England were to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, this would not surprise me – but while a sixth sense says England, the head says Spain.

Spain have looked the best team in what has been a mixed Euro 2024 although they could still come unstuck against a hugely talented but regimented France under Didier Deschamps.

None of France’s players have scored a goal from open play while Spain have been fluent with Lamine Yamal, who is not 17 until the day before the final, a revelation in a side that also boasts world-class talent in the shape of figures such as Manchester City’s Rodri.

Spain have a potent mix of youth and experience, are growing into the competition and have looked the most impressive team from the start – but I believe they will have to get past England to win Euro 2024.

WINNERS: Spain.

‘Mbappe will become Mbappe again’

We have seen the best of France defensively, certainly. This is what they do, it is their style and it is their DNA. It is also how you win tournaments, being solid defensively.

Where they have perhaps not been at their best is with the ball. They do not play sexy football, it is not what they are about – but they have been lacking in terms of creating chances. They are usually more effective in the opposition’s box.

Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe has possibly been the biggest disappointment at this tournament.

There are a few explanations, the first being the mask he has had to wear after breaking his nose against Austria. In that game he had looked quite sharp. He also had a few fitness issues before the Euros, so I do not think he is fully fit – but the mask is also really bothering him.

If there is one team that can frustrate Spain more than any other here, it is France.

For me, with Spain’s problems in midfield as a result of Pedri’s injury it will be a case of who wins the battle in the middle. The physical impact the France midfield has is incredible and that is where the game will be won.

This will be a big game for Antoine Griezmann considering he has spent more of his career in Spain than in France, so we need him and Mbappe to raise their games.

I want a France-England final and I think France, of the four semi-finalists, have the ruthlessness and the experience of this level. I also think at some point Kylian will become Kylian again and will be unbeatable.

WINNERS: France

‘Time running out for England & Netherlands’

The Turkey game I think showed the Netherlands have a good Plan B – using Wout Weghorst as a striker with Memphis Depay just behind.

England played with five defenders against Switzerland, so it made it very compact in that area. I think this is the way we need to play if we are going to do it.

The thing I have noticed with this team is they need a wake-up call to get going. They had that against Austria and then against Romania they were good. Then they had another wake-up call when Turkey took the lead in the quarter-final.

There is more in both these teams but they are not coming out yet – and that is a similarity between the sides.

I think the winner will come from the other side of the draw. England and the Netherlands have not yet been tested really; they have faced some good teams but not played the big countries as they are on the other side of the draw.

I think Spain will win because they are playing good football as a collective. England, France and the Netherlands are still waiting to get everything together, but time is running out.

WINNERS: Spain

What information do we collect from this quiz?

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Pace bowler Gus Atkinson will make his Test debut in England’s series opener against West Indies at Lord’s on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old joins Chris Woakes and the retiring James Anderson as the specialist seamers.

Atkinson’s Surrey team-mate Jamie Smith, 23, will also make his Test bow behind the stumps, a move confirmed when he was named in the squad ahead of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes.

Atkinson, who has played nine one-day internationals and three T20s, was part of the England squad for the Test tour of India earlier this year, but did not feature.

Smith usually plays for Surrey as a specialist batter with Foakes taking the gloves, although he was England’s keeper for the two one-day internationals he played against Ireland last year.

Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, picked in the England squad ahead of his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach, plays his first home Test after winning three caps on the tour of India.

England XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jamie Smith (wk), Chris Woakes, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson.

‘Fresh look’

Overall, England have a fresh look for the first Test in the three-match series against the Windies.

There are four changes from the side heavily beaten in the final Test of the 4-1 series defeat in India and four from the last home Test against Australia at The Oval last July.

Leach, Foakes and Bairstow have been left out, while 41-year-old Anderson has been told this will be the last international match of a record-breaking career that has seen him become England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker.

Atkinson, capable of bowling at high pace, has taken 59 wickets in 19 first-class matches. He gets the nod ahead of Matthew Potts and the uncapped Dillon Pennington, who are the other seamers in the squad.

Smith has long been touted as a future England prospect. An attractive stroke-maker, he averages more than 40 in first-class cricket and in excess of 56 in the County Championship this season.

Along with the debutants, batter Harry Brook returns at number five after missing the tour of India to be with his ill grandmother, who passed away in March.

Woakes also plays his first Test since last summer after being overlooked for the tour of India despite being named player of the series in the Ashes.

Perhaps most importantly for England, captain Ben Stokes looks set to be able to play a full part as a bowler after being plagued by a long-term left-knee injury.

The all-rounder had surgery in November and tentatively returned to bowling in India before accelerating his rehab in three County Championship matches for Durham.

Stokes bowled a substantial spell in the nets at Lord’s on Monday, with England able to practice outside despite the mixed weather in London.

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