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Digest 02.06: Britain's Queen celebrates platinum anniversary and Johnny Depp celebrates court victory

2-6-2022 |

AP: Turkey is not a bird

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been pressing for the internationally recognized name Turkey to be changed to “Türkiye” (tur-key-YAY) as it is spelled and pronounced in Turkish. The country called itself “Türkiye” in 1923 after its declaration of independence.

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Photo: AFP

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has sent a letter to the United Nations formally requesting that his country be referred to as “Türkiye,” the state-run news agency reported. The move is seen as part of a push by Ankara to rebrand the country and dissociate its name from the bird, turkey, and some negative connotations that are associated with it.

Anadolu Agency said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, confirmed receipt of the letter late on Wednesday. The agency quoted Dujarric as saying that the name change had become effective “from the moment” the letter was received.

It was not clear whether the name, with a letter that doesn’t exist in the English alphabet, will catch on widely abroad. In 2016, the Czech Republic officially registered its short-form name, Czechia, and while some international institutions use it, many still refer to the country by its longer name.

Reuters: Russia accused the United States of "pouring oil on the fire of war"

Russia has accused the United States of adding "fuel to the fire" after President Joe Biden announced a $700 million weapons package for Kyiv that will include advanced rocket systems with a range of up to 80 km (50 miles).

"Ukraine needs weapons to liberate Ukrainian territory that Russia has temporarily occupied. We are not fighting on Russian territory, we are interested in our sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, shrugging off Moscow's criticism of the U.S. decision.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukraine had promised it would not use the systems to hit targets inside Russia.

France24: The splendor and pomp of the royal court

Although the royal family has been rocked by tragedy and scandal over the years, 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II has enjoyed an enduring popularity with the British public throughout her 70 years on the throne.

The monarch is marking her Platinum Jubilee without her beloved husband Philip, who passed away in April 2021.

Honouring the 70-year reign of this beacon of constancy at the head of the British state, this four-day extravaganza kicked off on Thursday with the Trooping of the Colour, an annual military review that has marked the sovereign’s official birthday since 1760.

Although Elizabeth II had trouble getting around last year, Her Majesty is expected to join the rest of her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the event, when an air parade with 70 planes will take place over the heads of spectators.

BBC: Jury confirms Johnny Depp's innocence of domestic violence

A US jury has found Amber Heard defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp with an article in which she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse.

Photo: STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Jurors awarded Mr Depp - who denied abusing Ms Heard - $15m (£12m) in compensatory and punitive damages.

Ms Heard, 36, won one of three counter-claims against Mr Depp, 58, and was awarded $2m in compensatory damages.

As the seven-member jury delivered its verdict, screams and chants of "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny" erupted outside the court.

In a statement on Wednesday, he said: "The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled."

He added, in Latin: "Truth never perishes."

Mr Depp's statement continued:

"I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up."

CNN: Conditions of detention of Australian TV presenter in Chinese prison are getting tougher

Concerns are growing for Australian TV host Cheng Lei, who has been detained in China for nearly two years, following an interview with her partner in which he claimed authorities had cut her access to embassy officials and tightened her food supply.

Cheng, a former business anchor for China's state broadcaster CGTN and mother of two, is accused of illegally supplying state secrets overseas, a charge that carries a possible sentence of between five years to life in prison.

She has been in custody since August 2020 and her original detention came amid rapidly worsening ties between Canberra and Beijing.

Chinese authorities have not revealed details of the allegations against Cheng and observers have raised concerns over the secretive court process.

In March, Australia's ambassador to China Graham Fletcher was denied entry to the start of Cheng's trial in Beijing, a move he called "deeply concerning."

"We can have no confidence in the validity of a process which is conducted in secret," he said, adding that Australia had no information about the charges or allegations against Cheng.

"That is part of the reason why we're so concerned because we have no basis on which to understand why she's been detained."