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Fresh 06/06: While the world is threatened by global warming, Boris Johnson accounts for his parties

6-6-2022 |

AP: British Prime Minister Johnson to face no-confidence vote

Britain’s governing Conservatives will hold a no-confidence vote Monday that could oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson from power, after months of growing discontent with a divisive politician whose career has survived multiple ups and downs.

Photo: Daniel Leal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

While Johnson has weathered many political storms, he has recently struggled to turn the page on months of ethics scandals, most notably over rule-breaking parties in government buildings during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Conservative Party official Graham Brady said the vote would take place in person in the House of Commons on Monday evening, with the result announced soon after.

Johnson’s Downing Street office said the prime minister welcomed the vote.

“Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people’s priorities,” it said.

The prime minister said he was “humbled” and took “full responsibility” — but insisted he would not resign. He urged Britons to “move on” and focus on Britain’s battered economy and the war in Ukraine.

REUTERS: Ukraine's president travels close to frontline troops as Russia pushes them back

Heavy fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk Region, Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces had suffered a slight reversal of fortunes after managing to retake half of the city of Sievierodonetsk, the main battlefield in the east where Russia has concentrated its forces, Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province where the city is located, told national television.

Gaidai did not go into details but said the Ukrainian troops were still holding their positions in the city's industrial zone.

Zelenskiy said he had travelled to Lysychansk, south of Sievierodonetsk, and Soledar - rare outings for him outside Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 and possibly the closest to the frontline yet.

"What you all deserve is victory - that is the most important thing. But not at any cost," Zelenskiy, wearing his trademark khaki T-shirt, told Ukrainian troops in a video released on Sunday night.

"What you all deserve is victory - that is the most important thing. But not at any cost," Zelenskiy, wearing his trademark khaki T-shirt, told Ukrainian troops in a video released on Sunday night.

Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk are in the Luhansk region and Soledar is in the Donetsk region. Together they make up the Donbas, Ukraine's industrial heartland, which Russia says it is on a mission to "liberate".

Moscow has focused most of its firepower on the Donbas after Ukraine pushed its troops back from Kyiv and Ukraine's second biggest city Kharkiv.

Russian forces were fortifying their positions in the Kharkiv region and "conducting intensive artillery and mortar shelling of our positions" to keep hold of the territory they had occupied, Ukraine's military general staff said on Monday.

It said Russia was targeting civilian infrastructure in several towns in the region and the regional administration said three civilians were killed and 10 wounded in shelling.

Moscow denies targeting civilians.

Russia struck Kyiv with missiles for the first time in more than a month on Sunday, with one person reported hospitalised. Dark smoke could be seen from many miles away after the attack on two outlying districts.

Moscow said it had destroyed tanks sent by Eastern European countries to Ukraine.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of the Ukrainian railway, confirmed four missiles had smashed into the Darnytsia rail car repair facility in eastern Kyiv, but said there was no military hardware at the site.

President Vladimir Putin warned the United States on Sunday that Russia would strike new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile rocket systems.

Britain said on Monday it would supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 80 km (50 miles) away, a move that was coordinated with the United States in response to Russia's invasion.

France24: Climate talks start in Bonn as Ukraine war overshadows threat of global warming

Negotiators from almost 200 countries will meet in Bonn Monday for climate talks tasked with reigniting momentum on tackling global warming, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine overshadows the threat from rising emissions.

The conference will set the stage for a fresh round of major United Nations talks later this year in Egypt.

It will also be a chance to test the resolve of nations facing a catalogue of crises, including escalating climate impacts, geopolitical tensions, bloodshed in Ukraine and the threat of a devastating global food crisis.

"Climate change is not an agenda we can afford to push back on our global schedule," said outgoing UN climate change chief Patricia Espinosa ahead of the meeting.

Governments have already accepted that climate change is a grave threat to humanity and the planet, and have advocated immediate action to cut fossil fuel emissions and prepare for the accelerating impacts of warming.

The summary to this year's landmark climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that any further delay in action "will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all".

But as things are going, the world is unlikely to be able to meet the Paris climate deal's commitment to limit warming "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week warned that Russia's invasion of Ukraine risked slowing action to combat the climate crisis.

"But I think this war has demonstrated one thing: how fragile the world is in its dependence to fossil fuels," he added.

CNN: Why the sparsely-populated South Pacific islands have become the next US-China contest

The island nations that stretch across the South Pacific -- sparsely populated atolls and volcanic archipelagos, known more for tourism than lucrative natural resources -- may not seem, at first glance, to be a major geopolitical prize.

Yet, Pacific Island countries have become the latest arena for a great power contest between the United States and China.

Photo: AFP

That contest was thrown into sharp focus in recent days, as China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi completed a 10-day tour of eight countries to promote cooperation and a sweeping, regional security and economic proposal with the potential to significantly ramp up Beijing's role in the South Pacific.

China's bid for a larger, regional pact ultimately didn't win backing at a 10-country meeting last week, but Wang did leave behind a clear message of China's interest in the region -- and heightened concerns that these island nations, which carry a history of strategic importance, will have little choice but to navigate the rising tensions between major powers.

"The islands sit astride a key passageway for US and Australian naval ships and merchant ships," said Timothy Heath, a senior international defense researcher at the RAND Corporation in Arlington.

"If China could establish (military) basing rights, it could deploy warships and aircraft temporarily to the islands. (Its) ships and airplanes could threaten US and Australian ships and aircraft that passed by," he said, adding that even a boosted presence, short of a military one, could help China "collect sensitive intelligence on US and Australian military operations."

"There is an assumption that China will do more," said Celsus Talifilu, a political adviser based in Solomon Island's Malaita Province, who has been an outspoken critic of how the national government has handled its recent relations with China.

"It may be that our politicians are thinking that it's easier to deal with China in terms of implementing things on the ground quickly, in comparison to other donors that have been in the Solomons for a long time yet have been very slow," he told CNN.

Beijing's aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and its steadily expanding navy have changed how Washington views China's diplomacy and outreach, including in the South Pacific.

Concerns that Beijing may have military ambitions in the region were fueled in April after China and the Solomon Islands signed a security agreement, sparking fears of creating an opening for China to establish a military presence in the country.

Many observers say Beijing may be a long way from a military foothold, but agree that expanding its presence overseas would be a logical next step for an ambitious power like China.

Picked and squeezed for you: Irina Iakovleva