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World in brief: June 21, 2024

BALKANS: A major power cut hit much of the former Yugoslavia today, as the southern European region sweltered in an early heat wave that sent temperatures soaring to more than 40ºC.

Montenegrin authorities said that an outage that lasted for several hours in the country’s power distribution system left almost the entire country without electricity, while similar problems were reported in the coastal part of Croatia, Bosnia and Albania.

The exact cause for such a widespread outage wasn’t immediately clear.

CHINA: The government said today that it had banned a number of business units of US aviation manufacturer Lockheed Martin and three of its executives over arms deals the company has signed with Taiwan, the self-ruling island it claims as its own territory.

The statement from the Foreign Ministry said the company’s co-operation with Taiwan had violated the China’s sovereignty.

The effects of the sanctions appeared largely symbolic, since military co-operation between the US and China has been suspended since the Tiananmen Square uprisings in 1989.

US: Prosecutors urged the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal hush money case today to uphold the gag order that bars him from criticising jurors and court staff, while agreeing to lift a restriction on his public statements about trial witnesses.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office argued that portions of the gag order remained necessary given the former US president’s “singular history of inflammatory and threatening public statements,” as well as efforts by his supporters to “identify jurors and threaten violence against him.”

NIGER: The junta withdrew an operating permit for a large uranium mine from Orano, the French company said today, escalating tensions with the country’s former colonial masters.

Orano “did not meet our expectations,” the Nigerian mining ministry wrote to the company in a letter dated June 20. As a result, the mine has been “returned to the public domain.”

Orano said it was “willing to keep communication open” with the junta, but it reserved the right to challenge the decision in a national or international court.

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