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GERMANY: Angela Merkel has backed right-wing Bavarian politician Manfred Weber, the head of the European People’s Party bloc of neoliberal EU parties, to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as next chief of the European Commission.
Mr Weber announced his candidacy yesterday. He defended Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban from the Tavares report criticising the erosion of civil liberties there and campaigned against debt relief for Greece over the course of its many EU “bailouts,” but he claims to offer the EU a “fresh start.”
PHILIPPINES: A mayor recently denounced by President Rodrigo Duterte as having links to drug-smuggling was shot dead yesterday in his office.
Mariano Blanco denied any involvement in the drug trade.
Gunmen made his guard lie on the floor at gunpoint and then shot the mayor at his desk.
Police Senior Superintendent Manuel Abrugena mooted “politics” as a factor in the death.
IRAN: Six builders were killed on Tuesday night when a lift at a construction site plummeted multiple floors with them inside.
Reports said three were Iranian and three Afghan immigrants. Safety at Iranian building sites is often poorly enforced and trade unions are frequently subject to official persecution.
UNITED NATIONS: Houthi fighters and the Saudi monarchy will sit down for UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva today.
The talks are the first between the main protagonists in the Yemen war, in which a Saudi-led coalition has killed well over 10,000 people in its bid to restore a former ruler, since 2016.
The Saudi king’s brother told protesters outside his Kensington mansion this week that the war was nothing to do with him and all Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s fault.
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