Welcome to Friday, where tensions between far-right Jewish activists and Palestinians escalate in Jerusalem, Russia withdraws troops from Ukraine border and four ponies jump over Brexit obstacle. German conservative daily Die Welt also tells us why the country’s political parties should keep a close eye on the Greens’ candidate in the upcoming chancellor election.
• Hundreds injured in East Jerusalem clashes: Clashes in East Jerusalem between far-right Jewish activists, Palestinians and Israeli police have left over 100 people injured. Tensions have escalated between Palestinians and Jewish extremists since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on April 13.
• Indian hospital fire kills 13: At least 13 persons have died after a fire ravaged the intensive care unit of an hospital treating COVID patients near Mumbai. This incident comes as India is facing its highest number of cases and oxygen shortages.
• Russia to withdraw from Ukraine border: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Thursday that Russia will pull back its troops near Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Western countries had criticized what they viewed as a show of force.
• UK calls out China in Uyghur genocide: The House of Commons has stated for the first time that a genocide against Uyghurs is taking place in the north-west China’s Xinjiang region. MPs are asking the British government to take action, while Beijing condemned the declaration.
• SpaceX rocket launch: NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide have successfully lifted-off on a SpaceX rocket heading to the International Space Station. The launch, originally planned for last Thursday, was delayed because of poor weather conditions.
• State funeral for Chad’s slain president: Thousands of people have gathered to pay tribute to Chad’s late President Idriss Deby, who died in clashes with rebels on Monday. French President Emmanuel Macron and several African leaders are expected to attend the funeral, in the capital N’Djamena.
• Ponies overcome Brexit hurdle: Four ponies, bought as a birthday gift and detained for a month at Belfast Port over incorrect post-Brexit paperwork, are now to be released, but may face a 30-day quarantine upon arrival in Britain.
Weekly news magazine India Today reports on the country’s “vaccination emergency,” as India struggles with a new coronavirus surge of cases as well as oxygen shortages in hospitals. So far, only 8% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.
Annalena Baerbock: Germany’s Greens are grown up — and dangerous
As the race to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor accelerates, the country’s Green party looks to be in a very strong position. But their environmental ideals mask an illiberal intolerance for their opponents, writes Ulf Poschardt in German daily Die Welt.
The Greens are on a roll: in Annalena Baerbock they have nominated a strong candidate for the German chancellorship. They have chosen a confident, unflappable candidate who will also appeal to the middle ground, to those who don’t traditionally vote Green. A former elite trampoline gymnast, Baerbock has two daughters and is married to a PR manager. Her polished appearance and friendly, approachable manner will help make the Greens’ anti-growth policies and their calls for redistribution of wealth and bans a little more palatable to the wider public.
The other parties should take note. The Social Democratic Party has already sealed its fate, ensuring it will only play the role of junior partner in a possible coalition, and will not pose a real threat to the Greens’ campaign. The Free Democratic Party is in a stronger position, while the Left Party only trusts its unimpeachable figurehead Sahra Wagenknecht. As for the union between the Christian Democrats and Christian Socialists, where sparks are still flying over whether to choose Armin Laschet or Markus Söder as their candidate, they already have the Greens in their sights.
The Greens’ friendly face hides deep divisions that are tolerated and even encouraged. At the Berlin rent cap protests, Greens marched alongside people waving banners with hammers and sickles, violent protestors and members of anti-constitutional groups. Now more than ever, those who formerly identified as alternative are distancing themselves from the far left. They are waging culture wars with a vengeance, playing into the bias of the public-service media perfectly.
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In Quebec, “hot mic” gaffe lands judge on the hot seat
We all know the risks of teleworking and what can happen when someone accidentally forgets to turn off a camera or mute a microphone. Just last week a Canadian MP was caught naked during a Zoom conference when his laptop camera switched on as he was changing into his work clothes.
Turns out the exposed lawmaker isn’t the only high-profile Canuck to make a faux pas in the daunting new world of digital workplaces. This week, a Superior Court judge in Joliette, Quebec had an embarrassing “technical incident” of his own, one that would end up costing him the high-stakes bankruptcy case he’d been handling.
As the daily Journal de Québec reports, Judge Michel A. Pinsonnault was presiding over the $1.7 million case when, on April 20, he was heard saying during video conference proceedings: “They lie, they lie, they lie.”
The far-too-candid comments were in reference to a pair of witnesses who are under investigation for alleged fraud in a parallel case. The judge had forgotten, it turns out, to mute his microphone during his lunch break.
So much for impartiality.
A lawyer for the witnesses told the newspaper that it was “quite a deep shock” for his clients, especially since it was only the second day of the hearings.
The embarrassed judge said his microphone was left on without his knowledge because of a “malfunction.” He then apologized for his “unfortunate comments” and recused himself from the case, which is being delayed pending Judge Pinsonnault’s replacement by another magistrate.
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Global smartphone sales surged in the first three months of 2021 with 340 million devices sold around the world — a 24% increase compared with last year and the biggest jump since 2015, according to data from Strategy Analytics. Sales were driven by the success of new 5G products, particularly in China.
We have not understood the climate emergency at all.
— Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg urges U.S lawmakers to immediately stop subsidizing fossil fuels, as part of a push by Democrats to include fossil fuel subsidy elimination in new climate bill.
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