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Slain Haitian President’s security official taken into custody
Americas

Slain Haitian President’s security official taken into custody

A security official of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise was taken into custody by police on suspicion of involvement in the assassination plot.

The arrested top official served as general security coordinator when Jovenel Moïse was assassinated.

Jean Laguel Civil now joins more than two dozen suspects detained by Haiti National Police as the probe, into the July 7 attack at Moïse’s private home, progresses.

On July 7, in the middle of the night, Jovenel’s private residence in Port-au-Prince was mobbed by a group of more than 20 mostly Colombian mercenaries.

Reynold Georges, Civil’s attorney, called his client’s arrest politically motivated even though it wasn’t immediately clear if Civil had been charged with anything.

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The arrest of the Presidential Security Coordinator Jean Laguel Civil comes nearly three weeks after Moise was killed.

Civil’s arrest followed the detention of another member of Moise’s security detail, Dimitri Herard.

A July 10 memo signed by Herard narrating out the events of the assassination night was leaked on social media on Tuesday. Its authenticity, however, could not be confirmed.

In the three-page document, Herard said that he had received a call for help from Moise at about 1:39 a.m. on July 7. He, then, made for the president’s residence and ordered reinforcements.

Herard said he received information of “many detonations” near Moise’s home and advanced towards it with other officials. Near the entrance, they were faced by men draped in black who ordered them to retreat – saying the group formed a part of an operation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Herard’s group was outnumbered heavily and concerned that the men might have held the president, his group retreated. They, then, as per the memo, began planning an assault on their adversaries but learnt just after 3 a.m. that the president was dead.

Three Colombians, in the ensuing battle on the afternoon of July 7, were killed as a result.

US forces to end combat in Iraq by year end
Americas

US forces to end combat in Iraq by year end

 United States of America President Joe Biden has announced that US combat forces in Iraq are going to end their mission in Iraq by end of this year. The announcement followed Biden’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at White House. The US troops will however continue to provide advise and train the Iraqi military according to the arrangement.

At present there are 2.500 US troops in Iraq that are helping the forces in country to combat remaining Islamic State group. The number of troops will remain same in Iraq but their active role will end in combat mission – a move likely to help PM Mustafa al- Kadhimi.  

Pressure over US presence in Iraq

Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general and leader of Iran backed Shia Muslim militia, was killed in a US drone attack last year in Baghdad. Since then Iran aligned political parties in Iraq have been pressurizing US forces withdrawal from country. This is despite continuing threat from the Sunni jihadist group in Iraq.

US has meanwhile accused Shia Muslim militia, backed by Iran, of carrying out drone and rocket attacks on Iraqi military bases histing the US led coalition forces. This is attempt to pressurize the forces to leave.

President Biden brings end to another overseas US war

This marks another overseas US war to an end by President Joe Biden. US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan was ordered by Biden. Both wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, had begun under former President George W Bush. In 2003, US forces had invaded Iraq to eliminate President Saddam Hussein.

In 2011 US forces withdrew, only to return back three years later at Iraqi government request when IS group overran large parts of the country. “Our role in Iraq will be dealing with being available to continue to train, to assist, to help and deal with ISIS as it arrives,” Biden added at the meeting. “But we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.”

During meeting with Iraqi PM at White House, President Biden said “Our counter-terrorism co-operation will continue even as we shift to this new phase.” Mr Kadhimi responded, “Today our relationship is stronger than ever. Our co-operation is for the economy, the environment, health, education, culture and more.”

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One Sheriff deputy killed and one injured during a shootout in a California home
Americas

One Sheriff deputy killed and one injured during a shootout in a California home

One sheriff deputy got killed on a Sunday afternoon standoff, and one got injured during a shooting at home in California. 

Wasco Mayor Alex Garcia stated, “while replying to a standoff here in Wasco, one of our valiant Kern County Sheriff’s Deputies was killed in a standoff, and one was shot and injured.” 

Kern County Lt. Joel Swanson told CNN, Law enforcement had reacted to the home on a report of shots. At the point when officials showed up, somebody at the house started shooting at them. Then, at that point, authorities contacted a SWAT team.

The suspect took shots at SWAT officers as they moved toward the home, injuring two officers. After few hours of gunfire exchange, the suspect was struck. Currently, he is hospitalized, Swanson reported. 

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A lockdown was imposed as the SWAT team was called and moved toward the house before 3 p.m., Swanson added. As they drew closer, the suspect started shooting and struck the two law enforcement Sheriffs, the lieutenant added.

Gunshots were heard in the background as deputies drove to the scene; Swanson added and heard reports of possible gunfire on victims inside the home.

The suspect’s identity has not been revealed yet by the police, stating the probe is in progress.

The Kern County District Attorney’s office, in a tweet, stated, “Our most profound sympathies to family, companions and individual agents of the KC Deputy Sheriff who was killed during a standoff today. We pray to God for a quick recovery of the second injured deputy. A colossal loss for @KernCoSheriff and our neighborhood. Our hearts are shattered.”

Key takeaways from Mexico’s midterm elections
Americas

Key takeaways from Mexico’s midterm elections

Mexico saw their mid-term elections this Sunday on June 6. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador addressed the conference the following day with a bright and cheerful face at Mexico City’s National Palace. Created in 2014, Obrador’s party, The National Resurrection Movement (Morena), will remain a political force in Mexico. However, as per the preliminary results from Mexico’s National Electoral Institute, the party received 36 per cent more votes in the race for the lower house of Congress. Alongside even, Morena’s ally PVEM (Mexican Green Ecologist Party) is expected to get six per cent of the vote in this election.

The way for coalition party:

Strategizing politics at its best, the party will see a coalition as a significant voting bloc but it will be just a name in the formality. Within the cabinet, there would not be the necessary two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution, which the president was hoping for. President has been taking major swings and giving bold statements on controversial issues to enlarge his circle of supporters. During this election, his party won a lot of state and municipal victories. His influence and popularity remain strong across the country. It is majorly believed that these alliances in large will sideline the polarization generated over the presidency and prove wrong about the conspiracy theory.

Peaceful elections:

Ensuring that smooth and peaceful elections are conducted, journalists report that they were expecting the low number of people to turn up for voting as it is not compulsory in Mexico. However, as per Mexico’s National Electoral Institute, 53 per cent of voters turned up which makes the result pretty good to know from the majority class. Mexicans were also fearing to step out in the light of the effects of the pandemic and political violence but still voting was conducted peacefully.

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Strengthening democracy:

People stood more than two hours in the line to cast their vote at the ballot stations. Mario Vargas Llosa, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, once described Mexico as an “absolute dictatorship”. He said so because a single party (PRI) had been in power for more than seven decades. Though, after these recent elections, there are high chances of either party turning to full rule in Mexico will not be there, giving way for purely a coalition government at front.

Nothing comes easy in politics:

The mass killings of candidates is a violent and prominent issue in Mexico. This year, unfortunately, 96 politicians and candidates had been murdered since the start of the campaign in September last year. Even during the election day, there were isolated incidents in the country where human remains were found at two polling places in Tijuana.

Fauci’s leaked emails during early pandemic: White House defends Fauci as “undeniable asset”
Americas

Fauci’s leaked emails during early pandemic: White House defends Fauci as “undeniable asset”

 White House has massively defended Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top coronavirus pandemic adviser amid criticism and denunciation around leakage of thousands of his work related emails earlier this week. Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Dr. Fauci an “undeniable asset” in America’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic. News outlets including CNN, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News had obtained thousands of emails that were sent and received by Fauci since pandemic outbreak began earlier last year. These emails panned from questions, clarifications from different organizations, entities and individuals to a simple ‘Thank You’ since the Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases became popular and common name globally. Many emails have been criticized for the exchange between Dr. Fauci and the other party.

BuzzFeed News has published more than 3,200 pages of emails obtained from Fauci’s inbox of correspondence spanning from January to June 2020. Similarly, The Washington Post published over 860 pages of emails during period of March and April 2020. CNN also obtained many emails from February. The excerpts show the extent to which Fauci engaged in correspondence and communication in a rather polite and to-the-point demeanor.

Dr. Fauci said that his exchange on virus lab leak is being taken out of context.  Last April. An email was sent to Dr Fauci by an executive at EcoHealth Alliance which is a global non-profit that had funded some research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. He thanked Fauci in the email for publicly stating that “scientific evidence supports a natural origin for the coronavirus and not a lab release”. Some critics have called out Fauci for being ‘too cozy’ with people at Wuhan lab. Dr Fauci rubbished the claims while talking to CNN. He added that still no proof has come into virus leak from the lab.

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“You can misconstrue it however you want,” Fauci said to CNN, “that email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak.”

He added, “The idea I think is quite farfetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out.”

Ms Psaki said on Thursday at her daily press briefing, “The president and the administration feel that Dr Fauci has played an incredible role in getting the pandemic under control, being a voice to the public throughout the course of this pandemic.”

About 3,200 pages of emails covering Coronavirus outbreak since last year were released to media from Fauci’s inbox under freedom of information request.

The US economy grew by 6.4% in three months
Americas

The US economy grew by 6.4% in three months

The United States appears to have overcome the coronavirus health crisis. The recovery appears strong: the US economy grew by 6.4% annualized in the first quarter, as confirmed by the second reading of GDP, even if economists expected an even better figure (+ 6.6%), while the demand for unemployment benefits have hit a new low since the start of the pandemic, dropping to 406k applications last week from 444k the previous week, a more than expected decline.

The markets are also reflecting positive signs: the S&P 500 index gained 90% from the low recorded in March 2020, also thanks to the push of the ultra-accommodative monetary policy of the Federal Reserve, accompanied by a formidable fiscal stimulus, which the US president, Joe Biden wants to continue delivering over the next decade to modernize infrastructure and revive the American middle class. “We’ll get some money back from that 1%” of the super-rich in America who benefited from Donald Trump’s tax cuts, “Biden said, during a speech in Ohio about an economic intervention in Cleveland, in ‘Ohio.

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According to the New York Times, the White House will announce a $ 6 trillion plan in 2022, which will extend over the next ten years. Biden’s plan, which also includes large funds for health and education, would bring federal spending to levels never seen after the Second World War, with a deficit of over 1,800 billion. Despite the administration’s intention to raise taxes on large multinationals and the wealthiest people. But according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the federal government is putting on the table a budget plan “in step with the times”. Therefore “we cannot act as if we were in 2010,” you said inviting Congress to “increase the pace of spending.”

And while Biden’s plan will raise the federal debt-to-GDP ratio above its current level by around 100% over the next decade, the movie is “fiscally responsible”, partly because the interest burden to finance federal debt is currently negative, as long-term government bond yields of 1.6% are below the rate of inflation. While the recently observed inflation “will be temporary, not endemic.” Although Yellen expects the price hike to last several months, he predicts that we will see “high annual rates of inflation until the end of this year”. However, investments will increase the supply capacity of the economy and will allow “faster growth in future years without inflation”.

If anything, the problem will be finding a compromise with the Republicans to get the new mega stimulus approved. Yesterday, to Biden’s proposal to scale back the infrastructure package already announced, from 2.3 to 1.7 trillion, the Republicans responded with an offer of 928 billion over the next 5 years, to be financed by redirecting federal aid for Covid, a hypothesis opposed by the Democrats.

Did Ukraine use Giuliani to undermine Biden’s candidacy in US Presidential Elections?
Americas

Did Ukraine use Giuliani to undermine Biden’s candidacy in US Presidential Elections?

Federal investigation by New York prosecutors is underway into role of Ukraine in 2020 US Presidential election. The New York Times has reported that the investigation is to determine role of Ukrainian officials to undermine Joe Biden’s candidacy and help Donald Trump in process. The report by NYT cites unnamed sources having “knowledge of the matter”. The criminal investigation includes determining whether Ukraine used Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to spread misleading information about Biden to impact his presidential candidacy. 

The said investigation had started in Trump’s final months in office and is being carried out by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York. This is however, separate from the investigation into dealings by Giuliani in Ukraine. 

One of the interest in investigation is Andriy Derkach, a member of Parliament in Ukraine. He was also sanctioned by US Department of Treasury, identifying him as an “active Russian agent for over a decade”.

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Though Giuliani is not directly under investigation for any wrongdoing, his dealings with officials in Ukraine while he was serving as personal lawyer of Donald Trump while he was in office, is a subject under investigation by Manhattan prosecutors. Giuliani is however, under investigation to determine if he violated ‘foreign lobbying laws’ by working on behest of Ukrainian officials when he attempted ousting of the then US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. 

The extent and fierceness of investigation into foreign body election meddling has bolstered ever since US intelligence had laid out extensive Russia’s meddling in 2016 Presidential election. Giuliani’s dealings’ investigations took a new focus last month when federal agents searched his Manhattan apartment and office on warrants as part of the long going investigation by Southern District of New York. Authorities seized 18 electronic devices in the process. 

Giuliani hasn’t been charged with a crime. He pointed out that all his activities in Ukraine were in capacity as Trump’s lawyer and that he “never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government.”

Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello told NYT while defending his client’s efforts, “When you investigate allegations of corruption, you talk to all sorts of people, some are credible, and some are not.” 

Biden’s resolute on Israel rages against him: Will he change political ground under growing pressure?
Americas

Biden’s resolute on Israel rages against him: Will he change political ground under growing pressure?

United States of America’s 46th President Joe Biden has a staunch stand when it comes to Israel, and it is much from his days as a young senator. Biden’s faithful support towards Israel has so far not transcribed into bending under pressure from progressive Democrats as well as Jewish Democrats. The demand from this sect is pretty simple – take a tougher line of action towards Benjamin Netanyahu. The issues revolve around human rights that is on verge of complete jeopardy as Israeli military continues its offensive in Gaza Strip leading to mounting body count. This also puts President Biden’s own credibility and foreign policy on question. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “vowing” to keep attacks at “full force” and no sign of ceasefire, international and American pressure citing death toll on President Biden can finally nudge him just enough to change his stand on situation.

Netanyahu is not a popular choice among American Jews, thanks to his controversial policies. Survey by Pew Research Centre reveals that only 40% think PM Netanyahu is showcasing a good leadership. This number fell to just 32% among younger Jews. Furthermore, only 34% opposed sanctions imposed on Israel. J Street, the influential and liberal Jewish lobby in Washington that has quite meaningful sway in Democratic party, has urged President Biden to work on arresting bloodshed in region and policies that helped pave way to conflict. J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami said, “We’re also urging the administration to make clear publicly that Israeli efforts to evict and displace Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are unacceptable, as is the use of excessive force against protesters.”

What made Israel’s policies a partisan issue in Congress lies majorly on former President Donald Trump’s undying affection and embracing of Netanyahu and his policies. With increasing opposition from American Jews, former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer argued last week that Israel must spend its energy to reach out to “passionate American evangelicals”, rather than Jews who are one of the most vocal critics of Israel.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is one of the most vocal progressive Congressional. AOC has been opening criticizing Biden’s open support to Israel’s “right to defense”. She tweeted on Saturday, “If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?

It is possible that under growing pressure, Biden might eventually alter his stand. However, experts say that President Biden’s opinions have been set too long ago and it would be pretty hard to change the course now. Biden’s foreign policy is largely based on his support from traditional alliances, and Israel is one of them. In 1981, when Israel had bombed Iraq’s suspected nuclear reactor, Joe Biden as a senator had supported the act firmly in Senate. He also bagged the label of “Israel’s best Catholic friend”.

Carmiel Arbit, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council said, “Biden has his own compass when it comes to the region, and is less susceptible to pressure from the left flank of his party. Although there is some pressure within the Democratic party to take a less sympathetic stance towards Israel, and it is certainly starting to drive a different conversation, it is not driving policy on this issue. But a lot depends on the situation. If the conflict escalates, and casualty numbers rise significantly, Biden’s posture could change.”

Republicans draw ‘red line’ in negotiations with Joe Biden on an infrastructure package
Americas

Republicans draw ‘red line’ in negotiations with Joe Biden on an infrastructure package

On Wednesday Republican leaders met President Joe Biden to negotiate on a massive infrastructure package. They called an increase to corporate taxes a “non-starter” and mentioned that they’re only willing to pay for physical infrastructure costs, which includes the construction of roads, bridges, airports and broadband expansion. The meeting continued for 90 minutes where Biden heard opinions of “Big 4” legislative leaders from both chambers including Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

However, the meeting did not reach any conclusion, as Biden seeks more than $4 trillion in spending. His $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan will cover $400 billion for caregiving for seniors and the disabled, $200 billion in the expansion of electric vehicles, research and manufacturing and other investments on top of traditional infrastructure. Alongside, he is also aiming at $1.8 trillion as an investment in families and children. The Senate Republicans recently countered with a narrower $568 billion infrastructure counter-proposal to Biden’s plan.

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His plan of investment of $1.8 trillion further includes funds for preschool and community colleges and create new subsidies for child care, offer free community college nationally, provide paid family and sick leave. He believes that this plan would make a permanent boost in child tax credits. He also mentioned to the reporters that he came encouraged to put his proposal to the meeting. He wanted to assert a way out without burdening middle class and working-class people to pay an exorbitant amount in a child’s education and self-care. On the other hand, McCarthy and McConnell went into the meeting after criticizing Biden’s infrastructure and family plans. They view this plan as a tax hike on businesses, investments and higher-income people. Answering their statement, Biden clarifies that the huge bills must be paid for through revenue increases.

Last week, Joe Biden stated that he is willing to compromise, but not ready to the deficit the spend. He often claims that he can broker bipartisanship on the bills despite pushing his $2 trillion COVID relief package through Congress without a single vote received through Grand Old Party (GOP).

The problem of anti-coronavirus vaccines second doses in the United States
Americas

The problem of anti-coronavirus vaccines second doses in the United States

In the United States, millions of people have skipped the booster risking not being immunized enough as the pace of vaccinations begins to slow down. The heads of the vaccination campaigns in the various states had predicted a drop in demand for second doses, with the difficulty of convincing the newly vaccinated to return three to four weeks later. Some states have invited vaccination centers and clinics to keep the attention of vaccinated people awaiting a second dose, sending them SMS and emails to remind them of the appointment. Although the United States is among the countries that have vaccinated the most against the coronavirus, in the last couple of weeks the pace of the doses administered has started to slow down, highlighting two problems above all: convincing the undecided to get vaccinated and making sure that millions of individuals who have already received the first dose, show up for the second. These two factors could significantly affect the outcome of the vaccination campaign and will be a problem to be addressed in several other countries

where vaccination campaigns are starting to bring their first results thanks to greater availability of doses. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among the leading health authorities in the United States, more than 5 million people who had received the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna did not show up. to receive the second. The data indicates a doubling of the second missed doses compared to the first weeks of the vaccination campaign. In percentage terms, it is equivalent to 8 percent of those who received the first dose: while the percentage is relatively low, on the other observers and health authorities fear that it could increase in the coming weeks, reducing the amount of fully immunized individuals. in the community.As The New York Times recently explained, based on interviews conducted in different areas of the United States, there are various reasons why so many people miss their second dose appointments. Some do not show up because they fear the adverse effects of vaccines, which have been talked about a lot in the last month following the tests carried out on Johnson & Johnson, the only single-dose vaccine authorized so far.

Others simply say they believe that one dose is enough to be immunized, and therefore do not think it is really necessary to undergo a second administration.To these are added logistical problems that have affected some states in recent weeks, with difficulties for vaccination centers and clinics in finding the necessary doses for second administrations in time. In some cases, the vaccines were just not available, while in others there were no vaccines from the same manufacturer as the first dose received. In these circumstances, a postponement of the second dose often acts as a disincentive, with several vaccinates giving up and contenting themselves with having received the first.

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In Arkansas, the most recent data indicate that about 84,000 individuals did not show up for the second dose, about 11 percent of those who would have been eligible. Initiatives were therefore launched to call the people involved directly to remind them of the importance of the second dose to be fully vaccinated. Other states have launched initiatives that make it possible to receive the second dose also in vaccination centers and clinics other than those in which they received the first, to reduce logistical problems or requests for travel that could act as a disincentive.The clinical tests carried out in 2020 by the pharmaceutical companies that developed the vaccines, and the first scientific evidence deriving from data on vaccinations among the population, show that it is at least inadvisable to miss the second dose for vaccines that require two administrations. A single dose does not lead to complete immunization and could expose you to some extra risk if you come into contact with particular variants of the coronavirus. It is also not clear whether a single dose reduces the effect of the vaccine, thus leading to a more rapid disappearance of the immune defenses against the coronavirus.


According to some observers, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine may have led to some confusion. Unlike the others authorized so far, it requires the administration of a single dose and this may lead some to think that then an injection is sufficient for the other vaccines and that the second is optional, if not superfluous.Messenger RNA vaccines, such as those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, work differently and have been tested for a two-dose regimen.In addition to the problem of who misses the second administration, in the US there is some concern about a drop in demand from the population. The most recent data indicates that over 146 million Americans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and that over 103 million have completed vaccination. On April 13, the day he was most vaccinated, 3.4 million doses had been administered, while in recent days the average has settled at around 2.5 million vaccinations per day.

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