Earthquake in Afghanistan, Trump’s riot, Salman’s Turkey visit, Uk’s Rwanda problem

Today we’ll be discussing some of the biggest stories, including the capital riot congressional hearing and the UK’s plan to overturn human rights rulings, as well as discussing the UK’s upcoming by-elections, but first, Afghanistan’s earthquake.

Early this morning, Afghanistan suffered a huge earthquake. The quake hit around the Paktika region and the city of Kabul. While there is a limited amount of information about the earthquake, it’s been confirmed that it had a magnitude of six, and there are currently 920 confirmed deaths and more than 600 injuries. On social media, footage has circulated showing residents laying in brick and rubble from their houses and of people on IV drips on chairs outside their homes. Aid is currently reaching the region via helicopters. The issue is that international relief is slightly complicated at the moment following the withdrawal of the international community after the Taliban’s takeover of the country last year. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is a tectonically active region, meaning it’s prone to quakes. In the last decade, about 7.000 people have died in earthquakes.

In the United States, congressional hearings over the January VI capital riot are still ongoing. This week, it seems that the focus was on US election officials and how they felt intimidated by Trump voters. Following his defeat in the 2020 election, President Trump falsely claimed that the election had been stolen from him. Many of his supporters believed this and, according to the hearing, were subjected to relentless pressure and were made to feel threatened. The speaker of one of the contested states, Arizona, said of Trump’s claims that we received in excess of 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of voicemails and texts which saturated our offices, and we were unable to work, at least communicate. The congressional investigation continues as others were branded as pedophiles simply for rejecting the president’s narrative.

Today, the UK government is set to introduce a new British Bill of Rights to parliament that would give it the power to reverse rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. In the government’s words, the bill which repeals and replaces the human rights act will make clear that the UK supreme court is the ultimate judicial decision maker on human rights issues. The bill will also give greater weight to freedom of speech in the law. The proposals come after the ECHR blocked the removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda, something the government explicitly notes, stressing that the bill will confirm that interim measures such as the one issued last week which prevented the removal of flight to Rwanda are not binding on UK courts. The deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, did, however, confirm that the government would not quit the European Convention on Human Rights.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bill Salman, will meet with Turkish President Erdoğan today for a meeting aimed at normalizing ties between the two countries, which were damaged following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Erdoğan had blamed the murder on the highest levels of the Saudi government, a claim supported by western intelligence. Prince Mohammed’s visit to Turkey is the first in years and follows one-on-one talks between the two leaders in Saudi Arabia in April. Saudi Arabia has been leveraging its power as a wealthy oil producer in an attempt to shed its pariah status as the world struggles with soaring fuel prices. Turkey, meanwhile, has been in an economic crisis for some time and is heading for an election next year, so may be looking to Saudi Arabia for trade and investment.

Italian foreign minister Luigi Demaio has left the populist five-star movement to set up his own parliamentary group in protest of his former party’s opposition to sending weapons to Ukraine. The move follows a period of rising tension between Tamayo and his party’s leader, Giuseppe Conte. The five-star party accused the five-star party of undermining the multi-party government’s effort to support Ukraine against Russia and risking the government’s stability. Because of a crisis in the polls, his new group will support Mario Draghi’s government and its support for Ukraine. More than 60 other lawmakers will defect from the five-star party alongside Demaio. He says that as a result, the largest party in the Italian parliament, the five-star party, will no longer be the

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