Global News Roundup: UK Elections, US-Saudi Pacts, Ukraine Conflict, and More

Today's world news updates include UK's national election date set by PM Sunak, potential US-Saudi agreements, Ukraine's defense needs, Macron's visit to riot-hit New Caledonia, Ecuador's security state, European countries recognizing Palestine, Iran's Supreme Leader leading Raisi's funeral prayers, DRC's parliament electing a new speaker, Israeli offensives in Rafah, and footage of female soldiers taken by Hamas.

Reuters | Updated: 23-05-2024 05:21 IST | Created: 23-05-2024 05:21 IST
Global News Roundup: UK Elections, US-Saudi Pacts, Ukraine Conflict, and More

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

'Time to choose': Rishi Sunak calls UK national election for July 4

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a national election on Wednesday for July 4, saying Britons would be able to choose their future in a vote his Conservatives are widely expected to lose to the opposition Labour Party after 14 years in power. Ending months of speculation as to when he would call a new vote, Sunak, 44, stood outside his Downing Street office in pouring rain and announced he was calling the election earlier than expected, a risky strategy with his party far behind Labour in the opinion polls.

Blinken says US-Saudi pacts could be 'weeks away' from completion

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the United States and Saudi Arabia were very close to concluding a set of agreements on nuclear energy, security and defense cooperation, which are part of a wider normalisation deal with Riyadh and Israel. Speaking at a hearing in the House of Representatives, Blinken said the finalizing of the agreements "could be weeks away" but cautioned that for the wider normalisation to proceed, there must be calm in Gaza and the formulation of a pathway for Palestinian statehood.

Zelenskiy says Ukraine needs system to defend against Russia's guided bombs

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a fresh plea on Wednesday for upgraded defence systems to protect Ukraine's cities against guided bombs, which he described as the "the main instrument" now used by Moscow in its attacks. Zelenskiy has long called for improved air defences as Russia intensifies its assaults on energy and other infrastructure. Russia says it does not deliberately target civilian sites, but thousands have been killed and injured since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Macron arrives in riot-hit New Caledonia for high-stakes talks

French President Emmanuel Macron landed in the Pacific island of New Caledonia on Thursday, for a day of talks during which he will aim to turn the page on deadly riots triggered by a contested electoral reform. Any attempt to convince the rioters to get off the streets will be a challenge, as will trying to persuade the French-ruled territory's pro-independence parties who blame Macron and his government for the riots that he is there to help.

Ecuador's Noboa declares new security state of emergency

Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa on Wednesday declared a new state of emergency in seven of the country's 24 provinces, as well as one area of a further province, citing a rise in the number of violent deaths and other crimes in those jurisdictions. The measure will be in force for 60 days in Guayas, El Oro, Santa Elena, Manabi, Sucumbios, Orellana and Los Rios provinces, as well as one area of Azuay province, according to a decree signed by Noboa, who in January declared Ecuador was at war and designated 22 criminal gangs as terrorist groups.

European countries' recognition of Palestine deepens Israeli isolation

Already under global pressure over the mounting toll from the war in Gaza, Israel slipped further into international isolation on Wednesday after three European countries broke with their main EU partners and decided to recognise a Palestinian state. The move, described by an Israeli government spokesperson as "obscene", will have little practical impact either in the ruins of Gaza or the occupied West Bank. Squeezed by Israel, the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority in the West Bank struggles to pay its own civil servants.

Iran Supreme Leader leads prayers at Raisi funeral as election looms

Iran's Supreme Leader led prayers in Tehran on Wednesday at the funeral of President Ebrahim Raisi as the clerical establishment hurried to organise the election of a successor, which could further erode its legitimacy amid growing public discontent. The June 28 vote to replace Raisi, killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, will need to galvanise a population that showed little interest in the 2021 ballot that gave the hardline cleric the presidency, a role that oversees day-to-day government.

DRC parliament elects speaker in delayed vote days after foiled coup

The Democratic Republic of Congo's national assembly elected Vital Kamerhe, whose home was violently attacked on Sunday, as speaker in a delayed vote, a key step towards installing a government five months after a presidential election. The role of speaker makes Kamerhe, a close ally of President Felix Tshisekedi, the Central African country's number two authority.

Israeli forces move deeper into Rafah in night of heavy battle

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of a crowded district in the heart of Rafah on Wednesday during one of the most intense nights of bombardment of the southern Gaza city since Israel launched its offensive there this month. Israel's assault on Rafah on Gaza's southern edge has set hundreds of thousands of people fleeing in what had been a refuge for half of the enclave's 2.3 million people. It has also cut off the main access routes for aid into Gaza, drawing international fears of mass casualties and famine.

Israel releases film of women soldiers being taken by Hamas on Oct. 7

Israeli television aired previously withheld footage on Wednesday of five pyjama-clad female army conscripts being seized by Hamas gunmen during the Oct. 7 raid that triggered the Gaza war. The captives' families hoped the footage would increase pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree a truce with Hamas and secure the hostages' release.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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