INTERNATIONAL NEWS

1. 75 years of D-Day landings by Allied troops observed in France

  • • In France, hundreds of veterans have gathered to honour the sacrifice of those who died in the D-Day landings by Allied troops, drawing to a close two days of commemorations.
    • World leaders attended ceremonies honouring Allied forces who fought in the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.
    • Wreaths were laid, a minute’s silence was held and veterans linked arms and sang, before watching an RAF flypast.
    • UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron thanked veterans who took part in June 1944. President Donald Trump called former US soldiers the pride of the nation.
    • Throughout the day, key events were marked from the wartime operation at the start of the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied north-west Europe.
    • By nightfall on 6 June 1944, some 156,000 Allied troops – including British, US and Canadian forces – had landed on Normandy’s beaches, despite challenging weather and fierce German defences.
    • The Allies established a foothold in France and within 11 months Nazi Germany was defeated and the war in Europe was over.
    • At 06:26 BST – the exact minute the first British troops landed on the beaches in 1944 – a lone piper played on a section of the Mulberry Harbour in the French town of Arromanches.
    • Mr Macron and Mrs May – in one of her final engagements as Conservative leader – were in Ver-sur-Mer to see the first stone laid for a memorial to commemorate the 22,442 British troops who died there in the summer of 1944.
    • The memorial, which overlooks Gold Beach, depicts three soldiers advancing across the sand.

2. US President Trump says ‘fine’ if Iran wants to open talks

  • • US President Donald Trump said it is fine for him if Iran wanted to hold talks, adding the Islamic Republic was currently failing as a nation.
    • Speaking after talks in northern France with French President Emmanuel Macron, a supporter of diplomacy with Iran, Mr.Trump indicated he could consider talking to Tehran.
    • The US President is in northern France to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. He said they will talk but the one thing that they can’t have is nuclear weapons.
    • The United States has had no diplomatic relations with Iran following the hostage seize of the American embassy in Tehran that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution
    • US diplomats helped negotiate the landmark 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear programme with Europe under his predecessor Barack Obama but Trump unilaterally pulled out of the deal in May 2018.
    • Trump referred to the US sanctions against Iran which are battering the Iranian economy especially since Washingto pulled out of the nuclear deal.
    • Trump’s pullout from the nuclear deal, the US president said and Macron did not have differences on how to handle Iran.
    • However Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at Trump earlier this week, saying “when such a person is the president, this shows the political and moral decline of that country.”

3. Thai parliament elects Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister

  • • In Thailand, the Parliament has elected 2014 coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as Prime Minister.
    • The military-backed party that nominated Prayuth won the second-highest number of seats in the House of Representatives in a general election in March.
    • Prayuth was elected to serve a second term by a vote of 500 to 244 for his opponent, Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
    • Prayuth was the candidate of the military-backed Palang Pracharath party, which holds 116 House seats, as well as lawmakers from smaller parties. His appointment becomes official when it is endorsed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
    • Prayuth did not run for office in the March election – the constitution enacted under the junta he headed does not require that the Prime Minister come from Parliament.
    • While the formation of a government will finally return Thailand officially to civilian rule, it will be done under a new political system enacted by the junta Prayuth has led and its appointees.

4. Taiwan’s request for US tanks and missiles sparks China anger

• Taiwan’s move to buy state-of-the-art tanks and portable missiles from the United States in a proposed deal has drawn an angry rebuke from China. Taipei’s Defence Ministry in a statement today said it formally asked US for 108 M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, more than 1,500 Javelin and TOW anti-tank missiles, and 250 shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
• According to a media report, the US government has given Congress informal notification of its plan to sell the equipment in a deal worth 2 billion dollars. Beijing said it had serious concerns about the sale.
• China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang today said Beijing repeatedly emphasized to the US to fully understand the extremely sensitive and damaging nature of their decision to sell arms to Taiwan and abide by the One China principle.
• Taiwan has been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949 but China still views it as its territory and has vowed to take the island, by force if necessary. The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, but it has remained its main unofficial ally and is congressionally bound to supply it with arms.
• The US Government announced plans last year to sell spare parts worth 330 million dollars to Taiwan for its US-made F-16 fighter jets and C-130 military transport planes, sparking anger from Beijing.

5. German nurse given life sentence for murder of 85 patients

  • • In Germany, a nurse was handed a life sentence today for murdering 85 patients in his care.
    • The 42-year-old nurse Niels Hoegel murdered patients selected at random with lethal injections between 2000 and 2005 when he was caught in the act.
    • Hoegel has already spent a decade in prison following a previous life sentence he received for six other murders.
    • Judge Sebastian Buehrmann called Niels Hoegel’s killing spree incomprehensible and acknowledged the trial left many families with painful unanswered questions. Police suspect that Hoegel’s final death toll may be more than 200.
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