Wednesday, Jun 07th

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Biden cancels Australia and Papua New Guinea visit as debt limit crisis looms

Biden with Congressional leaders

Joe Biden has cancelled a planned visit to Australia and Papua New Guinea to focus on debt limit talks as Washington stares into the abyss of a potentially catastrophic default.

Biden still plans to head to Hiroshima, Japan, on Wednesday for the Group of Seven (G7) summit with leaders from some of the world’s leading economies. But he called off what was to be the first visit by a sitting US president to Papua New Guinea and a stop in Australia, where he was to meet with other leaders of the so-called Quad.

The move came as Biden hosted a fresh round of talks with congressional leaders at the White House in an effort to break the deadlock – and faced criticism from his left flank over rumored concessions to Republicans.


Zelensky meets PM as more Ukraine weapons pledged

Zelensky meets UK Premeir
The UK will send hundreds of air defence missiles and armed drones to Ukraine on top of the Storm Shadow cruise missiles announced last week.

The move means the UK is going further than any other country in providing weapons with the potential to tip the battlefield in Ukraine's favour.

Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky met the UK's Rishi Sunak as part of his tour of Western allies.

Mr Zelensky said it was important for the West to send fighter jets as well.

Thailand election results: Opposition trounces military parties

Thai Move Forward party leaderThailand’s reformist opposition has won the most seats and the largest share of the popular vote in a general election after voters resoundingly rejected the military-backed parties that have ruled the Southeast Asian country for nearly a decade.

With nearly all votes counted on Monday, the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) and the populist Pheu Thai Party were projected to win about 286 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives.

But uncertainty remains about whether they would be able to form the next government due to skewed parliamentary rules that allow 250 members of a military-appointed Senate to vote on the prime minister.

That means MFP and Pheu Thai will need the support of smaller parties to establish a new administration.


Russia says two of its commanders have been killed in eastern Ukraine

Two Russian commanders killed in eastern Ukraine

Moscow’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that two top Russian commanders have been killed in eastern Ukraine.

Russian state news agency TASS reported Sunday that commanders Colonel Vyacheslav Makarov and Colonel Yevgeny Brovko were killed during fighting in Donetsk, a region in eastern Ukraine. Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement Sunday that Makarov was “seriously wounded” and died when evacuating the battle, according to TASS.

“Commander of the 4th motorized rifle brigade, Colonel Vyacheslav Makarov, personally led the battle while on the front line. Two enemy attacks were repelled, and the soldiers of the brigade destroyed three tanks, four infantry fighting vehicles, and two armored vehicles of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Konashenkov said.


Ukraine claims gains in Bakhmut after Russia denials

Ukraine claims gains in Bakhmut

Ukraine says it has recaptured ground in Bakhmut, a rare advance after months of grinding Russian gains in the eastern city.

Kyiv said its forces advanced 2km (1.2 miles) in a week. Russia said its troops had regrouped in one area.

The claims signal a momentum shift in Bakhmut - but more widely, there is no clear evidence of an Ukrainian counter-offensive.

However, two explosions were reported on Friday in Russian-occupied Luhansk.

'Worst predicted scenario': Some Russians soldiers flee Bakhmut as Ukraine makes gains.

Bakhut battle

Russia's Wagner mercenary group was under pressure Thursday in war-battered Bakhmut after some Russian regulars fled their positions and had "thrown away" valuable ground to Ukrainian forces, the private militia's leader said.

"The situation on the flanks is developing according to the worst predicted scenario," Yevgeny Prigozhin said. He dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's talk of delaying Ukraine's counteroffensive, saying it had already begun and was proving to be "unfortunately, partially successful."

Multiple Russian bloggers also said some regular Russian soldiers had "left their positions" in or near Bakhmut, an eastern city that has been the primary focus of fighting for several months. The Ukrainian military said 165 Russians were killed, 216 were wounded and one was taken prisoner. Prigozhin has repeatedly criticized the Russian military for failing to provide enough ammunition and for lacking resolve in battle.


A Swiss Village Is Warned to Flee Its Shifting Mountainside

Village of Brienz, Switzerland

The threat of the mountain above the tiny Swiss village of Brienz has loomed for centuries.

But state geologists and engineers warned on Tuesday that parts of the mountain were dangerously close to collapse. And the roughly 85 people who live in Brienz and in the path of a possible landslide or mountain collapse were told to evacuate by Friday night.


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