Niger envoy ‘hostage’
President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said that ambassador to Niger Sylvain Itte is living like a hostage in the French embassy. The ambassador is living off “military rations,” Macron told reporters in the town of Semur-en-Auxois. “As we speak, we have an ambassador and diplomatic staff who are literally being held hostage in the French embassy.” “They are preventing food deliveries,” he said, in an apparent reference to Niger’s new military rulers. “He is eating military rations.” Niger’s military leaders told Itte he had to leave the country after they overthrew Niger President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26. Asked whether France would consider bringing him home, Macron said: “I will do whatever we agree with President Bazoum because he is the legitimate authority and I speak with him every day.” Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Colonna later said the ambassador “is working” and would stay at his post for as long as Paris wished.
EU ends grain ban
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the EU’s decision not to further extend the ban on Kyiv’s grain exports, but said his government would react “in civilized fashion” if EU member states broke EU rules. “This is an example of true unity and trust between Ukraine and the EU,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Europe always wins when rules and agreements are implemented.”Yet immediately after the EU ruling was announced, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary said they would implement their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports.
El Chapo’s son extradited
Mexico on Friday extradited the son of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to face narcotics charges, Attorney General Merrick Garland said. Ovidio Guzman Lopez, also known as “El Raton” or “The Mouse,” was indicted earlier this year on drug trafficking charges linked to the fentanyl crisis plaguing the country. His father was convicted in 2019 of running what was believed to be the world’s biggest narcotics syndicate and is serving life in a supermax prison in the state of Colorado. Garland hailed the extradition as “the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations.
Trump gag order requested
Special Counsel Jack Smith on Friday asked a judge to place a gag order on former president Donald Trump, saying his inflammatory rhetoric threatens to undermine his trial for election subversion. Smith told the Washington federal court that Trump’s repeated attacks on Department of Justice officials, the Washington public and the judge in the case, Tanya Chutkan, could prejudice the jury pool, which is drawn from the local population. He also said that the attacks had resulted in real threats from Trump supporters against prosecutors, the court and potential jurors. Trump’s statements “could have a material impact on the impartiality of the jury pool while simultaneously influencing witness testimony,” the filing said. Anyone reading or hearing Trump’s comments “may reasonably fear that they could be the next targets of the defendant’s attacks,” it said. The request cited a number of Trump’s comments after the Aug. 1 indictment, including a social media post that read: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”
The rivalry between Asia’s two biggest countries has extended into outer space. After India’s landing of its Chandrayaan-3 rover on the moon last month — becoming the first country to put a spacecraft near the lunar south pole and breaking China’s record for the southernmost lunar landing — a top Chinese scientist has said claims about the accomplishment are overstated. Ouyang Ziyuan (歐陽自遠), lauded as the father of China’s lunar exploration program, told the Chinese-language Science Times newspaper that the Chandrayaan-3 landing site, at 69 degrees south latitude, was nowhere close to the pole, defined as between 88.5 and 90 degrees. On Earth,
SCIENTIFIC TREASURE: Preserved building blocks from the dawn of our solar system, the samples would help scientists better understand how the Earth and life formed NASA’s first asteroid samples fetched from deep space on Sunday parachuted into the Utah desert to cap a seven-year journey. In a flyby of Earth, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft released the sample capsule from 100,000km out. The small capsule landed four hours later on a remote expanse of military land, as the ship set off after another asteroid. “We have touchdown,” mission recovery operations announced, immediately repeating the news since the landing occurred three minutes early. Officials later said the orange striped parachute opened four times higher than anticipated — at about 6,100m — basing it on the deceleration rate. To everyone’s relief, the
Venezuela’s Tocoron prison was like a town all unto itself, boasting restaurants, a pool, a zoo, a playground for inmates’ kids and so much more as a powerful gang ruled the roost, using the facility as a criminal operations center. “Steak House. Enjoy,” read a sign on the wall of one of the restaurants in the prison, which thousands of soldiers and police stormed this week. Tocoron is empty of the 1,600 prisoners who lived here and have been moved elsewhere. Gone is the gang that controlled it — Tren de Aragua, which has tentacles in various Latin American countries. “Life was nicer
A little-known former shipping executive and ex-Goldman Sachs trader on Sunday pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Greek political history after winning the leadership of SYRIZA, the main opposition party. Stefanos Kasselakis, 35, is a self-styled self-made entrepreneur who says he wants to promote transparency, boost labor and social rights, speed up justice, and eliminate perks for bankers and politicians. Picking up more than 56 percent of the vote based on preliminary results, he defeated four other candidates — three of them prominent SYRIZA former ministers — after a whirlwind campaign mostly waged on social media. “We want a Greece where