World News

L’Oreal to remove words like ‘whitening’ from all skincare products

L’Oreal is to remove words like “whitening” from its skin care products, the French cosmetics giant has announced.

The Paris-based company made the decision in the wake of global protests against racism, which were sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US last month.

L’Oreal said in a statement that it had “decided to remove the words ‘white/whitening’, ‘fair/fairness’, ‘light/lightening’ from all its skin evening products”.

The move follows a similar decision by Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever on Thursday.

Companies around the world have faced criticism in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death, which happened after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis.

L’Oreal said earlier this month that it “stands in solidarity with the Black community and against injustice of any kind”.

Channelling its famous slogan, the statement added: “Speaking out is worth it.”

The post triggered a backlash from critics, who claimed the company’s business model and advertising is focused on white consumers.

Among them was model Munroe Bergdorf, who accused the brand of hypocrisy for having fired her three years ago.

Bergdorf was fired as L’Oreal UK’s first openly transgender model in 2017, and wrote on Facebook about “the racial violence of white people”, saying they were “at odds” with the brand’s values.

But she revealed L’Oreal Paris’s new president Delphine Viguier later spoke to her and apologised for how the situation was handled at the time of her sacking.

She said she had agreed to take a consultancy role on the company’s UK diversity and inclusion advisory board, so she can “practice what I preach”.

“As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion,” Bergdorf said in a statement.

L’Oreal is among a host of companies that have reviewed their practices amid a renewed global focus on racism and the increased prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

That campaign seeks to draw attention to systemic and deeply ingrained discrimination faced by black people in the US and other countries across the world.

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Britain needs Trump – Biden would put Germany ABOVE UK, says NIGEL FARAGE

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He was riding high, with the best approval ratings thus far in his term of office, a booming stock market and some experts contemplating a Trump landslide in the November Presidential Election. Things look very different right now, with Joe Biden showing a clear lead in the polls. Just what would a Biden victory look like for the USA, the UK and the wider Western world? 

One of the main campaign assets the Democrats believe they have is the likability of their candidate over the outspoken and often combative President Trump.

This, they believe, will win many votes in middle-class suburbia. But, the US Presidential Election is not about which candidate offends you the least, but who is best suited to the country.

However much Joe Biden may look like a kindly uncle, he clearly no longer possesses the robust mental faculties needed to take on the top job. He’s often forgetful and his speeches verge on incoherence. He is clearly just too old and war-weary to be capable of leadership. 

This at least raises the prospect of a President that may not complete a full four-year term and would then have to hand over to his Vice President. That selection has not yet been made but the front runners come very much from the left of the party and will be in sympathy with the people from the extreme-left Black Lives Matter movement.

Even if he stays as President, I believe it to be highly unlikely that he can control the growing socialist move within the party. “It’s the economy, stupid” was the phrase that Bill Clinton repeated to himself in his re-election campaign and to some extent, that will apply too in 2020. 

Trump’s achievement has been a booming US economy, increased wages, tax cuts and deregulation.

The little guy is, at last, getting an even break. The Biden formula is more regulation, higher taxes and more centralised control. He may not be Jeremy Corbyn, but outside of the big cities it is difficult to believe that the United States of America wants any form of socialism.

Provided that there are no more dramatic falls in the Dow Jones with an impact on people’s personal pension savings, I believe that middle America will worry deeply about the US economy under Biden. 

There are deep black-white divisions present today in US society. The economic and social inequalities have now been seized upon by the radical left, who regularly now tear down statues of former US Presidents.

Mob rule is now becoming a reality and yet, all Biden can do is support the protests and their aims. He feels that he needs to do this to keep the black vote. A Biden win will lead to even greater lawlessness and deeper divisions within US society.

Yet over 70 per cent of Americans do not approve of mob rule and tearing down statues. It could be law and order, if we have a long hot summer, that becomes a key issue and Biden’s weakness will be there for all to see. 

On the international stage, I have no doubt that we have now entered the new Cold War with China. Their ambitions to dominate the world has become clearer with every passing day. Biden is a globalist and will do nothing to arrest the onwards march of the Chinese Communist Party.

So supportive is he of the post-war world order, that I would also expect him to follow President Obama in making Berlin his first point of contact in Europe and not London. A Biden win would be a move back away from Brexit and for us, closer relations with our most important ally.

It would be turning back the clock as the global financial conglomerates once again dominate the agenda.

As a friend of President Trump, I will be the first to say, following my visit to the Tulsa rally, that his campaign needs to sharpen up. But this is not a popularity contest, it is about who is best for the economy, law and order and the global challenges posed by China.

As with all Presidential Elections, since the epic Kennedy versus Nixon confrontation, the key will be the head-to-head live at televised debates. It is here that I believe Biden’s weaknesses will be exposed. If not, we will go back to a pre-Brexit world, where bureaucracy triumphs over democracy.

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World News

Mexico launches raids after assassination attempt

Mexican authorities have carried out a series of raids while investigating the attempted assassination of Mexico City’s police chief, according to local media.

Omar García Harfuch was shot several times during an ambush on Friday, though his injuries are not said to be life-threatening.

Two of his bodyguards and a female passerby were killed.

The attack is believed to be linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Police said cocaine was found during raids on three locations, according to El Universal newspaper on Saturday.

Mr García Harfuch – who was shot in the shoulder, collar bone and the knee – tweeted after the attack, laying the blame on the cartel. “Our nation must continue to confront the cowardly organised crime,” he wrote.

What happened in the attack?

Twenty-eight people attacked Mr García Harfuch’s armoured vehicle at dawn on Friday on Paseo de la Reforma, a boulevard that leads to the exclusive Lomas de Chapultepec neighbourhood, home to various embassies and mansions.

The hitmen brandished grenades and sniper rifles.

Although Mexico has long suffered from extreme violence, the brazen nature of this attack – on a high-profile figure in a high-security area of the capital – has increased concerns.

It also comes shortly after the murder of a federal judge, Uriel Villegas Ortiz, and his wife, Verónica Barajas, earlier this month.

Security Minister Alfonso Durazo Montaño said on Friday that preliminary investigations into the prior incident also suggest the involvement of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.

What has happened since?

More than a dozen arrests have been made since the attack on Mr García Harfuch’s car, investigators say.

The alleged mastermind of the plot, José Armando Briseño, known as Vaca (Cow), was detained on Friday night.

Ulises Lara López, a spokesman for the Mexico City prosecutor’s office, said the group of assassins was hired three weeks prior to the attack and was divided into four different cells to carry out the act. They were given ski masks and weapons the night before the assault, he said.

Three separate ambush points were then set up, including an unused one that was one block from the city’s central “Angel of Independence” monument.

What is the background?

Omar García Harfuch, 37, was appointed as Mexico City’s secretary of security and citizen protection in 2019, having previously worked as an intelligence coordinator for the mayor’s office.

It was unclear whether the attempt on his life was related to his recent work or earlier investigations.

The Jalisco cartel, which formed in about 2010, has expanded rapidly across Mexico and is now one of the country’s most dominant organised crime groups.

Its rise in recent years has been fuelled by its use of extreme violence.

It has previously downed an army helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade and killed dozens of state officials.

In recent weeks, there have been unconfirmed reports of the death or arrest of Jalisco’s leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as “El Mencho”.

Officials have denied this, but he remains at the top of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list, with a $10m (£8m) bounty on his head.

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World News

Russia denies report spy unit paid Taliban to attack NATO forces

The Taliban also denies the New York Times report, which it denounced as an attempt to defame the armed group.

Russia and the Taliban have denied a media report saying that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered money to Taliban-linked fighters to kill US troops and other members of the NATO coalition operating in Afghanistan. 

The New York Times report says that US intelligence officials concluded several months ago that the Russian unit had last year secretly offered rewards to the fighters in return for successful attacks. The information was later independently reported by the Washington Post. 

The officials said the Taliban-linked fighters, or elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected at least some reward money from the Russians, although it remains unclear what attacks were connected to the scheme, according to the report.

Russia on Saturday denounced the accusations, with the Russian embassy in Washington, DC calling them “baseless and anonymous”.

The tweet added the claims had “already led to direct threats to the life of employees of the Russian Embassies in Washington DC and London”.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied to the New York Times that the group has “any such relations with any intelligence agency” and called the report an attempt to defame the armed group.

“These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless – our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,” he said. “That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don’t attack them.”

In 2019, 20 US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan but there have been no reported Taliban attacks on the US positions since the two countries reached an agreement in February that paves the way for the US to withdraw from the nearly 20-year long conflict. 

Severe implications 

US officials have previously linked the Russian intelligence unit in question to assassination attempts and operations in Europe meant to destabilise Western powers, according to the report. 

However, the most recent allegations, if true, would be the first time the unit has been proven to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops, the report said.

While the US and Afghan governments have previously accused Russia of supporting the Taliban, the allegation would represent a major escalation in Russia’s involvement during a time the Trump administration has been struggling to end the US presence in the country. 

The report said the determination by intelligence officials is based, at least in part, on interrogations of captured Afghan fighters and individuals accused of crimes in the country.

‘Cozying up’ to Russia

The unnamed officials also told the newspaper that Trump and his National Security Council had been briefed on the intelligence in March, but had not yet authorised any action in response.

“The story says that the Trump administration was told about this, including the president, in march, many many months ago, and that they debated several responses, including a diplomatic complaint up to sanctions, but so far have not acted,” said Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Maryland

“Critics are pointing out that the president did do one thing, he invited Vladimir Putin to the now cancelled G7 summit, and that’s created its own kind of controversy today,” she said, referring to the so-called Group of Seven, an economic organisation composed of world powers from which Russia was expelled in 2014. The group is currently set to meet in the US in September, after delaying due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Trump was cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his Administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill U.S troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.

One critic is senator and former Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine who tweeted that Trump was “cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his Administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban”.

Officials told the Times it was not clear at what level in the government the Russian intelligence unit’s plan was authorised or what larger goal the scheme was meant to achieve.

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World News

Spain maintains ban on cruise ships even as tourism sector reopens

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Spain is to uphold a ban on cruise liners from docking at its ports to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to a ministerial order published on Saturday.

Cruise liners carrying thousands of passengers regularly stop off at ports in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Barcelona and Malaga, but were prohibited when Spain went into lockdown on March 14.

With their crowds of often elderly passengers, cruise ships have been especially vulnerable to outbreaks of the virus and have been barred from disembarking in several countries.

Spain’s ban on the vessels will continue until the coronavirus epidemic is brought under control, according to the Official State Gazette, even as the country otherwise reopens to tourists in an effort to revive an industry hammered by the coronavirus lockdown.

The retention of the ban was described as a “proportionate, objective and non-discriminatory measure that is in line with the objective set by the WHO Emergency Committee to stop the spread of the virus”, the order said, referring to the World Health Organization.

Cruise liners form part of Spain’s tourist sector which contributes 12% of GDP. In 2019 10 million cruise line passengers visited Spain.

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Crews respond to reports of explosions, garage fire in Calgary southeast community

Residents in a southeast Calgary community are back in their homes after an early morning garage fire.

Fire crews responded to reports of a fire and explosions at a detached garage in the 300 block of Whitney Crescent in the southeast community of Willow Park around 3:20 a.m. Saturday.

“On arrival, crews encountered heavy smoke and a detached rear garage that was fully involved in fire,” a CFD media release said.

According to fire officials, neighbours in the area reported hearing explosions and the sound of bullets going off in the garage.

CFD said crews on scene confirmed there were batteries, ammunition and propane cylinders in the detached garage.

The fire was contained to the structure, and is under control, CFD said.

Homes near the garage were evacuated as a precaution, and there were no injuries on scene.  A vehicle in the affected garage was damaged.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and crews are expected to stay on scene for the next several hours.

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World News

At least seven killed in Ivory Coast flash floods

Country in the middle of its April to October rainy season which sometimes causes deadly floods and landslides.

At least seven people died on Thursday in flash floods during torrential rains which pummelled Ivory Coast’s Abidjan for two days.

This comes less than two weeks after 13 people were killed by a landslide nearby.

On Friday, the country’s meteorological services warned more rain was expected through the weekend.

The administrative head of the Abidjan area, Vincent Toh Bi Irie, said on Facebook that “in some places, the rainfall could reach 300 millimetres (12 inches) today, or six times the threshold for a critical alert”.

He urged residents not to go to regions where there is a risk of flooding and told people in areas prone to landslides to leave.

The West African nation is in the middle of its April to end of October rainy season which sometimes causes deadly floods and landslides.

On Thursday, Abidjan’s weak drainage system was quickly overwhelmed.

Major thoroughfares were flooded and cars and debris were swept away. Residents in low-lying homes were forced to seek safety.

Amankou Gabin, the head of the civil protection unit, said the situation was made worse by poor construction over the years.

He said homes were built in storm basins where the rainwater was supposed to pass through to reach Abidjan’s lagoon.

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"India's George Floyds": Father-son death in police custody sparks outrage

CHENNAI (Reuters) – Outrage at the death of a father-son duo in the custody of Indian police earlier this week mounted on Saturday, with thousands on social media comparing the incident to the death of George Floyd in the United States.

J Jayaraj, 59, and Bennicks Immanuel, 31, were subjected to a brutal thrashing, which resulted in rectal bleeding and eventual death, according to a letter to government officials written by Jayaraj’s wife J Selvarani. The letter, based on eyewitness testimony and reviewed by Reuters, seeks action against the police officers involved.

Police in Sathankulam, a town located 50 km (31 miles) south of the port city of Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu state, said in a first information report (FIR) reviewed by Reuters that Jayaraj and Bennicks were picked up on Friday, June 19 for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules.

Bennicks died on Monday after complaining of breathlessness and Jayaraj died Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, who oversees the police in the state, said in a statement on Wednesday. Two policemen involved in the incident had been suspended, he added.

“We will take action over this incident as per the law,” Palaniswami said.

Hundreds of thousands of tweets were sent out using the hashtag #JusticeforJayarajandBennix, that was among the top Twitter topics trending in India on Friday and among the top 30 trending globally, with celebrities and politicians condemning police action.

“The George Floyds of India are far too many,” tweeted Jignesh Mevani, a lawmaker in India’s western Gujarat state.

“Will Indians march on streets in thousands, like America?,” Mevani asked his nearly 750,000 Twitter followers, referring to events following the death in police custody on May 25 of George Floyd, a Black man.

Nearly 15 cases of custodial violence and torture were reported in every day on average, with 9 people dying in judicial or police custody every 24 hours, according to the latest annual report by India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for the year 2017/18.

The NHRC said in its report that some custodial deaths were reported after considerable delay or not reported at all, adding violence in custody was so rampant “that it has become almost routine”.

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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to agree Nile dam deal in weeks

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will agree a deal to fill the giant Blue Nile dam in two to three weeks, following mediation by the African Union to broker a deal to end a decade-long dispute over water supplies.

Tortuous negotiations over the years have left the two nations and their neighbour Sudan short of an agreement to regulate how Ethiopia will operate the dam and fill its reservoir, while protecting Egypt’s scarce water supplies from the Nile river. [nL8N2E3039]

Ethiopia’s water minister, Seleshi Bekele, said that consensus had been reached to finalise a deal within two to three weeks, a day after leaders from the three countries and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union, held an online summit.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is being built about 15 km (nine miles) from the border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, the source of most of the Nile’s waters.

Ethiopia says the $4 billion hydropower project, which will have an installed capacity of 6,450 megawatts, is essential to its economic development.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister’s Office said that the three countries agreed that the Nile and the Grand Renaissance Dam “are African issues that must be given African solutions.”

The deal to delay the filling, brokered by the African Union, ends months of stalled negotiations and signals the intention to solve the issue without foreign intervention.

Ethiopia’s statement said the African Union, and not the U.N. Security Council, will assist the countries in the negotiations and provide technical support.

Cairo had appealed to the Council in a last-ditch diplomatic move aimed at stopping Ethiopia from filling the dam. The Council was expected to hold a public meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.

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Terrifying wall of dust submerges city in ‘apocalyptic’ footage – freak sand storm hits US

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Shocking footage from Torreón, Mexico showed a huge wall of dust encompassing the entire city, sparking claims of the “apocalypse”. The sand storm from the Saharan Desert has reached North America after travelling across the Atlantic last week. Incredible videos of the sand storm hitting Mexico went viral, as the dust blocked out the sun and sparked travel chaos over visibility concerns.

This comes as the huge plume of sand, one of the most significant Saharan dust storms in decades, moves from Mexico into the US mainland.

Weather experts and NASA have showed the dense plume of dust moving into the Gulf of Mexico and the South.

Local witnesses have said that the storm has already darkened the sky and raised health concerns in several US states. 

The storm is expected to continue moving north and east through the weekend, reaching areas from Texas and Florida all the way up to as far north as the Canadian border.

JUST IN: Godzilla dust storm: Extreme Saharan cloud about to blanket US

Michael Lowry, a strategic planner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), issued a terrifiying warning about the sand storm.

He tweeted: “The ongoing Saharan dust outbreak across the tropical Atlantic is * by far * the most extreme of the MODIS satellite record — our most detailed, continuous record of global dust back to 2002.”

For those with respiratory conditions, the sand storm is believed to be dangerous and a risk for complications.

A recent Harvard study shows that long-term exposure to fine particles of pollution in the air, much like dust, may be linked to higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

The technical name for the dust storm is the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) but some have nicknamed this year’s cloud the “Godzilla dust cloud” due to its unprecedented size.

Pablo Méndez Lázaro, an environmental health specialist with the University of Puerto Rico, echoed FEMA’s fears, saying the dust cloud “is the most significant event in the past 50 years.”

He added: “Conditions are dangerous in many Caribbean islands.”


BBC Weather: UK flooding forecast sparks travel chaos [VIDEO]
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EU chaos: Brussels branded ‘irrelevant’ by majority after ‘failing’ [VIDEO]

The sand storm is so dense and large that it can even be spotted from space, as NASA astronauts on board the International Space Station revealed.

NASA astronaut Doug Hurley tweeted last Sunday: “We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic.

“Amazing how large an area it covers!”

The SAL forms over the Sahara Desert and moves across the North Atlantic every three to five days from late spring to early fall, peaking in late June to mid-August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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