Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party has failed to win a key state in elections held amid record Covid-19 deaths and cases. The BJP targeted West Bengal heavily during campaigning but the state was comfortably held by the incumbent, Mamata Banerjee, a fierce Modi critic. Her win came as a surprise to political observers, who noted how much time and money the BJP invested in the state. Mr Modi was even accused of focusing on polls rather than the pandemic.
New Zealand’s differences with China are becoming “harder to reconcile,” the prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said, as she called on China “to act in the world in ways that are consistent with its responsibilities as a growing power”. Ardern’s comments were made as New Zealand’s government comes under increasing pressure, both internally and from international allies, to take a firmer stance on concerns over human rights abuses of Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang province.
A green wind of change is blowing through Germany’s political landscape as a poll-of-polls on Monday puts the Green party above Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) only five months before national elections. The aggregate poll, published by Pollytix Strategic Research, puts the Greens in the lead for the first time since June 2019. Germany’s party landscape has long proven more resistant to sudden upheavals than its European neighbours, with the CDU holding on to its status as the country’s supreme political power while sister parties in France or Italy slipped into oblivion.
Rudy Giuliani on Thursday denied any allegations that he represented a Ukrainian national, a day after the FBI seized materials from Giuliani as part of an investigation that seems to focus on his work with Ukrainian officials and operatives. “I never, ever represented a foreign national,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “In fact, I have in my contracts, a refusal to do it because from the time I got out of being mayor, I did not want to lobby.”
An Antarctic glacier larger than the UK is at risk of breaking up after scientists discovered more warm water flowing underneath it than previously thought. The fate of Thwaites – nicknamed the doomsday glacier – and the massive west Antarctic ice sheet it supports are the biggest unknown factors in future global sea level rise. Over the past few years, teams of scientists have been crisscrossing the remote and inaccessible region on Antarctica’s western edge to try to understand how fast the ice is melting and what the consequences for the rest of the world might be.
Russia’s state financial watchdog has added Alexei Navalny’s network of regional headquarters to a terrorism watchlist as the Kremlin appears poised to outlaw the opposition leader’s nationwide political movement. “Navalny headquarters” appeared on Friday on a searchable database of terrorist and extremist groups published by the state watchdog Rosfinmonitoring, which allows the government to close its bank accounts. Separately, a Russian court may soon pronounce that the political offices and his Anti-Corruption Foundation are extremist organisations, threatening his staff, supporters, and even crowdfunding donors with jail terms.
The Florida legislature has passed tight new voting restrictions, placing the crucial swing state at the forefront of a nationwide wave of Republican efforts to suppress turnout on the back of Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. The bill, which closely mirrors similar Republican ploys in Georgia and Michigan, is likely to make it more difficult for millions of voters to have their democratic say. The new barriers to voting are expected to particularly impact minority communities.
India's deadly Covid-19 second wave has devastated big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Pune. Hospitals and crematoriums have run out of space, and funerals are taking place in car parks. But the pandemic has now firmly gripped many smaller cities, towns and villages where the devastation is largely under-reported.
The two Ivy League universities at the center of a billowing storm over the use in anthropology teaching of the bones of an African American child killed by Philadelphia police in 1985 have apologized for the “serious error”, promising to return the human remains to relatives who never consented to the practice. The pelvis and femur bones of an unidentified Black girl thought to be in her teens were revealed last week to have been used as props in an online anthropology course staged by Princeton and given by a professor from the University of Pennsylvania. Neither institution had requested or received consent from the family of the child, yet held on to the bones for research and teaching for 36 years.
President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session Congress was the most ambitious ideological statement made by any Democratic president in decades—couched in language that made it sound as if he wasn’t making an ideological argument at all. Make no mistake that he was. He called for trillions in new spending in a robust expansion of government’s role in multiple arenas of American life in ways that would have been impossible to contemplate in Barack Obama’s presidency. He plunged into subjects—racial and class inequities, immigration, gun violence—that were rubbed raw until bleeding in Donald Trump’s.