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Cake day: August 1st, 2023

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:


    The UK government’s adviser on political violence said the growth of a “toxic, dangerous environment” in public life increased the risk of there being an assassination attempt on a British politician, as he called on the home secretary to launch an investigation into the intimidation of candidates in the election.

    In an interview with the Guardian on Sunday, Woodcock, who has the title Lord Walney, said the apparent attempted murder of Donald Trump was “a vivid reminder of the vulnerability of all politicians”.

    The peer called on Cooper and the security minister, Dan Jarvis, to commission a short inquiry to establish whether groups in different constituencies were working together before the 4 July general election.

    In his letter to Cooper, Woodcock said there had been a “concerted campaign by extremists to create a hostile atmosphere for MPs within their constituencies to compel them to cave into political demands”.

    Woodcock said on Sunday he wanted the home secretary to “call an urgent review of the environment around Whitehall” where “there can be clear points of vulnerability” for MPs – as well as better protections at MP’s offices.

    The Labour MP Jess Phillips said she had to make regular calls to the police during the election campaign as her supporters had tyres slashed and were filmed in the street.


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    In his first news conference since returning from a trip to the United States, Zelenskyy said he is ready to work with Donald Trump if he wins November’s election.

    Western support is crucial for Ukraine as it tries to beat back Russia’s bigger and better-equipped invading army.

    A six-month delay in military assistance from the U.S., the biggest single contributor to Ukraine, meant that Kyiv’s forces “lost the initiative” on the front line, Zelenskyy said.

    Zelenskyy didn’t say how many Patriot systems Ukraine currently possesses, though it is far fewer than the 25 he says his country needs as Russia has battered the national power grid.

    F-16 warplanes pledged by Western countries are due to arrive in Ukraine in two waves: the first batch this summer, and the second by the end of the year, Zelenskyy said.

    —Efforts to mobilize more troops are going according to plan, though Ukraine doesn’t have enough training grounds and 14 brigades haven’t yet received promised Western weapons.


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    For those just joining us, this is for the new Nexus Mods app that will eventually replace things like Vortex with full Linux support so you can mod on desktop Linux and Steam Deck much easier as I reported on earlier in July and initially back in November last year.

    Version 0.5.3 of the app includes all these fixes on top of experimental Cyberpunk 2077 support:

    Windows: Fixed log file creation failing due to illegal character in path (#1728).

    Linux: Upgraded GameFinder to fix an issue with not being able to find Steam installed as a Flatpak or Snap (#1720).

    Just to note: it didn’t initially launch for me, I had to remove the configs from the previous version to get this latest to work.

    The bug was reported but given it’s in Alpha, such breakages are to be expected and they don’t plan to support migrations yet.


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    Judge Aileen Cannon has dismissed the classified documents case against Donald Trump.

    In a ruling Monday, Cannon said the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith violated the Constitution.

    “In the end, it seems the Executive’s growing comfort in appointing ‘regulatory’ special counsels in the more recent era has followed an ad hoc pattern with little judicial scrutiny,” Cannon wrote.

    This story is breaking and will be updated.


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    An England football fan who had “Euro Winners” tattooed on his leg before the final says he will not cover it up and has no regrets.Dan Thomas, from Swindon in Wiltshire, received a tattoo of the Henri Delaunay Cup and the words “England Euro 2024 Winners” ahead of the final that England went on to lose 2-1 against Spain on Sunday.Mr Thomas, 29, now says he is confident the Three Lions will win the next Euros tournament in 2028 - when the UK and Ireland are the hosts - and may get an alteration.He said he “still loves” the tattoo and has urged other England fans to get their own to show their support ahead of the next tournament.

    "Spain substitute Mikel Oyarzabal scored in the final four minutes to inflict a second successive European Championship final defeat on Gareth Southgate’s side in three years.

    Mr Thomas described the results of the match as “bittersweet” and praised the team for reaching the final.

    “The result wasn’t what we wanted, but a great achievement to reach yet another final,” he said.

    Tattoo artist Tinashe Chikerema applied the ink to Mr Thomas’s skin, not before he “triple checked” he wanted it done.

    Fair play to him for being so confident in the team," Mr Chikerema told PA.Mr Thomas’s friend, Jack Wilkinson, who owns Reign Barbers and Tattoos, did not believe Mr Thomas would go ahead with the tattoo “until the needle actually touched the skin”.


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    A day earlier, he had taken his father, prominent Russian physicist Dmitry Kolker, to the hospital in his native Novosibirsk, when his advanced pancreatic cancer had suddenly worsened.

    The First Department, a rights group that specializes in such prosecutions and takes its name from a division of the security service, counted over 100 known treason cases in 2023, lawyer Evgeny Smirnov told The Associated Press.

    Treason cases began growing after 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine, threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in the eastern part of the country and fell out with the West for the first time since the Cold War.

    She was charged over contacting the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow in 2014 to warn officials there that she thought Russia was sending troops into eastern Ukraine, where the separatist insurgency against Kyiv was unfolding.

    “It’s a very good cautionary tale case for them that journalists shouldn’t write anything about the defense sector,” his fiancee and fellow reporter Ksenia Mironova told AP.

    One is that it sends a clear message that the unwritten rules have changed, and that conferences abroad or work with foreign peers is no longer something scientists should do, says Andrei Soldatov, an investigative journalist and expert on the security services.


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    The government’s adviser on political violence has written to the home secretary asking to investigate the intimidation of candidates during the general election.Lord Walney is suggesting there could have been a “concerted campaign by extremists”.

    He is urging Yvette Cooper and Security Minister Dan Jarvis to commission a short inquiry to find out if groups in different constituencies were working together and to document what he calls the “dark underbelly” of abuse.The Home Office said it takes reports of intimidation, harassment and abuse “extremely seriously”, adding that officials are contacting affected individuals.

    In the letter, seen by the BBC, Lord Walney said evidence from the last couple of months points to a “concerted campaign by extremists to create a hostile atmosphere for MPs within their constituencies to compel them to cave into political demands”.

    He writes the “conduct of the election campaign in many communities has underlined the gravity of the threat to our democracy” from the abuse and intimidation of politicians, local and national.

    After the events of the campaign, he suggests the new government might have to go further.His concerns follow comments from the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who told the BBC: “if there is something that keeps me awake at night, it is the safety of MPs”.

    During the election campaign, candidates reported a hammer attack on their office, masked men interrupting a community meeting, tyres being slashed and MPs being filmed and followed.


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    Switzerland won the right to host the world’s largest live music event after the Swiss singer Nemo triumphed in Sweden with The Code.

    The Christian conservative Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (EDU) party, however, has said it will seek to make use of the country’s direct democracy system to put the bidding cities’ loan applications to the vote.

    Samuel Kullmann, a senior EDU politician, told the Swiss broadcaster SRF his party was disturbed by Eurovision’s increasing “celebration, or at least tolerance of … satanism and occultism”.

    The Irish singer Bambie Thug’s stage show at the 2024 contest involved a devil-like horned dancer and a circle of candles containing a pentagram, which in its inverted form is a common satanic symbol.

    In the final in Malmö, Nemo became the first non-binary artist to win the contest in its 68-year history with a song celebrating their identity beyond male and female gender norms.

    Any referendums against Swiss cities hosting Eurovision would not necessarily swing in the political right’s favour, but the threat of plebiscites introduces immense uncertainty for planners.


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    Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley served as a United Nations Ambassador under Trump before challenging him for the Republican nomination.

    When she dropped her bid earlier this year, Haley said she wasn’t sure if she would support Trump.

    Last week, Haley released her 97 delegates encouraged them to vote for him at the convention.

    At that time, a spokesperson said Haley was not invited and was “fine with that,” but wished Trump well.

    Two sources familiar with her plans now say Haley WILL speak at the RNC.

    After Trump survived an assassination attempt on Saturday, Haley expressed her horror at the attack and said she was “lifting up Donald Trump…in prayer.”


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    The southern German town of Wiesbaden, known for spas and hot springs, will now serve as a site of NATO’s efforts to support the Ukrainian military.

    The command centre, located at a former US Army base, will coordinate training and equipment donations to Ukraine and will be organised and led by a three-star general.

    It’s the centrepiece of the NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine plan, which was announced when alliance leaders met for an anniversary summit in Washington last week.

    The centre was discussed at last week’s NATO summit in Washington when the alliance also declared that Ukraine was on an irreversible path to membership of the organisation.

    When fully developed, these conventional long-range fire units will include SM-6, Tomahawk, and developmental hypersonic weapons, which have significantly longer ranges than current land-based systems in Europe.

    Green MP Sebastian Schaefer, who sits on the parliamentary defence committee, told Euronews that Germany should focus on re-arming itself.


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    Shortly after the shooting, witness Greg Smith told the BBC that he spotted a man with a rifle crawling on a rooftop near the rally venue minutes before shots were fired.

    Smith went on to describe a scene of chaos and apparent lack of coordination among security personnel as he attempted to warn them of imminent danger.

    After watching a clip of the interview on a live special of her podcast, conservative commentator Owens expressed her astonishment as she remarked: "You have got to be kidding me.

    Owens, who has expressed her intention to vote for Trump in November’s election, stated that it is protocol for the Secret Service to surveil an area “days before” a president would make an appearance anywhere.

    Amid questions about security decisions in the moments before the assassination attempt, Anthony Guglielmi, who is chief of communications at the Secret Service, took to X, formerly Twitter, on July 14 to share a statement.

    Since the shooting, Trump has traveled to Milwaukee for this week’s Republican National Convention, where he will be formally nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.


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    Kenyan police have arrested a man who they have described as a “serial killer” suspected to have been behind the gruesome murder of nine women whose mutilated bodies were found in a disused quarry used as a rubbish dump.Police say Jomaisi Khalisia, 33, confessed to having killed 42 women since 2022, including his own wife.The suspect was arrested at a bar early on Monday morning as he was watching the Euro final.There has been shock and outrage in Kenya since the first of the dismembered bodies were found on Friday in the capital, Nairobi.

    “[He] confessed to have lured, killed and disposed of 42 female bodies at the dumping site, all murdered between 2022 and as recent as Thursday," said Mohamed Amin, head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).He said says they had found crucial evidence in the suspect’s house, including 10 phones, a laptop, machete, identity cards and personal female clothing.

    Go to BBCAfrica.com for more news from the African continent.Follow us on Twitter @BBCAfrica, on Facebook at BBC Africa or on Instagram at bbcafrica


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    MILWAUKEE — Speakers at the Republican National Convention have been given specific advice about how to handle their speeches in the wake of Saturday’s attempted assassination of Donald Trump: Change nothing.

    Trump did not want to show signs of weakness or signal that the shooting affected the long-planned convention, according to seven people who are either set to give RNC speeches or their aides.

    “Only thing that we were told is they are going to figure out who they want to talk about it,” said a scheduled speaker, Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

    There was a sense, according to the people interviewed by NBC News, that Trump and the convention organizers did not want the appearance of being weak in the face of the assassination attempt.

    NBC News reported Sunday that in the day since the assassination attempt, there has been renewed energy and a sense of enthusiasm among many Republicans attending the event.

    “What was already going to be a significant moment of unification behind President Trump will now become the most unified and vocal support for a presidential nominee this nation has ever witnessed,” said Trump-endorsed Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kevin Cabrera.


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    The war in Sudan has led to a huge rise in numbers of unvaccinated children, from about 110,000 in 2021 to an estimated 701,000 last year.

    Both figures were up from 2022, officials said on Monday, warning that despite progress in some regions, an international goal to halve the number of zero-dose children by 2030 was off-track.

    Dr Katherine O’Brien, the director of the WHO’s immunisation and vaccines department, said: “This puts the lives of the most vulnerable children at risk.”

    More than half of the world’s zero-dose children live in 10 countries, which officials said were “a mix of those with large birth cohorts, weak health systems or both”.

    “National vaccination coverage has plummeted from 85% before the war to around 50% currently, with rates averaging 30% in active conflict areas and as low as 8% in South Darfur,” he said.

    The UN report said there had been a strong increase in coverage of the HPV vaccine, which can protect against cervical cancer, but it still needed to be introduced in 51 countries, including China and India.


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    After a night spent shaking in fear as the roof rattled from explosions, and a long walk along a crowded road, Diana Mahmoud arrived at the hospital where she gave birth to her son, Yaman.

    Miscarriages are three times more likely than before the war, according to a February report by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.

    The destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system meant that Mahmoud received no antenatal care during her pregnancy and was discharged by the overburdened hospital immediately after Yaman’s birth.

    Save the Children says 50,000 babies have been born in Gaza over the past nine months, and repeated displacements mean some women are inducing labour themselves because they fear giving birth while on the move.

    The constant trauma took its toll on Yasmeen Khuwaiter, who found out about her pregnancy two weeks before the war, and gave birth to triplets in April, two months before her due date.

    The birth was difficult – Khuwaiter suffered bleeding during the caesarean section, for which she was given some of the very limited stocks of anaesthetic, and one of her daughters spent several days in intensive care.


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    As Donald Trump recovers from an assassination attempt and Republicans head to Milwaukee for his coronation this week, the GOP elite has rallied around a new messaging strategy: emotionally blackmailing Democratic politicians, journalists, Hollywood celebs, and numerous other Trump critics into shutting up about the former president’s openly authoritarian vows and his extreme policy agenda.

    “When the message goes out constantly that the election of Donald Trump would be a threat to democracy and that the Republic would end, it heats up the environment,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)

    Top Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday he had been “worried about this for a very, very long time,” adding: “You know, if he wins, democracy is not going to end.

    Such plans were hatched hours before it became public that the shooter, Thomas Matthew Crooks, was a registered Republican; his motive has continued to elude law enforcement and even his own neighbors.

    Trump and his closest allies are pledging to punish President Joe Biden and other top Democrats and jail his political opponents; unleash the National Guard and active-duty troops on Democratic-controlled cities whenever he wishes; end the Justice Department’s independence so he can use it to crush his foes, shut down his criminal cases, and erase any hope of accountability for his alleged crimes; retaliate against media outlets that cover him negatively; deport pro-Palestine protesters; oversee an unprecedented crackdown on immigrants, potentially erecting a vast network of camps on U.S. soil; further institutionalize his anti-democratic lies and conspiracy theories that led directly to the Jan. 6 attack; and even invade and bomb Mexico if he feels like it.

    Trump is calling now for “peace” and “unity,” but he has a lengthy track record of downplaying or excusing the harm done to the victims of pro-Trump violence — to the point that late last year he was onstage mocking House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi’s husband after he was brutally attacked by a Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist wielding a hammer.


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    Telma’s account was one of the hundreds of testimonies collected and analyzed by aid workers in northern Mozambique and summarized in a recent report on "forced child marriages in Cabo Delgado.

    The war, raging in large parts of Cabo Delgado province, prevents children in contested areas from receiving the protection and support they need.

    Asked if it was possible for NGOs like Save the Children to continue providing aid in areas affected by terrorism, such as the districts of Macomia, Palma, or Mocímboa da Praia, she said, “It’s not impossible, but very difficult and challenging.”

    In this context, we have occasionally documented cases of parents who, preemptively, decided to marry off their underage daughters to members of the terrorists," said the author of the study on “Forced child marriages in Cabo Delgado.”

    The wave of attacks in Cabo Delgado since January has led to the closure of almost all schools in the contested areas, making it impossible for more than 22,700 children to continue their education.

    According to United Nations data from June, more than 189,000 people have been forced to leave their homes since the end of last year, marking the war’s largest displacement since the conflict began.


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    An ecosystem of laboratories in hundreds of secret workshops is leveraging innovation to create a robot army that Ukraine hopes will kill Russian troops and save its own wounded soldiers and civilians.

    Defense startups across Ukraine — about 250 according to industry estimates — are creating the killing machines at secret locations that typically look like rural car repair shops.

    That includes making fiberglass cargo beds, spray-painting the vehicles gun-green and fitting basic electronics, battery-powered engines, off-the-shelf cameras and thermal sensors.

    The military is assessing dozens of new unmanned air, ground and marine vehicles produced by the no-frills startup sector, whose production methods are far removed from giant Western defense companies’.

    Mykhailo Fedorov, the deputy prime minister for digital transformation, is encouraging citizens to take free online courses and assemble aerial drones at home.

    Technology leaders to the United Nations and the Vatican worry that the use of drones and AI in weapons could reduce the barrier to killing and dramatically escalate conflicts.


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