International Briefs

British Prime Minister Sunak sets July 4 election date

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set July 4 as the date for a national election as his divided and demoralized Conservative Party looks likely to lose power after 14 years. Sunak’s party has struggled to overcome a series of crises, including an economic slump, ethics scandals and a revolving door of leaders in the past two years. The opposition Labour Party is strongly favored to defeat the Conservatives. Sunak’s announcement came the same day inflation in the U.K. fell sharply to 2.3%, its lowest level in nearly three years. Although inflation has fallen, Sunak’s other promises have seen less success.

Norway, Ireland and Spain say they will recognize a Palestinian state

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Norway, Ireland and Spain say they will recognize a Palestinian state. The historic but largely symbolic move further deepens Israel’s isolation more than seven months into its grinding war against Hamas in Gaza. Israel immediately denounced Wednesday’s decisions and recalled its ambassadors to the three countries. Palestinians welcomed the announcements as an affirmation of their decades-long quest for statehood in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel seized those territories in the 1967 Mideast war and still controls them. While some 140 countries recognize a Palestinian state, the cascade of recognition announcements could build momentum at a time when even close allies of Israel have piled on criticism for its conduct in Gaza.

China sanctions US defense-related companies and executives over Russia, Taiwan

BEIJING, China (AP) — China has sanctioned 12 defense-related U.S. companies and 10 executives over arms sales to Taiwan and to retaliate for earlier American sanctions on Chinese companies tied to Russia. The entities include units of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Senior executives of Northrop Grumman Corporation and General Dynamics were also targeted. Beijing claims sovereignty over the self-governed island, while the U.S. is obligated under a federal law to ensure the island has the means to defend itself. On May 1, the U.S. imposed sanctions on hundreds of Chinese companies and people tied to Russia’s weapons development program.

Brazil’s flooded south sees first death from disease

SAO PAULO (AP) — Health officials in Brazil say the first death from waterborne bacterial disease has been reported in the country’s south, where floodwaters are slowly receding. Meanwhile, health authorities warn additional fatalities are likely. Rio Grande do Sul state’s health secretariat confirmed the death of a 67-year-old man due to leptospirosis. Local media reported a second death from the same infectious disease. State authorities said Wednesday the flooding over about a two-week period killed at least 161 people, with 82 still missing. More than 600,000 people were forced from their homes, including tens of thousands who remain in shelters. Health experts had previously forecast a surge in infectious diseases including leptospirosis and hepatitis B.


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