Senator Gustavo Petro of the left-wing Historic Pact coalition is running against businessman Rodolfo Hernández of the League of Anti-Corruption Governors movement for the presidency of Colombia in Sunday’s run-off vote
On Sunday, June 19, Colombians will return to the polls in the second round to elect the country’s new president and vice president for the period 2022-2026.
Senator Gustavo Petro and environmental activist Francia Márquez of the left-wing Historic Pact coalition are running against businessman Rodolfo Hernández and professor Marelen Castillo of the League of Anti-Corruption Governors movement for the presidency and vice presidency of Colombia, respectively. Petro and Márquez won the May 29 first round of elections with over 40% of the votes. Meanwhile, Hernández and Castillo followed them with over 28% of the votes.
The winners of Sunday’s run-off vote will replace conservative President Iván Duque and Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez on August 7, who are leaving the office with a record 80% disapproval rating. Petro and Hernández are both considered anti-establishment candidates and have promised to respond to the demands manifested in street protests in the last four years.
The eleven-year persecution of Julian Assangewas extended and escalated on Friday morning.The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the U.S.’s extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to stand trial on eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents showing widespread corruption, deceit, and war crimes by American and British authorities along with their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.
This decision is unsurprising — it has been obvious for years that the U.S. and UK are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — yet it nonetheless further highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy and a free press. Those performative self-glorifying spectacles are constantly deployed to justify these two countries’ interference in and attacks on other nations, and to allow their citizens to feel a sense of superiority about the nature of their governments. After all, if the U.S. and UK stand for freedom and against tyranny, who could possibly oppose their wars and interventions in the name of advancing such lofty goals and noble values?
Henry Kissinger predicted some three weeks ago that the Ukraine war was dangerously close to becoming a war against Russia. That was a prescient remark. The NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a weekend interview told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper that in the alliance’s estimation, the Ukraine war could wage for years.
“We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not let up in supporting Ukraine. Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, also because of rising energy and food prices,” Stoltenberg said. He added that the supply of state-of-the-art weaponry to Ukrainian troops would increase the chance of liberating the Donbass region from Russian control.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday stressed that the public needs to keep up its support of Ukraine after nearly four months of war.
Media reports said:
“The worry that we have is that a bit of Ukraine-fatigue is starting to set in around the world,” Johnson told reporters on the back of a trip to Kyiv. “It is very important to show that we are with them for the long haul and we are giving them that strategic resilience that they need.”
Johnson on Friday made his second surprise trip to the Ukrainian capital. The British government, in a show of support, offered Ukraine a military training program that could train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days. Johnson’s office said it would “fundamentally change the equation of the war.”
It’s been a big week for the major central banks. First, the European Central Bank (ECB) called an emergency meeting because government bond yields were rising sharply in the more indebted Eurozone economies like Italy and Spain. That threatens to deliver a new sovereign debt crisis as happened after the Great Recession from 2010-2014, leading to the Greek nightmare.
The 18th of June marked the 140th birth anniversary of the great Bulgarian communist, leader of the Communist International from 1935 to 1943, Georgi Dimitrov. As a tribute to his memory we publish his famous defense speech during the Reichstag fire trial in Leipzig, when he refused counsel and proudly defended himself against his Nazi accusers.
Dimitrov: By virtue of Article 258 of the Criminal Procedure Code I am entitled to speak both as defender and as accused.
President: You have the right to the last word and you can make use of that right now.
Dimitrov: By virtue of the Criminal Procedure Code I have the right to argue with the prosecution and then to deliver my final speech.
My Lords Judges, Gentlemen for the Prosecution and the Defence. At the very beginning of this trial three months ago as an accused man I addressed a letter to the President of the Court. I wrote that I regretted that my attitude in Court should lead to collisions with the judges, but I categorically refuted the suggestion which was made against me that I had misused my right to put questions and my right to make statements in order to serve propagandist ends. Because I was wrongly accused before this Court I naturally used all the means at my disposal to defend myself against false charges.
‘I acknowledge, I wrote, that several of my questions had not been as apposite from the point of view of time and formulation as I could have wished. May I explain this by referring to the fact that I am not acquainted with German law and further that this is the first time in my life in which I have played a part in judicial proceedings of this character. If I had enjoyed the services of a lawyer of my own choice I should doubtless have known how to avoid these misunderstandings so harmful to my own defence.
Virologist Sissy Sonnleitner tracks nearly every COVID-19 case in Austria’s rugged eastern Tyrol region. So, when one woman there kept testing positive for months on end, Sonnleitner was determined to work out what was going on.
Before becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 in late 2020, the woman, who was in her 60s, had been taking immune-suppressing drugs to treat a lymphoma relapse. The COVID-19 infection lingered for more than seven months, causing relatively mild symptoms, including fatigue and a cough.
Sonnleitner, who is based at a microbiology facility in Außervillgraten, Austria, and her colleagues collected more than two dozen viral samples from the woman over time and found through genetic sequencing that it had picked up about 22 mutations (see ‘Tracking spike’s evolution’). Roughly half of them would be seen again in the heavily mutated Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2 that surged around the globe months later1. “When Omicron was found, we had a great moment of surprise,” Sonnleitner says. “We already had those mutations in our variant.”