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Haiti PM resigns

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Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to resign following weeks of mounting pressure and increasing violence in the impoverished country.

It comes after regional leaders met in Jamaica on Monday to discuss a political transition in Haiti.

Mr Henry is currently stranded in Puerto Rico after being prevented by armed gangs from returning home.

In a video address announcing his resignation, Mr Henry urged Haitians to remain calm.

“The government that I am leading will resign immediately after the installation of [a transition] council,” Mr Henry said.

“I want to thank the Haitian people for the opportunity I had been granted. I’m asking all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible.”

Mr Henry, who had led the country supposedly on an interim basis since July 2021 following former President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, had repeatedly postponed elections, saying security must be restored first.

Many Haitians had questioned him governing the country for this long without an elected president.

Heavily armed gangs have controlled the streets of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in recent days, demanding the resignation of the unelected prime minister.

The capital Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region is under a month-long state of emergency, while a curfew has been extended.

Matthias Pierre, a former elections minister in Haiti, broke the news of Mr Henry’s resignation to the BBC’s Newsday programme before it was confirmed publicly.

He described the current situation in the country as “very precarious”.

“The police force is weak, and more than 40 police stations [are] destroyed. The army is very limited and not equipped; gang members occupy most of the [Port-au-Prince] downtown and some government headquarters.

“Very soon people will be out of food, medication and… medical support.”

Mr Pierre said the gangs were now pushing to be part of any new power-sharing deal, adding that such a political settlement was impossible without the “support” of an international armed force.

(BBC News)

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Indian elections begin

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Indians begin voting today to choose their next parliament in the first of seven voting days that end on June 01.
Almost a billion people are eligible to cast their ballot.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for a rare third consecutive term in power.

Several key opposition parties, including the Congress, have formed an alliance in many states to take on Mr Modi’s party.

The big issues include a jobs crisis, rising prices, a crackdown on dissent and the opposition, and the politics of religion.

Results will be announced on June 04.

(BBC News)

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Flights at Dubai airport diverted amid flash floods

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Heavy rain has battered some Gulf states, causing flash flooding across the region and leading to flights to the world’s busiest international airport being diverted.

Dubai Airport said operations were “temporarily diverted” – though they have since restarted.

Authorities in Oman said at least 18 people had been killed by floods.

Several states recorded nearly a year’s worth of rain in a day.

Unverified video from Dubai International Airport appeared to show jets leaving waves in their wake as they made their way down flooded runways.

In a statement, the airport said inbound flights due to arrive on Tuesday evening had been diverted “due to the continued exceptional weather event currently being experienced in the UAE”.

Departures would continue to operate, it added. Flights later restarted after an interruption of about two hours.

On Tuesday morning, the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology issued a weather warning for large swathes of the country, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The Gulf region is usually known for hot and dry weather, though heavy rains causing flooding have also occurred with greater regularity in recent years.

(BBC News)

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Sydney church stabbing treated as ‘terrorist act’

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Australian police have declared Monday’s stabbing at a church in Sydney a “terrorist act”.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a bishop and several churchgoers were stabbed during the sermon.

The incident happened in the evening at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley.

At least four people were stabbed but police say none of their injuries were life-threatening. The incident triggered unrest.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the church, clashing with police – two of whom were injured.

Twenty police vehicles were damaged – with 10 left unusable.

Chief commissioner Karen Webb said those involved in the riots would be hunted by police, describing the actions as “unacceptable”.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said: “I convened a meeting of faith leaders representing major religious organisations across Western Sydney.

“And their message to their communities was universal and identical, and that is that they deplore violence in all forms that they have faith in the New South Wales police to undertake their investigation.

“They call for peace amongst all communities in Sydney, and most importantly, that people remain calm during this obviously distressing period.”

Paramedics had to retreat for cover in the church and were “holed up” there for more than three hours.’

(BBC News)

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