Morning Briefing: July 21, 2023
Anadolu’s recap of top stories from around the globe
By Rabia Ali
ISTANBUL (AA) - Here’s a rundown of all the news you need to start your Friday, including the latest development on Quran burning in Sweden, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and US concerns over Russia's warning on ships in the Black Sea.
- Iraq expels Swedish ambassador over Quran burning
Iraq on Thursday declared Sweden's ambassador to Baghdad "persona non grata" in response to the " repeated permission of the Swedish government to burn a copy of the holy Quran," according to the Iraqi premier’s office.
Early Thursday morning, a crowd of Iraqis stormed Sweden’s Embassy in Baghdad and set it ablaze in protest of the burning of a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, last month by Salwan Momika, an Iraq-born man who now lives in Sweden.
Sweden condemned the attack on its embassy and launched an investigation.
Following the storming of Stockholm’s diplomatic mission, Momika again desecrated a copy of the Quran, stepping on it and the Iraqi flag in Sweden.
Türkiye also condemned the "vile attack" targeting the Quran in Sweden.
- Turkish president urges recognition of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus at the earliest
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged countries on Thursday to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) without delay.
"I'm reiterating the historic call I made to the entire world from the UN podium: Recognize the TRNC as soon as possible," Erdogan said at a ceremony marking Türkiye's 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, which laid the groundwork for the country's foundation nine years later.
- US raises concerns over potential threat by Russia to Black Sea ships
Russia may be seeking to attack merchant vessels in the Black Sea carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets in a potential "false flag" operation, the White House warned Thursday.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby pointed to Russia's prior warning that all ships traveling in the Black Sea bound for Ukrainian ports will be considered as carrying military cargo.
He confirmed that Ukrainian forces have been "appropriately" using cluster munitions sent to bolster their effort to oust Russia from territories it continues to occupy.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- The European Union extended sanctions against Russia for another six months, including a wide range of sectors such as trade, finances, industry, technology, transport, and luxury goods.
- A 48-hour strike by senior doctors began across the UK on Thursday over a pay dispute. The move has led to postponements of thousands of appointments, as it becomes the first walkout by them since 2012.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu separately in Türkiye next week, authorities said Thursday.
- Baku said on Thursday that Armenia intends to continue “illegal activities” on its territory, referring to Yerevan’s rejection of the Aghdam-Khankendi into the Karabakh region as proposed by Azerbaijan.
- China’s President Xi Jinping on Thursday emphasized that the key to progress in bilateral relations with the US was “win-win cooperation,” during a meeting with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing.
- Pakistan has urged Russia to restore the Black Sea grain deal to ensure the food security of the developing world, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in a press conference with his visiting Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
- Sri Lanka's parliament unanimously endorsed a motion on the humanitarian situation in Palestine, urging their president to condemn recent attacks by Israel in the occupied West Bank.
- A 42-year-old Moroccan man died of a heat stroke in Spain's southeastern region Murcia, as the country battles its third heat wave of summer with temperatures exceeding 40C (104F).
- The number of Black inmates in Brazil’s penitentiary system reached an all-time high of 442,033 in 2022, accounting for 68.2% of the total prison population.
- New Zealand beat Norway in FIFA Women's World Cup opener
New Zealand beat Norway 1-0 in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup opening game as the co-hosts bagged their first win in the tournament's history.
In the early minutes of the second half at Auckland's Eden Park, New Zealand forward Hannah Wilkinson scored in style in the box after quick teamwork.
The 2023 Women's World Cup will run through Aug. 20.
- Inter Miami sign Spanish defender Jordi Alba
Inter Miami on Thursday signed Spanish defender Jordi Alba to a contract through the 2024 Major League Soccer (MLS) season with a club option for 2025.
The 34-year-old formerly played for Valencia, Gimnastic and Barcelona.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
- Ukraine to receive $1.5B loan from World Bank
Ukraine announced on Thursday that it will receive a $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank “under the guarantee of the Government of Japan.”
According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the World Bank Group has so far mobilized $34 billion to assist Ukraine, of which more than $22 billion has already been delivered to the country's budget.
- European prosecutors to probe criminal trade of luxury cars in Bulgaria, France
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Thursday that it has launched a probe into organized criminal trade of luxury cars in Bulgaria and France.
“The suspected criminal group, active in several EU countries, is believed to be laundering the proceeds of criminal activity by trading luxury cars without paying VAT,” the office said in a statement.
The illegal activities dated back to 2018 and caused at least €11 million ($12.3 million) damage to the EU budget.
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