Tuesday 25 June 2019

Putin unveils vision for modern Russia

President Vladimir Putin presented his vision for modernising Russia yesterday, while some of his challengers in next March's presidential vote were formally nominated for the race.

Putin, who is running as an independent candidate, pledged to offer broader incentives for business, fight corruption and pour extra resources into the underfunded healthcare and education system.

"Russia is a country with a 1,000-year history, but we mustn't treat her like our grandmother, just giving her pills to relieve her pain," he said in a speech televised live. "We must make Russia young, aimed into the future."

With his approval ratings topping 80pc, the 65-year- old is set to easily win another six-year term.

His most visible opponent, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is barred from the race by an embezzlement conviction he calls politically motivated. Nevertheless, the 41-year-old anti-corruption crusader has staged waves of rallies to push the Kremlin to let him run.

The involvement of Ksenia Sobchak, a sharp-tongued TV host, could raise public interest in the contest.

Flash floods and landslides kill at least 75

At least 75 people were killed and another 58 were missing after a tropical storm unleashed flash floods and set off landslides in the southern Philippines.

Most of the deaths from Tropical Storm Tembin were in the hard-hit provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur and on the Zamboanga Peninsula.

A search and rescue operation is under way for more than 30 people swept away by flash floods in the fishing village of Anungan.

Actor Jonah Hill's brother dies aged 40

The long-time manager of Maroon 5 and brother of actor Jonah Hill has died.

A spokeswoman for the band confirmed yesterday that Jordan Feldstein had died unexpectedly at the age of 40.

The Feldstein family said in a statement that he called 911 after experiencing shortness of breath on Friday. He had gone into cardiac arrest by the time paramedics arrived and died a short time later.

Feldstein was the founder and chief executive of Career Artist Management and had managed Maroon 5 since the band was formed 15 years ago. His company also counts Miguel, the B-52s, Elle King and Rick Springfield among its clients.

Remote island in hunt for new police chief

One of Britain's most remote overseas territories is on the hunt for a new police inspector, offering a salary package of up to £47,000 (€53,000).

The role will see the officer posted on Ascension Island, which lies in the South Atlantic Ocean and has a population of just 850.

St Helena Police has advertised for an inspector to lead a small team of officers responsible for the 24-hour policing of the territory.

The island is volcanic, has a sub-tropical climate and covers an area of just 88 sq km, meaning criminals will not have far to run or hide from the new recruit.

Merkel and Macron in Ukraine peace push

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are urging both sides in eastern Ukraine to live up to ceasefire agreements amid a recent upswing in clashes between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces.

Their statement comes a day after US officials said they would begin sending lethal weapons, including anti-tank missiles, to equip Ukrainian troops.

Merkel and Macron issued a joint statement yesterday urging combatants to observe the Minsk agreements aimed at defusing the conflict. Those provisions include the withdrawal of heavy weapons such as tanks and rocket launchers from the front-line area and an exchange of prisoners.

Aardvark killed in blaze at London Zoo

A ten-year-old aardvark called Misha has died, and four meerkats are missing, after a fire at London Zoo.

The fire broke out at 6am yesterday in the Animal Adventure section of the zoo and spread to an adjacent shop. Seventy-two firefighters attended the incident and the fire was brought under control by 9.16am.

Sunday Independent

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