Welcome to Friday, where the race is on to replace Liz Truss as Britain’s prime minister, a fuel tanker truck explodes in Mexico, and the chess-cheating saga continues. Meanwhile, we look at why the Netherlands is withdrawing from the little-known “Energy Charter Treaty” and why it matters for the environment.
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• Russia replenishes forces in Kherson: Ukraine's military reports that up to 2,000 Russian troops have arrived in the occupied Kherson region to replenish losses and reinforce units on the southern front line ahead of a possible showdown for control of the strategic port city of Kherson.
• Who will succeed Truss as UK PM?: The race has begun to replace Liz Truss as UK Prime Minister following her resignation caused by a rebellion from Tory MPs. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and MP Penny Mordaunt are seen as potential contenders. Candidates have until Monday 2 p.m. to gather support from 100 MPs to run, with the leadership election process expected to end on Oct. 28. Truss resigned after 45 days in office, making her the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history.
• EU fails to agree on cap on gas prices: European leaders have failed to reach an agreement on a set of measures to lower energy bills despite an 11-hour summit. EU energy ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg earlier next week for further discussions.
• Former Pakistan prime minister barred from politics for 5 years: Pakistan’s election commission has disqualified former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan from being a member of parliament and from running for political office for 5 years due to “corrupt practices.” The decision comes six months after Khan was ousted through a no-confidence vote.
• More bodies found in Malawi mass grave: Malawi police have reported the discovery of four bodies just a few meters from a mass grave where 25 bodies thought to be Ethiopian migrants were found on Wednesday. Authorities are still searching the area around the grave.
• Fuel fire engulfs Mexico railway and homes: A fuel tanker truck crash sparked a huge blaze that has engulfed a train line and homes in Aguascalientes, central Mexico and forced the evacuation of more than 1,500 people. No deaths have been reported yet.
• Chess cheating scandal’s latest twist: U.S. chess grandmaster Hans Niemans has filed a defamation lawsuit for at least $100 million against Magnus Carlsen and others, for damages “inflicted upon his reputation, career, and life” after the Norwegian World Champion accused him of cheating.
Liz Truss, who resigned as UK prime minister after only 44 days in office, is a front-page sensation in newspapers at home and abroad, as the world looks on at the state of politics in London. Here is our selection of 25 international and UK front pages.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports that Colombia, the world’s largest producer of cocaine, broke its own record for coca cultivation with 204,000 hectares planted in 2021 — a 43% increase compared to the previous year. The country’s Justice Minister Nestor Osuna reacted to the report, saying this highlighted “the failure of the war on drugs" in Colombia.
Why the Netherlands' exit from an obscure energy treaty is such big news for the climate
The little-known Energy Charter Treaty protects oil and gas firms from regulation that harms their interests. The Dutch government has pulled out, and now the rest of Europe may follow.
📝 Signed in 1994, the treaty currently has 53 signatories, including all EU member states, and encourages cross-border cooperation in energy investment, principally in fossil fuels. It was initially intended to bring the East and West closer in the field of energy after the end of the Cold War. The ECT primarily protects energy investments, which has turned out to be extremely problematic in a climate crisis. Increasingly, experts say the treaty is fundamentally incompatible with the targets of the Paris Agreement, which is aiming to keep temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius.
💰 The main problem is the treaty's provision for an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This allows investors the option of pursuing monetary compensation when a government measure negatively impacts their investments. And many companies have taken advantage of that mechanism to bring expensive lawsuits against governments. The German company RWE is claiming more than one billion euros in damages in the Netherlands because of the early closure of coal-fired power stations. Even more controversial, the treaty allows countries to sue for the loss of future profit.
👋 Italy withdrew in 2016. Poland and Spain are already in the process of doing the same. The Dutch decision will put further pressure on the rest of the EU member states, and Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten has said he will encourage the entire European Union to withdraw. But it’s not as simple as just leaving. Countries are bound by a 20-year survival clause on exiting. However, Christina Eckes, a law professor at the University of Amsterdam, points out that: “If all of Europe does the same, European companies will no longer be able to submit claims to other European countries on the basis of the ECT.”
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People now seem fed up with COVID. Honestly, I'm also fed up. We all are.
— Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), said after it was reported that the Indian vaccine maker, the world’s largest, had to destroy 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine after they expired last September. The firm had to stop producing Covishield (the local version of AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria jab) in December 2021 due to low demand.
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