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Élisabeth Borne becomes France’s first female prime minister in 30 years

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Élisabeth Borne becomes France’s first female prime minister in 30 years

Élisabeth Borne, the French minister for labour, has been appointed prime minister – the first woman to hold the post in more than 30 years and only the second female prime minister in modern French history.

Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP

 Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP

Borne, 61, an engineer with a long career in government ministries, the senior civil service, public administration and state businesses – was chosen by Emmanuel Macron for the difficult task of delivering his complex policy promises at the start of his second term, against a background of rising inflation and the war in Ukraine.

Borne is the first French female prime minister since Édith Cresson, who briefly headed the cabinet from May 1991 to April 1992 under the Socialist president François Mitterrand.

“It’s more than time,” Cresson told BFMTV when asked how it felt to see a second woman head the government.

Cresson had warned this weekend that French politics remained “macho”. A total of 74% of French people said they wanted a female prime minister, according to an Ifop poll this weekend. Macron, whose government had featured equal numbers of women and men, had nonetheless been accused of surrounding himself with a mainly male group of advisers and confidants.

Borne’s first task is to manage the different political factions of Macron’s centrist grouping who need to win a parliamentary majority in elections next month if Macron is to have a free hand for his planned overhaul of pensions and the welfare state.

If Macron wins a majority, from this summer, Borne must extend caps on energy prices and introduce further measures to address voters’ concerns about making ends meet amid the cost of living crisis. She is then tasked with leading Macron’s unpopular plans to push back the pension age from 62 to either 64 or 65, which are expected to spark trade union opposition and street protests. Borne will also be given a new brief of overseeing what Macron has promised will be a radical new form of “green planning” to limit carbon emissions and boost environment policy.

Borne is a faithful Macron supporter who held three key ministerial jobs during his first term: transport, environment and labour. She earned a reputation for taking on difficult policies and pushing them through, including Macron’s sweeping reforms to the state rail system which saw the biggest strikes in decades. The Macron ally, Christophe Castaner, had nicknamed the straight-talking Borne “minister of impossible reforms made possible”.

Macron, 44, registered a solid victory in last month’s presidential election against the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, winning by 58.5% to Le Pen’s 41.5%. But he acknowledged that many French people, particularly on the left, had voted for him to keep out the far right. He has promised to change his top-down, centralised way of doing politics and consult more, broadening his base.

Borne, who was in government for the whole of Macron’s first term, symbolises continuity. Macron’s opponents were quick to attack her appointment. Le Pen, who is running for re-election to parliament said: “Emmanuel Macron has shown his incapacity to unite people and the will to continue his politics of looking down on people, deconstructing the state and wrecking the social [security system], of fiscal rackets and laxism.” The radical left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted that Borne’s appointment meant “the continuity of the president’s policies”. He tweeted: “A new season of social and environmental mistreatment begins.”

Borne’s personal background on the centre left is crucial for Macron, particularly in the run-up to the parliament elections. In his first term, Macron – whose project had been described as “neither right nor left” when he won the presidency in 2017 – had appointed two prime ministers from the right. He is under pressure to win back voters on the centre left in the parliamentary elections.

Mélenchon recently persuaded the Socialist, Communist and Greens parties to enter an alliance under his leadership for the parliamentary elections, that unites the left around a common platform for the first time in decades. The left is seeking to increase its seats in parliament.

Borne’s long career has included advising key ministers under the Socialist presidents Mitterrand and François Hollande as well as working in Paris city hall when it was run by the Socialist Bertrand Delanoë.

She never joined the Socialist party, and she is the first of Macron’s prime ministers to be a card-carrying member of his centrist party, which was recently renamed Renaissance.

Borne has described being personally driven by efficiency, not hogging the limelight. “For me, doing politics is not about getting people to talk about me at any price, it’s about dedicating myself to delivering projects in the service of my country,” she told France Inter radio last year. “Politics is not about pushing myself to the front of stage.” 

Greek man gets life sentence for killing British wife

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Greek man gets life sentence for killing British wife

ATHENS (Reuters) - A Greek man, who confessed to killing his young British wife in front of their 11-month-old child last year, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday in a case which has prompted widespread public outrage.

FILE PHOTO: A 33-year-old man, who is charged with the intentional homicide of his 20-year-old wife, is escorted to the court for the beginning of his trial, in Athens

 Reuters/LOUIZA VRADI FILE PHOTO:

A 33-year-old man, who is charged with the intentional homicide of his 20-year-old wife, is escorted to the court for the beginning of his trial, in Athens

Babis Anagnostopoulos, 34, the only witness in the case, had initially claimed that thieves broke into their house in the outskirts of Athens, strangled his wife, Caroline Crouch, and killed their dog, Roxy.

Following evidence from CCTV cameras at the house and a smartwatch worn by his 20-year-old wife, the man, a professional helicopter pilot, confessed to murder.

During the trial, the man said that he had a fight with his wife just before the murder on May 11 2021 and that he had regretted his actions.

The court sentenced him to life in prison for the murder of his wife and to an additional 10 years for killing their dog, according to the Athens News Agency.

The agency cited the state prosecutor as saying: "justice would be served over this human tragedy but not moral vindication for the victims still alive, Caroline's mother and daughter."

Reference: Reuters: 

Buffalo shooting: White supremacist who shot 10 dead called for Sadiq Khan's death

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Buffalo shooting: White supremacist who shot 10 dead called for Sadiq Khan's death

A white supremacist who killed 10 people in a US supermarket rampage earlier called for the murder of Sadiq Khan.

Payton Gendron, 18, branded the London mayor a "high profile enemy" and a "Muslim invader" in a chilling 180-page "manifesto".

The mass shooter used a rifle to spray 13 people - killing 10 - at a Tops Friendly Market supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Authorities said the massacre was motivated by “racial hatred”.

Gendron, from Conklin, about 200 miles south-east of Buffalo, appeared in Buffalo City court on murder charges hours later. He pleaded not guilty.

For at least two minutes, he broadcast the sickening shooting on streaming platform Twitch in which he appeared to calmly target people as they cowered behind shelves.

It is believed he published a disturbing manifesto online before arriving at the market in military fatigues, a bullet-proof vest and a helmet camera.

The document, circulated widely online, purports to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs, including his desire to remove all non-whites from the US.

He repeatedly refers to the UK and in one section, titled “Kill high-profile enemies”, he calls for the London mayor, whom he describes as an “ethnic replacement” of British people, to be killed.

Family members and an employee from the Tops supermarket attend services at True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo (Getty Images)

 Provided by Evening Standard Family members and an employee from the Tops supermarket attend services at True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo (Getty Images)

He claims Mr Khan, who visited the US last week, is a “Muslim invader” and his murder would be an ideal start to the “white rebirth”.

In a tweet on Sunday, Mr Khan wrote: “The thoughts and prayers of London are with the people of Buffalo and all the families who have lost loved ones in this dreadful attack. Our diversity is our strength. Hate will never win.”

It comes after Mr Khan revealed he has suffered a rise in racial abuse since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in 2017.

Speaking at Stanford University during a five-day trade mission to the US, he said: “During those four years he was president, that led to me having police protection and a lot of racial abuse”.

“In the last year of him being president, once he was banned from Twitter, I received the least racial abuse of any time over five years.

“On the one hand, social media – Facebook Twitter – great. On the other hand, that’s the consequence of lack of control and lack of regulation.”

Reference: Evening Standard: Sami Quadri

'King of Mayfair' is in a bitter planning row with neighbours over his £40m mansion

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'King of Mayfair' is in a bitter planning row with neighbours over his £40m mansion

A London billionaire known as the 'King of Mayfair' has become caught up in a planning row with neighbours over his new £40 million home. Richard Caring, owner of celebrity hotspots Annabel’s, Sexy Fish and Scott’s, has been accused of breaching planning regulations when re-building his £40 million home in South Kensington.

A London council is set to give Mr Caring an enforcement notice after neighbours complained he ignored certain conditions when demolishing a 19th-century cottage and replacing it with a six-bed mansion and double basement, the Telegraph has reported. Caring, 73, reportedly bought the cottage in 2017 for £60 million and was given permission to replace it with a new build by Kensington and Chelsea Council in 2019.

He is believed to have upset neighbours over concerns about lighting, windows, and doors prompting the council to investigate the matter. His plans for the revamp include a 'beauty room', swimming pool and gym.

South Kensington mansion housing

Formation Architects/Richard Caring South Kensington mansion housing

Mr Caring told the Telegraph he was not aware of any enforcement notice being sent to him by the council and he is in talks with the Tory-led authority about the development. He added: “Yes, you do have problems with neighbours. There is a conversation about what colour my grass should be in the garden. They think it is a little too green. We do everything we do to keep everyone happy.”

Council staff are reportedly poised to give Mr Caring a notice that would give him six months to sort out any breaches of planning permission.

A spokesman for Mr Caring told the Telegraph: “We are in constant dialogue with RBKC as we continue to discharge conditions, and also deal with some minor design queries.

“As with standard practice, after constructive discussions with the council, we have either submitted or [are] preparing revised planning applications to resolve these queries. We continue to work closely with RBKC as we near completion of the project, and remain confident all outstanding queries will be resolved.”

A Kensington and Chelsea Council spokesperson said: “The council is investigating alleged breaches of planning control at the site. We take these matters very seriously and are working with the developer to ensure the work meets planning regulations.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Mr Caring's team for comment.

Reference: Hannah Neary: My London: 

Queen Elizabeth should be allowed to retire so King Charles and Queen Camilla can take over – Susan Morrrison

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Queen Elizabeth should be allowed to retire so King Charles and Queen Camilla can take over – Susan Morrrison

What's the big deal with sending Charlie boy to open parliament in her stead? She doesn’t get about easily any more for one thing, and that amble through the Houses of Parliament looks a bit tricky for a gal her age. I bet that carpet’s rucked up in places for a start, and it's just one slip to a broken hip.

Susan Morrison is looking forward to the reign of Queen Camilla (Picture: Eddie Mulholland/WPA pool/...

If she insists on a comeback show, they might consider giving the queen a jetpack in future years. Trust me, I would tune in to watch the queen zoom in like a panto fairy.

In fact, she didn’t just send Charles. The crown went with him. In it’s own car.

Now, given the cost of fuel these days, sending a sparkly hat in its own vehicle strikes me the height of decadence. It smacks of the sort of luxury that leads to the peasants starting to look askance at their betters, like being told to eat cake.

One more laissez-faire blunder like that and I can see the workers storming the palace gates, although, of course, we won’t be able to afford petrol bombs.

It's time that laddie of hers got a crack at the top job anyway. They’ve been doing ‘Take you Son to Work’ Day for decades. He knows the ropes.

Oh, I know Lizzie seems resistant to retiring, but perhaps she could be persuaded that it's time for another royal event. We’ve run out of marriageable ones and the birthing ones have packed that in for a while.

Funerals just don’t cut it in the fun department, but a coronation, now, there’s a thing the TV companies can get behind, and the Americans just love it.

Personally, I would welcome Queen Camilla, a woman who has reportedly made inroads into the late Queen Mother’s gin lake, and is believed to swear like a trouper. Bet she’d liven up dull State Dinners no end.

Reference: Edinburgh News: Susan Morrison 

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