Republican Voters Clash over Whether Haley Should Remain in Nomination Race

As the Republican Party primary contests continue into their third month, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the only remaining challenger to former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The primaries will determine who is the GOP’s nominee for president and who will challenge President Joe Biden in November’s presidential election.

Trump has won all but one of the 11 primaries and caucuses so far, racking up 276 total delegates to Haley’s 43. (Haley earned her first victory in Washington D.C. this past weekend, a contest long predicted to go her way.) With 15 states casting their votes for a nominee on March 5, a day known as “Super Tuesday,” Republicans are divided on whether Haley should remain in the race or get out of the former president’s way.

“If you’re a Democrat, you probably want Haley to stay in the race because she’s distracting Trump from focusing on defeating Biden,” explained Bob Carreto, a Trump supporter from Chalmette, Louisiana. “But if you’re a real Republican, you want her to drop out of the primaries as fast as possible.”

“She’s forcing Trump to spend money defeating her, and it’s not good for the Republican Party,” Carreto said. “But the reality is, she doesn’t stand a chance, so she should just quit.”

Even though Trump has won each of the contests so far, not all voters who could cast their ballot this November for a Republican think Haley should exit.

“I think she’s incredibly brave for staying in the race, especially given that Trump is a maniacal egoist who attacks anyone who challenges him,” Abby LaCombe, an independent voter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told VOA.

“She’s facing a lot of attacks for refusing to withdraw, and she’s giving people who vote Republican a choice — the ability to choose someone other than Trump, a politician who has shown he has no respect whatsoever for democracy,” LaCombe said.

Princess of Wales Announces First Confirmed Official Duty Since Surgery

British officials said Tuesday that Kate, the Princess of Wales, will attend a Trooping the Color ceremony in June. It is her first confirmed major official duty since the royal underwent abdominal surgery.

Kate, Prince William’s wife, has been out of the public eye since January, when palace officials announced that she was admitted to a private London hospital for planned surgery. At the time, they did not provide more details but said she would not return to public duties until after Easter.

The ceremony is celebrated on June 8 and the weekend that follows. The events, annual highlights in the royal calendar, are pomp-filled birthday parades to honour the reigning monarch and usually draw huge crowds each June to watch the display. The tradition dates back more than 260 years.

The Ministry of Defence said Kate, 42, will inspect soldiers on parade during the June 8 ceremony. Hundreds of foot guards, horse guards and members of military bands will participate in the spectacle at central London’s Horse Guards and along The Mall, the promenade outside Buckingham Palace.

ICC Issues Arrest Warrants Against Top Russian Commanders over Alleged War Crimes 

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants Tuesday for two top Russian commanders over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Sergei Kobylash and Viktor Sokolov, an army lieutenant general and a navy admiral, are suspected of crimes between October 2022 and March 2023.

The Hague court says there is evidence to believe that the men were responsible for missile strikes against Ukrainian electric infrastructure, which led to civilian harm.

Although Russia denies targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, the ICC noted that the recorded attacks were excessive to any expected military advantage. According to the Geneva conventions and international court protocols, attacks on civilians are forbidden.

The two men “are each allegedly responsible for the war crime of directing attacks at civilian” targets and “crime against humanity of inhumane acts,” the court said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the ICC’s decision.

This is not the first time warrants have been issued for officials related to the war in Ukraine.

A warrant was issued for President Vladimir Putin and Children’s Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for alleged war crimes related to the abduction of Ukrainian children, a claim the Kremlin rejects.

The Kremlin reacted to the warrant by saying Russia does not recognize the ICC.

Ghana’s President to Await Court Decision Before Signing Anti-LGBTQ Bill

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Tuesday he will wait to act on an anti-LGBTQ bill that parliament passed last week, saying in a statement that the measure is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

He was quoted as saying, “It would be as well for all of us to hold our hands and await the decision of the court before any action is taken.”

He said a citizen challenged the bill’s constitutionality.

Akufo-Addo said Ghana will not be backsliding on its human rights record, as many express concerns about the measure.

In Ghana, gay sex is illegal and carries a three-year prison sentence. The bill would further criminalize the LGBTQ community by imposing at least a 10-year sentence on members of the community who show public displays of affection or those who promote and fund LGBTQ activities.

Those who oppose the bill are concerned about a decline in human rights and reduced international aid from organizations like the World Bank.

Human Rights Watch Researcher Larissa Kojoue said the bill is “inconsistent with Ghana’s longstanding tradition of peace, tolerance, and hospitality and flies in the face of the country’s international human rights obligations.”

Philippines Reports New Incident with Chinese Coast Guard in South China Sea

The Philippines Coast Guard says one of its ships was damaged after a collision with a Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the South China Sea Tuesday.

In a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Jay Tarriela said Chinese coast guard ships carried out “dangerous manoeuvres” against two Philippine coast guard ships, one of which sustained minor structural damage.

A separate statement by the Philippines’ task force on the South China Sea said four crewmen aboard the other vessel were injured when it was hit by water cannons from the Chinese Coast Guard ships.

The two ships were escorting two civilian vessels carrying supplies and a fresh rotation of troops to a Philippine warship intentionally grounded on the Second Thomas Shoal to maintain the archipelago’s claims on the submerged reef.

The Chinese coast guard issued a statement accusing the Philippine ships of illegally intruding into the waters around the shoal, which it calls Ren’ai Reef, prompting their vessels to take “control measures.”

China has claimed sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, ignoring competing claims by its regional neighbours, including the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Death Stalks Children in Gaza as Famine Looms, Life-saving Aid Denied, UN Says

More than a dozen children in Gaza have starved to death, and many more are at risk as malnutrition soars, infectious diseases spread, and urgently needed life-saving humanitarian aid is blocked from entering the Palestinian enclave, UN, aid agencies warn.

“As of 3 March, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reports that 15 children have died of malnutrition and dehydration at Kamal Adwan Hospital, the only pediatric hospital in northern Gaza, and expressed fear for the lives of six other infants who are suffering from acute malnutrition,” said Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, a representative for the World Health Organisation in occupied Palestinian areas, citing the Hamas-controlled agency.

Speaking from his post in Jerusalem, Peeperkorn told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday that without a sustained cease-fire, “2.2 million people in Gaza are in the midst of an epic catastrophe and facing inhumane conditions.”

“There is a risk of famine. There is a risk of disease. There is an enormous amount of desperation, and the scarcity has led to a regular breakdown of law and order,” Peeperkorn said, adding that internally displaced people are facing acute shortages of food, water, shelter and medicine.

Hungarian President Signs Sweden’s Bid to Join NATO

Hungary’s president on Tuesday signed the law on Sweden’s bid to join NATO, a final technical step before the Nordic country becomes the alliance’s 32rd member.

Hungary’s parliament ratified Sweden’s bid on February 26, ending more than a year of delays that frustrated other alliance members in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Tamas Sulyok, the president of the republic, today signed the decision taken by the National Assembly on February 26, 2024, regarding Sweden’s membership in NATO,” a statement on the presidential website read.

Sweden, which has been militarily neutral for two centuries, will then be invited to accede to the Washington Treaty and officially become NATO’s 32nd member.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago prompted Sweden and neighbouring Finland to apply to join the trans-Atlantic bloc, ending their longstanding stance of non-alignment.

Every NATO member has to approve a new country’s membership.

Finland joined in April last year, but Hungary and Turkey stalled Sweden’s bid, with Ankara only approving Stockholm’s candidacy in January.

Vietnamese Real Estate Tycoon on Trial for Embezzlement, Faces Death Penalty

The trial of a real estate tycoon accused of embezzling billions of dollars began in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Truong My Lan, the chairwoman of real estate development firm Van Thinh Phat, siphoned $12.5 billion from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank between 2012 and 2022. Lan, who controlled a majority stake in SCB, allegedly embezzled the money by arranging fake loans to numerous shell companies.

Another 85 people are being prosecuted in connection with the case, including Lan’s husband, a wealthy Hong Kong businessman, and several former bank executives and government officials, including at least one ex-government official who allegedly received $5.2 billion in bribes. Nearly 200 lawyers will be involved in the trial.

The scope of the fraud nearly equals 3% of Vietnam’s 2022 gross domestic product. Lan is facing the death penalty if convicted.

Lan’s arrest is part of the Vietnamese government’s anti-corruption drive known as Blazing Furnace, which has led to the arrests of thousands of government officials and business leaders in recent years, as well as the resignation of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc last year.

Israeli Strikes Hit Khan Younis Amid Push for Ceasefire 

Israel’s military reported raids Tuesday in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza, while Palestinian officials said Israeli airstrikes in the same location killed at least 17 people.

The Palestinian officials said the strikes happened near the European Hospital in the Hamad neighbourhood.

The Israeli military said it targeted terrorist infrastructure in Hamad and that it arrested dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters who were hiding among civilians.

The fighting in Gaza went on amid a sustained push to achieve a cease-fire in the conflict, including talks in Egypt.

Israel has stayed away from the Cairo negotiations and has faulted Hamas for not providing a list of the names of hostages that militants are still holding in Gaza.

A senior Hamas official told reporters Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to blame for a lack of a deal and that it is in the hands of Israel’s ally, the United States, to push for action.

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