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US Secretary of Defense Austin announces cancer

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US Secretary of Defense Austin announces cancer

As of: January 10, 2024 at 5:38 AM

It was not clear for several days why US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in the hospital. Now the 70-year-old is announcing his cancer diagnosis. There has been cross-party criticism of the prolonged period of uncertainty — even President Biden was not informed.

After days of speculation about his health, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin revealed that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The responsible clinic near Washington, D.C., said that the disease was identified early and the prognosis for recovery was “excellent.”

The 70-year-old had to receive treatment in hospital since the beginning of the year due to complications following surgery at the end of December. The hospitalization caused an uproar because the ministry did not announce it at first.

Pentagon motive Information policy

The Pentagon defended the measure in the evening. “Despite the prevalence of prostate cancer, discussions about prevention, treatment and support are often very personal and private,” Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said when asked about the delay in the public disclosure.

It remains unclear how the illness will affect Austin's performance in office, such as his travel and other public appearances. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks is expected to assume some of his daily duties while he recovers.

Biden was not informed either

Austin has been criticized for its opaque information policy. President Joe Biden only learned on Tuesday that a member of his cabinet was sick — about a month after the diagnosis. “No one in the White House knew that Secretary Austin had prostate cancer until this morning,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

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Austin's surprise admission to the hospital on Dec. 22 was for surgery to treat cancer, according to his doctors. The day after the operation, the 70-year-old man returned home. But on January 1, he complained of nausea and severe stomach, hip and leg pain due to a urinary tract infection. That's why he went back to the hospital.

The president initially knew nothing about this background. Austin and Biden spoke by phone on Saturday. On the same day, the Minister made a public statement in which he acknowledged that he could have better informed the public about his hospitalization and asserted: “I am committed to doing better.” But he did not tell Biden in this phone call that he had cancer.

The White House reacts immediately

On Tuesday, the White House tightened its guidelines regarding the absence of ministers. Jeff Zients, Biden's chief of staff, told Cabinet members in a letter that they must submit existing regulations in the event of a failure by the department's leadership by Friday. He demands that his office be informed if ministers are unable to carry out their official duties.

A Pentagon spokesman blamed an employee's flu illness for the delay between hospitalization and notification of the White House.

Republicans demand Austin's impeachment

Many Republican lawmakers called for the defense secretary to be fired. Republican Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, launched an investigation into the events.

The White House said President Biden wants to stay with Austin.

According to doctors, the cancer was discovered during a routine examination at the beginning of last December. Since it was caught early, Austin has excellent chances of recovery.

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France adds „freedom of abortion” to its constitution

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France adds „freedom of abortion” to its constitution
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France adds „freedom of abortion” to its constitution

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“My Body, My Choice” was displayed on the Eiffel Tower after the vote to add “freedom to abortion” to the Constitution

Source: Reuters

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In France, Congress decided to enshrine “freedom of abortion” in the constitution. With this project, President Emmanuel Macron responded to the discussions taking place in the United States. Abortion advocates cheered after the decision in Paris.

FFrance is the first country in the world to include „freedom of abortion” in its constitution. Representatives of both houses of Parliament voted in favor of the corresponding constitutional amendment on Monday at the Palace of Versailles by 780 votes to 72. The announcement of the result was met with sustained applause.

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The two houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate, have already approved the bill individually. Article 34 of the Constitution stipulates “guaranteeing women’s freedom to have an abortion.”

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal spoke of the „moral guilt” of all the women who suffered. He stressed that „the suffering and memory of many, many women have haunted us for decades because of their inability to be liberated,” welcoming the „successful conclusion of a long struggle.”

Members of the National Assembly and Senate applauded after the vote in Versailles

Members of the National Assembly and Senate applauded after the vote in Versailles

Source: Agence France-Presse/Bertrand Guay

After the vote, supporters of the constitutional amendment chanted in the square opposite the Eiffel Tower. Many people watched the discussion and voted on a large screen. The Eiffel Tower sparkled in reverence. “Pride of France. A global message,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X.

Opponents of constitutional change gathered near the Congress in Versailles. The Catholic Church also made clear that it continues to reject abortions. “In the era of universal human rights, there can be no ‘right’ to destroy human life,” the Pontifical Academy for Life said, according to BFMTV.

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File photo: French President Macron hosts the Ukraine summit in Paris

opinion Abortion in the Constitution

The inclusion in the Constitution is primarily symbolic. Abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy have remained unpunished in France since 1975. Pregnant women in France can now have an abortion up to the 14th week, and their health insurance covers the costs. With the initiative to amend the constitution in 2022, President Macron responded to cuts in abortion rights in the United States of America.

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The constitutional amendment document was stamped with the state seal at Versailles using a historic stamp press. It is scheduled to ceremoniously conclude again on International Women's Day on March 8.

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An explosion paralyzes train traffic in the Samara region of Russia

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An explosion paralyzes train traffic in the Samara region of Russia

As of: March 4, 2024 at 5:30 p.m

Ukraine said it caused severe damage to a railway bridge in Russia's Samara region. The railway was used to transport military materials. According to Russian information, train traffic has been suspended.

Russian information reported that a railway bridge was damaged as a result of an explosion that occurred in the Samara region, southwestern Russia, on the Volga River. The regional railway company said the accident occurred due to “interference by unauthorized persons.” Train traffic stopped.

Ukraine's military intelligence agency HUR said it disabled a railway bridge over the Chapaevka River in Russia's Samara region. Accordingly, part of the bridge structure was damaged as a result of an explosion that occurred at approximately 6:00 AM (local time, 3:00 AM CET).

HUR explained that Russia used the railway „to transport military materials, especially explosives, which were manufactured at a polymer factory in the city of Chapaevsk.” The intelligence agency added that the bridge would be out of service „for a long period of time.”

Apparently there are no injuries

According to Russian Railways, there were no casualties. The TASS news agency reported, citing emergency services, that an explosive device destroyed a column on the railway bridge over the Chapaevka River in the section between the city of Chapaevsk and the suburb of Zvezda.

“Rail traffic on this section is currently suspended,” the local railway company said. According to TASS, security forces cordoned off the area surrounding the bridge. The Russian authorities did not initially provide any information about the cause of the accident.

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Production of explosives In a chemical factory

Chapaevsk is an industrial city with a population of about 70 thousand people. The most important company in the city is a chemical plant that also produces explosives. Chapaevsk is located about a thousand kilometers from Ukraine, against which Russia has been waging an aggressive war for more than two years.

Russia has announced a series of attacks on its industrial and logistics infrastructure in recent months, blaming Ukraine.

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European Union: Burbock calls for support for Western Balkan countries to join the European Union

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European Union: Burbock calls for support for Western Balkan countries to join the European Union

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green Party) called for supporting the Western Balkan countries „with all our strength” on their path to the European Union. “We cannot afford to have gray areas anywhere in Europe, and we must do everything together to close the wings that Russia can use for its policy of destabilization, disinformation and infiltration,” she said before leaving. the black Mountain And Bosnia and Herzegovina. This includes supporting countries in “strengthening their democratic institutions, improving their resilience, and improving people’s economic prospects.”

“The fact that we support the six countries in the region with all our might on their path to the European Union has become a geopolitical necessity, especially in light of brutal Russian imperialism,” she said. We in the European Union have a „shared duty to prepare ourselves for the future while putting more chairs at the European table.”

Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina are among the so-called Western Balkan countries. These also include Albania, Serbia, North Macedonia and Kosovo. The European Union views Montenegro as the country furthest along in the accession process. The European Union is not expected to be enlarged before the end of the decade at the earliest. Bosnia and Herzegovina has candidate status, but has not yet entered into negotiations.

Montenegro's ambitious agenda

Berbock said Montenegro has been a NATO ally for years. During the EU accession process, the country set itself an ambitious agenda, which it is now boldly tackling again. Their talks in the capital, Podgorica, will also focus on how Montenegro can make better progress in reforming the rule of law and in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

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In Montenegro, Prime Minister Milojo Spajic and President Jakov Milatović have been in power again since 2023, with two declaring themselves pro-European. However, Spic can only be elected with the support of small pro-Russian and pro-Serbian parties.

Divided Bosnia and Herzegovina

A meeting is scheduled to be held with the Presidency of State in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consists of one representative each of the Bosniak, Serb and Croat ethnic groups. A conversation will also be held with the High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, German Christian Schmidt.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into entities called the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (abbreviated FBiH) and the ethnic Serb part Republika Srpska (RS). The president of Republika Srpska is Serb nationalist Milorad Dodik, who seeks secession. Dodik is currently on trial in Sarajevo on charges of causing the non-publishment of the decisions of the representative of the international community in the Official Gazette of Republika Srpska. Recently, Dodik visited Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko from Russia President Vladimir Putin.

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