What a San Francisco vote says about the US left

The recall of San Francisco’s top public prosecutor amid rising drug deaths exposes a rift on the left.The recall of San Francisco’s top public prosecutor amid rising drug deaths exposes a rift on the left.

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Gujarat: How doctors saved a lion from going blind

A team of doctors performed cataract surgery on a lion in Gujarat state to save his vision.

A five-year-old lion in the western Indian state of Gujarat is recovering his vision after doctors performed cataract surgery on both his eyes.

Officials at the Gir forest – the last abode of the Asiatic lion – first noticed something was wrong when the lion stopped responding even when prey was nearby. They then took him to a rescue centre, where an examination showed he had mature cataracts in both eyes.

A cataract surgery involves replacing the eye’s natural lens with one made out of plastic. They are routinely performed on smaller animals such as dogs.

To prepare for operating on the lion, the doctors read research papers and spoke to experts. They also studied an eye sample obtained from the post-mortem of a dead lion to understand the anatomical structure.

The lion is now recovering from the surgery and will be released back in the forest soon.

Video by Hanif Khokhar, BBC Gujarati.

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Ukraine war: Chemical plant hit as fighting rages in Severodonetsk

Russian shelling causes a huge fire at the Azot plant in Severodonetsk, a Ukrainian official says.

Smoke rises over the city of Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine. Photo: June 2022Image source, AFP via Getty Images

Russian shelling has caused a huge fire at a chemical plant in Ukraine’s Severodonetsk city where “non-stop” fighting rages, the regional head says.

Serhiy Haidai told Ukrainian TV that Saturday’s blaze started after a leak of tens of tonnes of oil from damaged radiators at the Azot plant.

Hundreds of civilians are reportedly sheltering at the plant.

Severodonetsk has become the focal point of Russia’s efforts to advance in eastern Ukraine.

Fighting has lasted more than three months. Russia’s early attempt to capture major cities including the capital Kyiv faltered and is now instead trying to capture the Luhansk and the Donetsk regions – a vast mostly industrial area collectively known as Donbas.

Seizing Severodonetsk and its twin city of Lysychansk would move Russia closer to its goal as it would give them control over Luhansk.

In his statement, Mr Haidai admitted most of Severodonetsk was now in Russian hands. The Russian military says that all of Severodonetsk’s residential areas are now under its control.

“The Azot chemical plant has been under heavy shelling for hours,” Mr Haidai said on Saturday.

He did not say whether there were any casualties and whether the blaze was later extinguished.

Ukrainian officials estimate that as many as 800 civilians are hiding in underground bomb shelters at the Azot plant.

Describing the current situation in Severodonetsk, Mr Haidai said it was “difficult, but under control”.

“Our soldiers are winning in street fights, but, unfortunately, the enemy’s artillery is simply dismantling – floor-by-floor – the houses used by our troops as shelters.

“So, when we push the enemy out of one street, they start using their tanks and artillery to destroy the area house-by-house,” the Luhansk regional head said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian troops have suffered “very significant” casualties in Donbas.

He also said Ukrainian forces had recaptured villages and towns in the south-eastern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Ukraine has been pleading for more weapons from its allies, warning that Russia has at least 10 times more artillery pieces.

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Billie Eilish pauses London show over fan safety

The singer briefly halts her concert at the O2 arena after several fans pass out in the heat.

Billie EilishImage source, Getty Images

Billie Eilish briefly paused her show at London’s O2 arena on Saturday after several fans got into difficulties in sweltering temperatures.

“Are you all ok?” she asked. “People were fainting and getting pulled out. It’s hot, I know”.

After fans said they were “squished”, she halted the music until the pressure in front of the stage eased.

“Take a step back, give everybody some space,” Eilish said. “If someone looks a little woozy, just tell someone.”

She added: “Don’t try to save feelings.”

Earlier, Eilish had asked the O2 security team to distribute water to the audience.

It is not the first time the singer has stopped a concert to check on her fans.

In February, she interrupted her Happier Than Ever tour show in Atlanta after noticing someone struggling to breathe, and refused to proceed until they could access an inhaler.

“Can we just grab one?” she asked a crew member.

Later that month, she also paused a show in New York’s Madison Square Garden, telling fans: “If you want to sit down, you are allowed. Go ahead, you’re good. Sit down, take a breath.”

The issue of crowd safety has been in the spotlight ever since 10 people were killed during a crush at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston last year.

Fans in the audience later criticised the response of emergency services, and asked why organisers did not call a halt to the concert.

An inquiry is currently investigating the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

At the O2 on Saturday night, fans took matters into their own hands. One group, after noticing a fellow concertgoer in trouble, formed a protective circle and turned on their phone lights to alert the security team.

Eilish resumed her show after three minutes. She later thanked “all the security [and] all the staff” at the venue, adding: “I appreciate you”.

Powerful songs

Billie Eilish

Image source, Getty Images

The atmosphere at the concert had been feverish from the start; with the star’s breathy vocals frequently drowned out by fans.

Beatlemania-pitch screams punctuated the evening, whiplashing around the O2 whenever Eilish approached the edge of the stage; or when she sank to her knees during Therefore I Am; or when she picked up a fan’s Pride flag and draped it over her shoulders; and even when she struggled to disentangle a scrunchie from her jet-black pigtails.

It was a reaction you’d typically expect for a boyband like BTS or One Direction – but while those groups whip up emotions with the illusory promise of romance, Eilish’s songs dwell in the uncomfortable messiness of early adulthood.

She sings of nerves and depression, awkward social interactions and hopeless boyfriends. Her songs have a flair for the macabre (one features the sound of a dentist drill) and a scepticism of authority.

No wonder her lyrics resonate so powerfully with her fans.

“Singing those songs out loud tonight was like a free therapy session,” my 12-year-old remarked as we left the arena.

Billie Eilish

Image source, Getty Images

Early in the set, Eilish laid out her ground rules for the night: “Don’t be an asshole, do not judge anyone in here, and have fun, bitch”.

She was the biggest beneficiary of her own advice, throwing herself around the stage with the unchecked energy of a hurricane; while her legs were taped up to prevent the recurrence of an old dance injury.

The show relied entirely on her charisma, with minimal staging, lit almost exclusively in red and white.

One concession to arena spectacle was the moment Eilish climbed into a giant hydraulic crane to serenade the back of the auditorium, but she managed to subvert even that cliché, bending backwards over the safety ropes to dangle perilously over the crowd. Her insurers must have been quaking in their boots.

But maybe the most impressive feat was the way Eilish turned some of her less powerful songs into arena-filling monsters.

Goldwing, a fluttering, experimental track on her second album, became a thrilling call-and-response banger; while the mumbled beats of Oxytocin briefly turned the O2 into an underground rave.

Elsewhere, a montage of childhood videos during Getting Older was endearing and sweet; while Your Power – a song about older men who abuse their positions – felt especially cathartic.

Billie Eilish

Image source, Getty Images

Other songs were cruelly cut short.

All The Good Girls Go To Hell – a macabre stand-out from her debut album – was hacked down to a single verse and chorus; while her break-out songs Bellyache and Ocean Eyes were unnecessarily condensed into a brief medley.

With only two albums to her name, Eilish didn’t need to short-change fans on some of their favourite songs, even if she has progressed musically since they were released.

But she ended the night on an indisputable high, with the delightfully malevolent Bad Guy (duh!) followed by Happier Than Ever, a gently-strummed break-up ballad that builds and builds to an almighty, operatic climax.

You make me hate this city,” the audience bellowed along at the top of their lungs.

But not tonight. Not when Billie’s around.

Setlist

  • Bury A Friend
  • I Didn’t Change My Number
  • NDA
  • Therefore I Am
  • My Strange Addiction
  • Idontwannabeyouanymore / Lovely
  • You Should See Me In A Crown
  • Billie Bossa Nova
  • Goldwing
  • Halley’s Comet
  • Oxytocin / Copycat
  • Ilomilo
  • Your Power
  • Male Fantasy
  • Not My Responsibility
  • OverHeated
  • Bellyache / Ocean Eyes
  • Bored
  • Getting Older
  • Lost Cause
  • When The Party’s Over
  • All The Good Girls Go To Hell
  • Everything I Wanted
  • Bad Guy
  • Happier Than Ever
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US white supremacists arrested at Idaho pride event – police

More than two dozen members of the Patriot Front group were charged with conspiracy to riot.

Suspected members of a white supremacist group guarded by police in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. Photo: 11 June 2022Image source, North Country Off Grid/Youtube/via Reuters

Police in the US state of Idaho have arrested 31 members of a white supremacist group and charged them with conspiracy to riot at a pride event.

Police say they were tipped by a local resident in the city of Coeur D’Alene, who had spotted the men with masks and shields getting into a lorry.

The vehicle was soon stopped, and the men – members of Patriot Front group – were arrested.

“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.

He added that riot gear and a smoke grenade were found in the lorry in the vehicle.

The lorry was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event.

The arrested men in the north-western US state have so far made no public comments.

Photos and videos have emerged on social media showing the accused in masks kneeling on the grass with their hands tied behind their backs.

The police revealed that they were alerted by the local resident, who called them to say that it “looked like a little army” was loading up into the lorry.

The arrested members of Patriot Front are from 11 different US states.

Patriot Front was formed in 2017 after the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The group’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

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Rail strike: Agency staff could cover future disruption

The transport secretary says he is preparing to overhaul rules, as rail workers prepare to walk out.

Woman walks past gated stationImage source, Getty Images

The government is preparing to repeal a legal ban that prevents agency staff filling in for striking workers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Sunday Telegraph a potential change in legislation could allow companies to hire temporary workers to cover some roles and prevent disruption.

Any intervention would not affect the rail strikes across Britain this month.

But Mr Shapps said changes could be brought in quickly to minimise future action in rail or other sectors.

A war of words between rail unions and ministers has been escalating since the RMT union announced three days of strikes, after talks about pay, terms and conditions, and redundancies fell through.

Mr Shapps said should the action continue then “further measures certainly would come in during this particular dispute, if it can’t be resolved”.

“We will be looking at the full suite of modernisation that’s required,” he told the Telegraph. “The country must not continue to be held to ransom.”

The transport secretary said any change could involve secondary legislation, which can be signed off by ministers “very fast”.

Meanwhile, writing in the Sun on Sunday, Mr Shapps warned rail workers who plan to strike this month that they will not be able to work overtime on subsequent days to top up pay they will lose as a result of taking part in the action. It is is understood this is because rail companies may decide to run restricted timetables after the strike days.

Grant Shapps

Image source, Getty Images

Mr Shapps’ comments come less than a month after rail unions reacted with fury to a government threat to make strike action illegal unless a minimum number of train staff remained working during a walkout.

In response, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said “any attempt” by Mr Shapps to “make effective strike action illegal on the railways will be met with the fiercest resistance from RMT and the wider trade union movement”.

More than 40,000 RMT members working for Network Rail and 13 train operating companies across Britain will strike on 21, 23 and 25 June.

In a separate dispute over pensions and job losses, the RMT’s London Underground members will also strike on 21 June.

The RMT is calling it the biggest dispute for over three decades and put the industrial action down to the “inability of the rail employers to come to a negotiated settlement”.

Train and tram drivers, part of the Aslef union, are also set to strike in three locations this month.

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The Papers: Charles ‘stay out of politics’ and ‘Tory tax war’

Prince Charles’ alleged comments on the UK’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda continues to makes headlines.Prince Charles’ alleged comments on the UK’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda continues to makes headlines.

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UFC 275: Jiri Prochazka beats Glover Teixeira to claim light-heavyweight title

Jiri Prochazka beats Glover Teixeira to become the new light-heavyweight champion at UFC 275 in Singapore.Jiri Prochazka beats Glover Teixeira to become the new light-heavyweight champion at UFC 275 in Singapore.

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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Returning to Theaters With ‘The More Fun Stuff Version’

The film has already raked in nearly $2 billion at the box office worldwide.

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