Ukraine is the story that does not end. There were concerted rocket attacks on multiple Ukrainian cities in the last 24 hours, targeting both critical infrastructures and civilian centres. There is increasing talk of the increasing isolation of President Putin with his closest circle of supporters (it would be false to call them advisors, as apparently they only say what he wants to hear – and that is that Russia will fight to a victory).
In Israel, there are continued protest against the the increasingly harsh government measures and rhetoric against the Palestinian population, as well as threats to take away the independence of the judiciary (which is currently hearing multiple cases against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on corruption charges) by giving parliament the right to appoint senior judges, and to override their judgements if needed. On the one side you have ministers calling for the destruction of whole areas of Palestinian occupancy, and on the other a significant number of people claiming that the whole concept of Israel as a pluralistic secular democracy was being threatened.
UK Immigration Policy
The UK government is also using increasingly hostile rhetoric and legislation to deal with the issues associated with illegal immigrants arriving in small boats from France.
Although the numbers are relatively small in relation to the overall UK population, it is one of the five significant polices that PM Rishi Sunak has identified that he will engage with. He has proposed that all people arriving illegally would be immediately deported, without the right of appeal and with no right to ever return to the UK. This had been decried by opposition leaders as well as community leaders across the country as criminalizing people who are justifiably fleeing war and other threating environments, and who would otherwise have a legal right to stay in the UK whilst their cases are being heard.
French Pension Demonstrations
In France, there have been national strikes protesting at proposals to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. This will not seem harsh to UK workers, who are facing the threat that their pension age could rise from the current 65 for both men and women to 68 for people who are currently in their forties and fifties. This is part of a wider dilemma facing increasingly aging populations as to how people who are regularly living into their 80’s and 90’s can be supported by an ever decreasing percentage of people who are in taxable work.