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Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam announces resignation from government

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Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam says she will not seek a second term at Hong Kong’s upcoming election

The Chief Executive will complete her five-year term on June 30. She will also officially conclude her 42-year career in Government.

Lam presided over a rocky period in Hong Kong’s relationship with the central government in China, which then led to massive protests that rocked the city in 2019. Beijing responded with a national security law that has stifled dissent in the semi-autonomous city.

A pro-Beijing committee will select a new leader next month.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

Ukraine Crisis

U.S. President Biden plans huge military build-up in Europe to counter Putin

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U.S. President Joe Biden announces increase in America’s military presence across Europe over threat from Vladimir Putin

It comes as tensions between Russia and the West remain tense over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

There will now be a permanent U.S. army headquarters in Poland, with new warships on their way to Spain, fighter jets to the UK and even ground troops to Romania.

President Biden announces plans to bolster U.S. presence in Europe

Biden says the strategic alliance will be “strengthened in all directions across every domain – land, air and sea”.

NATO’s longstanding commitment to ‘defend every inch of its territory’ has been reaffirmed… and Biden warns “an attack against one is an attack against all.”

The pledge from Biden includes more naval destroyers stationed in Spain, two F-35 fighter jet squadrons positioned in the United Kingdom and a permanent headquarters in Poland for the U.S. 5th Army Corps.

This increased force posture comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on and countries in Europe grow increasingly nervous about the war on their continent.

“The United States and our allies, we’re going to step up,” Biden said the start of the NATO summit in Madrid.

“We’re proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been and it’s as important as it ever has been.”

The current location of 13 U.S. bases in Europe

U.S. presence grows

Since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense has increased the number of U.S. troops in Europe to more than 100,000 service members, up from 80,000.

Here’s what the U.S plans to do in each European country:

  • Poland: permanent station for the 5th Army Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, an Army garrison headquarters, and a field support battalion, to allow the U.S. to more easily deploy combat troops along NATO’s eastern flank
  • Romania: position a rotational brigade combat team
  • The Baltic region: increase rotational deployments of armored, aviation, air defense, and special operations forces
  • Spain: increase the number of destroyers stationed at Rota from four to six
  • United Kingdom: station two squadrons of F-35 fighter jets.
  • Germany: forward-station an air defense artillery brigade headquarters, a short-range air defense battalion, a combat sustainment support battalion headquarters, and an engineer brigade headquarters
  • Italy: forward-station a short-range air defense battery

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Paris terrorist found guilty over 2015 attack

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The only surviving member of the terrorist group that was responsible for the Paris 2015 attacks has been found guilty. 

Salah Abdeslam was given life without parole, the harshest possible sentence for a convicted felon in France. 

Salah Abdeslam, the leading suspect and the only surviving member of the nine who terrorised Paris on November 13, 2015.

The devastating attacks left 130 people dead and almost 500 wounded, with the ISIS group targeting bars, restaurants, a concert hall and outside the famed Stade De France.

The 32-year-old was found guilty of all five counts and is just the fifth person in French history to be sentenced to life without parole since it was legalised in 1994. 

 The court found that his explosives vest malfunctioned, dismissing his argument that he ditched the vest because he decided not to follow through with his attack.

The individual was one of 20 people on trial for the attacks, but is the sole defendant accused of physically carrying out the attacks. 

Presiding judge Jean-Louis Peries read the verdicts in a courthouse surrounded by unprecedented security, wrapping up a nine-month trial.

Reporters gather outside the special courtroom built for the 2015 attacks trial in Paris.

For months, the packed main chamber and 12 overflow rooms in the 13th century Justice Palace heard the harrowing accounts by the victims, along with testimony from Abdeslam.

Salah Abdeslam remained emotionless as his sentence was handed down.

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R Kelly sentenced to 30 years jail for sex trafficking

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R&B star R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for sex trafficking and subjecting young fans to systematic sexual abuse

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, 55, was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking last year at a trial that gave voice to accusers who had once wondered if their stories were being ignored because they were Black women.

He was also ordered to pay a $US100,000 fine.

US District Judge Ann Donnelly imposed the sentence after hearing from several survivors who attested to how Kelly’s exploitation had changed their lives.

R. Kelly’s accusers told the court he had preyed on them and misled his fans as the fallen R&B star listened with downcast eyes.

Lizzette Martinez, author of “Jane Doe #9 how I survived R.Kelly”, arrives to federal court in New York.

“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” one woman told the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer.

“Do you remember that?”

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, did not address the court.

Kelly’s lawyers had argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison because he had a traumatic childhood “involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence”.

He was also ordered to pay a $US100,000 fine.

His lawyers painted Kelly as an adult with “literacy deficiencies,” the star was “repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him”.

The Brooklyn federal court jury convicted him after hearing that he used his entourage of managers and aides to meet girls and keep them obedient.

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