Saturday, June 15, 2024

FirstUp: EU elections, Sunil Chhetri’s farewell match… Top headlines today

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After dramatic general elections in India, it’s time for the European Union elections, which are scheduled from 6-9 June.

On Thursday, France will also commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion, which marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

Emotions will run high when the talismanic Sunil Chhetri leads India out one last time in a crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait in Kolkata on 6 June, Thursday.

Suspended JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna’s six-day SIT custody in the obscene video case ends today.

EU elections begin

Voters in the European Union are set to elect lawmakers in an election from 6 to 9 June for the bloc’s parliament.

Around 373 million citizens across the 27 member states of the EU are eligible to vote.

The EP comprises 720 members (MEPs) elected every five years. The MEPs then elect their president for a term of two and a half years.

The outgoing president is Malta’s Roberta Metsola.

A projection by poll aggregator Europe Elects forecast at the end of May that out of the 720 seats available in the EP, the Group of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) would win 180, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists And Democrats (S&D) 138, and the liberal, centrist Renew Europe (RE) 86.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) would have 75 seats and Identity and Democracy (ID) would be down to 68 from 84 in April, after expelling Germany’s far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD). Other smaller parties would win the remaining 173 seats, the data from Europe Elects showed.

France D-Day

For French survivors of the Battle of Normandy, this week marks the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion on 6 June 1944, which broke through Hitler’s western defences and contributed to Nazi Germany’s surrender 11 months later. A total of 4,414 Allied troops were killed on D-Day itself, including 2,501 Americans. More than 5,000 were wounded.

American soldiers and supplies arrive on the shore of the French coast of German-occupied Normandy during the Allied D-Day invasion on 6 June, 1944 in World War II. Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on the day. Of those, 73,000 were from the United States, 83,000 from Britain and Canada. Forces from several other countries were also involved, including French troops. The Allies faced around 50,000 German forces. File Image/AP

There are various ceremonies to commemorate the day in France and to thank veterans, some of whom will make the long trans-Atlantic journey despite advanced age, fatigue and physical difficulties.

More than 60 veterans of World War II took off 31 May from Dallas to France to take part in ceremonies marking the anniversary.

US president Joe Biden also reached Paris on Wednesday to commemorate D-Day.

Prajwal Revanna’s policy custody ends

Suspended JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna’s six-day SIT custody in the obscene video case ends today.

He is likely to be produced before the court in Bengaluru.

The 33-year-old was arrested on 30 May late night from Bengaluru airport as he arrived in India to join the special investigation team investigation after being incommunicado for a month.

The allegations against him, his father HD Revanna surfaced in April and snowballed into a major political storm.

Chhetri’s last game in India’s must-win match against Kuwait

Emotions will run high when the talismanic Sunil Chhetri leads India out one last time in a crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait in Kolkata on 6 June, Thursday.

Chhetri is hoping to propel his team into the next round as a parting gift after dominating the national football landscape for 19 years.

Sunil Chhetri retirement press conference
On Wednesday (5 June), Sunil Chhetri attended what could be his last press conference as an India player. AIFF image

The 39-year-old will hang his boots at the end of this match and would like to ensure that the team enters the final-18 stage of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time.

For 19 years, Chhetri has carried the footballing hopes of a nation labelled as the ‘sleeping giant’ of world football.

With 94 goals from 150 appearances and a dozen trophies in his cabinet, the diminutive Indian captain is a bonafide legend of the game. And it will be an evening of high emotions at the venue where his professional football career took shape with Mohun Bagan in early 2000s.

T20 World Cup – US Vs Pakistan in New York

The Pakistan men’s cricket team will kickstart their T20 World Cup campaign this year on Thursday against the United States, who are also the co-hosts of the marquee cricket event along with the West Indies.

The opening group stage match will take place at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.

First-ever Ramstein 1v1 exercise

Fighter jets from nine Allied Nations will arrive at Ramstein Air Base to take part in the US-led multi-national exercise Ramstein 1v1, on Thursday.

United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa will host its first ever Ramstein 1v1 exercise, where fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft will take turns squaring off in friendly competition during a day-long fighter manoeuvre exercise.

Winston Churchill portrait to be auctioned at Sotheby’s

A portrait of Winston Churchill by an artist whose work the British leader loathed will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on Thursday in London.

The painting by modernist artist Graham Sutherland was made in preparation for a larger portrait that Churchill hated and which was later destroyed.

The surviving oil-on-canvas study shows Churchill’s head in profile against a dark background. It is expected to sell for between £500,000 and £800,000 (€586,000 – €938,000).

UN General Assembly elects new non-permanent members of the Security Council

The UN General Assembly is set to meet on Thursday to elect five non-permanent members of the Security Council, as Pakistan and other candidates for a seat on the world’s body’s power centre stepped up their lobbying activities.

Those elected will serve for two years — from January 1, 2025, through the end of 2026. They will replace Japan, Ecuador, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland whose terms end on December 31.

Starship’s fourth test flight

SpaceX is set to launch its towering Starship rocket system on its fourth test flight as early as Thursday, a crucial milestone in the company’s quest to develop a fully reusable launch vehicle for deep space exploration.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted SpaceX a license, clearing the way for the nearly 400-foot-tall (122-meter), two-stage rocket to lift off from the company’s facilities in South Texas.

A day to remember

  • Birth anniversary of actor and politician Sunil Dutt

  • Birth anniversary of Indian author Masti Venkatesha Iyengar

  • Birth anniversary of tennis player Bjorn Borg

  • Shivaji was crowned king in 1674 and later founded the great Maratha empire

  • Anniversary of Operation Bluestar, which was carried out by the Army in 1984 to flush out heavily-armed terrorists holed up in the Golden Temple

  • Tetris, one of the best-selling video games of all time, was released in 1984

  • The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London in 1844

  • More than 1 lakh people died in Bombay in 1882, when a cyclone in the Arabian Sea pushed huge waves into the harbour

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