In his first visit to Ukraine for ten years, Viktor Orban has called for a ceasefire. A longstanding critic of Western military aid to Ukraine, he suggested that a swift ceasefire could expedite peace talks. He also expressed a desire to improve ties with Ukraine and offered economic assistance. Zelensky appreciated his visit, but stressed the need for a ‘just peace’ after over two years of fighting. Orban’s visit coincides with Hungary’s assumption of the EU presidency, which has raised concerns due to Budapest’s warm ties with Moscow. In the past, Hungary has accused Ukraine of curbing the rights of ethnic Hungarians, which Kyiv denies. Zelensky has recently said he is preparing a comprehensive plan for ending the war.

A video of a bloodied academic doctor openly criticising Hamas highlights a shift in Gaza. Filmed after an Israeli operation, and illustrating growing frustration, the video has gone viral. Critics accuse Hamas of endangering civilians by hiding hostages in populated areas and launching rockets from civilian zones. Some Gazans are now calling for a ceasefire with Israel, and even within Hamas's ranks discontent is rising. The group's longstanding control is weakening, with criminal gangs and chaos increasing. Despite ongoing support from some, many are now criticising Hamas for the war's devastation and their lack of preparedness. The situation remains complex, with a significant portion of the population still blaming Israel and its allies. The internal battle for public opinion within Gaza is intensifying, with Hamas sensitive to criticism and actively managing its image on social media.

Hurricane Beryl, the earliest recorded storm to reach Category 5, is finally weakening after devastating the southeastern Caribbean, killing at least ten people and destroying 90% of homes on Union Island in the Grenadines. The speed with which the storm intensified is attributed to climate change. Beryl has caused enormous destruction, including three deaths in Grenada, three in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and two in northern Venezuela. Grenada’s Carriacou island is nearly cut off, with extensive damage to infrastructure. A UN executive said, ‘It’s clear that the climate crisis is pushing disasters to record-breaking new levels of destruction’. The number of hurricanes in the 2024 season is predicted to be well above average, with 17 to 25 named storms. For further details, see

At least 120 people have been killed in a crush at a Hindu religious gathering in Uttar Pradesh. Many victims, including women and children, are still being identified. The disaster occurred when a narrow exit and a fierce dust storm caused panic, leading to a stampede. Witnesses described the chaos, with people falling on each other and some into a roadside drain.  The dead included at least three children. A high-level committee is investigating the overcrowding and poor safety measures at the venue. Survivors and relatives criticised the lack of immediate response from senior officials. The administration’s primary focus is now on aiding the injured and the families of the deceased. Such accidents are common in India due to large crowds and inadequate safety protocols at religious events.

Around forty people were killed by unidentified armed men in a village in central Mali on 1 July. The attack, which occurred during a wedding, caused panic and forced many to flee. Survivors reported the attackers surrounded the village and opened fire. No group has claimed responsibility, but groups linked with al-Qaeda and IS have been active since 2015. They have seized territory, making parts of the country ungovernable. Despite promises to tackle insecurity, Mali’s military government, which took power in a 2020 coup, has struggled to control the violence. It has also been accused of human rights abuses. The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali ended its deployment last December, in a pullout ordered by the government.

The Supreme Court has returned Donald Trump's claim of immunity from prosecution for his actions while president to a lower court. Trump faces charges related to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election and the Capitol riots in January 2021. The court ruled 6-3 that former presidents have absolute immunity for official acts but not for unofficial acts. Lower courts must now decide if his actions were official or private. Trump celebrated the decision, while the three dissenting judges expressed dismay because it seems to undermine the principle that no one is above the law. One of them called the decision ‘absurd and dangerous’. The ruling delays Trump's trial, which had originally been scheduled for 4 March; it is now unlikely to conclude before the November election. Trump, who has pleaded not guilty, still faces three other indictments.

Joe Biden, who is 81, has attributed his poor performance in his first presidential debate with Donald Trump to travel exhaustion, joking that he ‘nearly fell asleep’ on stage. He has admitted he wasn't very smart for travelling extensively, going ‘around the world a couple of times’ and crossing numerous time zones, not long before the debate in Atlanta. He acknowledged he didn't have his best night, despite spending six days at Camp David preparing. In contrast,Trump, 78, appeared vigorous, although he repeated a number of what critics have said are false claims. Some prominent Democrats, alarmed at Biden’s showing, are urging him to withdraw from the 2024 race in order to prevent a Trump victory. Although he has said, ‘I’m not leaving’, speculation is mounting that this is a possibility: see

CBN News has reported that over 300,000 people have reportedly been baptised in Papua New Guinea, marking a significant spiritual event. The mass baptisms occurred during the PNG for Christ campaign, a collaborative effort by several organisations. Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, and his wife, Nancy, led daily events during the two-week campaign. He has recently confirmed that the number of baptisms has surpassed 300,000. Wilson attributed this to the 'Holy Spirit power being poured out on Papua New Guinea’. The campaign saw dramatic changes, including drug lords destroying their marijuana crops and being baptised, prisoners converting, entire villages embracing Adventism, and miraculous healings. Pastor Miller Kuso, PNG United Mission’s personal ministry director, coordinated the events, visiting numerous sites across the country. Prayers are requested for the newly baptised individuals and the leaders who are guiding them in their new faith.

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