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Israeli police detain Palestinian activist twins from East Jerusalem
6 June 2021, 7:16 PM

Israeli police detained two prominent Palestinian activists on Sunday who have become the faces of a campaign to halt Palestinian evictions from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Footage on social media on Sunday showed Muna El-Kurd, 23, whose family faces eviction from their home in Sheikh Jarrah after Jewish settlers won an Israeli court ruling, handcuffed and being escorted from her home by Israeli officers.

The activist was released several hours later, her father said in a video on social media, in which he added that he hoped her twin brother, Mohammed El-Kurd, who had turned himself in at a police station after receiving a summons, would also be freed.

Without explicitly naming Muna El-Kurd, an Israeli police spokeswoman said “police arrested under court order a suspect (23) who is a resident of East Jerusalem, on suspicion of participating in riots that took place in Sheikh Jarrah recently”.

The police did not immediately comment on Mohammed El-Kurd.

Their supporters said the twins’ detention was part of a broader Israeli effort to halt opposition to the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, where Jewish settlers want to move into the El-Kurds’ home and others under court order.

Anger over the proposed evictions helped spark 11 days of violence in May between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, whose Islamist rulers Hamas have called Israeli policy in East Jerusalem a “red line”.

The detentions came a day after police in Sheikh Jarrah arrested a reporter with Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera who had been covering a protest there.

In October last year an Israeli court ruled in favour of Jewish settlers, who say some eight Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are living on land that used to belong to Jews.

Palestinians are appealing the decision in Israel’s Supreme Court, and the evictions are currently on hold.

Tensions could flare further in Jerusalem this week when a Jewish right-wing march is expected to pass through the Old City’s Damascus gate. A similar march, its route diverted at the last minute, was held the same day that the Israel-Gaza fighting broke out.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians are seeking the territories for a future state.

Meghan gives birth to baby girl called Lilibet
6 June 2021, 7:13 PM

Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex has given birth to her second child, a baby girl, who she and husband Prince Harry have named after Queen Elizabeth and his late mother Princess Diana.

Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born on Friday at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, with Harry in attendance.

“On June 4th, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili. She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe,” Harry and Meghan said in a statement.

“Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.”

Their press secretary said both mother and baby were doing well and were back at home.

Their first child, Archie, was born in 2019.

‘Weight don’t win fights’ says Mayweather as prepares to face Paul
6 June 2021, 7:02 PM

Floyd Mayweather will give up nearly 35 pounds (16 kg) to YouTube personality Logan Paul when they step into the ring for their exhibition fight at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday but that is the only thing the undefeated five weight division champion is conceding.

The “ceremonial” weigh-in on Saturday produced no surprises with the 6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 m) Paul always going to have an advantage on the scales coming in at 189.5 lbs with the 5-foot, 8-inch (1.73 m) Mayweather checking in at 155 lbs.

If there was a surprise, it was that the often outrageous Paul played the weigh-in straight, no doubt disappointing many of his 20 million-plus YouTube followers.

Paul, whose ring record stands at 0-1 after losing an exhibition fight to a fellow YouTube personality, took only one shot at the unbeaten Mayweather (50-0) during a tame weigh-in and even that was a glancing blow that the champ laughed off.

“He’s not ready, he don’t know what to expect,” declared Paul. “And this is not the biggest fight of my life, this is the biggest fight of his life because he’s got a lot on the line, everything to lose. I’m going to have fun.”

“The fact I am even up here proves this is a simulation, none of it is real, the aliens are coming in June … just be ready … tomorrow I bring the simulation and beat the greatest boxer in the history of planet.”

Paul may label the eight-round bout a simulation but the interest and millions it is generating in ticket sales and pay-per-view buys are very real.

Even though there are no judges and no official winner, each fighter is set to pocket millions from the exhibition.

Mayweather, who is nicknamed “Money,” said he expects to make north of $50 million from the fight, which will not count against his unblemished professional record.

“I’ve been here before, I know what it takes, I’ve fought every different style you could possibly fight,” said Mayweather sounding as serious as he could. “Weight don’t win fights, fighting wins fights … at the end of the day and I can fight.

“One thing I can do I can fight. I’ve been at the top level for 25 years so I know what it takes.”

Federer withdraws from French Open with Wimbledon in mind
6 June 2021, 5:28 PM

Former world number one Roger Federer, who is targeting a record 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, withdrew from the French Open on Sunday, a day after winning a tough third-round match, opting to save himself for the grass-court season.

“After discussions with my team, I decided that I should withdraw from the French Open today,” Federer said in a statement released by the French Tennis Federation.

“After two knee operations and more than a year of rehabilitation, it’s important that I listen to my body and not rush back into competition,” the 39-year-old Swiss added.

Federer, who has hardly played in the last 17 months because of a knee injury, suffered physically in his four-set, late-night victory over German Dominik Koepfer on Saturday and decided to end his Roland Garros campaign ahead of what would have been a punishing fourth-round match against Italian Matteo Berrettini.

He had said after Saturday’s match that he was pondering whether to participate in the second week of the claycourt Grand Slam as his season goal was Wimbledon, the grass-court major starting on June 28.

“We go through these matches… we analyse them highly and look on what’s next and we’ll do the same tonight and tomorrow,” he said.

“Because I need to decide if I keep on playing or not, or is it not too much risk at this moment to keep pushing or is this just a perfect way to just take a rest.”

Tournament director Guy Forget said: “The French Open is sorry to see Roger Federer withdraw from the tournament but he put up a great fight last night.

“We were all delighted to see him back in Paris, where he played three top-level matches. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”

Seven-times Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander paid tribute to Federer for his performance against Koepfer.

“I feel good that I saw Roger was in good enough shape to play like that,” Eurosport pundit Wilander said. “You have a lot of people say they should retire when they get a little bit old if they cannot win a Slam.

“I am of the complete opposite opinion. I absolutely love and respect Roger Federer for what he did last night. He could have easily thrown in the towel and say ‘I had a good enough practice for Wimbledon’.

“But no, he wants to win matches, I am just so impressed with him.”

Peruvians vote to elect president, divided by class, geography
6 June 2021, 5:00 PM

Peruvians began voting to pick a president on Sunday in an election that has bitterly divided them by class and geography, with urban and higher-income citizens preferring right-wing Keiko Fujimori while the rural poor support leftist political novice Pedro Castillo.

Polls in the runoff election began to open at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT), with long queues building up early at some centres in the capital Lima of people bundled up against the cold of the southern hemisphere late autumn.

Citizens have been invited to vote according to their numbers on their identity cards in a bid to avoid large crowds gathering.

Peru almost tripled its coronavirus death toll last week following a government review, meaning it now has the world’s worst death rate per capita of the pandemic.

Opinion polls show the presidential race in a statistical dead heat but with Fujimori, who had earlier trailed Castillo, pulling slightly ahead.

Fujimori, 46, the daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori, is promising to maintain economic stability and pro-free market policies in the world’s second-largest copper producer.

Castillo, 51, an elementary school teacher and union leader, has galvanized support from Peru’s rural poor – and concerned investors – with pledges including to alter multinational companies’ tax regimes and rewrite the constitution.

He held prayers and an election breakfast at his adobe home in the remote northern Andes village of Chugur before heading to the nearby town of Tacabamba to vote.

He has previously warned against fraud in the election and said he would “be the first to summon the people” if he saw evidence of foul play. On Sunday, however, he said he would respect the result.

“I call on Peruvians to be calm, to show the world we can do this,” he said.

On her way to an election breakfast in Lima, Fujimori told journalists: “Keiko means hope. Let’s all go out and vote.”

Many Peruvians hold a deep mistrust of politicians following two decades in which five former presidents have been investigated or prosecuted for corruption.

Ruth Rojas, who said she lives in deep poverty with a disabled daughter, said she did not believe either candidate’s vows.

“They promise everything until they get into government but then they forget about the poor, they just think of themselves and their own people,” Rojas said.

Pollsters say undecided voters and Peruvians living abroad could tip the balance.

Overseas Peruvians make up almost 4% of the 25 million on the electoral roll. Only 0.8% voted in the first round of the election in April, when COVID-19 lockdowns were commonplace.

However, the head of Peru’s National Office of Electoral Processes, Piero Corvetto, said that with vaccination programs now further advanced in areas where Peruvian expatriates predominate – the United States, Spain, Argentina and Chile – turnout would likely be closer to 1.5%.

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